I Quit Drinking And It Ruined My Dating Life

After a particularly turbulent episode of excessive partying last summer, I quit alcohol. I went cold turkey on it and stopped going to bars or anywhere shots were the main entertainment. My health and mental clarity improved for sure, but my dating life as I knew it was completely ruined.

  1. I was relying on alcohol as a crutch. Need a little confidence? Take a shot. Don’t know how to talk to that guy? Take a shot for ideas. I was completely relying on alcohol to guide me through the dating world. Needless to say, I wasn’t doing myself any favors. After quitting, I learned to accept myself as I am and to work on my weaknesses. Now I’m genuinely confident and don’t need liquor to cloud my judgment and give me a fake boost of motivation.
  2. I was drinking out of boredom and hooking up with guys I didn’t care about. Whenever I had nothing to do, I picked up a couple bottles of wine either alone or with friends and drank until something fun happened. My definition of “fun,” of course, was totally screwed. Fun at the time was a one-night stand with a stranger. Being sober showed me that this is doing way more harm than good. Since I quit alcohol, I’ve picked up sports and met some awesome guys on the running track who I actually want to date for good reasons.
  3. Not drinking made me realize I was wasting my time with losers. I kept wondering why every relationship I picked up ended in shambles and drama. Quitting alcohol opened my eyes wide to the fact that I was going out with jerks. None of these guys wanted more than a few hookups, yet I kept pushing them and wondering why they weren’t calling. Being sober made me value my time and see their real intentions. Quitting alcohol ruined my toxic dating life and I’m very grateful.
  4. I could no longer act like a reckless idiot and use alcohol as an excuse. Every time I hooked up with a guy out of desperation or made out with a married guy, I’d blame it on the good old “I was drunk” excuse. Not drinking left me no choice but to take full responsibility. I stopped messing with guys who weren’t single, became comfortable with the fact that some parties just didn’t provide opportunities for sex, and happily went home alone instead of crying over it.
  5. I realized I was insecure in bed. If you had asked me last year whether I could have sex sober, I would have said no. It was only after I quit alcohol that I realized I was completely paralyzed and frightened without it. While it took a period of adjustment, I realized that I’m actually really good and don’t need alcohol to mask my insecurities. Guys find that super attractive too because I’m really into the experience and not distracted by an alcohol veil.
  6. Going to bars to meet guys wasn’t an option anymore. Since I had firmly decided to steer clear from alcohol, I had to stay away from places that focus on it. Instead of bars, I had to find other spots to meet guys. While at first it was harder and awkward to strike conversations outside the bar, I later mastered flirting at museums and markets around town. The outcome was that I found way more quality guys who weren’t just after me for a one-night stand.
  7. For the first time in years, I had amazing conversations with guys. The change from regular small talk to deep topics like politics, religion and virtual reality were so refreshing. I stopped pretending to like sports and started talking about stuff I cared about and was engaged in.
  8. I started waiting longer to sleep with guys. While under the influence of alcohol I’d jump in bed with a guy after not even one but a half a date, I started waiting when I got sober. Lo and behold, this weeded out all the good guys from the douchebags in disguise. My old dating life was gone which made way for something much better.
  9. I realized that “my type” was horribly messed up. The type of guy I thought I liked was the one who’s always the life of the party. I wanted the guy who everyone admired. After I removed the alcohol blanket, I realized that I didn’t really want the guy himself; I wanted to make people think that I was cool by association. After quitting drinking, I stopped going for the party animal and focused on smart, nice guys instead.
  10. Sober, I realized when guys were playing me. Vicious mind games and trends like kittenfishing pop up all the time. It’s hard to keep track sober, not to mention under the influence of alcohol. Ever since I stopped partying, I became aware of guys who were trying to mess with my head and was able to escape immediately.
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.