The main aim of this article is to understand how men living in couples with young children construct their roles and identities as fathers in the context of different types of family functioning. To explore this issue, our analytical framework examines the dynamics of fathering and of family functioning, thereby focusing on the interrelationships between men as fathers, partners and breadwinners. Drawing on data from a qualitative study carried out in 2005-2006 in Portugal, the article shows a diversity of fatherhood patterns. Joint and supportive fatherhood emerge within the framework of fusional dynamics, while disengaged fatherhood is connected to genderdifferentiated autonomy. Four other patterns were found to be linked to the various forms of the modern "associative" family identified in this study. Equal fatherhood emerges in couples whose practices closely match the ideals of gender equality and individual autonomy, whereas appropriative, timecondensed and stay-at-home patterns of fatherhood are connected to different forms of "gender unequal" associative couples.
Keywords: Fathers; Couple; Relationship; Family Patterns, Work