Incompatible Drinking Habits Could Be a Major Factor in Your Future Divorce


When I imagine my future, I generally imagine getting divorced 1-2 times. My first marriage, born out of an intense and remarkable love, will end when my husband and I realize that we’re both too passionate to be tied to one another or when he dies in a tragic drag racing accident after a teenager in a leather jacket calls him a chicken. My second marriage will be a marriage of practicality and will end out boredom and because — ha! — how foolish of us to try to make a marriage work between a senator and People Magazine‘s Most Beautiful Woman Alive!!!! (Eventually, I will fall into a longterm companionship with someone who lives on a separate floor of my luxury apartment building. We won’t ever get married, but we will go to our graves being accused of being one another’s beards.)

In none of these scenarios, however, does the relationship dissolve because of alcohol consumption — strange seeing as a recent study has found that heavy or incompatible drinking between couples is a major reason for divorce and death by drag racing is in fact quite low on the list. (You can’t even divorce a corpse!)

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recently studied nearly 20,000 married couples in a county in Norway and discovered that spouses who consumed alcohol in similar quantities were less likely to divorce than couples in which one person was a heavier drinker than the other. While couples who drank heavily were more likely to end their relationship no matter who drank more, the study, which was published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research journal, found some pretty interesting data about alcohol incompatibility.

For straight couples where the man was a heavy or “hazardous” drinker, the divorce rate was 13.1%. When the woman was the heavy or hazardous drinker, the divorce rate jumped to 26.8%. (Maybe because women are conditioned to put up with more bullshit?) Couples in which both spouses were heavy drinkers had a divorce rate if 17.2%. If both spouses were light drinkers, however, the divorce rate was a mere 5.8%.

Of course, this obviously doesn’t mean that your own relationship is doomed based solely on how much you and your partner consume alcohol. Several of the happiest couples I know consist of one person who drinks and another who is entirely sober. Or take my Irish Catholic family for example — we’ve been drunk and refusing to divorce for centuries.

Heavy drinking, ‘incompatible’ drinking tied to divorce, study says [LA Times]
Image via Goodluz/Shutterstock.

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