Drink Like A Fish? How To Date Someone Who Doesn’t Share Your Vice

July 16, 2013  |  
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Every couple will have their differences—big and small—and while, for the most part, we appreciate one another’s differences, and even try each other’s habits/viewpoints on for size, there is one difference that you just can’t mess with: vices that you don’t share. For the sake of this article, we’ll use alcohol as an example. But the rules apply to almost any vice from smoking to online shopping.

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If he says it’s okay for you to drink, drink

It’s always considerate to ask your partner if he minds you ordering a drink, or pouring yourself one, before you do. When he says it’s okay, do have that drink. He’ll only feel guilty knowing you’re depriving yourself of something you want if you skip it. And he’ll think you underestimate him, assuming he can’t be in the presence of alcohol at all.

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Remember, he’s always sober

So when you get home buzzing from girl’s night, he will remember the crazy things you say while drunk. Or the rude things. Or the clingy things…He won’t forget them. And he won’t write them off as “she was drunk” because it was all very real to him.

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He’s not on your level

You may feel like acting silly because you’ve had a few drinks but keep in mind, he’s not on your level. So he may not enjoy watching a sloppy lingerie show, as much as you enjoy giving one. Don’t get angry with him if he’s not that into it. You wouldn’t be either if you were sober.

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You can’t have a real issue with the substance

If you’re a “normal” drinker with no abuse problems, you and your partner should be able to navigate this difference just fine because he is aware of his shortcomings/control over the situation, and you’re aware of yours. But if you are currently dealing with alcohol abuse problems—even the slightest amount (like needing a drink every night after work)—this will bring up too many uncomfortable memories for your partner.

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Keep it mellow around him

It’s fine if you like to go have a good old-fashioned get-trashed night with your friends sometimes. But keep that behavior away from your partner. Just because he’s accepting of your drinking, doesn’t mean he has to be thrown into the depths of it.

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Don’t let him make you feel guilty

You don’t make him feel guilty for not drinking, and he shouldn’t make you feel guilty for drinking. You should have mutual respect for one another’s choice on the matter. He shouldn’t give you a judgmental look for ordering a drink.

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Don’t become a hermit

Part of becoming a functioning sober individual is realizing that most of the world does drink. And it’s unrealistic to expect to stay away from alcohol entirely. To be fair to you, your partner should still attend functions with you where there will be alcohol. He can’t expect you to hide out with him.

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Get creative about dates

If your dates are always at a bar, your partner will always feel a little left out. So take this opportunity to think of unique date ideas like cooking classes, kayaking, hiking and dancing classes.

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Never tempt him

Never ever say to him, “One drink won’t hurt you” or “I won’t judge you if you give in just this once…” He needs you to rule with an iron fist, just as he is ruling himself. Even if your partner knows he can resist temptation, he’ll feel disrespected if the person meant to love him and support him put that temptation there.

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Give your friends a figurative slap on the wrist if they tempt him

You’ll have friends who try to tempt him, and so will he! Talk to them in private if you can about not offering him drinks. And if you have to, say in the moment, “I told you he doesn’t drink. Leave it alone.”

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Give sobriety a try yourself

You might love it! And at the very least, your partner will appreciate that you’re willing to experience what he’s experiencing.

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Keep other drinks in the house

As adults, we can forget to keep anything but water and wine in the house! But juice and soda isn’t just for kids: your sober partner will appreciate the gesture.

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Don’t bring your raging friends around him

If you have friends who consistently go too hard on the booze, don’t bring them around your partner. You can hang with them on your own time.

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  • hollyw

    What an interesting article…

    I’ve been on both sides. I was sober all of high school, college, AND grad school dating. My partners’ drinking never bothered me, but then again, they tended not to drink as much around me… Then I dated a guy who did (like, every night), and suddenly I had a problem. I didn’t get how he felt until I began drinking socially, too, and the next guy started to question it…

    Moral of the story, just attract like and you’ll never have a problem!!