Repartnering and (Re)employment: Strategies to Cope With the Economic Consequences of Partnership Dissolution


  • Interface Demography–Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.

  • *

    Research Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (CELLO), University of Antwerp, Sint Jacobstraat 2, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium (

  • This article was edited by David Johnson.


The economic consequences of a partnership dissolution have been described consistently in the research literature. For women all studies indicate severe financial losses, whereas men do not experience income decreases to the same extent. This article focuses on the 2 main strategies to cope with the economic consequences of a separation: repartnering and (re)employment. Using the European Community Household Panel Study we analyzed a sample of 66,292 individuals observed in a relationship of whom 4,925 subsequently separated and assessed the (relative) effect of both strategies in a cross-national longitudinal perspective. Where men do not benefit financially from cohabiting with a new partner, repartnering proves to outweigh the benefits of reentering the labor force or increasing the working hours for most women. This especially applies to mothers.