The contagious nature of divorce.

I’ve linked to this study in the past, but I don’t recall anyone in the manosphere going through it.  When a friend of my wife decided to divorce it prompted me to revisit the study.  While I will share some of my own thoughts in this post, the bulk of it will be my synopsis of the study and selected quotes.  Feel free to view the entire study yourself and share your own thoughts in the comments section:

Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone Else is Doing it Too:
Social Network Effects on Divorce in a Longitudinal Sample Followed for 32 Years

This paper used the data collected for the Framingham Heart Study to investigate the possibility that divorce spreads through networks of friends.  This kind of longitudinal survey is essential for the type of research they performed.  It allowed them to track both how a network of friends impacted divorce, as well as how divorce impacted the network of friends.  The data set they had to work with is extremely impressive.  It covers three generations and includes an incredible amount of detail.  They can tell for example not only if two people are friends, but if they are neighbors or coworkers.  They can also discern the direction of friendships;  often one person would list others as friends who didn’t happen to list them back.

What they found:

One’s likelihood to divorce is increased by the divorce of either a friend or a friend of a friend.  The impact is strongest with direct friends, but still significant for friends of a friend.  Geographical distance doesn’t seem to reduce this effect, but it is increased if the person divorcing lives in the same household:

The full network shows that participants are 75% (95% C.I. 58% to 96%) more likely to be divorced if a person (obviously other than their spouse) that they are directly connected to (at one degree of separation) is divorced. The size of the effect for people at two degrees of separation (e.g., the friend of a friend) is 33% (95%
C.I. 18% to 52%). At three degrees of separation the effect disappears (–2%, 95% C.I. –12% to 9%), in contrast to the “three degrees of influence” rule of social network contagion that has been exhibited for obesity, smoking, happiness, and loneliness (Cacioppo et al. 2009; Christakis & Fowler 2007; Christakis & Fowler 2008; Fowler & Christakis 2008a).

Notice in the right panel of Figure 2 that the decline in the effect size with social distance contrasts to a lack of decline in the effect size as people become more geographicly distant from one another. Although the association in divorce status is stronger among people who co-reside in the same household (category 1 in Figure 2, p<0.001) geographic distance appears to have no effect on the strength of the association among those who do not reside together. We confirmed this result by testing an interaction between distance and the effect size. These results suggest that a divorced friend or family member who lives hundreds of miles away may have as much influence on an ego’s risk of divorce as one who lives next door.

They also found that while the social network impacts divorce, divorce also changes the structure of the social network:

Table 2 shows that the causal arrow also points in the opposite direction: divorce has a significant effect on the structure of the network. People who go through a divorce experience a 4% (C.I. 0% to 8%) decrease in the number of people who name them as friends. They also name about 7% (C.I. 3% to 12%) fewer friends on average. People who get divorced may become less popular at least partly because they likely lose members of their spouse’s social network as friends. In addition, newly single friends may be perceived as social threats by married friends who worry about marital poaching, or suspect their partner may be susceptible to infidelity.  Table 3 shows that divorce also has an effect on the pattern of ties between ones’ friends.  A measure of transitivity – the probability that two of ones’ contacts are connected with one another – is significantly related to previous divorce status (even controlling for the total number of contacts, which is structurally related to transitivity). The implication is that people who go through a divorce tend to immerse themselves in denser groups with fewer ties outside these groups. In contrast, transitivity appears to have no effect on the future likelihood of divorce (p=0.37). Moreover, we find that sharing the same friends with one’s spouse does not significantly mitigate the likelihood of divorce. The correlation between sharing at least one friend and getting divorced at the next exam is negative but not significant (Pearson rho = -0.012, p=0.20). Similarly, the correlation between fraction of shared friends and getting divorced at the next exam is negative but not significant (Pearson rho = -0.011, p=0.22). Taken together, these results suggest that divorce has a stronger effect on the structure of the network than the structure of the network has on divorce.

As I mentioned in the beginning, they were able to determine a great deal about the nature of the connections between people.  This turns out to be very significant:

People who have named a friend who has gotten divorced are 147% (95% C.I. 13% to 368%) more likely to get divorced themselves by the time they come to their next exam. Among friends, we can distinguish additional possibilities. Since each person was asked to name a friend, and not all of these nominations were reciprocated, we have ego-perceived friends (denoted here as “friends”) and “alter-perceived friends” (the alter named the ego as a friend, but not vice versa). We find that the influence of alter-perceived friends is not significant (the estimate is 23%, C.I. –53% to 165%).  If the associations in the social network were merely due to shared experience, the significance and effect sizes for different types of friendships should be similar. That is, if some third factor were explaining both ego and alter divorce decisions, it should not respect the directionality of the friendship tie.

We also find significant effects for other kinds of alters. People with a divorced sibling are 22% (95% C.I. 0.1% to 45%) more likely to get divorced by the next exam than those without a divorced sibling. And while neighbors who live within 25 meters do not appear to affect each other (23%, C.I. –18% to 77%), we do find a significant association among co-workers at small firms (defined as those where 10 or fewer FHS participants work). People with a divorced co-worker are 55% more likely to get divorced at the next exam (C.I. 2% to 126%) than those with a non-divorced co-worker.

Interestingly they found that the role of children in preventing divorce seems very specific to sheltering the couple from the contagious effect of divorce:

We wondered whether children would have a protective effect by encouraging couples who would otherwise get divorced to stay together for the sake of raising their children, or to provide a self conscious role model against their children’s future prospects for divorce. As noted earlier, most literature and cross-sectional data suggests that children reduce the likelihood of divorce slightly, although childlessness, and especially infertility, can also sometimes precipitate divorce. In Table 6, we study the relationship between number of children and divorce and we find no such effect; in fact, the main effect of children on divorce is slightly positive, albeit not significant at conventional levels (p=0.13). However, we also include an interaction between the alter’s divorce status and ego’s number of children and we find that each additional child significantly (p=0.05) reduces the effect of alter’s divorce status on ego’s likelihood of getting divorced. For couples with no children the effect is much stronger than average—an alter who is divorced nearly sextuples the risk of divorce in the ego (593%, C.I.106% to 1593%). But by the time a person has a third child, the effect of alter’s divorce status becomes insignificant (84%, C.I. –33% to 306%) and by the fifth child it completely vanishes (–4%, C.I. –86% to 233%). These results suggest that the protective effect of children acts specifically on a parent’s susceptibility to influence by peers who have gotten divorced.

The most surprising finding of the study for me was that the effect was the same for men and women:

It is important to note that there are no detectable gender interactions with any of the effects shown (results available on request). Men and women appear to be equally susceptible to splitting up if their friends do it.

This last point wasn’t explored in the paper any further, and seems like an area worth much more investigation.  How does this finding square with the fact that women generally initiate divorce at least twice as often as men?

They also explain why understanding the patterns around divorce is so important:

Divorce is consequential, and a better understanding of the social processes contributing to this behavior offers the promise of possibly being able to reduce the adverse effects of divorce. For example, one recent study showed that, on average, womens’ standard of living declines by 27% while men’s standard of living increases by 10% following divorce (Peterson, 1996). Divorce also appears to exert a decisive effect on overall mortality; married people have higher longevity than unmarried (Ben-Schlomo et al., 1993; Goldman, 1993; Elwert and Christakis, 2006). These mortality rates typically differ by gender, such that men demonstrate greater effects (Koskenvuo et al., 1986), but unemployed women and unskilled male workers in particular may suffer lower rates of life expectancy in the wake of divorce (Hemstrom, 1996). In addition, divorced people tend to have more health problems (Joung et al., 1997; Murphy et al., 1997; Elwert and Christakis, 2008)

Edit:  Several commenters strongly challenged the standard of living statistics from the Peterson study the authors cite in the quote above.  Namae Nanka linked to this article which appears to debunk the findings.  Either way, note that in the above quote the authors are citing a separate study.  This is entirely separate from their findings around the contagious nature of divorce.

I’ll close with one final quote which would be worth sharing with your pastor.  On the discussions on my blog and others (Elusive Wapiti and Terry Breathing Grace) many Christians were hesitant to take a hard a stand on divorce within the congregation because it might discourage those who need saving the most from attending.  I am by no means an expert in this area, but my understanding is that the biblical concept of rebuke is very fitting here.  However, for those Christians who aren’t convinced by the Bible, perhaps science can sway them:

If divorce can be understood as a public and social problem, rather than solely as an individual phenomenon, health interventions based on previous successful public health campaigns may prove beneficial for mitigating its effects, if not its prevalence.

Churches have an extremely powerful tool at their disposal should they ever decide to take on divorce in anywhere near a serious fashion.  There are all sorts of opportunities to discourage the wrong behavior and reinforce the right behavior within the social structure of the congregation.  Since women are especially concerned with social hierarchies, this would be especially effective with the group most likely to decide to divorce.  Moreover, since the direction of the friendship (who has the social status/power) is crucial to the transmission of divorce, a solution could be crafted which changed the social hierarchy within the congregation of those who divorce.  This would allow divorcees to continue as part of the congregation while muting their ability to transmit the contagion to others.

This entry was posted in Choice Addiction, Church Apathy About Divorce, Divorce, Fatherhood, Marriage, Motherhood. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to The contagious nature of divorce.

  1. tspoon says:

    I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon with males. If you’re all in town together and someone goes to the strip club, everyone ends up there…
    Of course what doesn’t happen is that the married guys then go home and kick their family out of the house, seize all assets, and move the stripper into the house, which I guess is where my analogy falls down a bit…

  2. javert says:

    “For example, one recent study showed that, on average, womens’ standard of living declines by 27% while men’s standard of living increases by 10% following divorce (Peterson, 1996). ”

    Does 15 years old qualify as recent? How long did they hold their data before publication of the article? Men having a better (economical) time than women after divorce doesn’t cope with the reality of husbands being stripped of half their past and future income if their wives find them no longer worthy. I’m afraid that, even when the insight is quite deep, in the fast changing social and economical landscape the article data no longer applies.

  3. Badger says:

    You’re about to pass 500,000 views!

  4. Badger says:

    “For example, one recent study showed that, on average, womens’ standard of living declines by 27% while men’s standard of living increases by 10% following divorce (Peterson, 1996). ”

    Did this study take into the account the taxable/tax-free dynamic of alimony and child support? Certain posters in the Manosphere are always quick to argue that divorce-based income doesn’t show up on the recipients’ taxable income and so these numbers are suspect. Don’t know if it’s true, just saying it’s been argued.

  5. Diablo Dainese says:

    My personal experience that lends credence to this study: within the month after my wife decided to divorce me, her mother also decided to leave her husband(stepfather to my ex) too. Interesting note, both mother and daughter had been cheating on their husbands over the course of their marriages. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  6. Retrenched says:

    Congrats on the 500,000 views Dalrock.🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    tspoon said: “Of course what doesn’t happen is that the married guys then go home and kick their family out of the house, seize all assets, and move the stripper into the house, which I guess is where my analogy falls down a bit… ”

    You forgot Chippendales and what happens at batchelorette parties nowadays… if the male dancers ain’t gay (which some are, but still… ) then hubby might have a problem.

  8. Dalrock says:

    I’m logging off for the night but wanted to make a quick reply.

    First thanks to those who congratulated me on the 500k hits. I would have missed that! I started blogging on Father’s day last year; I never would have guessed it would end up with half a million hits in just under a year. Thanks to everyone for being a part of it.

    The segment on living standards after divorce wasn’t from the study itself. They were referencing other studies. Still, it shows they were pretty mainstream (feminist) in their thinking. You can see this in some of their assumptions in the initial part of the paper. Still, the data is extremely powerful, and I would say very difficult to refute. As far as the age of the data, the Framingham study started in 1948, and they were looking at three generations of data. So it is true that the data is not all new. However, they are studying human nature when looking at the social effects. I can’t think of anything recent which would make their findings less credible. If anything easier divorce laws and financial incentives to divorce, mainstream culture embracing EPL, etc. along with facebook and other forms of technology probably amplify the effect.

  9. Opus says:

    For what it is worth, it is my observation that this is true. It is not just divorce however, (without going into the details) when one female became engaged to be married, they all tumbled likewise, like a house of cards – not being engaged being some sort of social stigma. When the first Married they all followed suit, and when the first Divorced the same thing happened. I wonder (off the cuff) whether, say, a suicide would have led to similar behaviour.

    One can only deal with the people one meets, – and cut ones coat according to ones cloth – but I must say, that although I am perfectly pleasant to divorced women, the knowledge of their Divorce, for me, instantly sends them down my ladder (into pump and dump land). That may be cruel, or even unfair, but why should I take the risk?

  10. I question the notion that men are as likely to follow their friends into the ranks of the divorced as women are. Women are much more socially influenced by their friends and associates than men in my experience.

    Other than that, there’s some good information and food for thought here.

    And thanks for the linkage!

  11. namae nanka says:

    Badger, here is the back story on that study:

    http://antimisandry.com/why-were-here/feminist-sociologist-academic-named-lenore-weitzman-created-myth-13692.html

    I remember reading a better exposition where it was pointed out that even that difference comes about when you use her methodology, which again is dubious.
    Lies, damn lies and then they are legislated.

  12. Brendan says:

    Did this study take into the account the taxable/tax-free dynamic of alimony and child support? Certain posters in the Manosphere are always quick to argue that divorce-based income doesn’t show up on the recipients’ taxable income and so these numbers are suspect. Don’t know if it’s true, just saying it’s been argued.

    That’s one part. The other part is that women generally get full custody, so they are able to work less than their ex-husbands are, so they earn less. That’s self-inflicted, of course, because they are the ones who wanted full custody, for the most part, but it does have a hang-on economic impact on them. Some professional women are aware of this and instead opt for joint physical custody because this is less disruptive to their professional careers. I know a couple of such ex-couples who have a shared custody arrangement. In one of them, the woman makes quite a bit more than her ex-husband so even though it is shared custody, she pays him c/s (and complains about it too).

  13. detinennui32 says:

    The modern Christian church has truly failed this country and its people on the issue of divorce. I believe there are a number of reasons for this:
    1. Falling attendance in the last 30 to 40 years and resulting declining influence on civic, political and social matters
    2. Softening of perceived judgmentalism in an attempt to “be relevant”
    3. relaxation of doctrinal standards in sexual matters (abortion, contraception, homosexuality)
    4. Feminists’ and multiculturalists’ insistence that biblical standards against divorce are outdated and no longer workable in a society in which women earn their own money and own property

    The church could return to relevance by sticking to its guns on divorce and condemning it in no uncertain terms, but I doubt it will do so.

  14. namae nanka says:

    I think it was this one:

    http://www.acbr.com/biglie.htm

    [D: Good find.]

  15. Kai says:

    “terry@breathinggrace says:
    I question the notion that men are as likely to follow their friends into the ranks of the divorced as women are. Women are much more socially influenced by their friends and associates than men in my experience.”

    Well, if they didn’t talk about cause or fault, it seems logical to me. A lot of couples have couple-friends. So if a man’s friends are getting divorced, there’s a decent chance that many of their wives are also friends with his wife, putting him at risk of a follower-divorce even if he isn’t the precipitator.

    [D: They could have controlled for that since they know when that is the case (mutual friends of the couple). But I wonder if it couldn’t transmit even if it weren’t her friend too. However this seems less likely because the influence was specific to people the “ego” listed as friends, not the other way around. Like I said, this really needs more study. I’m surprised they just left it as it is.]

  16. Joe Blow says:

    There can be divorce clusters. Sometimes there isn’t though, and I think that has to do with whether it’s a “good divorce.” A male friend of mine got out of a childless marriage to a lying, cheating, social climbing tramp of a woman. A female friend bailed out on her no-kids marriage to a guy who was a rude, shiftless and cruel drunk. The two divorcees have since gotten married, had kids, and are doing wonderfully. And this is the divorce cluster in my circle of maybe 200 friends & acquaintences (much smaller subset of friends there BTW). Both of the divorces caused a lot of comment, and in both instances it was pretty much unanimous opinion that both were better off, as quality people who had been linked to really bad people.

    I would buy that there are a lot of clusters of divorces. Although there are very few divorced people within my circle of friends, and very few of my friends have gotten divorced, the fact that so many people do get divorced tells me that the distribution has to be disproportionately impacting somebody else’s social circle.

  17. lolo says:

    “I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon with males. If you’re all in town together and someone goes to the strip club, everyone ends up there…
    Of course what doesn’t happen is that the married guys then go home and kick their family out of the house, seize all assets, and move the stripper into the house, which I guess is where my analogy falls down a bit…”

    hahahaha! nice one! how true is this!

  18. lolo says:

    “For example, one recent study showed that, on average, womens’ standard of living declines by 27% while men’s standard of living increases by 10% following divorce (Peterson, 1996). ”

    that’s cuz of da patriarchy!

  19. Doug1 says:

    Dalrock–

    It is important to note that there are no detectable gender interactions with any of the effects shown (results available on request). Men and women appear to be equally susceptible to splitting up if their friends do it.

    I too find this VERY difficult to believe. Actually in couples with minor children I find it impossible to believe.

  20. Doug1 says:

    For example, one recent study showed that, on average, womens’ standard of living declines by 27% while men’s standard of living increases by 10% following divorce (Peterson, 1996).

    This if a famous feminist study that was used as major support in jacking up child support=also stealth alimony rates in the early 90s. The quote referencing it may be from 1996, but the study was from quite a bit earlier.

    First of all the feminist Harvard sociologist and activist much later admitted that her figures were very substantially in error. Error or did she simply lie for her cause as so many feminist intellectuals have done before and since?

    Second of all this was before taking child support=also stealth alimony, not deductable for him and not taxable to her, into effect.

  21. Leon Battista Alberti says:

    Congrats Dalrock on the 500k views!

    Can someone post some links to some studies that show that herd mentality has more sway in women over men?

  22. Doug1 says:

    I think the presumption should be true joint physical custody and NO child support=also stealth alimony paid by one spouse to the other

    Now that marital commitments are not longer any legally enforced wifely services for life or two decades or any time period at all, which should men have any obligation to support their ex-wife and the kids she’s taking from him if she gets full physical custody at the style they became accustomed to when they were a family together? Women file for divorce 2.5x more often than men and many divorce lawyers say women are really the ones who pushed for divorce around 90% of the time in middle class families with kids.

    Why should the state dictate a man sends on his kids when he’s been divorced, at least above some minimal true necessities amount that would keep them out of welfare if that would otherwise happen. Why isn’t it up to him.

    Making it up to him would cut down on divorce enormously, and also on ex wives who are terrible in coming through with convenient for the ex husband visitation.

  23. Eric says:

    Too many women regard divorce as something like a pension-plan; something that they’re entitled to for tolerating a monogamous relationship for a few years. Marriage, like other relationships with men, are entirely self-serving since women believe that they alone control sex and reproduction. After she’s secure financially and has knocked out a few kids, who needs the male pig, right?

    Avoid the Amerobitch, and you avoid divorce. Around 75% of divorces are initiated by women; and about 15% by men on the woman’s behalf. Don’t fall for these lies from the NAWALTers that women don’t really want divorce (just like they don’t really want to abortions either, but about 1/3 of them have one). Other cultures don’t produce the dysfunctional families that American women do. In fact, US women lead every other demographic—worldwide—in divorces, voluntary abortions, out-of-wedlock births, consumption of psychiatric drugs and chronic obesity.

    Is that what any sane man wants to commit to? Sure, it sucks being single; but the price to escape singleness (for a man) means still being single a few years later; though also paying alimony to support the ex and her new boyfriend and child-support for kids he’ll never see. That’s what the Amerobitch offers in a relationship; and going elsewhere for relationships is the only logical alternative.

  24. Dalrock says:

    I edited the post to note the objections to the Peterson study statistics on standards of living. I included a link to the study Namae Nanka provided debunking this.

  25. Anonymous Reader says:

    It would be interesting to parse the data in terms of age at divorce, to see if there is any difference between certain cohorts. It would also be interesting to parse it in terms of family income, since there is growing evidence suggesting that the upper middle class in the US is definitely not divorcing nearly as much as they did 20 – 30 years ago.

    Of course, there has to be a kind of “priming” for the contagion to work. If women were predisposed to regard divorce as a bad thing, a last resort, then they would be more ‘immune’. However, in the modern, empowered world of women, quite the opposite is true.

    I argue that modern women in the US are ‘primed’ to favor divorce, rather than reject it, because of the many feminist messages they are immersed in from grrrrlhood on.

  26. Dalrock says:

    @Joe Blow
    I would buy that there are a lot of clusters of divorces. Although there are very few divorced people within my circle of friends, and very few of my friends have gotten divorced, the fact that so many people do get divorced tells me that the distribution has to be disproportionately impacting somebody else’s social circle.

    I think there are probably a number of things at work here. I think you are right about differences between groups. I think the same is true for the circle my wife and I are in. However, two related things struck me when first thinking about the issue:

    1) The instances of divorce which my wife and I did know about didn’t come to mind all at once. I think this is at least in part to item 2:

    2) People who divorce tend to drop out of our social circle. The study found the same thing happening. I’m not even sure this is limited to bad vs good divorce. They are living different lives than those of us who remain married. Part of it may be judgment of frivolous divorce, and part of it may be an instinctive desire to protect our own families. Whatever the reason, it does seem to occur.

  27. Dalrock says:

    @Anonymous Reader
    I argue that modern women in the US are ‘primed’ to favor divorce, rather than reject it, because of the many feminist messages they are immersed in from grrrrlhood on.

    I would say this is certainly true for a very large percentage of women. I would also say a surprisingly large percentage of men are primed to see this as only natural. Outside of the manosphere there are many men who have bought into the idea that if she goes EPL, he must have not lived up to her expectations and therefore deserved it. If they can’t bring themselves to judge whether she should keep her solemn promise or not, they are basically putting out the BOHICA welcome mat.

  28. Anonymous Reader says:

    Outside of the manosphere there are many men who have bought into the idea that if she goes EPL, he must have not lived up to her expectations and therefore deserved it. If they can’t bring themselves to judge whether she should keep her solemn promise or not, they are basically putting out the BOHICA welcome mat.

    That’s because of two things IMO:

    1. Most men have been taught a totally false image of women, a mixture of the Victorian “women are more moral” pedestalism and modern ‘women are men who can have babies’ feminism. Hypergamy, serial polyandry, etc. simply don’t exist to most men. In some cases, the more evidence that is shown to a man, the angrier he gets in his denials.

    2. Most men are taught now from birth to not judge anyone, for anything. If there’s anything that the modern world would call “sin”, being judgmental is surely on the list. So he’s basically going to “man up” and do what he’s been told is the right thing to do, which boils down to not judging women no matter what, and submitting to any outcomes that may result from that.

    In my opinion, these points are a big driver of at least some of the anger men display on websites. To realize, as an adult, that people have not only told you a lot of falsehoods, but brainwashed you to never confront bad behavior even when it is harming you, or even admit that it is bad behavior, can be simply enraging. It’s like a sudden volcanic eruption, with great heat that has been contained for years, buried below miles of rock, forcing its way to the surface. It can lead to suddenly recalling all sorts of incidents from the past and seeing them in a new light, a hot, blazing light. It can also lead to a man becoming extremely attuned to the misandry of many modern women.

    I strongly suspect that there’s no way to go around that anger, either, and suppressing it will just mean that it boils over even hotter at a later date.

  29. jules says:

    A 26 year old single mother was flirting with and attracted to a democrat alpha male in a position of power. Why am I not surprised?

  30. Clarence says:

    Dalrock:
    A bit off topic but useful if you ever want to do class based marriage posts in the future:

    http://familyscholars.org/2011/06/04/kathryn-edin-everything-we-used-to-think-about-the-poor-with-regards-to-marriage-is-probably-wrong/

  31. slumlord says:

    This is a good post Dalrock.

    Lots of intelligent people underestimate the effect of “fashion” on people’s habits. Women especially, due to their social processing move with the crowd. Divorce is far more palatable to all parties concerned when everyone else is doing it.

  32. Brendan says:

    2) People who divorce tend to drop out of our social circle. The study found the same thing happening. I’m not even sure this is limited to bad vs good divorce. They are living different lives than those of us who remain married. Part of it may be judgment of frivolous divorce, and part of it may be an instinctive desire to protect our own families. Whatever the reason, it does seem to occur.

    This is generally the case, especially among social circles that have formed once you are married, and even more so, once you are married and have kids. Divorced people don’t fit in to these social circles very well. What I have noticed is that generally the divorced man drops out of the social circle more or less immediately while the divorced woman, if she has the kids, stays in for a while and either slowly moves out of it (if she remains unmarried) or gets remarried and remains in the social circle.

    This makes sense, because divorced people — even those with custody of their kids — lead very different lives than married people do. There isn’t nearly as much in common, and, yes, there is the risk of contagion as well that is a real one. This is another negative impact on the kids of divorced parents in that it isn’t that uncommon for the parents of other kids from intact families to prefer that their kids not make very close friendships with kids from divorced families. It’s never openly stated, but I have observed this with respect to my own son as well — the parents who have allowed closer relationships between their kids and him have also been sep/divorced.

  33. Clarence says:

    Nova:

    With all due respect, I think you are being unfair to the child.

    If anything kids from divorce would seem to be “poster children” against it. The only way I could even think that KIDS can spread “divorce contagion” is in communities where the parents watch each others offspring and thus the kids being together means the parents have to stay in the same social circle. Maybe it’s just where I live (major urban area) but that’s not my experience with how most families work. Kids seem to me to be very much on their own these days. Apply this stupidity to kids of divorce in general and I bet more would commit suicide or otherwise end up messed up. A kid whose world is falling apart doesn’t need to lose his friends because mommy and daddy can’t stand each other. He or she has had no input and has no SAY in this matter, despite all our legal doctrines of “best interests of the child”.

  34. Lavazza says:

    I don’t see that much isolation of divorced still single parents, only for couples dinner type of events (with children added). For other social activities there is only a slight difference. As a divorced father I mostly see my married male friends on my own, and no married woman or man have been afraid of having my kids over or having their kids at my place. It is hard to say since much changes as the children grow and according to how much time for hanging out people have. When the children are young most people (at least men) spend more of their free time with their extended family than with friends for example.

  35. Lavazza says:

    But I do think it is in the interest of married women to stop their husbands from seeing divorced male friends, unless the women are top quality wives.😉

  36. Lily says:

    lol Lavaza!

    I think men are influenced by what their friends do.
    I’ve seen it most when guys settle down/get married. It’s partly a timing thing (age, settled in career etc) but partly what their friends are doing. I’m talking about groups where the women they get with aren’t friends with each other, so it’s definitely the guys.

    I’ve only seen it in relation to divorce once. An alphish man I know left his wife, he just bought another place to live, managed the process with his wife and her feelings (which were interestingly more injured pride than loss of love) and joint custody*. Soon after a few of his friends left their wives too. Again the wives weren’t friends. These were friends he hung out with on his own (business club & golf). My feeling on it was that after they’d seen how it panned out for him, they saw a practical way of doing it which wasn’t as scary as they thought it would be (as irl from what I’ve seen, most men are like this are terrified they are going to lose their money and not live in the same house as their children. They’ll just do everything else, esp affairs but not leave. nb. having said that, I don’t think there’s much of a difference in alpha men and beta men cheating, from what I’ve seen they are both likely to do it, the majority of men I know who have/have had affairs are beta as the majority of men are beta).

    *unfortunately the joint custody didn’t work out for him. It was all agreed and he did it for a few months, but then he created some business opportunities which ended up entailing a lot of travel. His choice.
    I do know a few guys for whom joint custody works well but they are not driven like he is.

  37. Lavazza says:

    Lily: Well it is no fun being left behind and it’s less fun and too much work to join a new group of single males, so it’s not worth it, if you were planning on leaving the singles scene just a few years later. I settled down “in the middle” (after having spent a year traveling after graduation instead of starting working right away) of my group of friends from uni, so I never felt a pressure of being left behind. The times I have really felt left behind and therefor breaking up to search new grounds have been when I’ve had a good group of people vanishing to catch planes when travelling and when a lot of my Day 1 colleagues from a freshly started division broke up for other jobs.

  38. Jehu says:

    Contagion seems to work with children/pregnancy too in my experience. Especially if the babies are particularly cute and happy.

  39. Eric says:

    Lily:
    Nice attempt at shaming tactics, but no dice. You women still rush to the divorce court far more often than men. Usually, too, the woman’s already hooked up with some other guy before the settlement’s even in.

    Divorce is far more emotionally devasting to males, therefore no social reason to do it. Not only that, our society shames divorced men as ‘losers’ and relexively blames them whenever a relationship fails, for whatever reason.

  40. mjay says:

    Women are the Devil, Satanspawn.
    Enjoy them at your risk. One glass of absinthe takes you to heaven. A bottle will drive you insane.

  41. Viliam Búr says:

    @Anonymous Reader
    Most men are taught now from birth to not judge anyone, for anything. If there’s anything that the modern world would call “sin”, being judgmental is surely on the list.

    A bit off topic, but what you wrote reminded me of a great book “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. Here is a description of one important person in the novel:
    He had some measure of the infuriating trait that causes a young man to be a nonconformist for its own sake and found that the surest way to shock most people, in those days, was to believe that some kinds of behavior were bad and others good, and that it was reasonable to live one’s life accordingly. [He] began to develop an opinion that was to shape his political views in later years, namely, that while people were not genetically different, they were culturally as different as they could possibly be, and that some cultures were simply better than others. This was not a subjective value judgment, merely an observation that some cultures thrived and expanded while others failed. It was a view implicitly shared by nearly everyone but, in those days, never voiced.
    In today’s society, being judgemental is the only sin. But if you think logically, you inevitably will judge — the only alternative consistent opinion is that everything is equal and nothing matters.

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