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Many couples share hilarious stories about "how drunk they were" when they met, or how their alcohol consumption played a part in the beginnings of their romance. Alcohol is not nicknamed "liquid courage" for nothing, as it provides people with a sense of confidence, lowers inhibitions and self-doubt. Alcohol is the social lubrication that helps break the ice.
How many couples do you know who met at a bar, party or happy hour with alcohol as enabling the beginning of their relationship, either by facilitating the first nerve-wracking "hello" to assisting at the first dinner date?
Of course, there is a down-side to using alcohol as the catalyst for building relationships, as a long-term relationship does run the risk of becoming dependent on alcohol.
What are the warning signs that your relationship is dependent on alcohol?
1. Expectancy Effects: Your overall attitude and perception towards alcohol, and what you expect alcohol to do for you. Is alcohol an important factor in your life (choosing a hang-out based on type of alcohol, alcohol specials, etc), or are your friends or partner what make the night memorable to you? Are you able to go out some nights without alcohol playing a major role?
2. Time Together: How often do you two spend time together when alcohol is NOT involved? Are you both spending most of your time around large groups of people who are also drinking, or do you spend some quality time alone getting to know each other, participating in activities you both enjoy.
3. Personality Enhancement: Are you both using alcohol to continue facilitating stimulating or comical communication? Do you think when you are slightly buzzed, you are more likable or interesting to your partner? Are you most happy and giddy around your partner when you are slightly inebriated?
4. Sex: Sex is a learned behavior, and if you began having sex together under the influence of alcohol, you may find yourself in "state dependent learning" where you are primarily aroused when one/both of you are intoxicated.