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Entries in alcohol (10)


Drugs & Alcohol: How Much is Too Much, and When is it a Problem for Your Relationship? 

Many of us know an uncle or cousin, or even an immediate family member, who had a “problem” with alcohol or other drug(s). As a psychologist, I have heard many opinions about why people have drug addictions and what should (or could) be done about it: Aunt Marge has a “weak” constitution and cannot control herself; Cousin Vern drinks too much, he is an alcoholic, or a lazy “good-for-nothing” loser. As we’ve written about previously, opinions and perceptions are important for interpersonal interactions. Perceptions of a partner’s drinking (or drug use, if you extend the logic) impacts relationship quality: if you believe your partner drinks (or uses) too much, then this perception could lead to dissatisfaction with your relationship with that person.

What contributes to these perceptions? What most people “know” about addiction is oftentimes based on personal experience or opinion, not on research.

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Is Your Partner Drinking Your Relationship to Death? Drinking Problems and Relationship Problems

Consuming alcohol can both benefit and harm romantic relationships. For example, drinking can be a way for couple members to connect—perhaps over a bottle of wine—and share their week. However, if someone believes their partner drinks too much, it can strain the relationship. Some recent research1 explored how perceiving one’s partner as having a drinking problem might be associated with relationship quality among college students. In addition, the researchers examined the use of drinking regulation strategies, or the behaviors that people use to try to change their partner’s drinking (such as yelling or withdrawing).

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We Suck. I Suck. Let’s Do Shots!: When Do Relationships Affect Drinking Behaviors?

As a relationship researcher and college instructor I often have conversations with students who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships. More often than not, I direct or escort students to our local campus counseling and mental health center. But there are times when students’ levels of distress don’t require professional intervention; they just want to learn more about relationships so they can better understand their own. I typically take this opportunity to remind students that conflict and ‘downtimes’ in relationships are common; it’s very difficult for two people whose lives are intertwined to not occasionally be unhappy with their partners or relationships. Students, in turn, often take the opportunity to remind me that just because what they are going through is common doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck (I jest; I fully recognize this fact). This is an important point --- not getting along with somebody we care about is not fun, and can often be quite frustrating. But is relationship conflict more frustrating for some than others?  And do some people try to cope with or otherwise deal with their relationship difficulties in an unhealthy manner?  According to recently published research in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, the answer to both questions is “yes”.

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You Don't Have to Go Home..But You Most Definitely Can't Stay Here

Thanks to a loyal reader for tipping us off to this great Saturday Night Live skit. It's an excellent illustration of the "Closing Time Effect."

Do People Get Better Looking When the Bar is About to Close?

What happens when something is only available for a short period of time or exists in limited quantities? We want it. Badly. That’s why advertisements and infomercials are always telling you to “act now, before time runs out” if you want to get your hands on the latest, overpriced, completely unnecessary product they’re selling. However, the illusion of scarcity and its effects are not unique to the world of business—scarcity may also affect how we perceive potential sexual and romantic partners. As some evidence of this, consider a classic study on the so-called “closing time effect,” or the idea that everyone gets better looking when the bar is about to close because the window of opportunity for finding someone to take home dwindles.

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For Better or Worse…In Marriage, Men May Get More of the Better 

True confession time: Before we (the authors of this article) got engaged, Charlotte already had a specific date and time reserved for the church where our wedding would be held.1 Although no ultimatum was ever given, it was pretty clear to Patrick that after living together for several years, it was time for him to think about marriage. Needless to say, the ring was bought, the wedding occurred on the given date at the nonnegotiable location, and we have been living happily ever after. Our story is hardly unique. Common wisdom suggests that young women can’t wait to walk down the aisle whereas young men grudgingly make the trek to the altar. Women may start planning their weddings long before their partners have a ring picked out, but perhaps women need to think more carefully about what they are getting into.

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We’re Tired Of Drinking And Partying All The Time: Can We Settle Down Without Committing Social Suicide?

Ray asked the following:

Hi, my boyfriend and I have been dating for a little more than 4 years. We live together. For the past few months, I've been pretty unhappy with our social life. I'm sick of partying, going to gay bars and getting shit-faced almost every weekend. I want to transition out of this life to something more mature, or in the words of others, boring. Perhaps most of my friends are single. I just want to hang out with more couples and do something more than just clubbing. A perfect weekend is cooking with friends, having dinner and having a few drinks. That is all I want. However, I have this trepidation. Am I committing social suicide? How do I make sure that I go through this transition successfully? My partner seems to be onboard, after talking to him about this, but he is way more social than I am. I'm afraid he will not be happy. What should I do?

Dear Ray,

First, let me say that you’ve already started off on the right foot by talking to your partner about your concerns. Open and honest communication is one of the most important contributors to relationship success, and you appear to be ahead of the game in this regard. Another thing you have going your way is that your partner actually agrees that it’s time for a change, which means that you have a good shot at making the kind of transition you’re talking about. The big question here is how to do this without socially isolating yourselves, and that can be tricky.

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A (Rejected) Fly Walks into a Bar...

Did you ever wonder what drives a fruit fly (aka drosophila melanogaster) to drink? If you’re anything like us, this question keeps you up at night (Let’s hope you’re nothing like us). Well, based on research out of the University of Missouri, it looks like sexual rejection is a prime instigator of fruit fly alcoholism.

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Four Signs that Don Draper is Avoidantly Attached

“The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You're born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts.” – Don Draper

In the spirit of the upcoming Mad Men Season Five premiere, I thought it might be fun to do a character sketch of Don Draper, the show’s most central and intriguing character. Don’s creative genius can’t be denied – he outperforms everyone in the 60’s advertising world with his sheer wit and charm. However, Don does not enjoy the same level of success in his personal life. In previous posts, we have discussed how examining a person’s attachment style can help us to better understand their patterns in relationships. Don is an excellent example of an avoidantly attached person: someone who relies on only himself, who pushes other people away, and who tries to avoid intimacy wherever possible.

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Beer Goggles: They're For Real

Imagine a world where videos combining science, beer, and relationships were popular on the Internet. Well, a recent video from the BBC describing research on the so-called “beer-goggles effect” makes this world a reality. For you teetotalers, beer-goggles refers to the belief that intoxicated individuals find members of the opposite sex to be more attractive, most likely because alcohol lowers inhibitions, thus resulting in lowered minimal acceptable standards for a potential (short-term) mate. Put another way, alcohol may increase the number of people we find to be attractive, which increases our chances of finding a partner (at least that night).   

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