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Social Networks

Defining Social Networks, Social Network Structure: Relationship Opportunities And Constraints, Gender Differences In Social Networks

Married couples and families do not exist in isolation, but are embedded in a network of social relationships and culture. Even prior to marriage, relations with family members, friends, and acquaintances can influence dating activities and romantic relationships. When individuals become a couple, they must deal with the demands of both their own social ties and those of their spouses. Couples informally negotiate the degree to which they will maintain separate friendships, balance their own and their partner's family relationships, and engage in social activities as a couple. Relationships with marital partners, friends, and families change as individuals and couples age. It is increasingly clear that social relationships help to shape the basic nature of married life. In examining social relationships, some researchers use the terms social network and social support interchangeably (Schonauer et al. 1999).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of Families