verything from how to date when you’re sober to telling your new partner why you don’t drink can be complicated. Drinking is such a major part of today’s dating culture, so navigating it as a sober person adds a new level of uncertainty.
Dating should be full of fun and excitement. You should have butterflies, not knots in your stomach.
It can be nerve-racking to share that you don’t drink for any reason. People can be judgmental, confused, or even offended. So, navigating the world of dating when you’re sober takes some patience and practice.
How to talk about dating when you’re sober
Dating when you’re sober starts out the same as it does for anyone else. Whether you’re on a dating app or meeting in person, even at a bar, you start with flirting.
You don’t have to tell someone you don’t drink right off the bat. That is your business. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone. But, unfortunately, because drinking is such a social norm, people expect it. And they question it when you don’t.
When you decline a drink from someone hitting on you they might take it as a rejection, in reality, you would much rather enjoy a side of fries. If they don’t assume you’re turning them down, they will probably assume you are driving, not that you don’t drink at all.
In my experience, as a sober person in the dating world, it is best to let them believe what they want to at first. Getting into why you don’t drink from the start can erupt a lot of peer pressure.
You may not drink because you don’t like the taste or because you are a recovering alcoholic or for any other reason. Whatever the reason, it is totally okay. But, I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me that I just haven’t found the right drink or that I’d have fun if I drank with them.
Choosing not to drink for that night or forever is a personal choice. Although dating when you’re sober may weed out your options a bit more, it is possible to find someone who accepts your decision.
When to tell your date you’re sober
If the fact that you’re sober or choose not to drink didn’t come up before your first or second date, don’t fret.
On a first or second date, you don’t have to share all of that. Just have a nice time. Some people may not even ask why you’re not drinking. That is a good sign.
If you see things moving forward, you may want to clue them in. They should respect that you choose not to drink but may have questions about why. Whether you want to talk about it or not, they should accept it. Try not to get defensive if they are curious. They may truly just want to understand you better.
If not, this may not be someone you want to continue dating. Some people simply cannot understand any reason why someone would choose not to drink. You can list off all the reasons why: from health concerns to addiction, money, taste, and so on, and they will still argue.
And for some, they may have a hard time with it because it is so opposite to their chosen lifestyle.
For instance, it would be hard for me to date someone who goes out drinking every weekend and keeps a lot of liquor in their house when I don’t drink at all. We would have such differing lifestyles.
But currently, I’m dating someone who has a beer here or there with dinner and drinks when he’s out with his friends, but, simultaneously, completely respects my choice not to drink.
Once you mesh with someone that respects the fact that you don’t drink, you can get into learning how to date when you’re sober.
How to date when you’re sober
The ‘go-to date’ has almost always been dinner and drinks. But, that can be dicey when you don’t drink. Whether you never drink, want to avoid drinking too much, or just want a more unique date, here are some awesome ideas that will be sure to impress your date and actually let you get to know them.
#1 The Adventurer. Whether you live near a hiking trail, an indoor rock-climbing wall, or a national park, physical dates are a great way to bond. Get moving, work up a sweat, then grab a smoothie or pack a lunch with plenty of water to turn a fun workout into a romantic picnic.
Getting fresh air and some exercise in with a new romantic partner leads to a much stronger connection than a few drinks at a bar.
#2 The Artist. A museum is always a great way to share a common interest. You can tour a museum and discuss your opinions on the artist and their work.
And why not take it a step further and get involved with the art? Find a pottery painting studio or even an art class in your area. You can show off your talents or bond over learning some new techniques. Plus, you’ll likely walk away with a moment from your date together.
#3 The Competitor. Some friendly competition between you and your date is a sure-fire way to start some flirty banter. Take your date mini-golfing, bowling, or even to the batting cages. Ax throwing is a popular date spot as of late.
Whether you’re a skilled sportsperson or not, it’s guaranteed to be a memorable date.
#4 The Kid At Heart. For a purely fun day loaded with games and cotton candy, head to an amusement park or arcade. You’ll have a blast. You could even win your date a stuffed animal from a claw machine. *Just don’t eat too much before going on a roller coaster.
#5 The Foodie. Whether you’re a master chef or can barely boil water, take your date to a cooking class. Not only will preparing a meal with your date bring you closer, but you’ll learn how to make a delicious new recipe, which will last you a lifetime.
Cooking together is very sensual and creating something to enjoy can really ignite a bond you may not feel by just going out to eat.
#6 The Daredevil. Escape rooms are popping up everywhere and are such an exhilarating date idea. If you’ve never heard of this, the gist is that you’re locked in a room and have an hour or so to search for clues to escape.
You can do this as a double date or team up with some strangers. It is sure to fill your day with lots of mystery. It will get your adrenaline pumping and bond you two immediately. Just make sure your date isn’t claustrophobic before making reservations.
#7 A Little Bit Of Everything. If you’re not quite the planner, but want to do something fun – throw it back to those middle school dates and head to the mall. Go shopping, grab a pretzel, giggle your way around Spencer’s Gifts, play with the puppies if your mall has a pet store, or even build a bear.
Just walk around and do what catches your eye. The possibilities are endless. You’re sure to feel like a lovestruck teenager again.
Which one of these dates will you try out? Hopefully, learning how to date when you’re sober comes easily to you and your future partner.
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