Sometimes being sober can make you feel like you are missing out, especially when it comes to dating. You don’t get to participate in happy hours or boozy brunches. It seems like every singles event is sponsored by a liquor company and that clubs and bars are where everyone goes to meet people. Even if you are in a committed relationship, sobriety can sometimes feel like a downer in the romance department.
But who decided that romance could only flourish over rare bottles of wine or overpriced cocktails? When was the last time you heard someone say, “I met my wife or husband at a bar?” Sure, it happens, but being able to drink alcohol is not a prerequisite to dating. In fact, abstaining from alcohol allows you to be more present and able to form deeper connections.
So, let go of all of your sober dating fears, and next time you’re planning a date, try one of these fun date ideas to show the object of your affection that no one needs alcohol to have a good time.
Who doesn’t enjoy their fair share of nostalgia? Plan a date that takes you back to your childhood, like going to the local fair, a carnival, an arcade, or a theme park. Forget the responsibilities of adulthood! Load up on cotton candy or funnel cake and laugh until your sides hurt. Letting your inner child out is not only fun but can help you and your date open up to each other.
To add some extra romance, go on the Ferris wheel to take in the night sky. Bonus points if you win them a giant stuffed animal at ring toss!
Try Something New
Going to dinner is great for getting to know someone, but even foodies get bored of dinner dates after a while. If you want a break from your typical outing, try doing an activity you have both never done before. Ask your date to make a list of things they have always wanted to do but have never tried. You do the same. When you find one that matches, go out and do it! Some fun options include rock-climbing, sky-diving, snorkeling, ice skating, taking a dance or cooking class.
Experiencing something new together allows you to bond over how good (or bad) you are at it. And allows you to let your guard down and just enjoy the moment.
What’s a better way to deepen your connection with someone than by disconnecting yourself from all other distractions, such as your phone? For some, unplugging from technology might sound like a nightmare but uninterrupted quality time is crucial for healthy relationships. Go camping for the weekend and enjoy the peacefulness of nature and each other’s company. If you’re not ready to part with wi-fi for so long, try going on a picnic at a national park or at the beach instead. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where you can actually see the stars at night, grab a blanket, your favorite snacks, and go stargazing. And of course, do not check your phones!
Be a Tourist for a Day
A fun way to get to know each other and your city is by pretending to be tourists for a day. Make a list of top tourist attractions in your town (especially ones you’ve never been to), grab some comfortable shoes and go explore. Having such an activity-rich date will ensure that you always have something to talk about. And being a tourist for a day allows you to be more goofy and laidback. If your date is up for it, really get into the part. Wear a fanny pack, only get around using a map, stop to take pictures, get a caricature from a street artist, or buy a local t-shirt.
Go All Out
Whether celebrating an anniversary or just enjoying another Saturday night, treating yourself to a fancy date can be a great way to spark some romance. Put on your favorite outfit and take your date to the theater, the ballet, or the opera. If something more low-key appeals to you, book a couple’s massage at a nice spa or enjoy a delicious meal at an elegant restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t want to spend half a paycheck on a date? No problem! Cook a nice meal at home, get some flowers and candles, and enjoy a delicious meal in the comfort of your home.
Plan A Scavenger Hunt
This idea probably won’t work if you just started dating, but if you have been with your partner for a while, show them that romance isn’t dead with a personalized scavenger hunt. I know what you’re thinking: that sounds like a lot of work ⎼ and it can be! But it can also be a special date for both of you. A scavenger hunt is supposed to be an adventure with a great reveal waiting at the end. Start by deciding what you want that final reveal to be. Is the scavenger hunt leading them to a picnic in the park, to the restaurant where you had your first date, to the place where you got married? Once you choose your destination, you can come up with a series of clues that will take them from the starting point to that destination. Make sure that the clues are things are special and significant to your relationship. If you need some inspiration, try soliciting help from a mutual friend. While this can be time consuming to plan, you will find that it is fun to come up with something special for your loved one, and they will surely appreciate all the effort you put into it.
Dating can be intimidating, but you shouldn’t let fear stop you from meeting someone great. Just remember, be honest with yourself and your date about your sobriety, and don’t associate with anyone who might put your recovery at risk. Your well-being should always be your top priority.