Alcohol what s love got to do with it

Alcohol - what’s love got to do with it?

New research* launched today by alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware reveals more than one in four relationships is marred by alcohol. Over a quarter (26%) of GB adults, equivalent of nearly 12 million people, have argued with a partner because of alcohol and more than one in six (14%) have worried about the effect drinking is having on their relationship.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Drinkaware is challenging people to think about the damaging effect alcohol could be having on their relationship. Whether people are on a night out, at a local pub, having dinner with friends or on the sofa in front of the TV, drinking to excess can cause unnecessary arguments, encourage irrational and unpredictable behaviour, and even exacerbate any existing relationship problems.

The Drinkaware survey of adults across Great Britain also shows that one in 10 (9%) endure current or previous partners flirting with other people, while more than one in 10 (11%) have suffered embarrassment when a current or previous partner has had too many to drink.

To avoid the pitfalls of drink-related relationship problems, Drinkaware provides the following tips:

  • ·  Talk before. If you experience problems when one or both of you drink, agree a strategy as a couple before you start having any alcohol. You might suggest putting a limit on what you drink or agree to enjoy alcohol-free drinks together. It’s better to plan ahead so you can avoid having to deal with issues at the time.
  • · Men vs. women. Men are less susceptible to the effects of alcohol than women – if your partner is matching you drink for drink; she’s likely to feel affected, more quickly.
  • ·  Try cutting down. It may sound simple, but if you’re not drinking as much, you’re less likely to argue because of alcohol. Alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks and opting out of rounds helps to reduce your alcohol intake.
  • ·   Eat. Food slows down the rate your body absorbs alcohol. So if you do choose to drink, make sure you have a meal beforehand.
  • ·   Still a problem? If you’ve tried everything but you’re still regularly clashing with your partner over alcohol you might want to consider getting some advice. ‘Relate’ provide relationship counselling and can help with alcohol-related issues.

Jonathan Chick, a Consultant Psychiatrist and a member of Drinkaware’s medical advisory panel, says:

“Lots of things influence our relationships and alcohol is no exception. While many couples enjoy a drink together, for some alcohol can spoil the evening. You don’t have to be an alcoholic for alcohol to damage your love life. People should think about the role alcohol plays in their relationship - they might see that it’s causing more tension than tenderness.

“Alcohol can make us impulsive or uninhibited and this can unintentionally hurt our relationships. People who get drunk may behave inappropriately, say something upsetting that they don’t really mean, or become argumentative. These situations often get worse when both partners are drinking and when you go to bed with bad feelings, altercations can carry over into the next day.

“If a couple is going through a bad patch, drinking can be the final nail in the coffin – so it’s best to avoid drinking if you’re stressed, feeling sorry for yourself or disgruntled with your partner. Alcohol has a canny way of making all these emotions much worse.”

Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, says:

“Our research shows that, for many couples, alcohol can cause or exacerbate problems in their relationship. Valentine’s Day is an ideal opportunity to highlight the impact alcohol can have on couples because the day is all about celebrating your relationship and putting your loved one first.

“Whether you’ve fallen into a pattern of always having a tiff because your partner has been sick, because you’ve been over-friendly with someone else, or because one of you falls asleep on the sofa, it’s important to asses whether drinking is worth the alcohol-related arguments. Relationships are an important aspect of anyone’s life, why ruin it with alcohol?

“February is ‘Love Month’ on the Drinkaware website so for more tips and advice on relationships and alcohol visit:




For more information please contact:

Becky Medhurst

Communications Officer
020 7307 7453 or 078 2797 1740

[email protected]


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from ICM.  Total sample size was 2009 nationally representative of adults in Great Britain aged 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th and 27th September 2009.  The survey was carried out online.

  • ·            Drinkaware ( provides consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles. Our public education programmes, grants, expert information, and resources help create awareness and effect positive change. An independent charity established in 2007, Drinkaware works with the medical profession, the alcohol industry, government and independent members to achieve its goals.
  • ·         Drinkaware advise men to stay within the recommended guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol per day (equivalent of a pint and a half of lager) and women to stay within 2-3 units per day (equivalent of a 175ml glass of wine).
  • ·         Other research shows that marriages are twice as likely to end in divorce where there are alcohol problems (Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, 2004) and alcohol had been consumed prior to the offence in nearly three-quarters (73%) of domestic violence cases and was a ‘feature’ in almost two-thirds (62%) (Gilchrist et al 2003).

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