Dating is hard enough in today’s world where we usually meet people online, and throw in the fact that you’re sober-and it really tends to limit your connections. I’d personally prefer not to meet someone online, but since I’m 35 and live in a city where I don’t know many people, I’ve fallen into the online dating scene.
First off, online dating is a commitment in itself. I’ve used Tinder, Bumble, and Match.com and have had little success with any of them. I’ve also used a matchmaker that didn’t amount to any quality dates. Online dating requires you to create a profile that you think will attract people who you hope you will also be attracted to. If you do like someone and make the effort to reach out, they don’t necessarily answer your message. If someone does respond, there’s usually an annoying back an forth of questions about your job, background, and what you enjoy to do in your free time. If you think you’d like to meet, you eventually will set up a date.
*I should also mention, there’s an occasional dick pic thrown into the mix. These are always amazing, because I try to figure out what I may have said that makes a guy think I would like to see his penis. Does a simple Hi, how are you? warrant a penis picture as a response? Maybe it does, who am I to judge? All I can say is that I say hi how are you a to real life men many times a day and have yet to have a man pull out his penis in response. Although with Trump as president that may be in our future.
I digress- as a sober woman, the most difficult part of online dating is when to reveal the fact that I don’t drink. I’ve included it in some profiles, and not in others, but even when I do include that I don’t drink-people don’t necessarily read the profile. Let’s face it, people are scared of alcoholics. It’s not their fault, I used to be the same way. Society has labeled alcoholics as bad people, so unfortunately as soon as you throw that into the mix many peoples’ view of you will change in a split second. Now that I’m comfortable in my sobriety, it’s actually kind of funny to watch this transition from a guy being totally comfortable to shocked, dismayed, and confused. I’ve now realized that if I’m having a bad date, it’s the best way to get out of it. Just dropping the I’m an alcoholic bomb on someone will make a conversation awkward, but it’s also a great way to end a date if you’re with a person who doesn’t understand alcoholism. With certain people, it’s the equivalent of telling them you have herpes. It’s a life long problem that’s never going to go away. Herpes-the gift that keeps on giving.
Enough with the STD talk, I was on a date the other night with a guy who was perfectly nice. When I got there, he had already ordered a drink and I just got a club soda with lime. We had a good conversation and then the waiter asked if he wanted another when we were ordering food, and he said yes, and when I said I was good with my club soda he made a comment about me not drinking. I just kind of laughed and the date continued. Eventually we got into the topic of drinking and driving and I casually mentioned that I don’t drink anymore and I’m in recovery. BAM-he didn’t know what to say! Body language changed, and he went silent, and then he asked the typical questions: You won’t even have a glass of wine to relax? No, I replied I can’t have anything. I didn’t tell him that for me it actually wouldn’t be one glass of wine, it would be a magnum of wine easily, because that’s how I used to roll. He then said, well I like to go out and have a good time once in a while, so would it bother you if we were like out and I had a bunch of drinks and then smelled of alcohol? I told him that clearly I can’t hang out with someone who gets wasted all the time, but I have plenty of friends and family who do enjoy drinking and having a good time. Then, he added the kicker-well maybe you just haven’t found the right relationship with a person who can support you and say after two glasses of wine, hey that’s enough for now, let’s stop. Oh, if he only knew….I explained that’s never going to happen, and in my head I was like this is over he doesn’t get it. I actually thought the date was pretty much done at that point, but he then asked if I wanted to hang out again and started listing things we could do sober. I said sure because I was thrown off, but I haven’t heard from him since, nor do I want to.
I don’t want this to come across as judgmental on my part, because I myself didn’t understand alcoholism until I went to rehab. There’s no way I would have been able to date someone in recovery when I was drinking, but I’ve also learned that there are certain people who aren’t phased by the alcoholism bomb, so I guess that’s who I’m hoping I eventually meet.
In the meantime, dating sober has taught me more about myself, and what I’m actually looking for in a partner. It’s clearly a process that’s not going to be fast, but in the end, I’d rather be happy and alone than miserable with someone who doesn’t understand me.