Married couples in Wisconsin and elsewhere are 75 percent more likely to divorce if they have friends who have divorced, according to a study conducted by researchers at Brown University, Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego. It additionally found that people are 33 percent more likely to divorce if they know a friend of a friend who has gotten divorced.

Relationship experts say that watching friends get divorced alerts people that ending their marriage is an option. The experience can also provide information about what occurs during a divorce and how to prepare for one. Meanwhile, a newly divorced friend could start a new relationship, which might look more romantic and exciting than a dull marriage.

However, experts point out that a friend’s divorce won’t tempt couples who currently have a solid relationship. This is particularly true for those who take the time to discuss the friend’s divorce. For couples who have strains in their marriage, a friend’s divorce could provide the opportunity to improve their relationship. Again, talking about the friend’s divorce is key. By discussing the things that went wrong in the friend’s marriage, such as intimacy or communication issues, couples can develop strategies to combat similar problems in their own relationship. As a result, struggling couples could end up with a stronger marriage and avoid heading to divorce court.

Divorce can be a challenging time for everyone involved. Individuals contemplating divorce may wish to contact a family law attorney for advice. The attorney could represent a client’s interests throughout the process and negotiate agreements on property division, child support, spousal support and other applicable issues.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press, “Science suggests divorce contagious“, Danielle Braff, Aug. 20, 2018