I was talking to a normie friend of mine recently. This friend has been divorced twice and is just getting ready to go on the dating apps—Tinder, Bumble and Plenty of Fish. He worries that two divorces will be a serious strike against him.
Another friend of mine has herpes and has the same worry. Should she mention it right on her profile? Tell someone at the beginning of the first date? Wait until it’s time for sexual intimacy?
When and if we’re ready to start dating, which is a decision best arrived at with input from a sponsor and your fellowship group, the same questions come up. When should we tell prospective partners about our disease? When we beg off meeting in a bar, or order a soda at dinner? Or should we wait?
There are two schools of thought here. One says that you should frontload the hard truths. On the first date, or perhaps even on one’s profile, reference recovery. You may lose some potential partners this way, but you’ll gain points for honesty. No one can claim to be surprised later. You won’t have the feeling of starting to like someone and then fearing how they’ll react when they find out the truth.
Others say we should wait. As abstractions, the idea of being an addict in recovery can be frightening to many people. Some may write us off before getting to know us, as choosing us seems to be too great a risk. Telling folks we’re sober after a few dates gives them a chance to fit the reality of our sobriety into a larger picture of who it is we really are.
There are arguments to be made for both approaches. Again, you should always discuss your dating strategy with a sponsor. But keep in mind that while other people do deserve to know that we’re sober, we always deserve a chance to be judged for more than our past and our program.