Sober Dating: When to Tell Them You Don’t Drink (Or Use Other Substances)
Dating in general can be tricky; getting to know someone, navigating the new relationship and learning new things about yourself. Add in being sober, and it can get a lot more complicated quickly.
Sober dating can be even more complex, especially when you’ve just met someone new. The relationship feels promising. The fun can’t be denied. But will everything go sideways when you tell them you don’t drink? When should you drop this bombshell, and how?
Whoa. Let’s slow down a bit. First off, everything isn’t going to derail if you’re being honest with the person you’re dating. And being honest means being upfront about telling them you don’t use substances.
Alcohol-Free as Top Priority
Whether you’re sober curious or on a journey in recovery, living an alcohol-free and drug-free lifestyle has become a priority. Keeping that lifestyle intact is what matters most.
As far as the relationship goes, disclosing you don’t drink or do drugs may have an impact – or not. You can’t predict how the other person will take the news. It all depends on their priorities and lifestyle.
- If drinking and doing drugs is their top priority, they may not be thrilled with the news and will most likely NOT be for you. They may say it’s no big deal but then try to hide their drinking and drug use when you’re around, and then start ghosting you.
- Or maybe they, too, are living a sober lifestyle and just haven’t mentioned it to you yet. If that’s the case, sharing the information can bring you closer. You now have a common goal – and another common bond.
- If they can take or leave drinking, they may not care one way or the other. They may also be able to easily leave it to help you feel more comfortable in the relationship.
All three of the above examples actually happen to people in recovery. While the first scenario was painful at the time, it turned into a beautiful lesson on the type of partner the person in recovery wanted to be with. And someone who hid their drinking (badly) and thought ghosting was easier than being honest wasn’t one of them.
List Your Dealbreakers
Before you dive into the dating scene, perhaps take note of your dealbreakers. Maintaining your sobriety may be the main priority in your overall life, but what’s important to you in a relationship?
Perhaps you want a partner who:
- Drinks moderately, or not at all
- Doesn’t do drugs
- Has a good sense of humor
- Is upfront and honest
- Treats you with respect
Listing what you want and don’t want in a relationship can help ensure you don’t simply settle for the first person who says yes to a date – especially if their behavior is full of red flags.
Are You Truly Ready for Sober Dating?
Another thing to consider is if you are truly ready for sober dating. Embracing a sober lifestyle can be a huge change. Many people, especially those in early recovery, realize this change helps them learn more about – and come to love – who they really are deep inside.
Taking the time to explore who you really are, without alcohol or drugs, is a major gift you can give yourself. It can also go a long way toward building a meaningful relationship when the time is right.
How Do You Meet Potential Partners Who Are Sober?
All that said, maybe you’re sure you’re ready for sober dating and looking to get started. But you’d prefer to meet someone who also embraces a sober lifestyle. Where might they be?
You have several options. One of the best ways to build friendships or even deeper relationships is to look into what different sober communities have to offer.
You can ask people in your local recovery group or treatment center if they know of any social groups and/or gatherings you can attend in your area. Expanding your overall social network over time will most likely increase your chances of meeting a like-minded partner.
Sober Dating Apps
Another option is checking out dating sites that cater to people who don’t drink or do drugs. You’ll find tons of articles and reviews on sober dating sites to get more details. A few sober dating apps include:
A few options include:
- Clean And Sober Love (CASL)
- Single And Sober
Other Dating Apps
You can also go with general dating sites, indicating in your profile or in your search options that you’re looking for potential partners that don’t drink or do drugs.
A few options here include:
Summing It Up
Sober dating can be fun, as long as you keep your priorities straight. Your sober lifestyle, which contributes to your overall mental health and wellness, should always come first.
If dating threatens that in any way, it may be time to take a step back. And when you do find a potential partner that clicks, make sure you’re upfront about your way of life.
You don’t have to tell them within the first millisecond of meeting them. When and how you tell them is your personal choice. There’s no right or wrong answer, just what feels right for you. And if you’re embracing the sober lifestyle, honesty always feels right.