Here Are Three Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Find Out.
“As an alcoholic, you will violate your standards quicker than you can lower them.” — Robin Williams
When I decided to stop drinking two years ago I didn’t do it for anything related to my relationship.
I was dating Lena (then girlfriend-now wife) at the time, but there was no reason to think that there was a reason that alcohol was hurting us. We LOVED to drink. It actually was one of the things that we felt really brought us together, as we both loved to drink and party with the best of them.
However, over the past two years I recognized that, while alcohol was a great source of excitement and joy for us, there were a number of ways in which it hurt our relationship greatly that we only recognized after we both decided to give it up together.
Could this be the same for your relationships?
Perhaps…but it’s always challenging to make any blanket statements about something that is as personal as an individual’s relationship with alcohol or with others.
However, there are three simple questions that you can ask yourself that could give you a sense of whether alcohol is hurting your relationships and your chances of finding AND KEEPING true love.
HAVE YOU MOSTLY DATED PEOPLE FROM BARS/NIGHTCLUBS OR WON’T DATE PEOPLE WHO DON’T DRINK?
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that you can’t find great people at bars or nightclubs. I’ve dated more than a few amazing women that I’ve met while out drinking with buddies.
However, the reality for me was that almost EVERYONE I dated for some time was someone that I met while I was out on a night on the town.
Inevitably this would start with me meeting this person on the dance floor asking if they wanted to dance or if I could buy them a drink and then end with us waking up next to each other the next morning, not really knowing more about each other than what we were able to decipher and remember in our booze-filled night.
And if I wasn’t meeting this person out while partying, I was meeting them through some app and always suggesting that we go out for drinks to get to know each other.
If they suggested anything like “coffee,” I would usually be aghast because I figured this person wasn’t going to be fun and would typically let our communication die out.
In fact, I NEVER dated anyone who wouldn’t drink. I even remembered having numerous conversations with friends and while even on dates that if someone doesn’t drink, then there is no way that I would date them because I just enjoyed it too much.
Therefore, this was always a prerequisite when considering if I would date others, and my test would be to suggest that our first date (9 times out of 10) was some type of interaction involving alcohol.
What you can imagine is that this turned into a lot of good times but not a lot of very substantial relationships built on much more than physical attraction and the ability to have fun while drinking.
Not to say that this isn’t important, but this is a rather low bar when thinking about trying to find someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life.
For me, this reduced the pool of amazing women that I could have the chance to get to know dramatically, as well as caused me to spend lots of time and energy on people with whom I didn’t really have a lot in common other than this love for drinking and partying.
DO YOUR WORST ARGUMENT ALWAYS HAPPEN WHILE DRINKING?
My wife is pretty much one of the most easy-going people that you can imagine. She is not a push-over, by any means, but at the same time, she is not someone who is going to sweat the small things.
She typically has a good way of looking at things when it comes to allowing things to stress her out or getting mad about something or someone based on circumstances that are outside of an individual’s control.
In other words, she doesn’t sweat the small sh*t.
I am very similar to her in regards to this, and it’s one of the reasons that we get along so well. We just don’t allow things to get under our skin very easily and typically are able to see things from someone else’s point of view, which allows us to be very easy going across the board when others may get upset or frustrated.
But when we were drinking, this would all go right out the window.
Well, maybe not ALL out the window, but we definitely changed a bit. We were still very much the same people and still able to see things from the other person’s point of view.
However, when we began to discuss something that one or both of us were passionate about, we had an alcohol-infused stubbornness to not let it go. Usually, these were topics that probably would’ve turned into a bit of a heated debate without alcohol.
If we weren’t drinking, however, one of us, if not both, would recognize the silliness of such an argument and just decide that it wasn’t worth it in the grand scheme of things just to be “right.”
Once we had a few shots of Ciroc Rasperry in our system, however, and our prefrontal cortexes were impaired enough to affect our decision-making, we both decided that mankind’s existence itself depended on one of us winning this argument definitively, and we would not let it go.
This turned into a few very big arguments and even led to us breaking up for some time completely. We’ve been together for four years (two years without drinking and two years with drinking before that).
I couldn’t tell you how many times we had a serious argument about “something” when we were drinking, but I can tell you how many times we’ve had one since we’ve stopped.
Not that we don’t have disagreements and still have passionate discussions about things, but it just never turns into that large-scale, end-of-the-world argument that we sometimes had before since alcohol isn’t affecting our ability to see what’s truly important in the long run.
DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO BE FAITHFUL WHEN DRINKING?
By faithful, I don’t mean that you are going out and actually cheating on your significant other.
What I’m more referring to is that when you are drinking, do you find the “thought” of it more than you do when you’re sober. Do you find yourself thinking about what it would be like to get to know that new guy or girl at the office?
Do you find yourself subtly flirting with someone at a happy hour with friends, saying or doing something that you know your significant other wouldn’t be happy with, but you’re just trying to enjoy yourself at the moment?
For some people, alcohol doesn’t have this effect on them. They drink, hang out with friends, and the thought of cheating on their girlfriend or boyfriend never crosses their minds.
For others, however, when they drink it’s almost as if their sexual pheromones are on overdrive, and the desire to talk and interact with someone that they are attracted to in a sexual manner becomes challenging to deny.
For many people, they see it as harmless fun and figure it’s not going to lead anywhere.
However, there are times in which this goes further than one expects and then that person is left having done something that they will either have to tell their significant other or hold as a secret for as long as the relationship lasts.
How many movies have we seen or stories have we heard of that it can be this ONE night and this ONE slip-up that could cause the demise of an amazing relationship because it’s so hard to recover from such a betrayal?
Personally, for me when I was put in these situations, I would just take it as a sign that it was time to break up with the person I was dating at the time. If I was having this desire for someone else, then I figured that meant that the relationship I was in wasn’t giving me all I needed.
And while perhaps this may have been true in some situations, there were probably a number of relationships that I ended prematurely because I was just too focused on filling my alcohol-infused desires than truly assessing if the current relationship I was in was the right thing for me.
Alcohol appears to do a lot of good things for us as it relates to meeting people, having fun, and even creating these relationships that I am writing about in this article.
And while it’s hard to deny that alcohol isn’t great at initiating the creation of relationships, I think there could be some major debate on whether it’s the best for maintaining them.