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Nothing to booze

Dry dating’ is on the rise in 2022, says sex and relationship expert, Dr Caroline West, who shares her best advice with Denise Smith


Dr Caroline West believes dating without beer goggles is the way forward

Dr Caroline West believes dating without beer goggles is the way forward

Dr Caroline West believes dating without beer goggles is the way forward

Could 2022 be the year you ditch the dutch courage and dive into the dating pool dry? If agreeing to a dinner date sans drink in hand sounds like a living nightmare, Dr Caroline West, Bumble’s relationship and sex expert is here to persuade you otherwise.

Sharing her advice on how to have the confidence to date ‘dry’ this January and beyond, the relationship guru reveals how you can form deeper and more genuine connections without the help of happy hour.

“It is great to see that intentional and mindful dating is becoming more common in Ireland because we didn’t really have that before the pandemic. We would just go to the pub and fall into relationships and a lot of things would start off with alcohol.”

Encouraging singletons to put their drinking habits on ice and be reflective about their dating habits means there is more potential to skip the duds to find your stud.

“Ask yourself what kind of partner do I want? And also ask yourself the values you want to see in a partner. It’s also important to ask what you bring to a relationship? Do you have a history of not spotting red flags? Reflect on how you have dated before and how you can improve when it comes to a relationship in 2022.”

And of course, bask in the knowledge that you won’t be going it alone.

“New research from the women-first dating app has found that almost 1 in 3 people in Ireland are now more likely to go on a dry date than they were pre-pandemic. This comes amidst a shift in dating with over half of single people in Ireland 54% being more mindful and intentional in how, and when, they date.

Bumble’s research shows that 66% of the Irish population believe that they are more likely to form more meaningful connections if they date without alcohol, as almost two-thirds (59%) believe that alcohol has previously caused them to form a connection which may have not been there without drinking.

If you’re still not convinced, listen closely.

“If you feel like you are in need of some dutch courage it’s usually a confidence thing. If you are nervous maybe try and video call them first, zoom has become such a normal part of our lives. Updating your wardrobe so you’re wearing clothes you feel confident in is also key and maybe going to a place that you know and are comfortable in. Also, it’s okay to be nervous and anxious and the likelihood is that the other person is feeling the exact same way.

“I think we are getting used to new ways of meeting people and alcohol doesn’t have to be part of it, before our social life revolved around the pub but now we are getting a lot better at café culture and going for walks and coffee dates it’s only going to lead to better dating experiences for everyone

“If you’re planning a date and going to go dry, research and suss out the best places which don’t involve alcohol. A crisp fresh air walk might help break the ice with a stop off at your favourite coffee shop, or if you’ve got hobbies in common look to do something which involves them.”

Caroline also urges singletons to be intentional.

“Part of dating anxiety comes from worrying that someone may not want the same things as you, so be intentional and upfront about what you’re looking for. That way, by the time you meet you’ll already know you’re both looking for similar things from each other.

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