I have chosen to omit real names from this piece to protect those that contributed their answers.
Research supports that being an equally matched couple in regards to alcohol consumption gives you a better success rate. One study reports that “over the course of the nine-year study, nearly 50 percent of couples where only one partner drank more heavily wound up divorcing, while the divorce rates for other couples was only 30 percent. (‘Heavy drinking’ was defined as drinking six or more drinks at one time or drinking to intoxication.)”
The research does not make conclusions as to why this is, but I think I have an obvious idea. This problem is that, unfortunately, there are a lot of boring, unimaginative people in the world, drinkers & non-drinkers alike. As a Salon.com article says, “I always knew that alcohol made me feel so much more interesting. What I hadn’t fully realized is how it made other people so much more interesting.”
If every date you go on requires a drink, you should probably work on being more creative. There are museums, zoos, art galleries, board game nights, movie screenings, bowling alleys, yoga classes, parks, and lots and lots of food to be eaten. Not to mention, you can have a drink at most of these places and everyone can enjoy themselves.
One Tumblr user says, “I’m 23 and I will not message anyone under 21 cause like what the fuck are you supposed to do besides go to the bar (will he still go)?” and a Twitter user added, “I don’t have a problem with non-drinkers, but could never date one. Beers and breweries and food are a big part of my life.”
On a related note, non-drinkers (short of recovering alcoholics) are allowed and often go on their own accord to places in which alcohol is solved, especially those in their twenties. Non-drinkers can go to bars, brewery tours, vineyards, and other alcohol-centric places, and even better… they can drive you home! If a sober person has decided to attend one of these places with a date it’s because they want to be there with you, or they’re afraid to stand up for themselves (which is a much bigger issue). Most likely, they’re not uncomfortable and you shouldn’t be either. Remember, people go through periods in their life in which they are unable to drink, e.g. pregnancy, jobs, illness, etc.
Unfortunately, the consensus aligns much closer to the opinion of this Twitter user: “I just wanna be able to do what I enjoy with my guy and that means throwing back some craft beers in a pub, without having to think, “Am I drinking too much? Are they having fun?” I wanna be myself.”
According to National Institutes of Health, 35% of US adults 18 & older say they do not drink at all. Assumptions are made that non-drinkers are judgmental or have something wrong with them but there are many people that don’t drink that choose not to broadcast it in the same way that not all vegans go around lecturing you. Perhaps people should stop hanging out with smug, judgmental, self-righteous people. Non-drinkers are people too and they don’t want to be treated like second-class citizens in the dating world because they prefer to be sober. I know many people are afraid to dedicate daylight hours to a date but sunlight and sobriety make it a lot easier to get to know someone. If you need someone to be drinking to get to know them, perhaps you are a bit socially inept?
A Twitter user provides some insight, “I think people automatically judge LOTS of things way too soon, they make assumptions based on a few facts – so it’s easy to come up with excuses not to get close & commit.”
Is your life so focused on alcohol that you cannot bear to sleep with someone that doesn’t drink? Are you so passionate about craft beers that the person you date must also enjoy craft beers? How deep do these associations go? Can you date a vegetarian if you’re not one? Can you date someone that doesn’t like the same sports teams as you? Can you date someone that doesn’t like Game of Thrones? How many things are on your mandatory list? Are you possibly just really picky? Perhaps, that’s okay since most people seem to be on the same page, at least on Twitter:
“I feel like anyone who has just never drank would be too judgmental of those who did.”
“In my experience, it doesn’t work because they usually have hang ups about alcohol, which is a dealbreaker.”
“Not a deal breaker on its face, but judgmental as it may sound it seems indicative of traits I won’t like.”
“Preconceived notions of Bible lover, uptight, or prior drinking issues. Outings may be awkward if date does drink”
A few people did speak up in defense, one user saying: “I think having your ideal person so defined is also why people end up falling so short of getting that.”
Being judgmental should be a dealbreaker. Being pretentious, being self-righteous, being narcissistic should be a dealbreaker (and many users did agree that judgmental non-drinkers were really the problem). Not enjoying going to the same places—that’s a dealbreaker. But, if you’re sitting at a bar and the attractive, down-to-earth, funny, smart, creative, ambitious person in front of you orders a coke instead of a rum and coke, are you really going to walk away?
If so, please send them to me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.