Farm couple breakup and rural local support
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Original versionPaper 1/12 16 p. Norsk senter for bygdeforskning, 2012
The main focus of this paper is on how farmers in Norway use their local social networks for help and support in situations of relationship breakup. The breakup of a farm family can be a stressful process that may generate a need for emotional and practical support. On the one hand, small rural communities are often positively characterized as consisting of close relationships between people. On the other, such relationships have the potential to become intrusive. Based on interviews with seven women and four men who have experienced family breakup, this paper reports on the kind of support these individuals received from family, friends, neighbors and the farming community during the dissolution process. The findings indicate that those going through the breakdown of a relationship on the farm interprete it as a personal problem. Thus it can be described as a lonely process where the partners struggle alone with both practical and emotional issues. Both women and men avoid discussing problems with others, except very close and intimate friends, in order to protect themselves against gossip and rumors.