Men considering divorce likely to be influenced by demise friends' relationship

28th October 2013

Almost a quarter of men considering getting a divorce are influenced by the demise of their friends' relationship

Big life decisions like getting married and deciding to have children often have a snowball effect among groups of friends, but new research from Co-op Legal Services shows that this ‘ripple effect’ also applies to break-ups and divorce – with men the most likely to be influenced by their mates.  

When making decisions about divorce, 23% of British men who have either been divorced or considered splitting-up admit to having been swayed by friends who were already separated or divorced themselves.  

The research found that men are disproportionately more influenced by their single friends than women when it comes to calling time on their relationships. Only 15% of women who have been divorced or considered it say that they were swayed by their divorced or separated friends – almost 10% less than their male counterparts.  

Men are also slightly more influenced by divorced or separated family members, with over one-in-ten (11%) saying their divorce decision had been swayed by a relative, compared to 9% of women.  

While ONS figures tell us that on average people file for divorce after 11-and-a-half years of marriage, the reasons for being influenced are wide-ranging. 16% of both men and women said they realised they had many of the same problems in their own relationship, and 11% admitted that they wanted the same happiness as the newly single people they knew. Christina Blacklaws, Director of Policy at Co-op Legal Services said:

“It’s human nature to look to others for reassurance when it comes to relationships. 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.”  

“If it does reach a point where divorce or separation is the only option, it’s 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. Be clear about your options as soon as you can by seeking legal advice from a trusted source.”  

The survey also revealed that despite popular belief about celebrity culture having a damaging impact on attitudes to divorce, only 1% of people admit that a high profile celebrity break-up has put their relationship into question. In addition, only 4% confessed that a TV or soap storyline has cast doubt on their relationship.

Overall, it’s people we know personally who are more likely to influence us, with 7% having been told that their own break-up influenced someone they know to call time on their relationship.

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