Drink is root of half all relationship woes
Nearly half of Irish couples who've turned to marriage counsellors since Christmas say alcohol is the root cause of their relationship woes.
Therapists have observed the biggest post-festive surge in four years from couples looking for professional help to save their crumbling marriages.
Experts at leading charity Relationships Ireland have noted that booze-related disputes were the dominant trigger of marriage breakdowns over the festive period.
Tony Moore, a therapist with the nationwide organisation, said: "Drink, and to a lesser extent drugs, are the main issues that we've noticed since Christmas. Last year, at this time financial problems were more the fore, but this time it's alcohol and I would estimate that drinking-related issues are negatively impacting on nearly half of my clients.
"If one of the partners is drinking too much, it can have a catastrophic effect on their relationship and inevitably lead to arguments and fights and other things like affairs and domestic violence.
"I'm not saying that alcohol-related problems are anything new. They've always been there. But they definitely seem to be on the increase from the new cases we've had since Christmas and we've noticed that couples we see don't initially see it as too much of an issue at first. But it's affecting couples of all ages and men and women equally and clients soon realise how destructive it can be to their relationship in so many ways, including destroying their sex life and parents' ability to run a household properly.
Mr Moore also stressed that a partner's out-of-control drinking habit is also an indicator of how unhappy he or she truly is in their relationship.
He said: "If a partner, male or female, who's drinking too much, tells me they are happy, I don't believe it."
Mr Moore also said that he expects to be busy in the next couple of weeks in the run-up to Valentine's Day.
"Valentine's Day can be very difficult if the relationship is already on the rocks. We often hear cases where Valentine's turned out to be the last straw in the relationship."