Feelings of concern for a husband or wife's drinking habits can lead to increased stress and strain in a relationship. If you believe your wife or husband drinks too much, approaching the subject can be difficult at first.
‘What if I’m overreacting?’ and ‘What will I do if they react negatively?’ are common thoughts which can prevent the situation from being discussed and ultimately resolved.
We look at ways you can attempt to reach out to your partner if you are worried they have lost control over the amount they drink.
How do I know my partner has a drinking problem?
While questioning your spouse on their drinking habits may seem like a bold move, the longer you leave the subject unresolved, the increased likelihood that the problem will only worsen. If you believe your wife or husband drinks too much, approaching the situation as soon as possible is important for both you and them.
A study into the impact of heavy drinking on marriage revealed that couples, where one spouse was a regular heavy drinker to the point of intoxication, were 50% more likely to end their relationship in divorce than other couples.
The main signs to look out for which could mean your husband or wife has a drinking problem include:
- Alcohol negatively affects their personality after a period of heavy drinking
- Spends a large amount of time in bars and clubs away from the home
- Misses work or family events
- Has a criminal record related to drinking incidents
- Finds it difficult to stop when drinking in the evenings or while on holiday
What can I do?
If you are regularly spotting signs your partner may have a drinking problem or even an alcohol addiction, there are several ways you can positively influence their drinking habits.
When your partner drinks too much, simply telling them not to drink or complaining about their drinking habits is unlikely to result in them curbing their alcohol intake and may even have the opposite effect.
Accepting that your partner has a drinking problem without making excuses for them or relating problems resulting from too much drinking to other factors, can be the first important step towards their recovery. The next step is to tell them how their drinking is impacting you.
If you explain in a calm manner how their drinking is affecting you, then they could take this as a challenge to solve for you, as opposed to a direct criticism.
What if my partner disagrees with my suggestions?
There is always a risk that your partner will reject the idea that they have a drinking problem.
This can be particularly likely if your partner has grown up in a family where drinking alcohol to excess was seen as entirely normal.
In this case, it can be possible to meet somewhere in the middle, perhaps suggesting that you both dedicate an evening each week to not drinking alcohol, or that your partner makes a promise to reduce the amount they drink when you are out together.
Your partner’s drinking habits can also be affected by traumatic or significant life events, including losing a job or having a baby together, so it can be important to consider this before discussing how to address the issue together.
Advice and treatment options
Ultimately, your partner is the only one who can decide when and how much they will drink.
If you have tried the above methods and still believe your significant other has developed an alcohol addiction, then alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation is available at Priory.