Do you look forward to a first date? How you answer that question says a lot about what kind of person you are. To some, a first date is an exciting chance to meet someone new, get to know them and hopefully to make a great connection. For others, first dates create a ton of pressure to perform a certain way and to impress someone who you don’t even know. In either case, first dates are “pivotal in determining the trajectory of a relationship,” according to Psychology Today, even if men and women tend to interpret signs differently. Still, all these struggles so far are just “normie” struggles. When you’re dating an alcoholic, things can get even more complicated.
Generally speaking, many people who are looking to date are likely to turn to online dating apps and websites to make the process a little easier. According to data from the Pew Research Center, the frequency of online dating has nearly tripled among 18-24 year olds between 2013 and 2015 (though other age groups weren’t excluded from that growth, either). Still, making a dating profile as a sober person is difficult. If you’re supposed to put your best foot forward, should you list anything about your sobriety in the profile? After all, what do most people really think about dating an alcoholic? Even if you leave it out, though, you may still have to dance around the issue on your first date—or even worse, you might have to come clean when you don’t want to.
Unfortunately, these situations are all too common for the newly sober—and may even be a little bit dangerous. “Traditional dating is far more complicated for sober singles,” says Stefan Simonovic of First Beat Media, a company dedicated to providing online dating services for sober singles. “If a sober individual opts for conventional ways of meeting other people—and these often include visits to local bars or clubs—they’re running the risk of being in close proximity to alcohol and drugs.” Needless to say, this all makes the prospect of dating an alcoholic seem worse and worse to someone who isn’t sober. Fortunately for people in recovery, dating an alcoholic isn’t so bad when you’re a recovering alcoholic yourself.
Just like other dating apps, First Beat Media provides online dating services for recovering addicts and alcoholics that function just like other dating services. As always, users can log on, add pictures and information and then look for other relevant singles in their area to go on dates with. Rather than risking a stranger feeling uncomfortable with dating an alcoholic, users can rest assured that everyone they match with on the service has a similar life path and similar goals of staying sober and avoiding triggering situations. When they go on a first date, they won’t have to worry about hiding their true selves or creating an excuse for why they’re not drinking. Instead, they can deal with the “normal” stress of trying to meet someone who they might have a connection with.
Above all, these services make things safer for recovering alcoholics and addicts who want to get back into the dating world—and much more convenient as well. “First and foremost, sober singles can find someone who will be able to understand their struggle, both past and present, perfectly,” says Simonovic, with the caveat that that isn’t the whole equation. “Sobriety in and of itself isn’t and shouldn’t be a decisive factor when it comes to finding an ideal partner—still, it could be a good starting point.” No matter what a recovering person is looking for, it’s important to get the unnecessary pressure out of the way first before a date begins. Rather than focusing on if the person in front of them feels comfortable with dating an alcoholic, they can focus instead on what the person’s eyes look like—and whether the connection could develop into something long-term, or something that could just be a fun fling.
In a world that’s growing more and more technological all the time, finding a true connection seems to get harder and harder. When you add in the variable of being in recovery to the mix, the possibilities for love and connection seem to grow even narrower. Fortunately, none of that needs to be true. In the context of “normie” dating apps and services, the question of what it would mean to be dating an alcoholic used to loom large over the newly recovered person’s head. On a sober dating service, those concerns can be a thing of the past. According to an article in Bustle, approximately 15% of people who meet from dating apps may even find their soulmate and get married. Though it goes without saying, people in recovery deserve that chance, too.