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5 Reasons Your Drinking Destroyed Your Relationship

5 Reasons Your Drinking Destroyed Your Relationship

Let’s be blunt for a moment: being broken up with sucks. With each new relationship we get our hopes up that this may finally be the one; unfortunately, that sets us up to be wrong more often than not. While that hope for a bright future with your partner is by no means a bad thing, it’s important to keep a level head and truly consider your compatibility with your lover- otherwise, the end is nearly inevitable.

Sometimes relationships must end for the sake of love; other times it’s incompatibility in personalities or habits. In these cases, it may be beneficial to take a moment for self-reflection- especially if the problem seems to be a reoccurring trend in your love life. So think back: what are the most common reasons your relationships ended in the past? Clinginess? Emotional unavailability? Personal hygiene issues? Drinking?

Wait, what was that last one? Drinking? Well, that’s definitely something to look into: here are 5 reasons your drinking destroyed your relationship.

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You Prioritized Alcohol Over Your Lover

This one might seem pretty obvious- I mean, you would notice if you were neglecting your lover, right?

Right?

Not necessarily. Just as focusing on our careers can sometimes blind us to the other aspects of our lives which are suffering, alcohol abuse makes it hard to see anything else in our lives. Addiction is a disease of the mind for a reason- it completely hijacks your mind, rearranging your priorities. Even the most powerful love can be diminished in the face of feeding the demon of substance abuse.

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Thinking back, does that put things in perspective? Did you ever forget an important date due to your drinking? Or did you cancel your time together because you were nursing a hangover? Can you imagine how one could get the idea that they are not a priority when their significant other would rather drink than spend time with them? Good! Now make sure your next partner doesn’t have to feel that way.

You’re a Different Person When You’re Drunk

What’s the number one reason people enjoy drinking alcohol? For the lack of inhibitions, right? Having alcohol in your system makes it easier to do and say things we wouldn’t do otherwise. For some it’s about being able to relax in social situations which would normally induce anxiety; for others, it makes the party more fun. Everyone responds to alcohol differently- and the way you react to alcohol may be a problem.

Be truthful to yourself: are you an angry or aggressive drunk? Sexually inappropriate? Excessively emotional? If your partners frequently express that your personality changes when drinking are causing conflicts in your relationship, take heed; especially if these personality changes are paired with violence. 80 percent of domestic violence cases include the ingestion of alcohol.

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You Stopped Doing Anything That Didn’t Involve Alcohol

Do you find that you were once much more active and outgoing, but now you don’t have the same drive to get out and see things? You may account it to aging, but if perhaps you should re-examine that stance: could it be your alcohol consumption? Your body’s attempts to purge itself of alcohol after you overindulge can leave you sapped of energy, after all. If you no longer have the energy to enjoy hiking or going to the beach with your partner, but still find time to hit up a bar or liquor store, don’t be surprised when your lover decides to call it quits.

Consistency is the key to maintaining a romance, and if part of your bond is a mutual enjoyment of extroverted activities and you no longer wish to due to being preoccupied with alcohol, they may elect to find someone with a bit more attention to spare.

Your Sex Drive Plummeted

For some people, sex isn’t an important factor in their romantic relationships- but for others, it is very important. Unfortunately for you, your binge drinking and regular blackouts lead to neglecting your partner’s physical needs- there’s just nothing sexy about flopping on the bed like a wet fish.

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In men, too much alcohol can lead to sexual dysfunctions which make sex pretty much a moot point.

Your partner may feel that your sex life is a physical extension of your feelings toward one another; if your drinking is interrupting or causing a complete stop in that mode of expressing your love, they may feel neglected and unwanted. Of course, you are not obligated to provide this intimacy if you are genuinely disinclined, but don’t be too surprised when your partner announces they can no longer tolerate the rift your alcohol-fueled performance issues caused and they are opting out of the relationship.

You Communicate More with the Bottle Than with Your Partner

At the very basis of a functioning, healthy relationship is the ability to communicate openly with your partner about any and everything. That means no secrets or lies, and respecting your partner enough to include them in decisions which will effect both of you and your relationship. A breakdown in communication is a giant red flag that things may be going south.

Of course, you didn’t see those signs; you were too busy communicating with your best friend at the bottom of a bottle. Often, when one has a lover with an alcohol abuse problem, one tends to internalize blame, thinking their shortcomings are the cause of their loved one’s addiction. While of course we know this isn’t true, that thought process leads to heartache, bitterness, and, ultimately, the termination of your relationship.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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