Alcohol & Romantic Relationships: Reflections & Advice from Oar’s Ambassadors

Oar Health Editorial Team


Apr 02, 2024

It’s complicated. 

If alcohol and romantic partnership had a relationship status, “complicated” would sum it up. Alcohol, dating and sex have been intermingled as long as alcohol, dating and sex have existed — which is a long time. 

Some people are able to use alcohol within healthy limits while dating. Others find that alcohol compromises their decision-making in the short run and limits their relationships in the longer run. Many find that drinking less or quitting allows them to broaden and deepen authentic connections to their partners.

We asked Oar’s ambassadors to share their experiences. Read on for their reflections and advice.

Several ambassadors described the ways in which alcohol impaired their dating choices and strained relationships:

“Alcohol has helped jump start many relationships, but later sabotaged them too. Sometimes drinking becomes the thing you do in your relationship.”

— Oar Ambassador JC

"I've damaged several romantic relationships over the years to due to my alcohol abuse. Whether it be isolating from someone I love, being drunk during important holidays, or just not showing up at all for a date, I've hurt my relationships because of alcohol."

— Oar Ambassador TJ

“When we drink to the point of being drunk, we are no longer our authentic selves. This can cause toxic relationships with people we would have never chosen to be with had our minds been clear and sober.  As a female, drinking while dating led to horrible life consequences. I am not someone who can casually have one drink. It turns into an all-consuming force. I'm a different, worse version of me. And some in the dating pool use that to their advantage. It’s very dangerous.”

Oar Ambassador AM

“Alcohol, a recurring motif in my past relationships, led me to accept partners and behaviors I wouldn't have entertained under different circumstances. Notably, it's unsurprising that many of my ex-partners also struggled with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)." 

— Oar Ambassador KS

“My drinking had an extremely negative effect on my relationship. It caused many arguments and strain on the relationship to the point where our five year extremely happy relationship was going to end. This was the reason I tried Oar.” 

— Oar Ambassador AG

“Alcohol has had an extremely negative effect on my romantic relationships. I ended up divorcing my first husband after his second DUI. I met my second husband in a bar and ended up in an explosive, abusive marriage.”

— Oar Ambassador SS

Other ambassadors described how a better relationship with alcohol enabled a deeper, more authentic relationship with their partners:

“I am six months sober, and our relationship has never been better. My partner loves the fact I do not drink. He also does not drink so we now share that common bond.”

— Oar Ambassador AG

“Distancing myself from alcohol revealed a profound connection with myself. My confidence has surged, and I feel genuinely attractive.”

— Oar Ambassador KS

“Drinking less for me and my partner has allowed us to start new activities together. We no longer plan our dates around where to get drinks, but instead plan to be active, hike, run, or just be outside.”

— Oar Ambassador NC

"Since I stopped drinking with the assistance of Oar, I have become a different person. I met someone, and I — for the first time — can just be myself and not hide behind alcohol. It doesn't bother me that he drinks. If anything it just shows me not drinking is making my life better every single day.

— Oar Ambassador JO

“Cutting back on drinking has positively impacted my relationship by fostering a greater variety of shared experiences. With a clearer mindset, we explore diverse activities, deepen our connection, and create lasting memories that go beyond the confines of alcohol-centric interactions.”

— Oar Ambassador SC

“There has been less fighting, as I remember things the next day. In the same vein, I am actually making memories.”

Oar Ambassador FD

"Once I stopped drinking, my relationship improved significantly in many ways. I am calmer, less anxious, less reactive = less fighting. I have found my self confidence again and am proud and relieved to live alcohol free."

— Oar Ambassador AN

I am six months sober, and I have gained the trust back of my wife of twenty three years. We are enjoying being around each other. And my children have told my wife they like the new daddy now that he is in a much better mood and is fun to be around.

— Oar Ambassador GP

“Since I stopped drinking all together my relationship with my husband has grown immensely! We can do so much more together because I’m not drained of energy or motivation, I am capable of having more intimate conversations, and we are even enjoying classes together at our church. I am so grateful for Oar Health and the chance to truly live again!”

— Oar Ambassador JJ

"My partner and I used to regularly buy a large jug of wine and drink it in a night. We both experienced hangovers feeling miserable the next day. Our relationship suffered from it. Eventually we separated. About a year ago her family found her drunk at the foot of her stairs and did an intervention. They sent her to a rehab group where she lived for a couple of months with no outside contact. Now she is alcohol free and I use naltrexone to control my drinking. We are back together with a wonderful relationship. We took different paths to defeat alcohol but we now have a wonderful, caring relationship. Excess alcohol destroys relationships and lives."

— Oar Ambassador JA

“It has made my relationship so much stronger. We communicate now sober instead of drunk rambling.”

— Oar Ambassador KR

“Quitting drinking has saved my relationship. I am more present. I am more proactive in planning dates and activities. I don't take several "naps" per day. And, my girl loves all of this. I didn't realize how disconnected I was when drinking ... until I stopped.”

— Oar Ambassador CR

If you are considering changing your relationship with alcohol, you can find more resources from Oar here. And if you’re newly sober, we have a guide to romance and sex just for you.

About The Author

Oar is a telemedicine platform that makes science-backed, medication-assisted addiction treatment approachable and accessible for millions of consumers who feel excluded by the current treatment landscape and who may have a wide range of goals, from moderation to abstinence.

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