Love

I Drink, My Guy Doesn't — And We're Happily In Love

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woman holds a glass of fruit alcohol in nature

The straight-edge movement began within the punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s. The original straight edgers didn't drink, do drugs, smoke, sleep around or partake in any of the other "hedonistic" elements that had come to define the music scene at the time.

Since then, some have taken the straight-edge lifestyle a step further by adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet and refraining from pre-marital sex and caffeine.

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My boyfriend is straight edge. I am not. Actually, I quite enjoy a glass (or bottle) of white wine on the right occasion. So when I first introduced AJ to my parents and he ordered a soda? Well, it was a little awkward because I come from an Italian family that likes to DRINK. But it's no problem now.

Dating AJ meant getting used to paying for my own drinks and seeing him as the sole non-drinker in a group of my friends.

I used to worry that he'd be irritated if I wanted to have a few beers while watching the football game or if I got a little too tipsy while on a night out with friends.

But I was surprised at how accepting he was of my beliefs—as long as I was accepting of his. I am not judgmental or pushy about him being a non-drinker, and he doesn't push his lifestyle onto me, either.

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Why is AJ straight edge? He always says something to this effect: "In a world that's plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, where those substances are seen as an easy way out of day-to-day struggles, I want to keep my mind and body clean and clear, and rise above the easy crutches." Even though I'm a drinker, this makes sense to me.

Some people can't imagine dating a non-drinker. After all, alcohol lets us loosen up, open up about our secrets and have a carefree time. But dating a teetotaler has been pretty incredible. Why? He always remembers what happened the night before.

He never uses the "I was drunk" excuse. He saves a great deal of money when going out. He's always my designated driver.

And, most importantly, because there aren't any drugs or alcohol in his system, he always says what he means and never says anything he'll later regret. So the first time he told me he loved me, I knew he meant it.

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People always ask me: Don't you feel awkward? Doesn't he get mad? Don't you feel weird if you get drunk in front of him?

The answer to all of these questions is simply, no. We are in love. Alcohol doesn't equal fun, after all. But having a fun personality does.

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Emily Longeretta is the senior features editor at Variety. 

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