When you think about the ways that your loved ones can affect you, you likely don’t think that they will be a source of risk for your marriage, unless the person you think about happens to be your spouse. However, research shows that divorce might actually be contagious, which means that other people in your life could increase your risk of getting a divorce.
When someone you know goes through a divorce, that experience could increase your likelihood of getting a divorce, much like a marriage or engagement tends to ripple out through a social group as well. Understanding how the divorce of someone else in your life could affect your own marriage can help you more carefully examine your motivations for worrying about your marriage and determine whether divorce is reasonable.
How much impact will someone’s divorce have on your life?
The closer your relationship with the people divorcing, the greater the potential impact. If someone in your inner circle, such as family members or a dear friend, gets divorced, your risk of divorce increases by 75%, which is roughly double the 33% increase of divorce risk for a divorce with two degrees of separation.
How does the divorce of someone else affect your marriage?
Psychologists and social researchers aren’t one hundred percent certain at what makes the idea of divorce somewhat contagious, but it is likely a confluence of multiple factors.
For example, humans tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, which means that those who are unmarried imagine that marrying would change their life and produce more happiness, while those who have already gotten married my imagine that the freedom of divorce is better than the stresses of marriage. The more unhappy someone is or unstable in their marriages at the time someone divorces has, the more tempting and positive going through a divorce may seem.
The good news is that you can easily reflect on your marriage and the marriage of the person you know getting a divorce and see weather you have similar motives or a completely different situation. For those who are truly unhappy in their marriage, the bravery of a friend or loved one who seeks a divorce could motivate them to pursue a better future.