In addition to causing physical problems like liver disease, cancer and pancreatitis, alcohol abuse can have a profoundly negative influence on interpersonal relationships. If you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, it’s time to seriously consider whether you might end up losing your partner or friends as a result. Here are some of the many relationship problems caused by alcohol addiction.
Excessive consumption of alcohol prevents you from processing information in a rational and clear-headed way, and drinking also lowers your inhibitions. Consequently, it is much easier to make poor decisions when you are under the influence. For example, you might say things to your spouse that you later regret or be more likely to engage in infidelity. In addition, being addicted to alcohol even impairs your judgment when you’re not drunk, as you may prioritize alcohol over more important things in life (such as your close relationships).
Lying about drinking is one of the main ways in which alcohol addiction can lead to the end of relationships. For some addicts, dishonesty may revolve around how much is ingested on a night out, but it will often escalate to lying about where money has gone and to hiding alcohol around the home. Understandably, consistent lying can utterly undermine the trust in any relationship, and once trust is lost it can be very hard to regain.
Although one or two glasses of wine can put you in the mood for intimacy, romantic relationships are often stunted by the influence that chronic alcohol abuse has on a couple’s sex life. Drinking reduces your responsiveness to pleasurable touch, so you may lose interest in sex or be unable to perform; erectile dysfunction (sometimes called “brewer’s droop” in this context) is an extremely common problem for male alcoholics. If you want to have children in the future, it is also important to note that alcohol abuse can impact on fertility.
Lack of emotional intimacy
If you are always drunk or battling a hangover, your emotional bonds with your loved ones will start to erode. You will not be able to interact with them in the ways that you used to, and when you are under the influence they may even struggle to understand anything you say. Further, your mood swings might make you seem unpredictable and incomprehensible to people in your life. Over time, this dwindling emotional intimacy can lead to the dissolution of marriages and the end of friendships.
Arguments and violence
Drinking often makes people more combative, and this can lead to horrible arguments with spouses, family members and friends. Since alcohol is a depressant, underlying feelings of sadness, anger, jealous or anxiety can come to the fore after excessive drinking, and awareness of these emotions can easily spark conflict. Even more worryingly, there is a proven correlation between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The risk of violence also applies outside the home; alcohol abusers are more likely to enter into physical fights with friends.