FYI: Divorce Is Contagious* (If You’re Already Unhappy)

So there’s a reason married ladies may come to distance themselves from you after word gets out about your divorce. Shunning you from the grocery line and ignoring your calls, they are just worried that your divorce may somehow leak all over their happy marriage. And now there’s evidence to suggest that that fear may be valid.

Much like a Woody Allen film, unraveling marriages seem to spur a chain of divorces or marital problems. The New York Times cited a study out of Harvard, Brown, and the University of California, San Diego from 2010 that determined when close friends divorce, the odds of their friends doing the same increases by 75%.

The very interesting article about the rising taboos of divorce, even amongst the most progressive of families, also touches on the envy married ladies may feel towards their suddenly free friends:

Other wives and mothers, they explained, were ”battling it out” while dealing with the unceasing tasks of wifedom, motherhood and work.

”What I get from a number of married women in my community is jealousy of my new lifestyle,” Dr. [Molly] Monet said. ”Dating, going to yoga five times a week, having time for myself. Raising young kids with a spouse doesn’t afford you much time.”

Ms. [Stacey] Morrison also sees a subtle, unexpected reaction. ”Among my college friends and my closest friends, I’m still the only one who’s divorced,” she said. ”In a funny way, I think I may have turned into the groovy one.”

Married mommies who find themselves face-to-face with a life that they would prefer could make divorce a suddenly more accessible option — especially if their friends have donned the “divorced” label first. But unless there were problems in the marriage to begin with, I doubt a happily married wife and mother would divorce her husband simply because her BFF can do yoga five times a week. Unlike a cold or the flu, an epidemic of divorce can’t really infect a authentically happy family.


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