What do we know about the social networks and the patterns of social interaction of people who are single? Many of the most important questions have not yet been adequately addressed. For example, Who are the people who are especially important to singles? Compared to people who are married, do single people have more ties with other people or fewer? Do they have relatively more ties with certain categories of people than with others (e.g., friends vs relatives)? Are there differences in the ways that single vs married people develop social ties?
How do patterns of social interaction change as people in a social network become coupled or married, become parents, or become separated, divorced, or widowed? Do couples socialize mostly with other couples, and parents with other parents? Do life singles differ from people who marry in the likelihood that they will maintain friendships and other ties over the course of a lifetime? How important is geographical proximity in the maintaining of social ties and is that changing?
How are the social ties of people who are single regarded by others? To what extent are those ties valued, relative to ties with a spouse? What are the implications of the answers to these questions, both for singles and for couples? For example, are employers less reluctant to ask their single employees to relocate? Do couples become especially focused on each other, relative to other people, when they marry? If so, what are the implications for those who become parents? For example, is the transition to parenting easier or more difficult for couples who have maintained fewer ties with other people? How do patterns of social interaction differ in old age for those who have always been single, compared to those who are or who once were married?
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