Despite the vital role spouses and partners play in supporting each other, research by alcohol education charity Drinkaware reveals that it isn’t that equal. In couples where both people drink above the low-risk guidelines – only three in five (57%) say that if their partner wanted to cut down they would also drink less to help them.

The current weekly guideline stands at 14 units – but we know that 2 in 5 men and 1 in 5 women drink more than this on a regular basis. It’s no surprise that 46% of people we surveyed are hoping to cut back in the next three months.  Yet doing so is not as simple as wanting to.

It seems that in many couples where both members are drinking above the guidelines men are the bad influence:

  • 26% women are concerned about the effects of alcohol on their partner’s health, compared to 21% of men.
  • Over a quarter (29%) of women say they’d drink less if it weren’t for their partner – almost twice the number of men saying the same (16%)
  • 33% of men said they are more likely to suggest one more drink when their partner might think of stopping – only 15% of women say they press extra drinks on their partner

Many of us will attempt personal challenges throughout the month of January where willpower will play a massive part in achieving our goals. There are hurdles to overcome: in households where at least one person is drinking over the guidelines four in ten (40%) of those whose partner is trying to cut back say their partner would fail because stress causes them to have an impromptu drink - and a third (33%) say alcohol being readily available in the home is a problem.

However, working as a couple can help in the long run. A third (35%) say providing moral support and encouragement to their partner will help them keep their alcohol consumption low and a quarter (26%) say their partner’s moral support will help them

Drinkaware launched the #littleless campaign with the support of Rev Kate and Graham Bottley who are regular stars on the popular programme Gogglebox. Kate said: “It’s quite sad to see that stress can really undo those good intentions, but we are a nation who bottle up our feelings, it would be far healthier to talk through your bad day rather than turn to a glass of wine or a beer.”

Drinkaware’s Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “We know that couples who are planning a health regime together fare better when they really support each other. It is sometimes difficult to stay on track on healthy plans but the Drinkaware app can really help make a difference especially if you’re trying to make up for the extra pounds gained over the festive period.”

Penny and Phil Davies from Cheadle in Manchester have supported each other in their attempts to drink less. Phil says: “Drinking was a habit, we both enjoyed it but we probably had too much alcohol. We didn’t know how to drink less and we needed something to help us. The app isn’t judgmental plus it’s simple to use.”

Drinkaware encourages people to track their daily habits using their Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app.