Can having single friends impact your divorce probability? Well, according to a study that came out in 2010, divorce can lead to more divorce. Apparently, the heated emotions and actions of the break-up can spread to the divorcing couple’s friends and family, sometimes even a couple of degrees separated, like the friend of a friend, influencing their decision to stay put in their marriages or move on. In fact, friends impact divorce more than siblings. People who have divorced friends are 147% more likely to get divorced than others who have friends with stable marriages. Researchers even have a term for this phenomenon – divorce clustering.
So how does having single friends impact your divorce probability?
A close friend’s divorce can change how the married view divorced people. Not convinced? Just take the case of close friends Sarah and Melanie who had nearly identical lives with two kids still in diapers, the suburban homes, workaholic husbands, and the strain and stress of running a household on their own – until Melanie announced that she was calling it quits. Even though Sarah sympathized with Melanie and wondered about how divorce was going to affect her friend’s family and the kids, she could not but feel a twinge of envy over how much more easier Melanie’s life was going to be.
No one can argue about the fact that your friends and the people you associate with on a regular basis have a huge influence on you. A close friend’s experience with divorce can open a married person’s eyes to the pros and cons of the whole process. If they think that the pros outweigh the cons by a huge margin, it might just be the encouragement they need to get a divorce themselves. While such influences can be a good thing in the case of abusive or loveless relationships, it can also cause someone who has simply hit a rough patch in their marriage to think that divorce is the right way forward.
Also, divorced friends might push you to get a divorce when you complain about your spouse because it makes them feel validated. On the other hand, married friends who didn’t divorce their spouses, in spite of the many problems they faced, may ask you to stick and try to make your marriage work.
A Quick Wrap-Up: How can you stop single friends from impacting your marriage?
While your friends might provide a good outlet for you to vent your frustrations about your marriage, never forget that their response will always be skewed. They are not getting to hear both sides of the story. Also, they love you and want to give you a quick solution to end your pain. However, it might not always be the right one. If you want to lower your probability of divorce, talk to your spouse directly instead of talking about him or her to your friend.
Also, while no strong marriage will self-destruct solely because of an external influence, it is important to learn to evaluate your priorities. However freethinking or open your spouse might be, he or she may not take kindly to you partying every night or hanging out at the bar with your single friends every weekend. Do not forget that you are no longer in the same place as your single friends. Try to hit the right balance between spending time with your single friends and your married life to reduce your single friends’ impact on your divorce probability.