By Kelly Burch
Today, dating should be easy. We have apps that can find us a date with the push of a button, and matching with people who share your interests is easier than ever. Despite that, it seems Americans are struggling to make meaningful connections. Aboutof Americans report feeling lonely or left out, something that can be exacerbated by the bad weather and short days of the winter season.
As we know, feeling isolated and alone can undermine your sobriety and put you at risk of relapse. If you’re past that critical first year, dating can be a great way to build connections and meet new people, especially if you remove the pressure and approach it as a way to have fun. Even if you already have a significant other, taking each other on dates is a great way to reconnect and reignite your passion in a healthy way.
Although many people rely on liquid courage to cope with the awkwardness of a date, Mike Reed, the founder of, says that sober dates are the best kind. People who are in recovery can fall back on easy date ideas like grabbing a drink. Instead of seeing this as a pitfall, Reed says that people in recovery have a unique opportunity to jump right into more desirable dates that lead to longterm connection.
Here are 5that you’ll love, whether you’re connecting with someone new or rediscovering your partner in a whole new light.
Too often, dates involve sitting around and talking. While that might sound nice in theory, it’s a lot of pressure to keep the conversation flowing while you sit with someone you might not know very well, or to make new conversation with a partner who you talk to each and every day. To break the monotony of dining together, opt for a date that will get you moving. Being active releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals, and is an important part of recovery for many people. Movement is especially important during the winter, when most of us spend more time than we would like to cooped up inside.
Struggling to think of a fun, active date activity? Think about the things that you used to love to do when you were a kid. If you live in a cold climate go ice skating or sledding. It might sound silly, but soon you’ll be laughing so much you won’t mind. If it’s warmer opt for rollerblading or mini-golf. The key is to choose something that is a novelty and that will provide entertainment to cut down on those dreaded awkward silences. Just make sure your date knows what to expect so he or she can dress appropriately!
Go To A Reading
Not ready to let your date see how uncoordinated you are? That’s ok. Instead of connecting with your inner child, take a more sophisticated option by bringing your date to a lecture, book reading or poetry slam. Local book stores, libraries and universities offer these events regularly, and they’re often free.
Now, no one wants to be bored to tears, so try to choose an event that is relatively short in case it’s less interesting than you were hoping. No matter what, you’ll have good conversation material for coffee or dessert afterward, whether you’re debating the topics brought up or laughing at the whole experience.
Mosey Through A Museum
Oftentimes you’re working around the weather when you’re planning dates during the winter. Museums are a great option, since there’s always something new to see and no pressure to drink. When you’re choosing a museum think about what you want from your date: art and history museums often offer new exhibits and a lot of time for quiet contemplation. Science museums or aquariums can be a bit more lively, allowing you to infuse a bit of fun into your date.
Dare To Dance
Many people who are sober aren’t comfortable in the nightclub scene, where drugs and alcohol are so prevalent. At the same time, lots of sober people have fond memories of music and dancing. Reconnect with your inner dancing queen (or king) by taking Ballroom or Latin dance lessons with your date. Most dance schools offer drop-in nights for beginners, where you won’t be the only couple who feels like they have two left-feet. If you try a drop-in night and have fun, sign up for ongoing classes and enjoy the thrill of watching your moves improve week after week.
When it’s cold outside there’s something affirming (and sexy!) about spending time in the kitchen. Cooking together is a great date, since you’re working together to make something that you’ll both enjoy later. Add in some music and you can have as much or as little conversation as you like.
If you’re going on a date with someone new, try a cooking class. Restaurants, co-ops and cooking schools all offer drop-in classes covering a variety of cuisines. If you’re more comfortable together, invite your date to cook a new recipe at your place and enjoy a date night in.
Dating while sober can be intimidating, but connecting with sober datingand experimenting with different date options can open up a whole new world of connection.
Want more sober date ideas? Check out theon Single and Sober.