This article sets out a conceptual framework for examining future building as an emotionally reflexive practice of intimacy and gendered agency. Emotionally reflexive future building is a relational activity, subject to gendering but open to queering. We illustrate this by drawing on cases taken from three qualitative studies that deal with the future building of women in relationships that do not conform to norms around having and rearing children. By referring to the future building of single mothers, women who are undecided about having children and women in non-cohabiting distance relationships we illustrate the significance of reflexively making sense of one’s own and others’ emotions in navigating gendered constraints and opportunities. Anger, despair, ambivalence, love, guilt and other emotions are key in how women with differing degrees of economic security imagine and try to create futures that queer gender.
- emotional reflexivity