I Don’t Drink—Here’s How That Affects My Dating Life

Coming from a family of alcoholics, I’ve always had a conflicting relationship with drinking. I used to indulge occasionally until I decided I just didn’t like the taste or the feeling of it and I gave up alcohol for good. Dating has become a whole new ball game because of it.

Conversations are a lot harder without alcohol to fall back on.

I’m quite shy and tend to suffer from anxiety, and this is something drinking usually helps with. Not being able to drink means that I have to fully embrace the bad nerves, awkwardness, and sheer terror that comes with meeting a person for the first time. We don’t talk enough about how hard it is to make your own courage when a margarita can’t swoop in to save the day.

It reduces the size of my dating pool.

Goodbye to going to bars to meet guys. Goodbye to the eligible partners who inevitably ghost me once they learn I don’t drink. It seems weird that there are people who will consider sobriety a legitimate reason to not date someone, but it’s a thing. Luckily, I know it’s their loss, not mine.

I get sober-shamed a lot.

It always starts with the seemingly innocuous disbelief. “You don’t drink alcohol?” Then comes the questioning, the wide-eyed disbelief, the judgment you didn’t ask for. When I tell guys I don’t drink, a good number spend the rest of the day trying to convince me to give drinking another shot. My friends who are vegetarians face fewer attacks for their choices than I do. It’s not that serious, people. My not drinking doesn’t make me a better or worse person, and it definitely doesn’t deserve the name calling.

My time and efforts get wasted a lot less.

How people react when I tell them I don’t drink will determine if there will be a second date. I see no point in giving my time and energy to close-minded people who can’t see beyond their preconceived notions. Without alcohol to cloud my judgment, I can tell whether a date is going really well and how much I like the person I’m with.

Splitting

the bill is a very sore subject. Call me uptight or whatever, but I’m never going to be cool with paying for drinks I didn’t have. I’m cool with splitting the bill in half for our meals, but it gets awkward real fast when I’m expected to pay for the three glasses of whiskey I didn’t take a sip out of.

It makes me see my dates for who they really are.

The beauty of not drinking is it helps you strip away the filters that alcohol tends to pull over your eyes and mind. Having a clear head helps me pay attention to things I’d otherwise have missed. I remember things as they actually happened. I can tell when he’s pretending to listen or checking out other women out the corner of his eye.

I always have to be myself.

It’s a tad unfair that people who drink can hide under the influence of alcohol to get away with doing all sorts of questionable things. Not drinking means I have no cover story for poor decisions. If I send a sloppy text or act like a clown, I have to own it. This makes me very self-conscious because my senses are always alert even when I want to let loose and do simple things like dancing or singing karaoke.

Guys use it as an excuse to not invite me to stuff.

I broke things off with the last guy I went out with because he would always leave me out any of any event that involved alcohol. His reason was that since I don’t drink, he didn’t think I would have enjoyed going. The belief that non-drinkers can’t have fun at parties needs to die. I love a good party; I love hanging out and doing all kinds of stuff. The fact that I don’t drink doesn’t change that.

It makes me come off as overly serious.

People see me as this high-maintenance, formal chick who spends her time passing judgment on people who drink. I couldn’t be farther from this person. Grabbing drinks is the most casual, low-pressure date of all, but I sound like a super buzzkill when I suggest something different.

No more hot drunk sex.

This is one thing that I genuinely miss. Some of the best sex of my life has happened under the influence. I still have a great time in the sheets, but I sometimes miss that ungovernable wave of desire that only a few glasses of wine can unleash.

I get to go on more interesting dates.

With getting drinks out of the picture, my dates and I have to come up with other alternative date ideas. It’s surprising how much fun you can have without a drink in your hand. It creates a stronger connection with my partners and I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the tequila in the world.

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