Circle of Friends Can Cause Couples to Split Up

Reuters/Jason ReedA couple acts out a martial-arts move for a friend's camera (not pictured) as they wait to welcome the first sunrise of 2015 on Sydney's Bondi beach at dawn, January 1, 2015.

Marriage counselors cite the common causes for divorce, including, infidelity, communication gap, financial problem, lack of intimacy, and constant bickering, among others. However, one of the least known reasons is having friends who can influence the decision of either husband or wife and who can interfere with the couple's lives.

Researchers at New York's Adelphi University conducted the Early Years of Marriage project, which followed the lives of 355 black and white straight couples who married in Detroit as early as 1986. The couples were given questions during the first few years of their marriage.

During the first year, each one of them was asked how many friends they could ask in getting help and advice. Another question posed to them was: "Does your (wife/husband) have friends that you would rather (she/he) not spend time with?" On the second year, they were asked if their spouses' friends interfered with their married life.

The researchers checked back on the couples after 16 years and found out that some of them ended up with having a divorce — 36 percent among white couples and a higher 55 percent among blacks. A closer look at the results showed that the possibility of divorce among white couples is higher if the husbands disapproved of their wives' friends during year one of marriage.

The study found that 70 percent of marriages wherein the husband approved of his wife's friends during their first year together remained married. Although, among marriages wherein husbands weren't fine with their wives' friends, just over 50 percent of the couples remained married after 16 years.

However, the case didn't apply to blacks wherein friends of either the husband or wife didn't generally become a huge factor in the divorce cases. In both races, however, the likelihood of divorce is high if either husband or wife view their spouse's friends are interfering with their marriage.

In one of his blog entries, relationship expert Ashley Willis shares the four types of toxic friends married people should avoid. First is the friend who constantly badmouths his/her spouse. Second is the friend who's always critical of your spouse. Another is the friend who always pits you against your family. Lastly, there is the friend who is averse to marriage.