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Is divorce contagious?

There are countless statistics about divorce, from how many people go through one to how old people are when they divorce. 

Sometimes these statistics can shed some light onto an unusual or confusing aspect of divorce; other times, they explain an interesting trend. For instance, recently, researchers recently conducted a study and found that people are more likely to divorce if their friend -- or even a friend of a friend -- gets divorced.

What the numbers say

The researchers learned that people with a divorced friend were 75 percent more likely to go through a divorce themselves. Having a friend of a friend who is divorced increased a person's chances by 33 percent.

Possible reasons behind the increase

People have offered numerous suggestions to explain this increased possibility of divorce. Some say it could be the result of having empathy for a friend and feeling inclined to commiserate or find similar relationship-ending traits in a spouse.

Seeing a friend come out on the other side of a divorce could also help people in troubled marriages see a brighter future. Someone who is divorced might seem to have the independence, social life and fun that married spouses feel they are missing out on.

So, is divorce really contagious?

While these statistics may be interesting, there is no guarantee that any marriage will or will not last. It is important to take this study, which was originally from 2009, with a grain of salt. A person likely isn't going to get divorced just because their friend did. However, seeing someone go through a divorce can make it seem like a less intimidating, impossible experience.

But even if you do decide to divorce after your friend divorces, understand that your experiences will vary. Just like every marriage is different, so is every divorce.

Rather than get caught up in numbers or making assumptions about divorce based on statistics, focus on your situation and seek the guidance of an experianced attorney. If you do ultimately divorce, again, focus on your individual needs and circumstances. Doing so can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your future. 

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