When it comes to finding a relationship, there are always obstacles to the path of true love. Most people have a list - long or short - of deal-breakers; traits that they will not accept, compromise on, or adjust to when it comes to a potential partner. These can include their political orientation, whether they have kids, if they’ve been previously married, if they’re covered in piercings or tattoos, whether they smoke, or, very commonly, drink too much. 

But what about the opposite - someone who doesn’t drink at all? Detox.net, an online resource for finding drug and alcohol addiction detox centers, surveyed 3,375 single Americans to find out how many people would not date a teetotaler, or nondrinker, and who couldn’t even fathom being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share a few drinks with them. This could, of course, demonstrate how some people come to form a dependence on alcohol within their relationships.

Firstly, the survey made the startling discovery that over 1 in 10 Alaska singles (15%) would NOT date a teetotaler, period (compared to a national average of 14%). However, if given a binary choice between dating a teetotaler, and someone who drinks too much, 12% would opt for the latter. This does change slightly when it comes to gender: 19%of men would definitely date someone who drinks too much compared to just 5% of women.

Nearly 1 in 5 singles (18%) admit they would be disappointed if they discovered on a first date that their date didn’t drink alcohol. This could be due to an element of feeling judged - that the nondrinker had a more moralistic approach and was able to control themselves better than the one who likes a drink or two. But, the main reason people drink on a date is to potentially boost their confidence; after all, 31% of singles said that dating is definitely harder without alcohol and more than a quarter (29%) say they need a bit of liquid courage before they even go on a date.

When it comes to online filtering, 3 in 4 singles (75%) think nondrinkers should state that they abstain from alcohol on their online dating profiles so they know in advance whether they are happy to meet up with them, or not. Another potential deal-breaker Detox.net found was that 38% wouldn’t date a potential partner who smokes tobacco or uses other substances.

Finally, a significant 13% of people say they have been in relationships where the only thing they had in common with a partner was drinking. Alcohol dependency can have major effects on romantic relationships in the most destructive ways. Detox.net provides the following advice on how to avoid forming alcohol dependencies within relationships:

·      Focusing alcohol consumption on romantic interactions and activities can lead to alcohol dependency within the relationship. To avoid alcohol dependency in romantic relationships, couples should participate in intimate activities that are not centered around alcohol consumption, such as date nights and learning new skills together. 

·      Singles should avoid seeking out romantic partners who are overly indulgent when it comes to alcohol consumption. Seeking out partners with healthy drinking habits is very effective in limiting the potential for alcohol dependency in romantic relationships. 

·      Intimate activities within romantic relationships should not be based on alcohol consumption. Singles should opt for dates that are not centered around drinking. This can create a positive and healthy foundation for a potential relationship. 

·      Although having a drink on a date can suppress anxiety and nerves, singles should look for healthy ways to deal with dating anxiety by communicating with their potential partners. Drinking to pacify one’s anxiety could create an unhealthy pattern in any potential relationship. 

·      Couples should also avoid turning to alcohol when there is conflict within the relationship and should find healthier ways to deal with conflict and frustration. 

·      Counseling is an important tool when dealing with alcohol dependency in relationships, and is a healthier option for couples dealing with this issue.

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