Opinion & Debate

Published on October 18th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Considering divorce or separation? It could be your friends’ fault

If you are divorced, beware – you could end up setting a trend among your friends.

A study has found that almost a quarter of men considering divorce have been influenced by the demise of their pals’ relationships. And women aren’t immune to marital peer pressure either, with 15 per cent of divorced (or considering divorce) females admitting they too have been swayed by their divorced or separated friends.

The research – undertaken by The Co-Operative Legal Services – found that big life decisions such as getting married and deciding to start a family often have a ‘snowball effect’ among friendship groups – and that includes separation and divorce, too.

Men were found to be more likely to be influenced by their social circle, with 22 per cent admitting they had been motivated by their pals’ break-ups.

The respondents gave wide ranging reasons for being influenced by their peers, with 16 per cent of both men and women saying they realised they had many of the same problems in their own relationship as those their friends had gone through, while 11 per cent admitted that they wanted the ‘same happiness’ as their newly single acquaintances.

Relatives were also found to have an effect on couples splitting, with 11 per cent of men and nine per cent of women saying their decision to call time on their marriage had been swayed by a family member.

Christina Blacklaws, Director of Policy at The Co-operative Legal Services said it was ‘human nature’ for people to look to others for reassurance about their love life.

“When one couple splits up, others often notice the cracks in their own relationship, leading to a ripple effect throughout a social circle or family,” she said, adding that it was ‘important to remember that all relationships are unique’.

“We encounter many people who expect the same divorce process as their friends, but quickly find that their situation is very different,” she said, advising that separating couples need to be clear about their options, and seek trusted legal advice as soon as they can.

Have you seen this happen in your friendship groups? Let us know.

Image: ShelleyPanzarell

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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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