According to a new study from the University of Buffalo, relationships are much more likely to go the divorce route when the spouses have highly disparate drinking habits. Apparently, the secret to finding everlasting happiness is to find someone who mirrors your teetotaling, tipsy, or totally hammered ways.
Researchers followed newlyweds for 9 years and found couples with dissimilar drinking habits split up half the time, while only 30 percent of spouses with the same booze preferences called it quits. The divorce rate for two heavy drinkers was no worse than couples that abstained from alcohol. (Ed note: emphasis ours)
While many boring people will tell you that alcohol itself is the cause of breakdowns in relationships, study author Kenneth Leonard, Ph.D explained that it’s the “difference in drinking habits,” not the habit of drinking. Apparently, the difference represents that the couples are less likely to hang together in their social lives, which makes sense. If one’s a partier and one spends most of his or her time in a book club that serves chocolate milk, they probably spend a lot of their free time apart. Maybe.
This whole thing is about compatibility, and alcohol preference is just one way to determine if you and your partner are on the same page. It doesn’t seem out of the question that this study could be replaced by sleep habits, hobbies, or work schedule, since those three factors also contribute to general compatibility. Look at that couple above, in their matching all white outfits and glasses of wine. It’s very possible that it was their matching commitment to monochrome ensembles that kept them happy for all these years. They’re probably dead now, and wearing little matching white tracksuits in heaven.
It seems like once a week, some new study comes out promising to have the secret to happy, lasting relationships or marriage. While this doesn’t tell us much that we don’t already know (yeah, you should aim for being highly compatible with your partner), it seems more indicative of our terror and hysteria around relationships. It’s always a crap shoot, and no study in the world will be able to pin it down completely. Just be in love and try to drink the same amount (you’ll have more fun if that amount is a lot).