By John Clark
A controversial British study blames rising levels of divorce in the United Kingdom on the changing drinking habits of wives, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Sources say an increasing number of British men are filing for divorce because of their wives’ irresponsible drinking, according to several divorce attorneys.
According to one divorce attorney, Amanda McAlister, the “traditional image of the husband spending too long at the pub, while the obedient wife tended to the children,” is far less common than it used to be “ten or fifteen years ago.”
In her own practice, over the past five years, McAlister claims that she has seen a 70 percent increase in the number of men who cite alcohol abuse as the primary reason they are looking to separate from their wives, sources say.
Many of these men, claims McAlister, say their wives “don’t come home until four” in the morning, but she believes that “home drinkers,” those who drink excessively at home, sometimes in secret, are a bigger problem.
Of course, sources are quick to note that husbands’ excessive drinking has long been a common cause of divorce, but the rising number of alcohol abuse among women suggests that British culture is changing, and it might be a sign of some progress.
As women catch up to men in the workplace, they increasing have a strong “reaction to stressful home and work lives,” according to Elizabeth Hicks, another family law attorney.
Hicks believes that “modern society” now allows women to “go out with girlfriends and drink in a way that wasn’t possible ten years ago, and some of the effects are being seen in the home.”
Unfortunately, Hicks says these important cultural developments are pushing more women to drink, and “when there are children involved the effects can be dire.”
Again, both attorneys note that trouble drinking amongst husbands has long been a cause for divorce, but the increased alcohol use of wives may have contributed to the rising divorce rates across the United Kingdom in the last few years.
Other observers, however, also note that economic distress stemming from the prolonged recession that started in 2007 has led to increased drinking among both men and women. And when that drinking affects the nature of a relationship, marriages can crumble quickly.
As the economy continues to sputter along, many experts believe that excessive drinking will continue to put a strain on Western marriages, for husbands and wives alike.