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cave canem

cross post from chat: teetotaler young adults: how rare?

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Please do not quote.  Thank you.

My daughter is in college.  She hopes to marry some day. She is Christian. She is a teetotaler.  She wants to marry a teetotaler.    

She has found college males who don’t drink to be very scarce.  When I was in college I knew plenty of guys who didn’t drink at all. 

Do you know any college males who stay away from alcohol?  How unusual do you think that is?

cross posted here because you all might know more college students personally

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In my 3 kids' experience (one is a senior in college, but the other two have been attending colleges for the past few years for various endeavors, and have spent a lottttttt of time with the college students there) - a male, young adult who does not drink, vape, and/or smoke pot is extremely rare. Extremely. Even those amongst their friends/acquaintances who are majoring in religious studies and proclaim to "be" teetotalers! lol

It's not even that they party (none of these colleges have a huge Greek influence) all that much. It's just hanging out - drinking or smoking weed. It's just... what they seem to do!

I find it interesting.

I have a feeling that, perhaps, college aged men who are in their graduate studies would have a higher percentage of teetotalers. I think undergrads are often just pushing that "college experience" to its fullest potential and that they "grow out of it" by the time they're getting their master's degrees.

Edited by easypeasy
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IME, it's rare among college students, even among young men who were raised in homes/churches with no alcohol.  Still, there's a big difference between an occasional glass of wine with dinner or an occasional beer and getting plastered every weekend.  A young man who only drinks occasionally may be willing to give that up if the woman he loves lets him know that it bothers her.  However, if she falls in love with someone who has an occasional drink, she might also choose to accept that, particularly if he agrees to not drink alcohol in their home.  I've known a number of couples who have worked it out that way.  

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Really rare. This has been a hard reality for my two middles.  It was very hard for either of them to form close friendships in the first two years, since everyone else was bonding at "parties" on the weekends.  My dd who graduated this year said that the music conservatory students drank a bit less due to time spent practicing.  It seemed to her that everyone, college and conservatory, settled down and drank less in junior year, and many new friendships blossomed that year for her because of it.  I'm hoping this is true, as ds is entering junior year as a secular teetotaler and he has been really lonely because of it.  They were/are shocked at how much students drink when they or their parents are spending so much money to send them to college - what's the point of being there?   Mine were lucky to be at the same college and had each other to hang out with on weekends. 

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I have three adult sons.  One didn't drink in college (and still doesn't).  We're not religious, he just doesn't have any desire to drink.  My dd is still young - a senior in high school - but she is Christian and is very against drinking.  I don't know if that will change in college.  

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I don't think it's fair to judge people by one epoch in their life.
I have known plenty of males who, after their initial few years of drinking age, have abstained.  Just like I know lots of adults who used to rollerblade in their youth and now don't. 
My oldest shows no inclination of drinking.  He was raised in a very liberal household that moved around to countries with flexible drinking ages.  He's just happier not partaking for the most part.  However, I cannot see him making that a requirement for a relationship.  I think it gets into awful dangerous territory when one person exerts pressure on the other and refuses to allow them to grow or change their own decisions with things that don't hurt them.  I was in a relationship like that once.  The guy shamed me because I wanted a glass of white wine with my dinner and I had said I didn't drink.  Well, I didn't drink when we met.  I grew to appreciate an occasional pairing with a meal over time.  Needless to say, that relationship was doomed.  He wanted someone who was as inflexible and unwavering as he was. 
I think I would put more emphasis on my children understanding their own values, why they feel that way, and what they are responsible for in a relationship.  Someone else's responsible use is not their concern unless it affects them: having to be a dd, having a partner who doesn't know how to relax or have fun without alcohol and centers all activities around that, etc.

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I have a son getting dropped off at college tomorrow who is concerned about the drinking culture at the public university he is attending.  My husband and I drink a little bit.  And we're not Christian and he was raised in a pretty liberal household.  We both went to college and drank a little bit but were not big hard hitting partiers.   Anyway - I don't think he's very likely to drink at least until he's 21 and then I imagine he'll be maybe a single beer with dinner kind of guy.  He's pretty academic and straight laced.  We'll see.  Things evolve.  

I really like how HomeAgain talked about this.  I think it's good to understand what's behind your boundaries.  And I think it's fine to have those boundaries.  And I also think it's fine not to get married if you don't meet the right person.  I didn't marry until age 29.  I have friends that were older.  I have friends that are unmarried in their late 40's who definitely imagined themselves getting married at some point.  As a young college student I think the focus should be on finding like minded individuals.  Maybe church community is a good one for that for her.   I can't imagine recommending grad school unless that was part of her own career/academic goals.  

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IME it is rare for a college student to be a teetotaler.  But I also do not know too many adult, non-college students who are teetotalers.  I do know many who only drink occasionally.  

I think the number of teetotalers will vary greatly across schools depending upon the demographics of the student body.  I also think that many of the teetotalers will be fairly quiet about it; they choose not to consume alcohol themselves but do not necessarily advertise the fact and are not concerned about others drinking.  Some universities will have dorms or organizations for students who chose to abstain from alcohol if a student is looking to be around like-minded students.

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My oldest is over 21 and is a teetotaler out of conviction and for health reasons. Some of his college friends have the same values.

I volunteer with a local ministry working with people recently released from jail, and alcohol is one of the major issues they struggle with because it's a "legal" drug. It's opened my eyes to how alcohol derails lives, so I don't buy it for myself any more. 

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