Divorce is more likely when one spouse drinks more than the other

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By Ashley Balcerzak

Sip together, stay together: Relationships are more likely to end in divorce when only one spouse is a heavy drinker, says a new study from the University of Buffalo.

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.

Also surprising: The divorce rate for two heavy drinkers was no worse than couples that abstained from alcohol.

It's the difference in drinking habits -- and not the imbibing itself -- that leads to separation, says study author Kenneth Leonard, Ph.D. Uneven liquor consumption hints that a couple may be less likely to socialize together, which could have a detrimental impact on their marriage, Leonard says. And research shows differing opinions on alcohol also hint at a lack of compatibility, which is the second-most common reason for divorce. (Learn how to increase your relationship satisfaction, and strengthen your foundation with these three cornerstones.)

To get on the same page with her, start by making small, healthy changes to your drinking habits, says Benjamin Karney, Ph.D., a social psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For example, nix hard liquor from the shopping list and limit your consumption to only wine on weeknights. Or make plans with friends and family to get you and your partner out of the house. You'll spend more shared time together -- something uneven drinking preferences may have formally prevented -- and less time boozing, says Karney. (Learn where the citizens of your state fall on the spectrum of irresponsibility, check out the Men's Health ranking of America's Drunkest Cities.)

More Links:

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