Where are you going to meet your next match? Is it through online dating apps or sites? Is it at a bar? Is it walking around the lake in your hometown, being yourself?
How Do You Seek Happiness?
I know I am happier when I’m in a relationship. I know I can also be very sad while in a relationship. So, I think we can agree that relationshiping is a double-edged sword. When we are in the early phases of “dating” to see if we’re going to be “relating” is easy to add wine and tequila to the mix. But why do you want to cloud your judgment? Why do you want to accelerate your “fun” with something that is actually a depressant?
Let’s rethink our relationship with alcohol.
What do you want from drinking alcohol?
- Forgetting hard stuff
- Accelerating the movement towards sex
- Blissful abandon
- Thrills and risk
- That warm fuzzy feeling
Well, here’s the deal. Those feelings, while drinking, are not actually your real feelings. They are illusions fueled by the advertising and marketing industry to make you think a beer is required for any celebration. Why do we think of “happy hour” when we have good news to share with friends? Why don’t we think of “ice cream” for example? What if ice cream was marketed as a “high?” I know my body responds to ice cream more directly and cleanly than alcohol. Besides, if you have ANY previous run-ins with alcohol, you know how devastating it can be when a partner chooses the bottle over your companionship.
The things that you want from alcohol are actually the things you might need to examine more closely in your current life and lifestyle. If you are seeking an escape from your life, your predicament, your situation, your loneliness, you need to address those things SANS ALCOHOL. You need to work on yourself. You need some help, actually. It’s best if you have someone you can talk to, “reason things out with another person,” as they say in Al-Anon. Alcohol is not your friend. And your partner on alcohol is not necessarily the best example of their true personality and energy.
When Alcohol Becomes Your Friend
I know some people who relate to alcohol in a very intimate way. It’s their “Hi honey, I’m home” moment each night. It’s their release from the workday into their evening. It’s a high they are seeking. But here’s the reality. Introducing alcohol into your system actually creates more stress, more wear and tear on your physical body.
At some point in my past relationships with drinkers, the alcohol, the escape, became a bit more important than connecting with me. I don’t need to rehash that old dog, you can read about it in my book (The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue) but I would like to reset my own understanding from some more recent data, recent experiences with and without drinking.
Dating with Intention
Let’s talk about dating. When I’m dating, or looking to date, alcohol is one of my negative triggers. When I suggest a hello date and they immediately go for wine, happy hour, or some other murky location, my warning lights come on. If they have too many photos of their cocktail hour in their dating profiles, I’m swiping left, I’m saying NO, I’m not interested.
Why drink when you can relate? Why drink if you want to get to know the person before you go deeper into the kissing-and-sex part of the relationship? If you’re looking to hook up, I suppose alcohol is the lubricant the heart and mind needs to move forward with a questionable partner. If it’s just sex, if it’s just casual, I don’t recommend alcohol, but I’d be lying if I said I never used margaritas to seduce a newish partner. I have. The experience was exactly what I expected: shallow, orgasm-or-bust, sex. Not my jam. But I get it. There can be a time and a place for just that. So, if that’s you, and that’s where you’re at, go for it.
But I’m Seeking a Partner Not a FWB
The benefits part of a relationship should come a bit after you’ve established the friendship and spiritual connection with a new partner. When you put sex ahead of friendship, you’re making some choices that may not lead to the LTR (long-term relationship) you are hoping for. How many of us have found ourselves six weeks into a sexually-fueled relationship only to find there is NOTHING ELSE BETWEEN US? That’s happened to me several times since my divorce. And while the sex was fun, the ultimate result was a bit like junk food, I was full and bloated and sad.
So alcohol is a bit like sex. It clouds your judgment. It allows you to overlook some of the red flags that might be obvious if you were sober. In my plans, I want to meet my partner in a truthy place. I want a clear read on who they are and what they are about. Alcohol makes this clarity impossible. And it allows my sexual proclivities and urges to take over. I’m suddenly thinking with the little head, rather than the big head. And certainly, I’m not leading with my true heart.
I’m looking for LOVE, not SEX.
What are you seeking in your next relationship? Does alcohol play too big a part in your mating rituals? Perhaps meet for coffee rather than a glass of wine. See how your potential partner deals with life when they are not on anything but air and their connection with you.