Dating is hard. Dating in sobriety can be challenging on a whole new level. But it doesn’t have to be any harder than your average date.
In this post, we’re going to cover a few tips for successful sober dating.
Take your time
Most recovery programs address dating and strongly frown upon it in early recovery. During this time, we don’t need the emotional upheaval that dating can bring. But once you’ve made it to a good place, you may want to start looking for a partner.
Just be sure your partner has also had enough time to heal their body and mind after addiction. If not, it’s a recipe for disaster and can impact both of your lives beyond the limited scope of your relationship.
When you use online dating apps, it can be challenging to find an ideal match. You could look great on paper, but then you meet up and everything is just off. This happens to everyone, but it’s a common problem for the newly sober because so many singles are looking to meet up for drinks.
On the other hand, if you meet organically, you have a better chance of sharing a common interest. For example, if you meet at the gym, you know you’re both interested in fitness. If you meet at the library, there’s a good chance you both enjoy reading and learning. It’s not that you can’t find these things out online, but there’s a better chance that someone is being honest about their hobbies when you meet them during one of them.
Talk openly about alcohol
Regardless of the other person’s stance on alcohol, this is a conversation you should have early on in the process. You should know where they stand and they should know the same for you. For example, if you’re uncomfortable around people who are drinking and your date enjoys to unwind with a glass of wine, this isn’t going to be a good fit. You’d only be putting yourself in a dangerous situation and at risk for relapse. When you both know where you stand with alcohol, you can decide early on whether you’re a good fit.
Even if everything else seems perfect, if you aren’t aligned here, this could cause major issues for you as a sober person.
Share your triggers
We can’t expect our partners to know what may trigger us to drink, and so it’s vital to have those conversations before things go south. Share all the things you’ve had to give up as a result of your alcohol addiction. And share these things early on. If your partner can handle them, he or she is a keeper. If not, you may need to find someone more willing to compromise.
For example, you may not be triggered by alcohol but are triggered by being around people who are highly intoxicated. Or you may be fine with people drinking at social events, but have trouble going to bars. In your new sober life, you’ve probably had to make some adjustments to avoid these triggers. Be sure to let any potential partners know about these adjustments so they can decide whether they can make them with you or not.
Date someone sober
You don’t necessarily have to date a recovering alcoholic or someone else who is sober, but it does make a few things easier. When you date someone who is sober, you don’t really have to worry as much about avoiding alcohol.
If you do decide to date online, you can use a general site and add this as one of your non-negotiable items (we all have them). Or you can use a sober dating site like Sober Singles or Single and Sober.
Outside of online dating, you may meet a sober mate at a church or spiritual center. There are benefits to having a spiritual support system in addiction recovery, whether you meet a partner there or not.
There are many challenges to sober dating, but it can be incredibly rewarding when you find the right partner.