Alcohol and divorce

Manassa & Neugebauer, P.C.

Couples who are celebrating love this week, as well as those who are enjoying new bliss, are likely to enjoy a drink or two. While the perfect wine may compliment a Valentine’s Day meal, we all know that too much alcohol can ruin a marriage. This may be common knowledge to some of our readers, but a recent study exemplifies this notion.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health studied data from nearly 20,000 couples who were married beginning in 1984 and followed up with them over the next 15 years. They took copious records regarding the reasons behind divorces, and whether alcohol played a part in a relationship’s demise. Overall, they found that excessive drinking led to abusive relationships and raised the potential for divorce.

The chances for divorce increased the most when women drank excessively. Researchers believed that women could be more affected by alcohol than men, and that it revealed an interested (yet untold) double-standard: heavy drinking is less tolerated by men. Essentially, men are more likely to leave a marriage where a woman drinks heavily, where women are more inclined to stay with a man who does the same.

The study, which will be published in the May edition of “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research” advises couples to be aware of each other’s drinking habits and whether it could be problematic in the future. This is especially important if the relationship is based heavy alcohol consumption, or if one partner drinks heavily and the other does not. The light drinker may encourage the one who drinks heavily to change their habits for the sake of the relationship.

Source:, Heavy drinking raises risk of divorce, February 6, 2013

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Alcohol and divorce