Sunday, 22 April 2012 22:53

Drinking and Dating

I recently got an email and I'd like to share it here because I feel this is an important topic that isn't talked bout very much. We'll begin with her letter:

Gina-

I have two questions and they are related to alcohol. I stopped drinking almost two years ago for personal reasons but I don't subscribe to a "no-alcohol in my home or life" mentality. My family drinks, my friends drink, there is wine and alcohol in my kitchen and I don't have a problem with men I date drinking. My first question is, do you think it's okay for me to put "social drinker" rather than "never" on my profile? I feel like saying "never" makes me look like I'm not fun or that I'm judgmental. I worry that this is dishonest, but I really feel like saying "never" limits the amount of men who would be interested in a date.

I usually try to do coffee or lunch on a first date so that I can order an iced tea or non-alcoholic drink without raising any questions. Then if there is any chemistry and there's a second date, maybe dinner, I explain that I stopped drinking. That brings me to my second question. I don't think it's appropriate to get into the reasons behind my decision to not drink with someone I barely know, I just say "it doesn't agree with me." Do you think that is the right way to handle it? I was never a violent or belligerent drunk and I don't have a trail of wreckage that I'm trying to hide, but I know people can make any kind of assumption. My experience so far has been that older men don't mind me not drinking, but younger men (in their 30's) are a little put off. My approach right now is to just try and let my personality speak for itself but any advice you have would be appreciated.

My Answer-

I'm very glad you asked, this is an issue that is rarely talked about. And as I get older I realize that people don't need to know all of our personal details and your truth is your truth, they don't need access to any information that won't affect them or harm them. People like to judge other people, especially when you're dating. They want to size you up, figure out what's wrong with you and then they're off to the next person. So, the fact that you stopped drinking (first of all I applaud you) is a great thing. You do not have to tell a guy on the first date or even the second. I recommend just avoiding the discussion until you know that you really like the guy and vice versa. If I were you, I would say you gave it up because you wanted to. Say, that you wanted to be healthier and that you feel better than ever, so you're sticking with as long as you can. Period. Even if you end up dating the guy, if I were you, I'd still make that your new truth. Sometimes even saying: "it just didn't agree with me" could be construed as: I get crazy! At least that's how one might take it. And believe me, they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So don't raise any suspicion, make it no big deal :-)

Reasons why someone would mind, if you don't drink:

  1. because he can't take advantage of you
  2. because he wants someone to party with.

If he's a cool guy with good intentions he won't mind that you don't drink.

So that was my reply, but I still want to expand on this subject. I think especially if you're single and dating and going out on a regular basis, usually you're drinking. Drinking is a very big part of socializing. It's hard to go on a date (especially a first date) and not drink. It loosens you up, lightens the evening and can kick some chemistry into gear. But, it can also get in the way of having a clear rational perspective of the person that is sitting across from you. Let's face it, you wouldn't go to a job interview after you'd had a glass of wine? Nor would you want to interview someone for a job, after you've had a glass of wine. Why? Because it will impair your judgment and the way you communicate. It will impair the decisions you make. I think more people should not drink on the first few dates, so they can be at their absolute best. It's scary, I know! But, I do believe that being completely clear and fully present with someone, is really the only way to know for sure if this person is right for you or not. So if finding a meaningful connection is your goal, it's best to be sober and present in every way.

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