Social Network Pressure on Women and Men to Enter a Romantic Relationship and Fear of Being Single


  • Susan Sprecher
  • Diane Felmlee


The romantic dyad is emphasized in society, which leads to the question of whether single (non-partnered) adults in emerging adulthood perceive pressure from their social network members to become partnered. The first purpose of this study was to examine the degree of pressure to enter a relationship that single (unattached) men and women perceive that they receive from two social networks (parents/family and friends) and whether there is a gender difference in this degree of pressure to partner. The second purpose was to examine how social pressure to partner is associated with the fear of being single (FOBS). A sample of 616 single (unpartnered) adults ages 18 to 30, primarily from the U.S., reported some degree of network pressure to enter a relationship on average. Greater pressure to become partnered was perceived from parents/family than from friends. Women scored higher than men on an index of social pressure from parents/family to enter a relationship and also higher on an index measuring FOBS. Social network pressure to enter a relationship was associated with a greater FOBS for both men and women.