Her experiences and her treatment taught her that a partner who could respect and support her sobriety would also respect and support her as a romantic partner. Whether repairing the bridge to a spouse or romantic partner, or forging ahead with a new person, a sober person has to give the relationship a chance to develop. This may mean putting off intimacy for a long period of time until the partner has made a clear commitment to the relationship, and both parties are on the same wavelength; this may mean a lot of dates and meetings where there is minimal physical contact. The point is that sobriety has to be established as a priority from the outset.
As the people speaking to The Fix can attest, damage will inevitably be done if a relationship based on an unhealthy foundation is allowed to continue. Dating without drinking entails accepting that even as other parts of life look better in recovery, the quest to find love or companionship, as applicable can still be a long, occasionally ugly activity. It is made even harder by the ubiquitous presence of alcohol in American life. Happy hour, dinner with wine, and nightcaps are frequent enough on their own, and even more so when love and sex are considered.
Such is the pervasiveness of the presence of alcohol that deliberately steering clear of alcohol on dates might send wrong messages about intentions and interests. A person in recovery has to look for the fun and excitement in dating while dutifully avoiding any temptations and, in the process, eschewing a rite of passage that millions of people take for granted. Most people think nothing of stopping after a glass or two of wine, or warming up the night with a draft beer. When they hear that a person cannot drink, that can change the entire tone of the conversation.
Writing in The Fix , a sober woman confesses that a man she started dating expressed his disappointment that they could never share a glass of wine as a couple. For abstinent people, this can be especially disappointing. Their sobriety is an achievement, a successful overturning of years of alcoholic behavior. They had to sacrifice a great deal to become healthy again. The woman decided to keep seeing her partner, but they broke up a few weeks after that conversation.
In conclusion, the woman writes that her sobriety has helped her regain control of her life and her mind, but it has made her romantic life much harder than it used to be. Sobriety is great for health, but bad for dating. In the early stages of any relationship, the people involved struggle to find the right balance that works for both of them. For a couple where one party carries with them the specter of substance abuse, that balance can seem wildly off, especially when the people involved are still getting to know one another. Unless the topic has been broached, avoiding alcohol can be misinterpreted as a sign of only mild interest, with no intention of raising the stakes.
Dating in Recovery
Communication in the nascent stage of dating is never easy, especially when both parties bring their own insecurities and doubts to the table. The Salon writer ruminates on how, when he and a potential date were not clicking, he longed for the feeling of having alcohol in his system, the freedom. Even for all the trouble their drinking caused, they never had problems meeting other people.
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For a drinker, alcohol makes people feel more interesting, says the Salon writer. Take that out of the equation, and dating when sober can seem confusing, frustrating, and even boring by comparison. Top of Page Couples in Therapy Vice Magazine conducted interviews with two couples on how difficult sober dating and relationships can be. In both couples, one person is a recovering drinker, and their respective partner drinks a lot. The sober partner in one of the couples admits that falling in love with a woman who actively drank was a threat to his sobriety; seeing how much fun she had when she was drunk, using her intoxication as a cover for his own desire to indulge, kissing her and smelling the alcohol on her breath, all pushed his abstinence to the brink.
Alcohol is, officially and scientifically speaking, a social lubricant , but sometimes, merely being in the presence of someone who is drunk — or drinks in general — can be a lubricant all on its own. And herein lies the crux in some ways, of dating and socializing in a drinking culture.
Guide to Sober Dating
Wine with dinner seems like the civilized thing to do. Meeting for a drink at the bar after work or on a Friday night is seen as a great way to relax and unwind with friends. Meeting for drinks seems like the most common first date. Unlike illicit drugs, which are illegal in most of the world, drinking is often seen as harmless and socially acceptable — but alcohol is anything but harmless.
That cost comes primarily from excessive drinking — bingeing on four or more drinks per evening, or drinking heavily all week long. Though the amount of alcohol consumed and the circumstances for example, in Italy, alcohol is imbibed most often along with food , it is clear that in most countries, alcohol plays a role in daily life. So, what is a sober person to do in a world of drinkers?
Welcome to Single and Sober
And, more specifically, what is dating like for both the sober person and their partner? It is easy to create a list of drawbacks and reasons why it is unwise to date someone with a history of alcohol abuse the main one being: What if they relapse? This is an understandable concern and a reason perhaps for both people in the relationship to move slowly and cautiously. This allows time for both people to get to know each other and gain some emotional intimacy before jumping into a serious relationship. Openness and honesty is key in all relationships and especially so when one or both of the partners are sober.
This is a time to learn about each other, talk about triggers, and what types of situations feel comfortable. No matter how complicated your relationship gets, you need to make time for well-balanced meals, exercise, sleep, and stress-relieving activities. Self-care is not selfish. Taking care of your own needs gives you the strength to fully participate in the relationship.
What You Need to Know About Dating Someone in Recovery
Every couple has disagreements and obstacles to navigate. Be Ready to Accept the Consequences People in recovery often have a number of challenging issues in their past. Educate Yourself To be a supportive partner, you need to have a solid understanding of substance abuse and recovery. Put Recovery First People in recovery typically have a lot of meetings and appointments to attend.
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