Most people prefer drinking with friends to drinking alone. There’s just something depressing about downing shots in the silence of your own home. And, according to a new study from the University of Michigan, getting buzzed while bae sticks to seltzer might be a downer for your love life, too.
To understand how our drinking habits affect our relationships, researchers interviewed over 2,700 married couples about their alcohol consumption. Each person answered questions about how often they and their partner drank, and how critical, demanding, or irritating they felt their partner was in general.
They found that couples that had similar drinking habits were more likely to be happy than couples who reported one person regularly hitting the sauce while the other routinely stayed sober. In relationships where one partner drank while the other abstained, the couple was more likely to experience issues—especially over time and particularly when it was the wife who drank while the husband abstained.
Interestingly, the troubles in paradise had nothing to do with how much each partner drank, just whether one partner was totally abstaining. One theory the study’s authors give as to why disparate drinking habits cause issues is that it means you’re not spending quality time with your partner. “We’re not sure why this is happening, but it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality,” study author Kira Birditt told Reuters Health.
The findings apply to overall patterns—so skipping pre-dinner drinks once in awhile while your partner enjoys a cold one (or vice versa) isn’t an indicator of a bad marriage. But if this info sounds a bit familiar, it might be something share with your S.O. to open the lines of communication.
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