From adding fuel to the fire of a disagreement, to causing us to say hurtful things to our partners, too much alcohol heightens paranoia, making us more likely to be jealous and act out on deep-rooted fears, with negative consequences. I have teamed up with alcohol education charity Drinkaware to advise on how you can prevent alcohol from playing too big a part in your relationships.
Of course, it's fine to have a drink or a night out with your girlfriend or boyfriend, but it's when you find you're drinking to excess, or you only seem to spend time together when you're drunk, that you might find it helpful to take a step back and reconsider.
Alcohol changes our physical, emotional and psychological perception; which means we are more likely to blow minor tiffs into major confrontations. It's all too common to hear stories about people becoming involved in arguments, doing something they regret to their partners, or with someone else, as a result of drinking to excess. When people are drinking, they often say things that they would feel uncomfortable saying when sober - things that are in fact probably best left unsaid. The moment we cross this boundary, we need to rethink our actions.
When alcohol becomes a big part of a relationship it can begin to suffer. Relationship issues that may are heightened through alcohol include becoming increasingly jealous and paranoid, constantly arguing, or even breaking up when you drink. You might also feel embarrassed by, or embarrass your girlfriend or boyfriend when you are drunk. This can lead to your partner wanting to spend less time with you, or even avoiding going out with you on nights out or occasions that involve alcohol. Fun and happy relationships should function without alcohol as a prerequisite!
Don't go out and get drunk if you are feeling angry with your partner or unhappy about your relationship. Often, people avoid facing up to their real feelings by getting drunk. If you've got into an argument or experienced conflict with your girlfriend or boyfriend as a result of drinking too much, it's important to talk about it when you are both sober. Talk about the reasons behind your disagreement, how did it start? Was it caused by alcohol? How would you have handled things differently if you'd been sober? Reflecting in the cold light of day can help you identify the triggers for conflict, so you can work towards avoiding them in the future.
Watching how much you drink on a night out isn't just relevant to people in relationships. In fact, lots of single people would probably say that a night out is one of the best ways to meet new people, and a few drinks can give you the confidence you need to speak to someone you like.
Alcohol can help to fuel social interaction, helping us to feel relaxed and confident when trying to impress someone. But drinking too much can have a negative effect on the way we behave when we meet someone we are attracted to, and the way that we come across. A number of unattractive personality traits and behaviours can be caused by drinking too much, as alcohol can make you feel more confident and lose your inhibitions, so you might do or say things when drunk that you feel ashamed about when you are sober, or even worse put yourself in dangerous scenarios.
The way that we behave when we drink too much can be a real turn-off, whether it's a girl or a guy that you're interested in. Guys that are drunk often display signs of over-confidence, aggression and arrogance that they may think is a sure fire way to impress, but can actually be a real turn off. Equally, girls can often become emotional, overly forward or even tearful which isn't always a great first impression.
So, is it time to be honest with yourself, and really think about your drinking habits how they affect your life and your relationships? Have a think about 'drunk you'; are you someone people have fun, and enjoy spending time with? Would you want to be on a date with yourself after a few too many drinks? Try not to drink too much before you go out; you may think it will give you the confidence you need for your night out but could mean that you ruin it before it's even started. Drinkaware's easy tips can help to ensure that you don't end up making a fool of yourself in front of people who you want to impress. Make sure you eat a meal before you go on a night out, and try to make every third drink a soft one.
Go to the Good Times Facebook page to share anecdotes on keeping your good times good and download the Good Times app, with more tips and advice to stop a good night from going bad.