The Advantages & Disadvantages of Sober Dating

Never have I ever had more regret than my drinking days and dating. I would wake up feeling anxious about what I said knowing I had over shared on every area of my life, potentially suggesting we should pick up drugs and most probably ending back at theirs. The sinking feeling of knowing I will probably not ever see them again. What I really wanted was to feel held and feel love even if it was for a fleeting moment. The cost of these fleeting moments were a spiral of self deprecation and feeling even worse about myself than I already did. This was the destructive cycle of my dating life pre 2018. Just about as destructive as my drinking and drug taking. I would most probably already be half cut by the time I even got to the date. I would often think of all the potential boyfriends that maybe would have been had I not been such a mess in my dating heyday (although now I am very grateful that none of them actually did become my boyfriend).

When I got sober I started my true journey of self love where I learnt to practice self love and not seek validation from external factors (in my case the opposite sex), I started to create boundaries in my dating life, get really intentional about the type of person and relationship I wanted. I started to get to know myself and figure out what I actually wanted instead of just caring if someone was good looking and was going to get drunk with me (no wonder things never really worked out).

Regardless where you are on your hangover free journey, which might be fully sober, mindful drinking or sober curious, I would always encourage a first date to be a sober one. I have found many benefits to sober dating from helping build my inner confidence away from alcohol, to making better dating choices and having better experiences to not wasting as much time as I can really ascertain how I actually feel about someone quicker. I don’t wake up feeling anxious although I definitely still overshare (I suppose I can’t blame alcohol for everything). It really has been a journey of self – discovery and growth that has allowed me to work on myself and given me insights into how I can show up better for myself and for others that I really don’t think I would have learnt had I still been in my booze infused dating bubble.

Below is my honest debrief of sober dating outlining the positives and negatives so you can make up your own mind about whether this could work for you.


Recognising Red Flags Sooner

I can sniff out a red flag a mile away – emotionally unavailable, not looking for anything serious, has an unhealthy relationship with drugs and alcohol, does not share the same values as me, inconsistent and many many other red flags that you can notice while dating. The truth is previously I would ignore these things because of the chemistry, because we got on so well and because we had a laugh but the truth is I no longer find any of these attractive and can easily leave a situation when I know in the long run it won’t fully serve me.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

I always feel I am bringing my best and true self to a date. I feel more confident knowing things won’t escalate, that I won’t slur my words and that I will stay in control and be able to keep my boundaries in place. I know my date will get to know the real me and this makes me feel more confident about sober dating.

You Know If Feelings Are Real

 I can’t tell you how many people I would think I found attractive, had great conversation with and had great chemistry but the reality was after a few more dates I realised we didn’t have that much in common and it was the alcohol that was heightening my emotions and making me feel more into the person than I actually was.

You Attract Healthier Dates

I am not interested in people that drink or take drugs, that aren’t prepared to be vulnerable, that don’t own their sh**, and that don’t want to make an effort – I won’t date someone that is not in alignment with my lifestyle. I  feel the people that come into my life now that I am not drinking feel more intune with who I am (they tend to be non drinkers or mindful drinkers, want to lead a life making healthier choices and want to form more conscious connections) 


Rejection Feels More Painful

I have had many times when things haven’t worked out with someone and it has felt so deeply painful. It can feel like someone is rejecting my true self. I no longer have the excuse of ‘I was drunk’ or ‘I was a total mess’. It can feel even more heartbreaking when things don’t work out and I also don’t have anything to help me escape my feelings.

You Have Less Sex

 I will be writing a whole article around this but I no longer engage in casual sex now that I am sober, which means unless I am in a relationship or have been seeing someone for a while I don’t get much errrm… action!! I am also not placing myself in places like a nightclub or bar as often where I would usually meet people for this to be a regular option. Depending on how you feel about sex (there is no judgment here if casual sex does work for you) you may find this area of your life is a lot less than it once used to be.


If you are feeling like you want to give AF dating a go I have put together some fun dating ideas. In fact I received this message from a friend the other day.

‘Decided to stop drinking for a bit. Just had my first sober date. Thoroughly enjoyed it and now home and very content I can wake up without a hangover. Hope you are good’

If I haven’t been able to convince you it’s a good idea maybe my friends’ glowing review of AF dating will. 

Fair Game

25 Fishermans Walk, London E14 4DH

Remember when you were a kid at the funfair and all you could think was, “Please make the fun last forever.” Fast forward to Canary Wharf, 2023. It’s time to be a kid again. All those fairground games you couldn’t get enough of, now with the very latest tech, London’s hottest street food, plus 3 bars serving cocktails and craft beer. All the fun and all the Lucky Saint! Great for a competitive and interactive date!

Club Soda Tasting Rooms

39 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5RR

Why not book in a cocktail making masterclass? Or get the experienced bar team to shake you up an AF delight? And impress your date in London’s first non -alcoholic tasting room. Club Soda’s Tasting Room, Bar and Shop is the UK’s premier destination for low and no drink discovery, offering you a chance to explore a curated collection of over 150 of the best and brightest low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks brands.

Candlelight Concert

Various locations

Want a romantic evening? Enjoy a host of concerts illuminated by candlelight and performed by live musicians taking place in various spectacular locations, these candlelit performances allow you to experience live music in a completely new way. Enjoy a wide variety of themes and genres: classical, jazz, pop, movie soundtracks, ballet, among others.

Evelyn's Table

28 Rupert St, London W1D 6DJ

Do you want to spoil your date? Then this is an impressive sober spoiler!! Think 5 course tasting menu with AF drinks pairing. No doubt this will get you a second date! An intimate 12-seater counter dining experience, led by Head Chef James Goodyear. Evelyn’s Table serves an evolving menu built on James’s formative experiences, a love of British produce, and Scandinavian and Japanese techniques all underpinned by his classic French training.

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