Birds of a Feather Drink Together

Both the patterns of use and the amounts of alcohol drank between partners are very hard indicators for the likelihood of divorce. According to a Norwegian Institute of Public Health 2013 study, the wife who drinks more than her husband are a couple that is likeliest to divorce.

People tend to be attracted to people who have the same likes and habits. This applies to drinking habits as well. Studies done some years ago show that heavy intake of alcohol raises the chance of divorce and is the third most common reason for a break-up, below infidelity and personality contrasts.  Few studies have ever been conducted that provide information on the drinking habits of spouses or couples over time. Hence, the contributory role that alcohol drinking plays in divorce is unknown.

The Norwegian study involved the participation of 977 married couples who drank alcohol who were observed for a period of 15 years.

The results of the study showed:

  • The couple who tended to drink more are the likeliest to divorce.

  • The couple with the highest risk of divorce is the one whose wife drinks more than the husband – this risk is three times higher than married couples who both had low consumption.

  • Couples having similar alcohol consumption had lower divorce rates – Couples who abstained and couples who both drank a lot showed lower divorce rates than couple with different drinking habits.

  • Spouses who were heavy drinkers had a higher risk of divorce than couples with low consumption.

  • Couples who abstained had the lowest risk of divorce.

Birds of a feather flock together

The study’s first author and official at the Division of Mental Health, Fartein Ask Torvik says “The study was interesting in the sense that it reveals both the similarity and level of alcohol use as important for the relationship”.

Torvik added, “Some people believe that relationship issues arise when both drink a lot.”  “They logically assume that the risk of divorce would be therefore highest in that group. However, if both partners drink about the same amount, even in high amounts, it is possible that they have a greater understanding of each other’s drinking habits and situation”.

Seldom does a woman drink in excess amounts

Torvik says, “There are several possible reasons why the divorce rate was highest among couples in which the woman drank more than the man. Typically, women are more affected by drinking than men are. Also, society tends to frown on women who drink a lot, because it harms their role as wife and mother in a family. Women become also more conspicuous when they drink a lot because people are more used to see men drinking more”.