The gendered weight of desistance and understanding the ‘love of a good woman’: Desistance emotional work (DEW)

Despite increasing academic focus on intimate relationships as positive influences on desistance, research has yet to examine the experience and impact of support provision for women who are intimate partners of desisters. This exploratory study draws on six in-depth interviews with partners of desisters to elucidate their experiences of support provision and the impact of desistance. This paper finds that women provide resources to their desisting partners, and that identities and agency can be strained through this provision. The desistance process entails an investment of emotional work and capital from intimate partners which is conceptualised in this paper as Desistance Emotional Work (DEW). Desistance research has not yet acknowledged the support needs of women who invest in their partner’s desistance, and so DEW should be considered further both theoretically and in policy and practice.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Sciences Research

Lauren Hall, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Lyndsey Harris, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences