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Do your chances of divorce increase when a friend divorces?

You may have always been the friend to offer support whenever someone needed it. However, when one of your friends informed you of his or her pending divorce, you may instead have had the sudden desire to distance yourself from the situation. If so, you are not alone.

According to a recent study from researchers at multiple universities, some connection exists between your friends' divorces and your likelihood of getting divorced. As a result, many people may distance themselves from those who are ending their marriages for fear that they will be the next to go through the legal process.

What is the connection?

Research indicates that if you have a close friend who has gotten divorced, you are 75 percent more likely to get a divorce yourself. Additionally, you are 33 percent more likely to end your marriage if a friend of a friend's marriage ends. You may think that this seems like an odd or unlikely connection, but it is not necessarily the divorce that increases likelihood. More likely, it is the ideas you generate from learning of the divorce that have the impact.

Available options

Many people live their lives in unhappy relationships, and they often think that they should simply stick it out for whatever reason or that they do not have options for ending the relationship. When a friend or friend of a friend divorces, it can cause other individuals to realize that a real option exists for getting out of an unhappy marriage. Your situation may suddenly change from seemingly hopeless to feeling like you can take this major step if your friend can.

Distancing yourself

As mentioned, you and many others may have the urge to distance yourself from a friend who is going through divorce, and this urge may come from the fear that you will realize that your marriage is facing similar problems to the ones that led to your friend's divorce. Many people like to avoid problems, and when someone close to them brings his or her own issues to light, many individuals may find themselves thinking more about their marital problems, which is often disconcerting.

Of course, having a friend who is divorced or going through divorce does not necessarily mean that your own marriage is destined to end as well. However, you may find yourself considering it a possibility as you assess your relationship and whether it is a truly happy and healthy one.

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