Could Divorce Actually Be Contagious in Social Circles?

You can catch a lot of serious illnesses by sharing in various ways with other people. Infectious mononucleosis, also called mono or "the kissing disease," could spread by sharing straws or drinks with someone who has the virus. You can catch the bacteria causing serious cavities in someone's mouth just by kissing them. As it turns out, the desire to divorce may be contagious as well.

Recent studies have affirmed what many people have suspected for years. When one person in a close-knit social group goes through a divorce to end an unhappy marriage, other people in that social circle may soon follow suit. In other words, if you have a friend getting a divorce, that might increase your chances of considering a divorce as well.

As it turns out, unlike other contagious conditions, the desire for divorce is not inherently negative for the person who contracts it. Instead, it can offer a fresh start and the potential for a healthier, happier life.

Divorce is only contagious for those in an unhappy marriage

The most revealing thing about how divorce moves through social groups is the fact that it doesn't impact all marriages. Instead, it seems to only spread among those who are patently unhappy in their primary relationship. Seeing someone else end an unhappy marriage can motivate others to do the same.

Divorce still has some degree of social stigma attached to it, and many people may worry about being the first one in their circle to end a marriage. However, once one person takes that leap, other people in unhappy marriages who know the individual may become motivated to consider divorce as well.

Thankfully, while people are susceptible to the powers of suggestion, that doesn't seem to extend into ending a marriage. If someone is happy with their marriage, they aren't going to get divorced just because one of their friends does. For those who are unhappily married, witnessing the divorce of a friend can help them overcome their fears of the process and get motivated by witnessing their friend's happiness after the divorce.

Be honest with yourself about your marriage and your feelings

If witnessing the divorce of a friend or co-worker has inspired you to contemplate ending your own marriage, it may be time to have an honest discussion with yourself.

Are you unhappy, or do you believe this is simply a temporary situation? Do you believe that your marriage has the potential for success in the future, or do you already know that your spouse will not change the behaviors or actions making you unhappy?

If you have no reason to believe that things will get better, it may be wise to let this motivation inspire you to take the steps you need to now to protect yourself. Getting copies of your financial records and developing a plan for ending your marriage are both important steps to take early in the process. You should also start planning now for your financial and social future after marriage.