Dating site Match.com and non-alcoholic beer O’Doul’s recently partnered to encourage sober virtual dates. The Match app now includes an option to add your drinking preferences, such as “no drinks,” “anything in moderation,” and “let’s drink.”
The two companies are also offering a chance to win a virtual dating kit; the kit includes limited-edition O’Doul’s cans designed to fit Match.com’s aesthetic, conversation starter cards, a smartphone stand, and other objects to use on a date.
Why the Focus on Sober Dating?
This partnership was prompted by a Match.com survey, which found that 43% of people are interested in trying a no-or-low alcohol drink on a first date, but 32% feel pressure to drink. 
Socializing in our society tends to be tied to drinking alcohol. When you haven’t been given the tools to deal with social anxiety or nerves without alcohol, you certainly may struggle without it on a date. There is often heightened pressure to impress.
Attitudes Towards Alcohol Consumption Have Shifted in Recent Years
I got sober in August 2015, after the Dry January campaign started but before the Sober Curious movement took off. There wasn’t much of a conversation outside of recovery circles around people’s relationships to alcohol. It was a real challenge both to find people who didn’t drink heavily on dates and to get through the anxiety of the date itself.
Recovery is about practice, so the more you do something sober, the easier it gets. The first few sober dates may be a challenge no matter what, but the less stigma around talking about your drinking preferences beforehand, the better. That takes away another level of stress that doesn’t have to be there.
Some recovery schools of thought believe in staying away from non-alcoholic beer because it still has alcohol content. However, Match.com’s addition of drinking preferences is a step towards encouraging people to have these conversations—and recognizing their importance.
How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Alcohol Use?
While the conversation around our society’s reliance on alcohol does seem to be shifting—or at least more openly occurring—alcohol use has increased significantly during the pandemic. Women have shown a 41% increase in heavy drinking. In the summer, Amatus’ own contact center saw a 20% climb in calls about alcohol use.
The Match.com and O’Doul’s partnership is a step towards normalizing sobriety during virtual dates and other COVID-era socializing. Hopefully, norms continue to shift when enough of the population has the vaccine and bars become a bigger part of life again.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you learn to socialize and have fun without substances. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.