Would You Date A Non-Drinker? (And Why Would He Want To Date You?)

Illustration for article titled Would You Date A Non-Drinker? (And Why Would He Want To Date iYou/i?)

Not too long ago a person expressed an interest in dating me. A few hours in, he revealed an interesting personality trait: he didn't drink, and never had! "Is that a dealbreaker?" he wondered. "Of course not," I would have lied, under ordinary circumstances, except that this was at least the third time in recent months that this has happened, and all three times the suitor in question has known, full-well, that I do, in fact, spend a lot of time drinking, because I sometimes reference it on this blog, so this time I couldn't help but ask: "What does a teetotaler see in a drunk like me?" To which he replied: "Well, I guess I just think being a drinker is just sort of sexy because it means someone has a certain amount of pain, and I relate to that." Now, there are a few ways I could have responded to this, from, "No one who has never been drunk has made one-tenth the bad decisions that would be required to know this kind of pain," to "If you really related to pain, hon, you'd be drinking." But really, I don't remember what I said, because the point is that I was just making a joke, which is what drunks do in awkward situations — well, aside from drinking more, of course.


Anyway, the interaction led to a certain amount of soul-searching, which of course got old fast and was thankfully naturally replaced by vague annoyance that someone would romanticize my "pain," not that the desire to romanticize one's pain doesn't play a role in many drunks' willing tolerance of their own pathetic drunkenness in the first place. But is there something culturally off about dating a non-drinker when you're a drunk, akin to the social awkwardness of dating someone who speaks a different native language? Or is it a matter of romantic age and expectation? After all, a person who's been drinking for twelve or thirteen years has known a lot more false intimacy than a person who hasn't, and maybe just instinctively distrusts a sober person's ability to separate real from false at the end of the day? Or are we just more fun?

Yeah, whatevs. I'm just making myself thirsty.

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I think it all depends on a person's reasons for not drinking. I dated a guy once who didn't drink because it was one of the ways to cope with bipolar disorder. It wasn't the non-drinking that split us up - it was his inability to integrate AT ALL with my social life.

On the other hand, I have two close friends who don't drink and yet still have a great time on a girls night out - alcohol just doesn't sit well with them, but they're always down for a good time.