A new study out of the University of Buffalo found that couples who have similar drinking habits are less likely to get a divorce than a pair who have disproportion consumption habits. 


For their study, researchers tracked newlyweds over a nine-year period. They found:

  • Couples who have similar drinking habits sought a divorce 30 percent of the time; while
  • Couples where one spouse drank much more frequently than their partner sought a divorce 50 percent of the time.
  • Interestingly, couples who abstained from alcohol had similar divorce rates as couples who were both heavy drinkers. The increase in divorce rate only occurred when spouses had dissimilar drinking patterns.

“Our results indicate that it is the difference between the couple’s drinking habits, rather than the drinking itself, that leads to marital dissatisfaction, separation and divorce,” said Dr. Kenneth Leonard, author of the study.

Although Leonard noted that couples who drink heavily may not be as likely to pursue a divorce as other couples, that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy relationship.

“Heavy drinking spouses may be more tolerant of negative experiences related to alcohol due to their own drinking habits,” Leonard said. “While two heavy drinkers may not divorce, they may create a particularly bad climate for their children.”

Leonard concluded by saying that couples who have opposing drinking habits might not be able to communicate as effectively as other couples. Communication, Leonard believes, is crucial for the success of marriage.

Related source: Buffalo.edu