(TNS) -- Got a divorced friend? You might be next. It turns out that divorces are contagious.
Laura Soncrant filed for divorce in February, after her two best girlfriends got divorced. One ended her marriage three years ago, and the other got divorced six years ago.
“I had asked for marriage counseling, and I tried to apply what I saw was happening there to us,” Soncrant said, explaining how she tried to use her friends’ experiences to better her marriage.
But when that didn’t work, she used a different tactic.
“I watched what they did and I learned from them very quietly,” she said. “Their journey gave me the strength I needed and the information and the knowledge that I needed to make it feasible for me.”
In the most recent study available on the topic, researchers from Brown University, Harvard University and the University of California at San Diego found that you’re 75 percent more likely to become divorced if a friend has divorced, and your odds of getting a divorce if a friend of a friend is divorced is 33 percent.
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When a close friend gets a divorce, it alerts us to the possibilities, said Helen Fisher, author of “Anatomy of Love” and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute.
“One person starts doing it, and others look at their own lives, and they assess their lives: If he can do it, I can do it,” Fisher said.
It’s more than a possibility, even if the other marriage is doing well, said Kevin Darne, who teaches relationship courses and is the author of “My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany).”
Misery loves company, and if a friend is complaining about her marriage, it’s only natural to chime in with complaints about your own spouse, Darne said.
“The more time they spend together looking at the negatives within their marriages, the more empathy they have for each other’s circumstance,” he said. And the more you focus on your spouse’s negative traits, the less love you may feel for him.