Like cold, divorce is contagious!

Common cold or divorce? In current changing times of urban living, divorce is likely to strike to sooner. And if a new American study is to be believed, when your friends break up, your odds of a marital split increase by a whopping 75%. Phew … surely, cold could not have hit that hard.

Brown University’s Dr. Rose McDermott, who led the research, says that each marital split has a ripple effect on friends and family and even colleagues at work. The effect drops to 33% if the divorce is between friends of a friend, referred to by the researchers as two degrees of separation, then disappears almost completely at three degrees of separation.

People with a divorced sibling are 22% more likely to get divorced than people who do not. The report added that people with children were less susceptible to being influenced toward divorce by other divorced couples.

When a divorced person confided in someone married, the married person gained knowledge about the benefits and drawbacks of divorce. In the study it appeared most people saw the benefits in divorce.

But why?

As a discussion on this report began, it seemed like so many people — majority in late 20s and early 30s — around were experiencing or had experienced a divorce or a traumatic break-up. To me, this phenomenon is so ubiquitous that it might as well be classified as a full-blown epidemic. Divorce is no longer the exception; it is the norm!!

But why? In urban living, our attitudes toward marriage have changed. Women have become professionally autonomous, eliminating the necessity of financial support (or should we dependence). An increasing number of people prefer waiting until later in life to have kids. Being a single mother or father no longer carries the stigma that it used to. Marriages are becoming increasingly secular, severed from any kind of religious affiliation. Sexual attitudes and mores continue to evolve. For this reason, marriage is becoming what appears to be an outmoded institution.

Singledom is the new black. Notice how an increasing number TV shows these days are about being single, or getting single, or getting laid? If one may last recall, YRF’s show Mahi Way had a phenomenal first season run and it soon likely to have another season. Well, there is a page on Facebook seeking it. And swayed by personal likeness, here is a link to one of its episodes on Youtube. (Come on, we can laugh despite talking about divorce!)

Going forward on this, the study appears to have a lot of common sense for after all familiarity breeds acceptance. When my husband and I separated, I was devastated. It took me over a year to come to terms with my life and that of my princess.. Words like separation and divorce were fraught with many emotional connotations. Failure. Loneliness. Lovelessness. Death. Friends who have been with me through this phase have seen it all, even though through my eyes.

Marriage, however, no longer has the emotional connotation it once had. The romance, the promise and the mystery of it are beginning to vanish, like a mirage. Be it Casablanca, DDLJ or the endless likes have all portrayed a fairy-tale illusion of marriage. Now, the movies we watch and even enjoy are about child custody, single parenthood and bitter divorces.

So long, marriage. It’s been nice knowing you, but you know what? We probably won’t be seeing one another again.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roshni
    Jul 08, 2010 @ 16:55:53

    If the romances are illusions and fairy tales, why are those needed? As emotional fillers?



  2. Being an Indian Woman
    Jul 08, 2010 @ 17:17:52


    I am not sure if that is even a question. After all, we come from a land which looks to cinema to escape the real world. Bollywood songs highlight that best. The DDLJ phase was one of the extremes when people began naming their kids after the central characters of the movie, Raj and Simran.


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