8 Signs Alcohol Is Ruining Your Relationship

There’s a delicate balance between drinking socially and crossing the line into problematic behavior. For many people in relationships, that difference isn’t identified until it’s too late. Fortunately, there are a few common red flags …


There’s a delicate balance between drinking socially and crossing the line into problematic behavior. For many people in relationships, that difference isn’t identified until it’s too late.

Fortunately, there are a few common red flags that highlight when your partner’s or your own alcohol consumption is causing a problem. In some cases, you’ll discover that both you and your partner are equal contributors to the problem.

Here are eight signs alcohol is ruining your relationship.

You’re Having Drunk Fights

The first sign that drinking is harming your relationship is the presence of drunk fights or alcohol-related conflicts. If you and your partner come home from an evening of drinking with friends and can’t go to bed without getting into a fight, there’s a problem.

When this occurs frequently, it’s often indicative of deeper issues in the relationship. In fact, the fights might not be related to alcohol at all. There could be other issues at play that aren’t being communicated until alcohol loosens your inhibitions. The problem is that you’re more likely to say and do irreparable damage under the influence. The only way to get through these rough patches is to take a break from alcohol. You can learn more about doing this as a couple at couplesrehabs.org.

Another red flag is the presence of alcohol-related conflicts. If one partner stays out and drinks when they said they’d be home, or misses an important event due to a hangover, a conflict will arise. These direct impacts can severely harm your relationship over time.

Alcohol Is Impacting Your Finances

Financial stress is a well-known relationship killer. Fights about money are one of the most common points of contention in a relationship. If you’re experiencing financial issues, drinking can exacerbate the problem.

Take some time to outline how much money is being spent on alcohol each month. Sometimes people aren’t aware of how much they’re spending until they crunch the numbers. Use this information to set limitations and boundaries around your consumption.

You Feel Ashamed or Secretive

If you feel ashamed of what’s happening or compelled to be dishonest about you or your partner’s relationship with alcohol, there’s a problem. If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s no reason to feel shame or be dishonest about your consumption.

This behavior could apply both in your relationship and externally. If you feel uncomfortable telling your friends or family members about your concerns or behaviors, it’s time to readdress your situation.

You Can’t Say “No”

If you or your partner struggle to say “no” to a drink, there’s a problem. The same applies if you’re going out for one drink, and it turns into 10. When this behavior occurs, it indicates that the alcohol is controlling you rather than the other way around.

This red flag also manifests as the need to drink at social events where other people aren’t drinking or drinking excessively at inappropriate occasions or get-togethers.

Your Libido Changes

Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact the body in a variety of ways. One of the most common side effects is loss of sex drive or inability to perform. This effect is caused by hormonal changes and dysregulation within the body and impacts the circulatory system.

Another indirect impact on your relationship is based on your habits and behaviors surrounding alcohol. If you or your partner is always too intoxicated or too hungover to dedicate time and energy to intimacy, your relationship is in trouble.

Responsibilities Aren’t Being Upheld

Letting responsibilities lapse and not meeting basic expectations due to drinking is another red flag that your relationship is suffering due to excessive consumption. If you were meant to get groceries for the week or attend your child’s dance recital and couldn’t get off the couch to do so, the inaction will wear away at your relationship.

It’s important to note that this particular red flag also impacts other important areas of one’s life, such as employment and relationships with children.

Alcohol Defines Your Relationship

If your relationship doesn’t work without alcohol, or you can’t envision spending time together without a drink, there’s a problem. Many people who meet during the shared party phase of their lives often run into this issue down the road.

You should be able to spend time with your partner without needing alcohol as a buffer. If you struggle to get along or interact without drinking, it’s time to reconsider the relationship as a whole.

Your Life Feels Off Track

Sometimes there are no clear signs that alcohol is impacting your relationship beyond a feeling inside. If your life feels off track or something feels wrong, take some time to reflect and see what factors impact your relationship. It can take some time to recognize these red flags and identify when your casual drinking has crossed a line.

If alcohol is negatively impacting your relationship, have an honest conversation with your partner while accepting your own behavior and contribution to the problem. Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help as needed. Finally, if things don’t change, understand that your relationship may have run its course.

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