It is no surprise that in today's dating world, alcohol plays a prominent role. A lot of people are meeting online through websites or via apps. The most common first date seems to be meeting for a drink. It is casual, does not require too much of a time commitment in case you don't like the person, and for many the alcohol can calm their nerves and increase their confidence. A win-win-win right? Well, not really for people who don't drink. People may not drink because they once had a drinking problem and are now sober, for religious reasons, they don't like the taste of alcohol, or just because they choose not to.
There are truly a lot of advantages of not drinking when dating. First off, you will remember the date (for those who overindulge and thus don't). You also make more thoughtful and precise decisions about whether you like your date and if you kiss them or engage in other sexual activity with them. Consent is clear, you will save money, and you will enhance your communication skills.
Rather than meeting for a drink, there are many great other options for a first date. You can still keep it casual and exclude a meal if your goal is to limit the time commitment if need be, and have an exit strategy. Some options include coffee or tea, a picnic, a walk in the park or on a nature trail, live outdoor music, or dessert.
When to tell someone you are dating that you don't drink is an individual decision. Some people want to communicate this right off the bat to avoid any awkward or unwelcome situations. However, others are sometimes apprehensive about sharing their sobriety. Of course, you should first be comfortable with yourself and your sobriety before considering dating and sharing. If you still judge yourself in regards to your past, that is something you should work on (potentially in therapy) to become more comfortable with where you are and to and be able to acknowledge your strength and work. Sharing you are sober could help you weed out the people who are not a good fit for you. If you are on a date with someone to whom alcohol is crucial to or even someone who has a problem themselves, that's probably not someone who you ultimately have much of a future with if you are abstinent from alcohol or other substances. If offered a drink, you can tell the person you are on a date with "I don't drink." Only share what you are comfortable sharing and don't feel pressured to say any more than you would like to at that moment. After all, the person you want to be with will not judge you or push you to open up before you are ready. Decide what is right for you and based on the individual you are dating. There is no correct answer!
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