Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Date Sober

By The Fix staff 08/06/19

With more people going ‘Sober Curious,’ dating without alcohol is trendy.

young couple on a sober date taking a selfie

Not long ago, people who were interested in sober dating spent lots of time trying to figure out how they would come out to potential partners about their sobriety. Today, there’s no need to worry, since sober dating has become downright trendy. 

The summer of 2019 could easily be considered the year of sobriety, and not just for people who are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. More and more people are choosing to be sober as part of an overall approach to health and wellness. Instagram influencers and companies cooking up mocktails to die for are strengthening the trend.

“As the trend towards overall wellness continues and people abstain from alcohol for health and personal reasons, it's possible that you'll see more sober dating in the future,” Simone Paget, a relationship expert, told GQ

In that piece, writer Graham Isador discussed his bumbling attempts to avoid bars while sober dating by suggesting yet another coffee shop. However, he expressed hope that the tide is starting to turn for sober dating. 

“Dating culture and bar culture can seem intertwined, but recently alcohol-free dating has become more common,” he writes. “It’s a part of a larger trend of people cutting back on booze—or cutting it out entirely. See: the rise of sober bars, temperance cocktails, and the increased use of weed.”

For people who are interested in sober dating, that means more options — both for who to date and where to go for a night on the town. Sober bars are popping up across the nation while traditional bars are even beginning to offer sober nights. University of Kentucky professor William Stoops told USA Today that having options to socialize without pressure to drink benefits people who are looking to have a good time while keeping their focus on health. 

“We evolved as social creatures,” he said. “This is a good trend if you want the experience of companionship and social culture but don’t want the negatives. It can help people make better choices.” 

Chris Reed, who owns the Chicago sober bar The Other Side, said that being in a sober space with other people who are not using drugs or alcohol helps facilitate the fellowship that is instrumental to successful recovery. That environment may even help spark love. 

“It brings us together and it shows us recovery doesn’t suck, that you can still socialize,” Reed told The Fix.

In addition to having more places to meet without being inundated by booze, people who are dating sober are also able to connect directly online using an array of dating sites and apps that serve people in recovery. 

Still, it’s important that people who are interested in sober dating consider where they are in their recovery journey, and how dating might affect their continued sobriety. 

Comedian Krissy Howard urged others to be cautious when starting to date sober for the first time. 

“I definitely tried to replace drugs with people, which just damaged the relationships,” she said. “You can't pick up a person like you would a bag of dope and just expect them to make you feel good all the time.”

Consider how you’ll feel not just during the good times, but also if someone stands you up or dumps you. Rejection can be hard to handle during early recovery. 

“Remember that getting sober is giving up most of your die-hard coping mechanisms, and when you do so, you’re walking around like a raw nerve in the early days,” Bridget Phetasy writes for Mel Magazine

However, as Petasy points out, dating sober can result in a more intimate and authentic connection. 

“For me, sobriety is a constant exercise in getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and nowhere is this more evident than on a date,” she writes. “I deal with awkwardness by calling it out or making jokes. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers. If you truly ‘practice these principles in all your affairs’ show up to a date the way you show up to life — with love and in service.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

The Fix staff consists of the editor-in-chief and publisher, a senior editor, an associate editor, an editorial coordinator, and several contributing editors and writers. Articles in Professional Voices, Ask an Expert, and similar sections are written by doctors, psychologists, clinicians, professors and other experts from universities, hospitals, government agencies and elsewhere. For contact and other info, please visit our About Us page.