Drinking might be a big part of dating, so when you’re choosing not to drink or choosing to drink mindfully, it can feel like you’re going against the grain. On top of the societal pressure, we might feel to indulge in an extra glass or two, getting to know someone intimately is not always comfortable when we are working to forge new ways of being and when we don’t have our old, comfort-seeking behaviours to fall back on. Without the liquid courage to back us up, dating can feel like we’re learning how to walk again; it requires a whole new way of moving through the scene.
When my personal journey into a more mindful way of living highlighted my drinking habits and yearned for them to change, I shied away from dating. It felt too uncomfortable to even bear the idea of getting to know someone without my old persona and habits behind me (that is, without three glasses of wine flowing through me). My sober-curious self was still getting to know who I was and how I wanted to engage in the world, which was an insecure place from which to step out into the dating world. However, confidence in my new focus and direction grew over time, which encouraged me to put myself out there, even if uncomfortably at first. Developing a core trust in who I was and in my reasons for changing my lifestyle was a foundation for finding the security to get to know others on an intimate level.
There are several different notions to keep in mind and tools we can use to make dating much easier when staying sober or drinking mindfully. Beginning with a solid inner foundation is a steady place to start.
Overcoming the discomfort of dating when drinking less or choosing to refrain from alcohol entirely has to come from within. We can strengthen our confidence in our new lifestyle habits by becoming clear on why we are pursuing this new way of being: Why, even if it’s challenging, am I choosing to reduce or refrain from drinking alcohol? What direction do I want my life to head in? What is it that I am here to accomplish or experience, and why do my alcohol consumption habits need to change to achieve this? Becoming clear on who we are and what our personal goals are – and reaffirming them to ourselves daily – can help us to find solid ground to stand on when we’re out in the dating world.
Most of us believe subconsciously that the best place to meet people is at a party or the bar, but this isn’t the case. I met my partner while completing a yoga teacher training course, which says something about our shared interests. There are countless places to meet a special person you might want to spend extra time with, such as at a café, an exhibition, a workshop, a training course, or while doing an activity that you authentically enjoy. You can also consider joining a Meet Up group or other social networks, which will connect you to other like-minded individuals.
If you have an online presence in the dating world, you might consider making it known from the start that you are a non-drinker or that you’re choosing to drink mindfully. This will help you to connect with others who are on a similar pursuit and it will also serve as an icebreaker for those interested in getting to know you more. You might also explore options for sober dating apps popular in your area, or those that cater to a particular niche.
If you’ve begun the journey of reducing or refraining from drinking, chances are you’re doing some challenging (and rewarding!) inner work. Embrace this rising vulnerability as a chance to get to know prospective partners on a deeper level. As it feels safe to do so, share more of who you really are and what you truly want out of life. This will help to form a deeper connection with the right person in the long run.
Open both your heart and mind to the understanding that each interaction you have while dating and drinking mindfully (if drinking at all) helps to strengthen confidence in who you are. Keep in mind that it takes time to meet the right person – regardless of how much you drink. Each date is a stepping stone that moves you towards the place you are destined to be – and towards the partner that’s right for you on the most authentic level.
[Editor’s Note: The author of this post is a content contributor to Alavida, and this contributor was paid for their writing. The opinions, views, results and experiences are theirs alone.]
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Gillian Sanger is a yoga and meditation teacher, holistic nutritionist, and creative non-fiction writer. Committed to self-inquiry and to meditation in its many forms, she practices living life in alignment with the natural world, both inside and out. She seeks guidance and direction from her heart and from her highest self, strengthening her knowledge and intuition through her personal spiritual practice and through the written word.