Is Divorce Contagious? (And, so What If It Is?)

When someone is going through a divorce, it’s not uncommon for their erstwhile friends to suddenly avoid them — and that’s not because they’re just unsure what to say. Most likely, they’re afraid that their friend’s marital woes are contagious.

Frankly, they’re probably right. That may not necessarily be all bad, however.

Close friend getting a divorce? Your odds of splitting with your spouse just skyrocketed

If one member of your close social circle gets a divorce, you’re 75% more likely to split from your spouse. If more than one of your close friends is divorced, you’re a whopping 147% more likely to end your marriage.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. Got a sibling who is divorced? You’re 22% more likely to head to a divorce attorney’s office yourself. Have a co-worker who is ending their marriage? Your odds of following suit just went up 50%

Here’s the thing: Research indicates that divorce may be viral simply because one person’s willingness to brave the unknown and try life among the newly single may simply inspire other people who are already unhappy in their marriages to do the same.

In other words, “divorce fever” is a bit like “baby fever” in that people see what they might be missing and decide to take a chance that they’ll be happier as a result. If you’re really happily married, you can console your divorcing friend all you want without worrying about the health of your relationship. If your marriage is rocky, however, this may be just the motivation you need to change your inertia into positive action.

If it’s time to shake up the status quo and seek a divorce, be smart about it: Learn as much as you can about how to prepare yourself for the process and make sure that you fully understand all your legal rights.

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