Alcohol use in Romantic Relationships

couple drinking wine - silhouette

By Cristina Utti

Friendships are formed when we find people with whom we share similarities. Everyone likes to be with people with whom they can relate, who share the same hobbies or beliefs. Friendships are formed in churches, in organizations and groups, and in drinking and drug use. If someone is a drinker, they will choose a partner who drinks, the same goes for someone who uses other substances.

One study researched how young adult drinking affects young men and women in a romantic relationship. It found the following:

  • Married young adults were less likely to drink together.
  • Gender is important. The more a male’s partner drank, the more he drank. Women were less likely to drink more to keep up with their male partner.
  • Drinking buddies led into drinking partnerships.
  • Getting married lowered alcohol consumption.
  • The transition from single to married lowered women’s drinking.
  • In longer marriages, men’s drinking declined.
  • Consuming alcohol while dating may lead to continual drinking after getting into a committed relationship.

The connection between dating and drinking is clear. Young adults, and most adults in general, may have a few drinks while dating to take the edge off and be more comfortable. The need for this decreases once marriage is established. There is also the danger of getting into a committed relationship that began by drinking together, as this pattern may continue into a marriage and family and not be healthy because they never got to know each other sober.

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Reference:
Wiersma, Fischer, Cleveland, Reifman, and Harris. “Selection and Socialization of drinking among young adult dating, cohabiting, and married partners.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. DOI: 10.1177/0265407510380083

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