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Marriage & Alcoholism

Marriage & Alcoholism

Some facts about alcoholisms ability to damage marriages from Ria Health:


  • Detachment and Emotional Unavailability


      • Alcohol may be thought of as a social lubricant; however, heavy use can cause detachment from relationships. Both partners may begin to emotionally withdraw as the disorder becomes unmanageable. One small study 7 found that men with AUD had difficulty recognizing emotions in verbal language. They also had a decreased ability to show empathy.


  • Increasing Irresponsibility and Unreliability


      • As a person goes deeper into their addiction, they can become increasingly irresponsible and unreliable. They may fail to follow through with family obligations or complete tasks sporadically, diminishing their partner’s confidence in them and their ability to depend on them.


  • Problems at Work


      • Continuing on the last point, if alcohol starts to make a person unreliable, that could bleed into their work. They may frequently call in sick because of hangovers, show up late, or not at all. If they are impaired on the job, they may not be able to function properly, which may contribute to workplace accidents and hazardous environments. These changes could lead to termination and put the family finances in jeopardy.


  • Change in Attitude


      • Since alcohol is a depressant, it may trigger depression or make symptoms worse. A partner may notice their spouse becoming more negative and difficult to be around. Even if they aren’t abusive, an “angry drunk” can make frequent off-putting comments.


  • Higher Chance of Cheating


      • Although cheating shouldn’t be blamed on alcohol, research 9 shows that problem drinking predicted higher rates of sex outside of the relationship. This is likely because impairment can lead to poor decision-making and erosion of intimacy.


  • Violence
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) calls alcohol consumption a major contributor to intimate partner violence, defined as physical, psychological or sexual abuse. This is especially true when consumed at harmful levels. According to one U.S. study, 55% of victims believed their partners were drinking before a physical assault.

All of these factors caused by an unhealthy relationship to alcohol lead to marital dissatisfaction especially if the spouse with alcohol dependency is unable to view their addiction and subsequent behaviors as a problem.

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