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Jeanne Goshe Headshot

Maybe Divorce Is Contagious

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When I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, he was pretty shocked. Part of me can see why it might have come as a surprise to him. We had only been married, oh, let's round up and call it a year. We weren't fighting. And, to my knowledge, neither of us was having an affair. So in a way, it was kind of out of the blue. The other part of me was shocked that he was shocked. That's the part of me that could clearly see that we were not in love and that we never had been. I couldn't believe that he hadn't yet come to the same realization. We were okay roommates, at best. But it hurts when someone tells you they want to leave. Even if it's just your roommate. And I was a roommate/wife. So, that's going to sting.

He was pretty upset. And angry. But for some reason, he wasn't angry with me. He wanted to blame someone, and he blamed my best friend, Jessica.

Jessica and I had met in college, and we were both dating guys that we would eventually marry. Jessica got married first -- right after graduating. And by the time my wedding rolled around a couple years later, her marriage was almost over.

When I asked for a divorce, my angry husband accused her of talking me into it. He believed that she just wanted a "divorce buddy." It was all her fault. Now, I will admit that Jessica is quite crafty, but she is not crafty enough to bewitch otherwise happily married women into getting divorces. And what a strange craft that would be, by the way. I found his theory to be ludicrous and insulting. I was a grown woman! (Sort of.) I wasn't ending a marriage because of peer pressure.

I wanted a divorce, because I wanted a divorce. It was as simple as that.

But several years later, I'm going to cut him some slack. He wasn't all wrong. No, Jessica, did not convince me to leave my husband. I didn't get a divorce because all the cool girls were doing it. And Jessica was not looking for a divorce buddy. But I will admit that I was influenced by Jessica's divorce.

The fact that my best friend had already gotten divorced and lived to tell about it, certainly affected me, even if I didn't know it then. It's like when you're in line for one of those really scary tall water slides that I can't even believe are legal. There's something reassuring about seeing your friend go down first, and somehow survive. I watched Jessica go down that divorce slide. And it still looked scary. But it also proved to me that it was possible.

If I hadn't had a good friend who was divorced, I imagine it would have taken me longer to work up the courage to do it myself. But I'm quite sure that it still would have happened, sooner or later. But probably later. Probably much later. So, what I'm saying is, I'm really glad Jessica tricked me into getting divorced for her own selfish reasons. No, wait. What I'm saying is, divorce is not contagious, unless it's something you're already coming down with. Happily married couples do not split up simply because they have divorced friends. But I was not part of a happily married couple. So, in the spirit of not delaying the inevitable, I'm really glad that I had a divorce buddy to help move things along.

Note: I have never and will never go down one of those big water slides, even if Jessica does it first.