Does drinking make divorce more likely?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2021 | Divorce

The concept of marriage is that you stay with the other person for the rest of your life. The reality often proves different. All sorts of pressures can drive a couple apart.

The current divorce rate is around 39%, but the probability of a marriage ending can climb when alcohol is involved.

Differences in alcohol consumption make divorce more likely

The University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions looked at how drinking affects marriage. It found that the problem was not how much you drink, but how much you consume compared to your partner:

  • Where both partners drunk roughly the same, the divorce rate was 30%.
  • Where one spouse drinks much more than the other, the divorce rate rises to 50%.

Does that mean you should apply the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them?” Probably not. Excessive alcohol consumption can have severe health consequences. 

Alcohol can increase the possibility of violence in a marriage

If you are having difficulties in your marriage, drinking could be playing a role. Previous studies by the research institute found that drinking significantly increases the risk of violence, either verbal or physical. The classic image is of someone coming home drunk and shouting at their partner and maybe even beating them. Yet, the studies found that the person doing the drinking is not necessarily the one doing the abusing:

  • Verbal abuse: This was twice as likely after one of the pair had drunk within the last four hours. Regardless of which spouse had been drinking.
  • Physical abuse: A person who had been drinking was between three and four times more likely to hit their partner. Yet, they were also twice as likely to be the ones getting hit.

It can be enjoyable to have a few drinks, either with or without your spouse. Yet if alcohol becomes a problem between you, consider seeking help. In the end, divorce may be your best option.