Have you ever tried an adult relationship without it?
“Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony.” — Robert Benchley
As I think back on all of my previous relationships, I often think of alcohol as being more of the reason that they actually ever developed as opposed to failing.
Dating without alcohol involved seems like a very challenging thing to do if not downright impossible.
When you are meeting someone that you haven’t met before, the thought of spending an hour or two with them and trying to think of something to talk about during that time could seem daunting.
While it doesn’t seem that this was the explicit reason for which alcohol was created, it seems like one of the great by-products of which I think we can all agree seems very beneficial.
However, as with most things that initially appear to be helpful in a shortcut-you-don’t-really-have-to-do-all-the-hard-work type of way, I’ve recognized that this crutch of inebriation probably hurts more chances at love than helps in the long run if you really think about it.
I think, for many, alcohol has not only made it more difficult to find the love of their life, but it is actually the reason that a few possible relationships that could’ve actually worked out have fallen by the wayside.
There are three distinct reasons to support this that relate to the creation of relationships, the maintenance of relationships, and what usually leads to the ending of relationships.
Alcohol can create false chemistry
The thing about alcohol is that it actually probably works a little too well in many cases.
I would venture to say in the long, storied history of online dating and blind dates that there have been numerous instances in which one or both parties quickly reach the conclusion that they have little to nothing in common with the person that is in front of them.
However, after a few drinks and a bit of loosening up, they start to realize that they do have one thing in common: the desire to have fun.
This could possibly turn into a night in which they do a number of things that they would not have expected at the beginning of the night and wake up the next day thinking they have met the person of their dreams.
While this could very well be the case, to make such an assessment in an extreme, or even slight, inebriated state probably wouldn’t be the condition in which most people would think to come to this conclusion.
The thing about drinking alcohol, and how it has changed people’s lives since its creation, is that it has a way of making it appear there is some type of “chemistry” between individuals when this just might not be the case.
This said “chemistry” is usually just our innate desire to have fun and enjoy ourselves and for those who like to drink a bit and let it go, this could turn into a lot of fun under the right circumstances, i.e., amount of alcohol.
The problem with this is that after the night is over and perhaps you have done a thing (or two) that you wouldn’t usually do, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle.
This sometimes turns into individuals just ghosting others, as they recognize the error of their way and sober up to their non-inebriated self. For others, this actually may continue to escalate into a “what-the-hell-we-have-fun” type of “entanglement” that could turn into a full relationship with time.
It’s only after a bit of time in which serious situations and events occur that one or both individuals realize that a relationship based on partying and having fun may not be established on the soundest of foundations.
Alcohol causes arguments about nothing that turn into something
Arguments are going to happen in any relationship in which you have two people living in the same household and in each other’s space all the time.
However, one thing that is absolutely apparent based on how many times that I’ve experienced it in the past, alcohol will turn a seemingly innocuous conversation of whether Family Guy or South Park is better into a yelling, screaming, I-may-never-speak-to-you-again fight.
For whatever reason, alcohol adds just enough fuel to the fire that your mind will not allow you to back down for almost any reason. It’s one of those unexplainable phenomenons in which, at the moment, nothing seems more important than winning that specific argument and defending your point of view.
However, when you look back on it the next day, very few things could be sillier than whether Big Bird or Elmo is the most famous character on Sesame Street.
My now-wife, then-girlfriend, broke up one time before we decided that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. We rarely ever argued and when we did, we typically were able to talk it through and work it out pretty easily.
In this particular scenario, however, there was a fair amount of alcohol involved and neither of us was going to back down from our position. This initially benign argument escalated into a number of other things being said which then escalated into me leaving and us breaking up for six months.
I would venture to ask how many other individuals have been in similar situations in which alcohol was involved and what could’ve been a mild disagreement or debate turned into something much more sinister and impactful.
I’ve talked to numerous married couples about what are the reasons that they feel their relationships have lasted as long as they have and the majority of them have one piece of advice in common:
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
By that, they mean you don’t have to always be right. You don’t have to win every argument. You don’t have to point out every little flaw or annoying thing that you think your partner might do.
Unfortunately, that is typically one of the side effects of being a little inebriated. Things that you would let go of when you were sober and think weren’t a big deal all of a sudden become a very big deal when you’re a little tipsy, and this often turns a small thing into a much bigger thing.
Who knows how many relationships you may have saved if a silly drunk argument didn’t turn into something that could not be salvaged the next day.
Alcohol has definitely been the reason for this in many relationships.
Alcohol makes fidelity way more difficult
And this last reason is why I think more and more people should consider this.
While I never think anyone should use alcohol as an excuse as to why they have cheated on their partner, the reality is that when one is inebriated, certain decision-making skills that one would have while sober are just not as strong as they should be while drinking.
Sometimes, one of the issues in which infidelity takes place relates to the position that individuals put themselves in that they shouldn’t be in the first place.
When someone is sober, being asked to keep the party going at an after-party with a smaller group of people after 2 am sounds a bit sketchy, whereas when one is drunk, this may sound like the perfect way to continue the night.
As a guy who has been in a number of different “interesting” situations, I can assure you that most things taking place after 2 am are not situations in which most significant others would probably want their boyfriend or girlfriend.
While there is a very good chance that nothing crazy will happen, and one will not be tempted to cheat in any way, if there is any type of alcohol involved, one has to think that the chances of something improper happening go up dramatically.
As alluded to earlier, once that genie has been released, it’s impossible to put it back in the bottle and the cloud of any action in which your significant other would not approve could linger over your head every single day.
Some people may be able to get past this, but for many, it ruins the feeling of specialness in their own mind about their relationship, regardless of whether the person they are dating ever finds out about it or not. This could create a feeling that the relationship was not as special as they thought, and therefore, they are not ready to settle down.
While this could be true, it could also be true that just when one is drunk and around attractive people, one is going to have the urge to engage, and this can cross the line easily if one is not careful.
And, unfortunately, being careful is not one of alcohol’s known effects.
Alcohol is NOT the cause of all problems in relationships.
Everyone has their own things that they have to work through when it comes to spending a lot of time with someone and, eventually, building a life together.
However, with the number of difficulties that can come from this, bringing alcohol into the mix can make this much harder.
Whether it relates to choosing the wrong person because we’re only focused on fun, arguing about trivial things when we are in the relationship because we’re focused on winning, or potentially cheating on that person because we’re not being careful enough to ensure this doesn’t happen, alcohol can have a hand in all three of these things happening.
And while no one is saying that by not drinking you’ll find the love of your life tomorrow, there’s a much better chance that you won’t make all of the unforced errors above in the quest to do so.