Romantic love has existed for as long as homo sapiens have walked the earth. Our attitudes and strategies towards love, however, have not been as static, especially as the last few decades have catalyzed a speedy evolution in how Americans find and what they look for in romantic partners.
It’s easy to credit (or blame) technology, and there is endless debate on whether dating apps have ruined the process of finding a mate. Are we more likely to find the partner of our dreams in a digital world of endless options, or are we more likely to overlook and undervalue our ideal match? There’s an authoritative researcher making the case for whatever angle you might believe, from the pro-app Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford to the more skeptical Eric Klinenberg of NYU and Modern Romance, but what is certain is that online dating isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. In 2016, Pew reported that about 27% of people aged 18-24 had used a dating app or site, a staggering statistic when compared to the 10% who had used online resources for dating only three years prior. Whether you love or hate dating apps, they are the yentes of our time.
The success of dating apps does not, however, account for the rapid evolution of what people look for in a mate. Humanity has a long history of marrying for practical motivations like wealth, political maneuvering and preservation of lineage, but these factors have dissolved along with their role in society to reveal new priorities like (in order of most cited reasons to marry, according to a 2013 Pew poll) love, making a lifelong commitment, and companionship. As more couples make the leap across superficial categories like race and ethnicity in order to pursue partnerships with people who share their values and interests, we may be living in the golden age of romance.
Broad cultural movements are transforming our experiences with dating and relationships, so where does cannabis, a cultural movement of its own, fit into the equation? CBD reduces anxiety, and THC boosts pleasure receptors, so there are clear applications for cannabis in romance. Innovative brands have developed products and experiences to enhance everything from a consumer’s social savvy (handy on a first date) to their physical sensitivity during more intimate moments.
But to talk about co-consumption might be getting ahead of ourselves. How do people approach the subject of cannabis in the context of dating, especially at an unprecedented moment in history when shared interests determine relationship success, and cannabis consumption varies widely even among those who support legalization? Laurie Davis Edwards, the founder and love coach behind eFlirtExpert and The Worthy One, is a true sage whose work focuses on romance in the age of apps. She lent us some of her wisdom on navigating the terrain where relationships and cannabis intersect.
If you consume cannabis, do you think it’s necessary to be upfront about it? At what point in the dating process do you think someone should broach the topic?
Cannabis is part of the lifestyle for the people who consume it. We share a lot of lifestyle qualities with our partners, like working out and the other interests that we have. This is no different. If cannabis is a part of your lifestyle, you’ll want to share it like any other part of you.
The timing of talking about this depends on the person and the relationship. There aren’t any rules. The role of cannabis in your lifestyle and how big and important a part it plays will help you determine the right time to bring it up.
If you decide to have a conversation about cannabis with the person you’re dating or in a relationship with, how would you recommend approaching it?
When you talk about your cannabis consumption, remember that it’s not a disclaimer. I have some clients who felt obligated to mention it in their profiles or talk about it immediately, but it came off as overcompensating. Treat it the way you would any other interest that you have.
Make sure you incorporate your why, because it helps your match understand. Everyone uses cannabis for different reasons. For some it’s stress, for some it’s recreational, for some it’s medicinal, and on and on. You’ll want to connect the fact that you consume cannabis to your why so that the other person can get to know you. For example, I have a girlfriend who does cannabis yoga. That’s an interesting story and gives you a clearer understanding of who she is. Craving a body high to create a mind-body connection is a different why than some people might expect. Sharing your why gives context on your lifestyle, which you can both use to know whether you’re a match or not.
What would you recommend to someone who’s interested in a person who has very different feelings about cannabis?
Just as you want to share your why with someone, explore why the person you’re seeing isn’t comfortable with cannabis. In relationships, we’re never going to be on the same page 100% of the time. Sometimes the ways that we’re different can end a relationship, and other times they’re ways we agree to be different. The more we can understand the other point of view from a place of curiosity and understanding, the easier it is to work through the parts of our lifestyles where we’re different. Partnership isn’t about finding someone who is exactly like us; it’s about creating connection and having emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual intimacy.
Also, if you don’t feel that cannabis consumption is an activity that has to be shared, it’s important to clarify that. As humans, we have a tendency to want to create certainty in our minds in ambiguous scenarios, to create stories that fill in the gaps. So if the person you’re dating hears that cannabis is a part of your lifestyle, they may make assumptions about your habits and expectations of them. You want to make sure that you fill in those gaps with facts so that they don’t fill in the blanks on their own in ways that aren’t true.
Let us know your questions about cannabis and dating, or tell us your stories about how you’ve navigated this terrain by sending us a message on Facebook. And sign up for our newsletter to get more stories like this delivered to your inbox once a week.