Can you catch a divorce from your friends?

Can you catch the “divorce bug” from a friend or relative?

A study from the Pew Research Center indicates that your odds of getting divorced drastically increase — by 75% — whenever a friend or close relative splits with their spouse. Perhaps even more surprising is that you can even “catch a divorce” secondhand. When a friend of a friend is getting divorced, the odds that you will too increase by a whopping 33%.

Sociologists say that the results are likely the effect of social contagion, which is the expansion of beliefs, behavior and information through social networks. Just like women sometimes experience “baby fever” when a co-worker or sister gets pregnant, seeing the newly rediscovered zest for life that a divorced person might have can inspire others to reflect on how they, too, might improve their lives with a divorce.

So, how much should this worry you? Not at all if your marriage is happy. On the other hand, if you or your spouse are harboring a quiet discontent toward your marriage, you may have an issue. Here are some signs that you’re actually ready for a divorce:

  • You no longer enjoy or want intimacy with your spouse.
  • You prefer spending time alone or with friends, rather than spending time with your spouse.
  • You really resent your spouse for one reason or another.
  • You’ve already tried marriage counseling (and it didn’t work).
  • You’ve had an affair — or several, and don’t particularly feel guilty.
  • You can’t picture the future with your spouse even when you try.

Staying in an unhappy marriage used to be the norm — but times have changed. If you’re unhappy with the direction your life and marriage have gone, find out what it takes to get a divorce.

FindLaw Network
Heidi L. Heinrich
Rated by Super Lawyers


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