Divorce Is Contagious So Stop It At The Sniffles

Show me a man’s friends and I’ll show you the man.
Who you hang out with and even the friends of the people you hang out with can have a real effect on you. It’s not just a hunch, but there’s been some interesting studies recently that have mapped out the socially contagious effects of depression, obesity and divorce.
In plain English, if your friends, or even your friends of friends, are fat, unhappy and divorced, it increases your chances of also becoming fat, unhappy and divorced. And yes there is an element of “like wanting to hang out with like” at work here, but even adjusted for that effect there is still a causal effect at work by the social contagion.
Being most interested in divorce rather than depression or obesity, here’s a few quotes;
“Fowler’s research on divorce contagion didn’t examine whether the decision of parents to break up affects their children’s relationships. But his study did analyze the effect of divorce on siblings. People with a divorced sibling are 22 percent more likely to get divorced than people who don’t have divorced siblings.
Friends have even more influence than siblings when it comes to divorce, according to Fowler’s study. People who had a divorced friend were 147 percent more likely to be divorced than people whose friends’ marriages were intact, the study said.
The study also revealed a divorced co-worker can increase the likelihood of another employee divorcing by 55 percent compared to an employee who works with non-divorced employees.
Marriage therapist Gerry Lane in Georgia said he agrees divorce can be contagious. He said his clients’ friends have triggered their desires for a divorce — even among previously happily married couples.”
So to take away…. anytime you or your wife have friends, coworkers or family divorcing, that’s also a critical point for your relationship to negotiate safely past. Her best friend divorcing is particularly serious. Same if it’s your best friend. I’d take the time to at least have a conversation about “do you think that will happen to us?”
The answer to that question being…
“Well we have our ups and downs, but  I can’t really imagine us divorcing ever. Well… not as long as you keep putting out for me anyway.” 
And the naughty boy sly smile… always with the smile. Then pull her in and kiss her like I taught you.
Do NOT let the idea of divorce roll around in her head unopposed. Deal with that while it is still a small little passing thought or worry rather than letting it go full blown. It seems far too simple a tactic, but sometimes all a man has to do is just gruffly state that he is committed to the marriage and the wife’s feathers all settle down.
“What are you talking about? We’re good together, always have been, always will be. You get like this when we go too long between spankings I think”.
Anyway, I’m not particularly worried about divorce. If Jennifer wants to downgrade to just being a booty call she can. It just seems like an awfully large effort to have sex with me less.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Downgrade to booty call = rape you in family court, dude.

    Wake up.

  2. Athol Kay says:

    My wife is my copy editor. It's clearly a joke.

  3. I read an article awhile back about social contagion, specifically addressing smoking (decrease) and obesity (increase). It was pretty fascinating. I'm guessing it was in Scientific American, but I don't exactly remember. It was based on this study, I believe:


    Totally fascinating stuff. Makes you realize why the social controls used to be a lot tighter.

  4. Athol Kay says:

    Exactly Grerp.

  5. In the second full paragraph did you intend to write “causal effect” rather than “casual effect?”

    I did. Thanks.

  6. Joe_Commenter says:

    “People who had a divorced friend were 147 percent more likely to be divorced than people whose friends’ marriages were intact, the study said.”

    For the man who is probability logic challenged, what does that statement even mean?

    if 50% of marriages end in divorce, if my friend gets a divorce, does that mean that I am now (50% x 1.47) = 73% likely to get divorced?

  7. It says 147% more likely.
    33% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 10 years, so they appear to be saying that if your friends are getting divorced there is a more that 80% chance that you will.
    33 + (33 x 1.47) = 81.51
    But remember, once published, 93% of statistics go unquestioned.

  8. Katherine Kelly says:

    As a child I watched how unhappy the adults were. I could feel it when I was around them but I did not understand and it made me afraid. There always seemed to be a tension in the air and even the good times seemed forced and contrived. I now realize I was seeing the results of their morality or lack of it as a morality born out of self deception. All of what is called reality by adults is created out of the lies they need to tell themselves and each other.

    You have problems at home so you throw away one relationship and start another. You are angry about the wages you earn but refuse to gain skills through effort to increase your wages. You want to eat without regard to your health but than complain about health problems. You do not feel loved so have children to fill your emptiness. You steal instead of work. Lie instead of tell the truth.

    There seems to be this need to escape the self because of the experience of “unhappiness” and how this is solved decides who the person will become and the expression of their life.

    I have a simple rule and it always protects me. I do not associate with those who want something without having to work for it. Those who consistently take the easy path but than complain with blame or excuse for where this path leads them, I avoid.

    I was on this path but stepped off it and at first it made my life very difficult because I had to give up so many of my solutions to the problem of life. This forced me to go inward and begin to know myself.

    It forced me to ask the question why. Why do I eat poorly. Why do I not exercise. Why do I lie and the more I asked these questions the less room there was in my mind for self deception.

    Asking and needing to answer the question “why” made all the difference. To live this way requires great effort because it allows no escape from self, so no delusions to hide behind. It forces you to go into truth.

    Ultimately every life is an expression of the same thing. How truthful is or was the person with and about themselves. To the degree they are transparent is the degree they are trustworthy because it is an indication of health and keeps the person healthy.

    Transparency is the result of living truthfully within ones own mind where you refuse to allow the “self” to escape into self deception. You cannot hold any longer a lie in your mind and not see that it is a lie so there is no longer anywhere to hide from yourself.

    Thousands and thousands of self deceptions create the person and so the expression of their life.

    Self actualization is the complete absence of self deception.

    Self deception is the first addiction that all others are born from and humanity is addicted to it like an opiate.

    When you live with self deception you must deceive others to continue the self deception.

    The world is the single human expression of the sum total of lies that are treated as truth as acts of self deception to escape the self, and this expression always does harm.


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