Research on 47,000 couples has revealed that lovers that mirror each other’s drinking habits are more likely to stay together.
Researchers suggest that this could be down to a gene that influences how much we drink, as well as how it affects us.
Heavier drinkers were more likely to pair up and stay with partners who also regularly consume alcohol, with light-drinkers attracted to others of their ilk.
Each person in these couples were also found to be more likely to share a specific variant of a gene linked with heavy or light alcohol consumption.
Experts from the University of Bristol analysed the genetic data of 47,000 couples in the UK Biobank, a national resource for health research.
They looked at each person’s reported alcohol consumption and compared with those carrying a gene variant known as the ADH1B gene.
A different variant of this gene is also connected to whether we experience unpleasant side effects of alcohol, with heavy drinkers less likely to experience as severe hangovers.
Laurence Howe, a PhD student at the University of Bristol told the New Scientist that previous studies on the link between alcohol use and partner choice have relied mostly on self-reported data.
‘We wanted to disentangle the possibilities using a genetic approach.
‘This suggests that alcohol consumption directly influences mate choice, adding to the growing evidence that humans are more likely to select a similar mate.’
The results also suggest that a partner’s drinking can have a small effect on how much we drink.
Experts found that each extra unit that a partner drinks each week corresponded to a 0.26 increase in their other half’s drinking.
While the link is interesting, researchers point out that variants of ADH1B is also linked to other factors that could influence our choice of partner.
That includes heavy drinking variant being linked to being from a poorer background.
The full findings of the study were published in the journal bioRxiv.