Is divorce contagious among friends?

One divorce can lead to more in a friend group because of social factors, relationship similarities, a positive end result and good timing.

Divorce might not be something that Maryland residents can really catch, but it can ripple through social groups. According to the New York Post, couples are 75 percent more likely to get a divorce if they have a friend who has already gone through the process. However, in certain cases a friend's split could cause someone to stay in their current relationship rather than leave it.

Depends on the timing

When two married friends are both unhappy in their relationships, they may decide to pursue a divorce at the same time. Often the reasoning is linked to having a support group that really understands the situation. Recent separations can also cause a person to reflect on his or her own relationship, which could lead to a desire to be single.

Depends on the transition

When a person gets divorced, his or her friends could be affected by how the transition goes. For example, if a separation goes smoothly and leads to new-found happiness, friends are more likely to consider a split themselves. When the couple fights over property for a long time, friends might decide to stay in their current relationship to avoid the extra strife.

Depends on social factors

Whether a divorce causes a domino-effect in a social network depends on how the incident is viewed. For example, when friends shun the person who initiated the separation, it might discourage others in the social group from taking a similar path. On the other hand, when people within a social network are supportive of their newly divorced friends, others may decide to pursue their own break up as well.

Another reason separation might be contagious is the fact that new relationship possibilities are opened up when people within a social group become single. In other words, someone may be more willing to leave a spouse when he or she knows other single people who might want to get romantically involved. When there are multiple people who are divorced or single in a network, the rate of break up among those who are married people can rise greatly.

Depends on similarities

Finally, the similarity of relationships can make divorce more contagious in social groups. In other words, if all of the married couples are childless, a single split up can lead to a snowball effect among the other relationships. Similarly, if a married couple has young children and decides to pursue separation, others in similar situations might be more willing to get a divorce. When a childless couple splits up, it might not tempt those with children to break up because their situation is too different.

Sometimes divorce can trickle through social groups in Maryland. Whenever separation is pursued, it might be helpful to work with an attorney who is familiar with the process.