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A homewrecker (sometimes styled as home wrecker or home-wrecker) is a person, object or activity that causes the breakup of a marriage (or similar partnership), or comes close to doing so. The homewrecker is said to have taken one of the spouses away from the marriage, "wrecking" the marital home.
Most commonly, the label "homewrecker" is applied to a person having an affair with someone else's spouse or domestic partner; it can also refer to other forces that that are destructive to a marital relationship and tied only to one party to that relationship.
When "homewrecker" is used to describe a person, it is applied to someone who breaks up a pre-existing relationship by having an affair with one of its partners. It may be applied more often when the person actually intends to cause the break-up in order to replace the prior partner permanently. Women are more often labelled homewreckers than are men; the additionally pejorative term "golddigger" is sometimes also used in such instances.
Homewrecking is not used exclusively to describe the break-up of marriages; it is also used in connection with other long-term relationships that resemble marriage, especially where there are children or joint property.
Less frequently, other intense and/or time-consuming pursuits of a partner lead to broken relationships, and are labeled "homewreckers"; alcoholism, especially among husbands, has long been identified as a homewrecker. Another common example is drug addiction.
Other common targets for homewrecker labeling are intense pursuit to a career, devotion to a hobby, or running a business. The time commitment to these and similar activities can rend normal home life assunder, and earn the name homewrecker.
Immersive Internet-based social applications and pornography are also becoming more commonly labelled as homewreckers, especially when they share the social and sexual aspects of having an affair.
Usage is disputed in situations where the relationship was in trouble even without the affair. For example, in a faltering marriage, an estranged husband may have an affair, and the wife may emotionally blame the alleged homewrecker for the breakup of the marriage, even though the affair itself was partly the result of stresses that pre-dated it. Nevertheless, even in such cases, the affair can be a major additional stressor, and make the relationship unsalvageable.
Others suggest that affairs should never create an impression of homewrecking, as it is unhealthy relationships that lead to affairs and that any fault for an affair should be lain more at the feet of the cheating partner than the third party.
Homewrecker is frequently used in the title of works in the performing arts, including songs, record albums, movies, television series and episodes of television series. See Homewrecker (disambiguation).
There are several different cocktails called "Homewrecker." As with many named alcoholic drinks, there is an element of hyperbole in this name; it may relate to the common application of term to alcoholism as a marriage stressor, as described above.
The recipes for several different variations of "Homewrecker" cocktails include:
- 2 oz melon liqueur, 2 oz tequila, 2 oz cranberry juice, 1 oz Jägermeister®,
- 1/2 oz. Malibu Rum, 1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps, 1/2 oz. Vodka, Orange Juice, Strawberry Daiquiri Mix, or
- 1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye, 1/2 oz Punt e Mes, 1/2 oz St. Germain, 1/2 oz Lemon Juice (from 1940)
Scientific American, tongue-in-cheek, referred to oxytocin as a homewrecker. The hormone normally triggers a nesting instinct, which makes it a "home builder," not a home wrecker. But with chronic exposure in prairie voles, a study instead showed a breakdown of the normal nesting instincts: the animals avoided pair bonding and child nurturing. This raises questions about the growing practice of using oxytocin to treat behavior disorders, such as autism.
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- "Homewrecker Drink Recipe - Cocktail". Bar None Drinks. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
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- Gary, Stix (October 16, 2012). "When the Cuddle Hormone Is a Home Wrecker". Scientific American. Talking Back blog. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Bales, Karen; Allison Perkeybile (8 2013). "When Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad: Chronic Oxytocin, Development, and Social Impairments". Biological Psychiatry 74 (3): 160–161. Retrieved 19 August 2013.