For 12 years Jeffrey Meshel was lawfully wed, but he did not describe his marital status as happy. For several years in his marriage he referred to it as“cohabitation” rather than a loving and joyful relationship. The 57-year-old had contemplated divorce, but always brushed the idea aside in order to protect his two children.

Meshel finally reached a point where he could not stand his state of life any longer. His mind again turned to divorce. Afraid to make the commitment, he turned to his close friends. He found that six of them had experienced divorce. Meshel examined their post-split live. They seemed happier, and Meshel noticed the effect it had on him as well. They seemed successful, and worked as an influence to carry through with his desire for divorce.

Copy-Cat Divorce

Many others, beside Meshel, have been influenced by friends to take the leap towards a divorce. These so called “copycat divorces” are surprisingly common. In fact, 75 percent of individuals are more likely to file for divorce if one of their friends is divorced. These findings were found by a study performed by Brown University, Yale University, and The University of California-San Diego.

The Logic

People may file for a copycat divorce for a variety of reasons. The most common reason why these divorces occur is seeing a friend go through the event gives others strength to do so. Most people do not want to experience the emotional anguish that accompanies a divorce, or are too scared to proceed with a humongous, life-changing event. When friends have already experienced divorce, it serves as a reassurance that everything will be okay, and can even promise happiness.

Another reason individuals will jump into a copycat divorce is the support they gain from their divorced friends. Knowing that friends have already experienced divorce offer relief and security that they will have someone supporting them and understanding what they are experiencing.


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