5 Alcoholic Behaviors That Show Up In Relationships
Most people are aware of the damaging effects alcoholism has on the body, but not many know that just as much damage can be done to an intimate relationship as well. The fact that alcoholism has a simultaneous destructive effect on physical health and intimate relationships is what makes it so different from other chronic health conditions.
With a marriage or other committed relationship, alcoholism has the potential to put serious strain on or even destroy the intimate bond between two people. Let’s look at the five ways alcoholic behaviors appear in a marriage or other committed romantic relationship and what areas they have an effect on.
1. Intimacy Breaks Down
A good relationship is built on intimacy. When one partner is an alcoholic, it presents a serious obstacle to the other partner in terms of being supportive and trusting. Intimacy between partners slowly erodes as trust is broken over and over, resentment builds, feelings are hurt, and conflicts are left unresolved. The non alcoholic partner partner often has no choice but to put an emotional and physical distance between themself and their alcoholic partner. Alcoholism in a marriage or relationship is often connected to either physical or mental abuse.
The alcoholic is no longer capable of meeting the needs of their partner and engaging in a healthy relationship. On the other hand, the non alcoholic partner can also become co dependent and give the wrong kind of support to the alcoholic. This kind of codependency leads to a dysfunctional relationship that can only lead to both partners getting hurt.
2. Financial Troubles
In a marriage, spouses share bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages. When one spouse is an alcoholic, there is often damage to the financial aspect of the marriage in addition to the emotional ones. An alcoholic spouse may have trouble holding down their job, paying off debts, or overspending on drinking. As a result, the non alcoholic spouse is left carrying the bulk of the financial strains and often ends up feeling resentful and overburdened.
3. Sexual Relations
The sexual intimacy between two partners is almost always disrupted by alcoholism in several ways. The alcoholic partner may lose interest in sex or may be unable to perform. The non alcoholic partner will often lose interest in their partner because their drinking habits make them less attractive and affects their abilities. Infidelity is also a common occurrence with an alcoholic spouse who goes on a binge. Their actions can cause emotional repercussions as well as an increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
Whether or not the other partner finds out about the infidelity, the actions have a negative impact. Feelings of guilt and shame build up in the guilty partner and it will have an impact on the intimacy and communication in the relationship. The non alcoholic partner may also begin to distance themselves and look for love elsewhere when they begin to feel neglected by the alcoholic partner.
4. Children Are Affected
Children of partners struggling with alcoholism feel the impact no matter how hard the parents may try to keep them uninvolved. Children in alcoholic homes are especially vulnerable to the stress and strain in their parents relationship and will carry those emotional scars well into adulthood.
Children who grew up in alcoholic homes struggle with intimacy, self esteem, addictions, and abusive relationships in adulthood. The children may end up being the target of misplaced anger and resentment from their parents or other siblings. Children in alcoholic homes may also be neglected or subjected to physical, sexual, or mental abuse.
5. Helpless Feelings
Overall, there is a feeling of helplessness in all parties as the alcoholism continues to destroy relationships.