Here’s why married couples drink less than those who are single

  • Hindustan Times, Collin Rodrigues
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 09:32 IST
A survey conducted by the University of Michigan, USA, found out that couples who drank together were happier than those people whose partners don’t drink (IStock)

Most of us have heard stories of people who have ruined their married lives due to excessive drinking. But, a new study claims that people who are married actually drink less than those who are single. The research conducted by the University of Virginia, USA, also concluded that those cohabitating drink more than married couples, but less than those who are single, widowed or divorced.

Suyog Jaiswal, assistant professor in psychiatry, HBT Medical College, Vile Parle, puts things into perspective, saying, “Drinking alcohol can be recreational and a stress buster for many. Most people in relationships find a support system in each other, and are less likely to resort to drinking alcohol either as a stress buster for recreation. Even if these people drink together, it is usually within limits.”

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Drinking together

Interestingly, another survey, which was conducted by the University of Michigan, USA, found out that couples who drank together were happier than those people whose partners don’t drink. As part of the study, 2,767 married couples were interviewed between 2006 and 2016. Jaiswal says this theory holds true only if couples drink alcohol in moderation. “Drinking alcohol causes disinhibition. When consumed in small to moderate amounts, it lets people be more vocal about their thoughts and opinions, especially with the drinking partner. When a couple drinks together in the right amount, it may facilitate a good conversation and bring more transparency in the relationship. It can also bring to the table, topics for discussion that the couple otherwise has reservations about,” he says.

Know your limit

But the question is –– how much is too much? Relationship expert Vishnu Modi says it varies from person to person. “You should remember how much alcohol got you drunk the last time around. It is important that you realise that when you are drinking with your partner, you are doing it to have a good time, and not to ruin the occasion by getting drunk,” he says.

At the same time, one needs to be careful that it doesn’t turn into an addiction. Vidya Bansode, clinical psychologist and relationship expert, says drinking together can go out of control at times due to negligence. “It is possible that one partner may deviate from the usual pattern of drinking. In such a scenario, the other partner should monitor the one who has deviated, and make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she says, adding, “Unfortunately, if both the partners start following the deviated path, it starts affecting the relationship. Addiction might give an immediate feeling of well-being, but later, it starts affecting an individual’s life at different levels.”

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Signs that drinking is damaging your relationship

You start believing that you can get close to your spouse only after drinking

You open up or address difficult issues with your partner only after getting drunk

You spend a major portion of your income on alcohol

Your children think that drinking is the only way to have fun or a conversation.

- Kinjal Pandya, relationship expert

Addiction signs to look out for

Continuing to drink even after facing negative effects

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms which disappear after drinking

Lying about your drinking habit

Unable to stop drinking once you start

Unable to quit even after trying hard

Drinking just to be normal or to fit in society.

- Vidya Bansode, psychologist

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