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Could a friend’s divorce spell trouble for your own marriage?

As human beings, we are constantly attempting to derive meaning and make sense of the world and our own reality by examining others. This also holds true when it comes to relationships, particularly romantic relationships. Take for example a woman who receives an expensive ring from her husband on her birthday. It’s natural that upon learning of the husband’s gift, this woman’s close friend may think back to her own last birthday and the vacuum she received from her husband.

Human nature often causes men and women to compare their own situations with those of close friends. If a man or woman looses 30 lbs., his or her close friends may examine their own waistlines and realize they too need to shed some pounds. A recent study conducted by researchers at Brown University indicates the theory of peer pressure or being influenced by close friends may also extend to major life events, namely divorce.

For the study, information from thousands of participants were collected and examined over the course of 30 years. From examining this data, researchers found a strong link between the demise of one’s own marriage and that of close friends. Based on results from this study, researchers contend an individual is 75 percent more likely to get divorced if a close friend gets divorced. That percentage declines to 33 percent when a friend of a close friend gets divorced.

Based on this study, some may conclude that divorce is indeed contagious and in some respects they may be right. When a friend’s marriage is in shambles, it’s likely he or she confides in a close friend who may in turn be compelled to examine their own marriage more closely. In cases where an individual comes to realize that their marriage is also broken, an individual may choose to file for divorce.

Whatever ultimately drives an individual to file for divorce, he or she would be wise to contact a divorce attorney. An attorney can help an individual successfully negotiate terms related to divorce matters such as child custody and the division of assets and property.

Source: CBS New York, “New Study Says Divorce Can Be Contagious,” April 30, 2014