"Incompatible" Drinking Ruins Marriages

By McCarton Ackerman 02/06/13

Love lasts longer for wedded couples who drink the same amount, a study finds.

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When it comes to drinking habits, opposite evidently don't attract. A new study, based on collected data from 19,977 married couples in Norway, reports that spouses who consume about the same amount of alcohol are less likely to divorce than pairs in which only one partner is a heavy drinker. Couples in the study who boozed more showed much higher divorce rates (17.2%), compared to just 5.8% among light-drinking couples. And divorce rates were much higher when the wife was a heavier drinker (26.8%), compared to just 13.1% when the husband was the heavy drinker. Norwegian Institute of Public Health researcher Fartein Ask Torvik, the lead author of the study, speculates that heavier drinking in women was more likely to derail a marriage because women typically are more affected by alcohol than men, which could more significantly impact the marriage. The researchers also that wrote that heavy female drinking “may be judged as incompatible with female roles" and therefore could be a threat to relationship stability. Norwegian Institute of Public Health director Ellinor F. Major cautions betrothed coupled to "be aware of the drinking pattern of their partner, since it may become a problem in the future.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.