You’re More Likely to Divorce If You Have a Divorced Friend — Best Life


More than 2 million people get married each year in the U.S., but in the same period of time, 750,000 couples get divorced, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While there are surely varied reasons behind these separations, there are some things that can increase your odds of splitting from your spouse. The CDC notes that several factors can play a role in ending your marriage, including where you live, your age, and if you lived with your partner before getting married. But data has shown that factors outside your marriage could also have an impact on your future with your spouse. Read on to find out what can increase your chances of divorce by 75 percent.

RELATED: If You and Your Spouse Do This Together, You’re 3.5 Times More Likely to Divorce.

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A 2013 study published in the Social Science Research Network analyzed the social network effects on divorce. The researchers looked at three decades worth of data on marriage, divorce, and remarriage from more than 5,000 residents of Framingham, Massachusetts. According to the study, participants were 75 percent more likely to get a divorce if they had a friend who was divorced.

“We suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship,” Rose McDermott, a professor of political science from Brown University who led the research team, and her colleagues writes in the study. “Although the evidence we present here is limited to a single network, it suggests that marriages endure within the context of communities of healthy relationships and within the context of social networks that encourage and support such unions.”

RELATED: Not Doing This Led 53 Percent of Couples to Divorce, Study Says.

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Having a divorced friend can significantly increase your own chances of separating, but the effects of divorced friendships are even broader. The researchers found that social relationships’ impact on divorce continue into two degrees of separation. According to the study, participants were 33 percent more likely to end their marriage if a friend of a friend was divorced.

“Approaching the epidemiology of divorce from the perspective of an epidemic may be apt in more ways than one,” the study states. “The contagion of divorce can spread through a social network like a rumor, affecting friends up to two degrees removed.”

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The researchers behind the 2013 study say that helping keep your friends’ relationships healthy will help keep yours intact, but some experts claim that some good can also come from having a friend who is going through a divorce. Kevin Darne, a relationship educator and author of My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), told the Chicago Tribune that observing a friend go through a divorce can provide you the opportunity to initiate more communication in your own marriage.

“Subjects which may have been difficult to bring up in the past can now be discussed because you can preface them by stating how you want to avoid what your friend is going through,” Dane told the newspaper. “It’s also a real opportunity to count your blessings, and put more effort into keeping the magic alive in your marriage.”

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According to the 2013 study, the amount of friends you have in your circle overall can benefit your marriage. The researchers found that more popular people—which was defined as participants with more friends in their social network—were less likely to get a divorce than those with fewer friends.

“People with better social skills may select into better marriages and also have access to more supportive friendship networks as a result of those same benefits. Those supportive friendship networks may also make it easier for individuals to weather inevitable marital stresses without having to resort to marital rupture,” the study states.

And those who do divorce also tend to become less popular as a result, according to the study. “This may result partly because they are likely to lose members of their spouse’s social network as friends. In addition, newly single people may be perceived as social threats by married friends who worry about marital poaching,” the researchers explain.

RELATED: You’re More Likely to Divorce If You Met Your Spouse This Way, New Study Says.



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