Keep These Things In Mind When Dating In Sobriety
While dating is not easy for anyone, dating in sobriety is particularly tough. The good news is that millions of recovering addicts have successfully found love through dating in sobriety. Here’s what you need to know.
Dating in sobriety is tough for a number of reasons. For one, you need to take care of yourself and avoid triggers, and popular date spots may not be plausible. Furthermore, you have the question hanging over your head if and when to share your addiction history. While you have no obligation to tell your date about your past, a relationship will struggle to survive if you keep your addiction history a secret for too long.
To help you find the right balance when dating in sobriety, keep the following things in mind.
Consider a “dry” date
If you go to a restaurant on a date, the topic of your sobriety may well come up. After all, the waiter will take your drinks orders and your date may ask why you’re choosing a non-alcoholic drink. It’s not great etiquette on their part, but people tend to be curious.
This immediately means you have to make a decision – what are you going to share with your date? There is no reason to tell your date about your addiction from the very beginning. However, you also don’t want to start out with a lie.
Choose to meet in a coffee shop or a park. The pandemic makes the latter an understandable pick. This way, you don’t have to worry about alcohol or explain why you are not drinking.
Decide what to share
Chances are that your date will ask you some questions about your past, no matter where you go. For this reason, you need to decide in advance what to share. In an ideal world, sharing your addiction history would be no big deal. However, most people who haven’t battled addiction or watched a loved one battle addiction are fairly uneducated about it.
What you should absolutely avoid is telling a misleading story that is borne of shame. Don’t exaggerate your career successes or play down your mental health achievements.
Rather, consider how you can offer to share more after a few more dates. This is potentially something your date will appreciate. No one is ready to spill all their secrets from the very beginning, and setting some of your stories aside for a later date can be reassuring for both parties.
Use your intuition
With some people, from the beginning of the date, you will be able to tell that they’ll never be ready to appreciate your journey. Try to enjoy the date, but remember that if your suspicions prove true, they are not a good match for you.
With others, you’ll be able to tell that they either have their own personal or family history or that they are emotionally attuned enough to appreciate where you come from. You can choose to share much more with them if you feel comfortable.
Most dates will fall somewhere in between. Use your intuition to decide what you are ready to share.
Alternatively, the tentative approach just doesn’t suit some recovering addicts. If this is you, share what you want to share. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you will at least not waste time dating in a way that feels inauthentic to you.