How to have a fun AF Date Night

Let’s talk about Dating + Drinking. I wish I could write a blog post about how easy dating was while I was alcohol free. I really wish I could tell you how simple things were, that there was no drama, and all of my dating decisions were made under a perfectly clear mind. But I can’t.

Before becoming AF, date night was…..well, complicated. It always involved alcohol. Either a bottle of wine with dinner, a trip to one of our favorite micro breweries, and sometimes followed by a night cap at one of our hidden hole in the wall bars.

There were times it felt forced. Like-it’s Valentine’s Day, we got this babysitter, and even though we’re tired and have had a rough day let’s put on some nice clothes and go out. Other times it felt exciting. Like-we haven’t been out in so long let’s try to pack in as much “fun” as we possibly can.

In either of those scenarios the date usually resulted in me drinking too much. This always led to me arguing about something that had nothing to do with our relationship (like I wanted to stay and dance longer and Drew wanted to leave). And often times, the night ended with me crying or storming out-followed by a morning of apologizing, embarrassment, and regret. Fun times.

Brene Brown has taught me that you can’t selectively numb. So, when I tried to numb away the feelings of stress or irritability from the day I also numbed away joy and happiness. Or, when I tried to beef up the happiness and excitement because I was feeling so void of it, I ended up numbing it away all together.

Luckily those days are behind me and I have more fun on dates now than ever. But, we’ve had to make some adjustments to not fall into the trap of feeling the need to drink.

Day Dates. I love love love our day dates. We both love coffee shops, tiny brunch places that we really can’t take the kids, and/or going to a movie during the day. It’s even better if it’s on one of those beautiful days and we can soak up the sun! When we are out during the day there is less pressure to drink and there is also less of a feeling of “missing out” because I’m not faced with seeing everyone else drinking. (Side note-it’s a lot easier to find a babysitter on a Sat. morning than on a Sat. night.)

Dinner at Home. I love to cook but I rarely have time to try a new recipe. When we have the opportunity to send the kids to their grandparents for the night there is nothing more fun than cooking together in the kitchen. We can make up some of our favorite mocktails, listen to music, and just have one of those slow paced dinners that just doesn’t always happen on a busy weeknight.

Adventure. I’m not gonna lie, I hate adventure. Actually, I don’t hate it-it’s just that I am super anxious about doing anything unknown. I like to control things and make unnecessary judgements about what it’s going to be like (zero fun). But Drew is all about it. He loves the outdoors, trying new things, and more. So, I try to "go with the flow" (even if that means I have sweaty hands and an elevated heart rate). This could be going on a long drive to see where it takes us, hiking, riding bikes, a new place to eat, etc. We have so much fun when we do this and I find myself looking forward to the next time we can do it again.

Travel. I know that it’s probably not feasible to just pick up and travel any time. However, having things to look forward to and going somewhere new is a great way to have fun. Experiencing new things is an epic way to leave those old expectations behind and forget about wanting to drink. Getting away is easy if we make the intention and plan (which can also be really fun).

Mindset. I have completely changed my mindset (thanks to a lot of personal development) and it’s made all the difference. I no longer think that dating and being drunk go hand in hand. I know that I can have fun in all kinds of way if I am open to new things, different settings, and change of pace.

I have to remind myself that the idea of a glass of wine in my hand in a fancy dark restaurant was the thing that appealed to me. In actuality the restaurant was dark- but I was slurring my speech, picking fights, and feeling irritable. We never looked like the “ad" that I was referring to and I am so glad that those days are behind me.

***In full disclosure, I was drunk in this picture (as if you didn’t already know that). I had just smarted off at the waitress in this really nice restaurant for giving us a “crappy" seat. It took me a week to heal from the emotional hangover (if you have had one you know and if you haven’t you’re lucky).****