When you’re in your 20s, you find yourself attending plenty of nuptials and before you know it, pictures of babies start popping all over your Facebook stream. It seems that the only normal progression after college and job security is proposing and being proposing to. Marriage is a beautiful thing but we can’t help but wonder if we’re all marrying because of the novelty of it without proper consideration if the person you’re with is the one for you or if you’re really ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with it.
In your 30s, you start hearing stories of divorce in your own little circle and by the time you hit your 4os, separations will become so common that you begin to doubt the sanctity of your own union. Divorces are often the result of the infidelity or the loss of mutual interests which leads to either one or both parties in a marriage falling out of love. It’s scary to hear close friends getting divorced and all of a sudden we start getting suspicious at our own spouses.
Experts say that divorce can become “contagious” in close social groups. “Think of this ‘idea’ of getting divorced, this ‘option’ of getting divorced like a virus, because it spreads more or less the same way,” said University of California, San Diego professor James Fowler.
“When one person experiences divorce, it gives the people around them information about what that’s like,” he said.
According to new research done by Fowler, along with professors Nicholas Christakis and Rose McDermott, being friends with someone who gets divorced makes someone 147 percent more likely to get divorced themselves. A person who has a sibling who gets divorced is 22 percent more likely to also split from his spouse, the researchers say.
After hearing of a close friend’s divorce, most people react by reading articles on how to tell if your other half is cheating, monitoring their behaviour, late night patterns and phone calls. Even if nothing was happening, we become extra pre cautious and paranoid which if prolonged for no reason, may result in the eventual downfall of the marriage itself.
Sometimes, you could be unhappy in your own marriage and someone else’ divorce may trigger your own just by seeing how fulfilled and happier they are after the separation. The problem is, we humans tend to see things as “greener on the other side”. Divorce also becomes common because people tend to dislike doing things alone and when others do it, they feel braver to follow suit especially when things are not going so well.
The truth is, as most old married couples will tell you, the novelty of marriage and ‘firsts’ will die off after a decade of marriage hence the “seven year itch”. Marriage and living together is not the same thing because both parties will have different expectations based on the marriages of our own parents and the people around us. For example you may not mind his frequent nights out when you were dating but after the wedding, you might prefer him to tone down and stay home more.
Successful couples will also tell you that communicating your expectations of one another before marriage will help you consider if he or she really is the one. Issues such as having children, being a stay at home mum and where to live may seem petty but these can blow up into huge arguments and cause resentment. Divorce may seem like an easy way out of your problems but people like your children, close family and friends will be affected and bitter by the separation. Always nip whatever problems in the bud and don’t play the blame game, after all, you both are grown ups.