Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why do married people over 40 drink?

Another one of life's little mysteries has crept up behind R.E. Dad, tapped me on the shoulder and asked quite the perplexing question..."Why do married people over 40 drink?" By "drink" I'm referring to an adult beverage which has the potential to alter one's physical or cognitive ability. I'm wondering what purpose does consumption of alcohol really have once you've found your life partner, reached middle age, and finally understand that it's easier to function the next day without a hangover.

I understand why young people consume mass quantities of intoxicating liquid refreshment...to be social, to meet members of the opposite sex, and to break away from their parents. I understand why senior citizens drink as well...to be social, to meet members of the opposite sex, and to break away from their adult children. So why the heck do "hitched" middle agers tap the keg?

I asked a couple married forty-year olds this past weekend why they think their peers still drink. One said "to relax after a tough day." This totally makes sense to me...stress release. But aren't there healthier alternatives such as exercise, yoga or a deep penetrating shoulder massage? Another answered "to take you away from your worries." HMMM, this sounds like something a good book, relaxing music or just an evening of Home & Garden TV can solve.

Binge drinking and alcoholism are beyond the scope of this blog. I don't really want to go there. I have discovered that I do not need a drink in my hand to be social. In fact, I choose my words much more carefully and am less likely to put my foot in my mouth. So again, why should I drink? Why do married people over 40 drink?

Is it the kidlets...the children? Do they drive us to drink? Once upon a time I DID think that this was the case. I thought that a fantastic idea for a company that sold alcoholic beverages would be to create an ad campaign that exclaimed "We don't make the kids or raise the kids...that is your job...OUR job is to make them much more fun!"

OK, so tell me...what do YOU think? If you're married and over 40...or heck, married under 40...or even single over/under 40...give me your thoughts.............please.


Expat No. 3699 said...

I’m over forty… forty-seven to be exact and my kids are adults. Why do my husband and I drink? Well, I could say that he drinks because he married a woman that had two teenage kids he helped raise; but that’s not it.

To be perfectly honest, we both have a couple of beers a night. I think for us it is a way to unwind after work. Instead of harping on the things that bothered us during the day we relax and open up about other things. Some evenings it ends up being like a mini date night…on occasion leading to great sex. But I admit there are times where we end up debating a topic that we can’t agree on. When that happens, we usually end up huffing off to bed and ignoring each other until the next morning when all is forgotten.

I believe my relationship with my better half is a good one and our consumption of alcohol is okay. There are, however, some relationships that need attention and drinking is not the way to address the problem.

You asked and thus my answer. Great question by the way, it really made me think.

Maggie May said...

well my hubby and i are 34 and we drink occasionally. it is a good lead in for really hot sex, for one thing. and it's relaxing, and tastes great. :)

Kimberly Wright said...

We drink on occasion and we do it more socially and normally only in our own home.

When in pain I have been known to take a few shots of whiskey.

I don't get the drinking everyday. And I definitely don't think its a good idea for both parents to be drinking if the children are there.

Beth said...

Married and over 40. I drink because I can.

Seriously, I don't often drink and when I do, I can only seem to drink one or two. Basically, I'm a cheap date.

My husband drinks socially. He thinks he is funnier, wittier, wiser, etc after a scotch or three. Still, he doesn't drink that often. We are all working too much.

shrink on the couch said...

I like the feeling. It speeds up the relaxation. I feel way more social and bubbly. I mostly drink with friends. Seldom alone. Occasionally my husband and I will share a drink on the back porch, alone. But usually our drinking is with friends. I find that I laugh more, I laugh way harder, I come up with funnier stories.

If a large group is gathering I feel I have to have a drink to ease my tension. Not a very psychologist like response. But I do have social anxiety and deep breathing isn't nearly as effective as a few swigs.

I wish it weren't so but it is so. And I drink vodka that's been distilled 5x to lessen the hangover. With club soda.

But I do wish I were more like you and could enjoy myself equally sober.

Reinvent Dad said...

Wow, thank you for taking the time to give detailed and honest responses to my question. It appears we continue drinking beyond our teens and twenties for generally the same reasons (relaxation, social considerations and to get a little something something). We just do it in moderation with the objective to reduce the consequences of a hangover having a greater need to function the next day!

Aunt Juicebox said...

I think that it's a form of escapism for most people, whether they realize it or not. I find myself drinking mostly when I'm stressed out. I do drink a lot more socially than I do just at home, but I've been married/living with the same man for 11 years and I can take out a bottle of rum easy if I'm upset or worried about something. But I don't drink daily or even weekly usually.

A Free Man said...

I'm still under 40 (woo hoo!) but am in the same situation as you. I don't drink at all, but that's something else entirely. I'm sure for those who do there are as many reasons as there are drinks. And if people have a drink or two after the kids go to bed, why not? As long as you're not getting stupid or violent I don't think it matters a bit.

92647dlb said...

I am 49 and my hubby is 45, we have no kids, no bills, and a very nice life (although I am pretty positive kids would make it nicer) - we drink, our family drinks, we sit at the bar normally when we go out to eat, and our friends are either drinking at our house, their house, or at the bar with us. We spend an awful lot of time "celebrating" - I agree with you - drinking should be replaced with other things that relax you - I really really liked the deep shoulder massage comment - thanks to you, I just booked an appointment.