Sex + Relationships · Student Life

Why You Should Watch Your Drinking

Nobody wants to be the only sober person in a roomful of drunks. Likewise, nobody wants to be the drunk who stumbles upon that sober person and instantly feels annoying and embarrassed for taking that last shot of whatever it was.

The same dynamic can be applied to romantic relationships.

New research by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health indicates that couples with similar drinking habits are less likely to file for divorce than couples with one heavy drinker and one light drinker—unless both couples are heavy drinkers.

Researchers collected data from 19,977 married couples and found that divorce rates were highest—26.8%— where the wife reported being a heavy drinker and the husband a light drinker. When the roles were reversed and the wife was the light drinker, the divorce rate was 13.1%. The divorce rate was 17.2% in couples where both members were heavy drinkers and lowest at 1.7% in couples where both members abstained from alcohol.

The study’s discussion has an interesting hypothesis on why couples with heavily drinking women are more likely to divorce. “As women in general drink less alcohol than men, heavy drinking may be considered more extreme when it occurs in women and may be judged as incompatible with female roles,” a researcher says.

So now you know, or maybe you already knew: If you and your significant other are wildly different—or maybe one of you is just plain wild—your relationship has a lower chance of survival.

By Juliana LaBianca