2020, or the Joys of Sober Dating During a Global Pandemic

Sobriety helps you peel off the layers (thanks @Ditchingthewine for the expression), and figure out who you are.

I just moved back to my home country after being abroad for 6 years, and it’s taking a bit of readapting. My brain has to re-learn a set of cultural norms, switch to another language, adopt new ways of thinking and behaving, etc. Understandably, in order to save mental energy, a part of me is tempted to resort back to old familiar habits, and just become the person I used to be. The problem is that would mean: smoke, drink, be a French existentialist philosopher, put on a cynical, pessimistic, rationalist mask and pretend you are indifferent, even invulnerable, to everyone and everything around you. Show no “weakness.” Hide your fragility, your needs, your vulnerability, your tender heart. Sigh. I simply am not that person anymore. 

One pattern that is showing its face these days is the anxiety that flares up at the idea of being single. I have more or less always been in a relationship since I was 14. After that, I spent 15 years chasing love-drama, to feel desired, and worthy of love. But after 6 years in the US (and after working on myself a lot), I realize I am not that person either. I am no longer that desperate that I would take ANY relationship over being alone. I have changed, and grown to love myself.

I am still not a fan of the idea of being single for a long period of time, though. The prospect still causes distress and feelings of loneliness that I don’t experience when I have a secure attachment situation going on in the background. In other words: I am not anxiously attached when I am in a healthy relationship. But when I am single, the anxiety comes flaring up: What if no one ever loves me? Will I die alone? Will I become a spinster? How long will it take my cats to eat my corpse? etc.

But I am not desperate to find someone at all costs, like I used to be. I am now able to notice red flags. (In the past I ignored them and dove straight into drama-land, believing that getting the most unavailable person meant achieving the highest degree of desirability/self-worth. Sigh.) 

So I’ve been on a few Tinder walks these days. In fact, I just got home from one with a very nice, kind and gentle classical pianist. I like the artistic / creative types (my ex is a jazz saxophonist). This person was really very nice and quite interested in seeing me again. He seemed eager. Same for Physics PhD guy I’ve seen 3 times already, who wants to have me over at his house for lunch soon. Same with Computer Science guy whom I met last week. So ok, there are guys. But here’s the catch. A part of me would be happy to be friends with these people, but just isn’t really feeling that spark when it comes to starting something romantic. A part of me is wondering, “are these guys too eager?”. I’m confused as to why I am not attracted to them: these are perfectly nice people, who are interested in me, and have nothing “wrong” with them.  Is it that I still miss my ex (I do miss him)? Is it just a chemistry thing? Ooooooor, is it because they are actually interested in me?

And this is where Out of my League Guy enters the picture.

Ah, Out of my League guy… He’s a martial arts master, very athletic, very very smart, kind of a nerd, and INSANELY good looking, with buddhist tattoos all over his PERFECT body, kind of like if Apollo had dreadlocks and tattoos. Ahem, I digress.

We’ve been texting almost every day for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve clearly got a crush (at least, with the internet version of this guy). I’ve even caught myself in my old “anxious attachment” patterns, obsessing over my phone, waiting for messages, wondering why he isn’t asking me out or texting, etc. These patterns had not really flared up for the last 2 years, probably because my ex partner was clearly committed to me and therefore, gave me no reason to be anxiously attached (if anything, he was the anxious one and I was more avoidant).

But silly, silly Anne!

Why is it that out of 20 or so Tinder matches I pick out the most challenging, unattainable, possibly even emotionally unavailable, persont, and focus all my energy on him? Have I reverted back to the good old patterns of “If I can get HIM then I am lovable” mode? (for past-Anne, chasing unavailable men = compensating for lack of parental attention/affection/secure attachment style during childhood).

After two or three days of noticing myself reverting back into these obsessive/ruminative modes of being, I decided it was time to act. NO more of all that chasing unavailable men. That was for old Anne. New Anne has tools that she can use to refocus her attention on herself, and away from craving exterior validation.

So I did something drastic. (This is something that past-Anne would have NEVER done. Past-Anne would have elaborated a complex and covert military conquest strategy, lying in wait for the right moment, curating everything and constructing a fake image and patiently waiting until the person became interested, at tremendous emotional and energetic cost)

I figured = “OK Out of My League Guy. If you’re responding to my texts and looking at my instagram stories, SOME part of you must be interested. Well, I have no time to waste obsessing over whether or not you will ever ask me out, why you are not writing to me, whether you will later, etc. I have self-worth and I plenty of qualities to bring to the table, even if (unlike you) I am not supermodel hot. 

So I gathered my courage and straight up asked him out.

I figured it was better to face with rejection now (this, past Anne would not have been able to do) instead of obsess over how to get someone to like me. I figured this was true courage: taking the first step, not being afraid of the outcome. 

And guess what, he said yes 🙂 So we’re going to the park tomorrow.

This way, I can pop the bubble and get out of fantasy world of clinging and obsessing, I can escape the mental cesspool of doubt-insecurity and just see what happens in the real world. 

In person, I will be able to determine whether I actually like him or not, not just whether he likes me or not. 

I am a bit scared and nervous, because he’s impressed me not just physically but also intellectually (unlike the other men I’ve seen so far). But I’m mostly scared because the voices my head keep saying I am not good/pretty/interesting enough, and that he is not interested/as I am.

In person I will be able to see if he is indeed standoffish and closed, in which case I think I am mature enough to walk away instead of trying to chase/change him, like I would have in the past. 

We’ll see how it goes. 

I think I’ll just go into it like I went into my PhD defense: jump in, shed all preconceptions, see what happens. And no matter what happens (even if he hates me, makes fun of me, feels repulsed because I seem too eager or desperate), I will have learnt something. There is a teaching in everything. 

And I think there is one right in front of my nose already: I probably need to explore the feelings of “repulsion” that I myself experience when I think someone is “desperate”. I suspect this is just a reaction stemming from my own shame. The shame caused by my own feelings of loneliness and desperation, that I am probably projecting onto others, who are just eager, not desperate. In the past I have spent a tremendous amount of energy trying to APPEAR independent, aka. not needy. Now, after a few years of therapy, I know that I don’t need to pretend to be indifferent. That it’s ok to be interested in someone, just like it’s ok if they are not interested in you. 

But once more, it’s interesting to see old patterns reappear and anxious emotions be triggered once we step out of our comfort zone and try new things. 

If anyone has any tips on how to “be yourself” and “be normal” on a date with an insanely hot person, I’m all ears 🙂

Wish me luck! 



Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

39 thoughts on “2020, or the Joys of Sober Dating During a Global Pandemic

  1. The biggest motivator to be yourself is …. you want someone who actually likes you for YOURSELF. Not the most interesting / pretty version of yourself either. When I was online dating I wouldn’t even put great photos of myself up because I wanted them to know what I look like in real life. I had one photo up wearing shorts that said “I pooped today” on the ass. My opening statement was “looking for someone who wants to fall in love and get old together”. That probably scared a lot off, but I was tired of fooling around with people who didn’t want that.
    As for the other guys – I used to call them “perfect on paper” – they have all the qualities you’d write down that you want in a man, but there is no spark. It’s just chemistry. We’ve all heard many stories of people who were friends first and eventually turned into a relationship – I’m sure they are true, but that’s never happened for me. I need to have the SPARK right away.


    1. hahahaha I LOVE that approach 🙂 YEs, I think as time passes I am more and more ok with owning what I want and who I am. Now all I need to do is find me some “I pooped today” shorts ^^ big big hugs xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it went super well… the whole time I was thinking OMG this guy is a GOD (physically I mean). And our connection was great and I had fun. I’m doing my best to just leave it at that and see where it goes without pushing too hard: giving the other person space to come to me, instead of chasing. We shall see 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. wow..you just literally wrote my story. And ironically the guy i have been with s=since June, after a one year plus sabbatical from dating is , in fact- a 2nd degree black belt, buddhist philosopher, poet, very smart and super nerdy , with buddhist ( and other tattoos ) covering his back and arms. His hair is that sexy beach length and has these natural curls (when he doesn’t have it pulled back into a hot little ponytail/man bun) so it looks ESPECIALLY awesome when he first wakes up. Man, that bed head is just crazy . He plays flute, and the mandolin and is libertarian in his political views, like me -BONUS! ( ok- calm down, Lovie- wipe sweat from brow).Seriously, if i was given the chance to create a guy from scratch- he would be it.. But, i digress…i felt the same way….he had shown interest for several months, and i really didn’t know what to make of it. I was naturally suspicious of this kind of guy( did i mention he is over 15 years younger than me?) and also questioned if i was really really ready. But after he answered my FB post for someone to go walking with, i got to know him and just fell head over heels. We have like “Peas & Carrots” ever since . The thing is, if i hadn’t gotten over all of those fears you just mentioned, and then some, i would have never known this marvelous man.He was/is so different from any guy i was ever with i STILL question it sometimes! I say go for it, watch for red flags and use the knowledge you have gained from being single, and sober. Good luck!


    1. awwwww that’s such a beautiful story, I really am so happy for you ❤ Yes, I'm just gonna go for it, and if he is not interested/ too closed-not open enough, then it's my job to walk away because I know I would be miserable dating someone who isn't on the same page. xxxx big h=hugs xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey my lovely friend. I am really excited for you about this date. You likened it to your PhD defence and I recommended that one thing you needed to try and do with that was to enjoy it. I would suggest the same for the date (and any early dates thereafter). Enjoy the fun and newness of meeting people, even if they don’t turn out to be ‘the one!’. They may develop into long standing friendships or lead you to new places. I have, in many many relationships, become caught up with the ‘idea’ of someone and played a part to persuade them to like me. It’s only very recently that I have learnt one of the most important lessons of my life. That I am really ok and worth people’s love and attention. If they don’t like me being me and looking like I do, then that’s ok. They don’t have to. It just wasn’t meant to be. I craved attention from all the wrong people. The more they distanced themselves, the harder I tried and subsequently the worse I felt about myself. Send the spiral the other way. You know what you have achieved. You deserve to enjoy spending time with these days and if they don’t have a good time, it really is their issue. If it’s not going to be the next big romance, so what? Enjoy it for what it is and learn about yourself through the experience. What you want and don’t want. What you’ll put up with and what you completely will not accept. You will find your match. It will feel natural and no games need to be involved. You are awesome. You don’t need to impress. Xxx ❤️❤️❤️


    1. yeeeessss ! Everything you wrote I would have written myself. “Send the spiral the other way” = YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF PERFECT FORMULATIONS 🙂 And you are so right: with the right person there need be no games. This is took me about 30 years to understand hahahaha xxxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. it went super well! I had a great time, we laughed a lot as we took a nice walk in the park, but I stayed mindful of the red flags: he kept the date to an hour, and arrived a bit late. Anyway. Afterwards, I made it a point to not text him right away and give him space to write to me if he wanted to. And he did! That night he asked whether I had ever done ballet…. WORST FOLLOW UP QUESTION EVER 🙂 But I was glad: that means he likes me, even if it’s just a little bit 🙂 And I was able to 1) have fun 2) give the other person space while 3) focusing on myself. Baby steps in the direction of progress and more emotional independence ! xxxx Anne

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great news!!! Why should he not like you? You are awesome!!! I’m not into playing games but I do think if you can give him a little bit if space to come to you then it will make you feel more confident. Enjoy it. You are worth him and more!!! Xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. yes 🙂 And he reached out twice since the date. So far no next meeting planned but I’m giving him the space to offer this time. And in the meantime trying to focus on ME 🙂 ❤ xxx Anne

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s the way. Don’t burn bridges with others that are interested too. Have a bit of fun with this!! Lots of time to be with one person 😜 xxx

        I haven’t forgotten about emailing! I have felt a little under the weather and just about dragging myself through the working week! I’ll be in touch xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      5. yes ❤ ps. no worries about emailing, absolutely no rush. If you do get round to doing it let me know in a comment here on WP and I'lll go and check my WP email account – otherwise it'll just sit there forever, unread and lonely ^^ xxx


    1. yes, actually that’s kind of the mindset I am going in with 🙂 All the other guys I’ve seen these last couple weeks ll tried SO hard, it was almost embarrassing – I’m talking, quoting philosophers at me cause I’m a philosophy teacher – that kind of thing. I’m just gonna keep it real, and spontaneous 🙂 xxx Hope you’re doing well! Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to hear all about it! I hope you have fun, regardless of whether you end up liking him or he ends up liking you. It’s an adventure! I’m proud of you for asking him out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh the layers! I’m just catching up after my knee surgery, reading your honest, vulnerable post with my coffee and a bag of ice on my knee!
    I love reading about your Tinder walks…I think I like the name even better. Allow me to offer a few observations from someone who’s been around the block a few times—see what I did there? 😉
    First, try not to worry about the timeline; trust the process and the fact that you are the complete package and you WILL find the one who complements you as a person. (Do you even have cats? Lol) Second, I believe when something bothers us about someone else it’s a reflection of something you don’t like about yourself…you mentioned not wanting to have that needy attachment toward someone and I know you are working on that part of you. Third, beauty is icing on the cake but true beauty is inside and that’s what lasts and will keep you happy in the long term. Often if you discover someone with inner beauty they become much more attractive to you. I only mention the appearance thing because I’ve also found that overly attractive people tend to know it and in come the head games. Which brings me to my last point: if you find yourself being pulled into any kind of drama and/or head games, run. There shouldn’t be any of that in an authentic, long term relationship! Ok now I feel like your protective older sister or something. Remember to enjoy who, when and where you can! Hugs to you! 💕


  6. Reading this Anne made me think wow! You are really understanding yourself and your patterns at a time of huge change when it would be tempting to fall back on old ways so big high 5 to you! The right person is a soul to soul connection not the external packaging – falling in love with C taught me that but if you can have hot too then great! Trust yourself and your judgment and have fun! 💞💞😘😘


    1. yes, I think Mr. Out of my league hottie is a little bit too withdrawn for my taste. I wrote to me since the date and I’ve been letting him initiate but if it was to be like this in an actual relationship I think I would end up emotionally starved. Anyway, I’m trying to focus on me WITHOUT any guys right now, even though there are several guys interested. It’s insane how I dismiss ALL of those nice ones and obsess about the one single withdrawing (hot) one. Sigh. I’m also trying to be patient with myself 🙂 but this (I guess you could call it love addiction?) is definitely one of my weak spots – and definitely the main thing to work on now that I’m sober 🙂 xxx Hope you’re doing well DGS !!! It’s good to see you here ! ❤ Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Omg. This post brings back memories. I don’t miss dating at all!!! Especially with the internet dating stuff. I sound SO OLD. Lol. But I had similar experiences! Eerily similar. I’d say “Be Yourself.” 😀 Everyone puts their pants on, one leg at a time. Buddhist tattoos or not. I imagine your sobriety actually helps you a lot in the dating world! I think my dates would have gone a lot differently if I hadn’t drank my way thorugh them. Heck, I would have dated different people. You’re already ahead of the game. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha awwww thank you sober nova 🙂 It’s challenging indeed, but I’m sure drinking wouldn’t help. I’ve told a few men that I don’t drink, and so far no one has said anything unpleasant or looked at me funny 🙂 So that’s good 🙂 xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Anne- As an insanely hot old blogger I feel I am just the person to dish out advice😉 Seriously, there are times to think things through , or overthink them sometimes, and times to go with the flow. You’re smart, intuitive, empathic and beautiful. He’s the lucky guy! Go with your gut, trust your instincts and have a great date.Jim X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha awww thanks Jim. I’ve been super absent from WordPress too. Still nothing physical, but I’m spending now year’s eve with him, SOLO, we’ll see how it goes 🙂 Wish me LUCKKKKK and happy new year xoxoxo Anne


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