NEW TO THIS EDITION: Key themes and theoretical orientation have been expanded to reflect developments in the field including the concept of ambivalence and increased attention to how what happens inside families relates to what happens outside them. Each chapter begins with questions to consider to guide readers’ their learning as they pay attention to the critical issues. New discussion of current issues on research and policy. Chapters have been reorganized for emphasis and to bring clarity to the flow of ideas. The long-term intimate ties of middle-aged and older persons - spouse or partner, gay or straight - are explored in Chapters 3 and 4. o The chapter on transitions in intimate relationships is now two chapters: Chapter 5 on transitions in intimate ties and Chapter 7 on new opportunities for intimacy in later life. Other intimate relationships and opportunities, including cohabitation, LAT (living apart together) and dating are discussed in Chapter 7. The growing complexity of family ties over the life course and the changing realities of what it is to be single or childless are examined. Discussion of the family lives of gay and lesbian middle-aged and older persons throughout in order to be deliberately inclusive regarding all aspects of family life rather than isolating the family ties of gay and lesbian persons in a separate chapter. Updated discussion of a range of research and policy issues as they relate to understanding and supporting complex and diverse family ties in the later stages of life. KEY FEATURES: Weaves the vast range of information about the many facets of family relationships and aging into a critical, comprehensive, and integrated whole. Explores a range of intimate relationships, what happens when they end, and pathways to intimacy in old age. Emphasizes diversity in terms of gender, age, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation throughout to help readers learn about similarities and differences in family relationships as we age. Links the discussion of various family relationships in mid- and later life to current and future directions for research, practice, and policy. Chapters and sections end with a summary and conclusion, and quotes from various sources are used throughout to bring concepts to life.