This Sober Dating App Helps You Find Love Without Liquor, Experts Say

Loosid offers those who don't drink the chance to look for love without the influence of alcohol.

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Given that the #sobercurious and #livingsober movements are going strong, it's no surprise that sober dating is an emerging trend. But anyone who's ever tried to date without drinking knows that it can be difficult terrain to navigate. And that's exactly why the new app Loosid was created—to offer you a little help while you try dating not under the influence.

The co-founder and CEO of the app, MJ Gottlieb, 49, knows firsthand the struggles of looking for love while living a life of sobriety. With a history of substance abuse, Gottlieb first tried to kick his addiction in the late '90s, but relapsed again and again before finally getting sober in March 2012. The last straw? Passing out drunk while looking after an ex-girlfriend's five-year-old son.

"When I realized I'd put a five-year-old in jeopardy, I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror," Gottlieb told Best Life. "So I raised my hand and said the three words nobody ever wants to say: I need help."

In successfully managing to get clean and stay that way, however, Gottlieb found himself facing an unfamiliar challenge—dating sober. "When I went on a date, the woman would say, 'How are we going to have any fun if you're not going to drink alcohol?'" he said. "For those in the early stages of recovery, it can also be a major trigger. I've had countless friends go on dates, see the other person drinking, and they feel the social anxiety [so] they have a drink, and before they know it, they've lost their job."

And when there wasn't pressure, there was boredom, particularly during a time when sober bars and dating events weren't as prevalent as they are now. "I'd find myself at diners and coffee shops and think, 'If this is all there is, then I'm going to continue to use," Gottlieb recalls.

That's why he took matters into his own hands and launched Loosid in Nov. 2018. Unique to other dating apps, it helps sober people connect with one another, and offers suggestions for things they can do together that aren't centered around drinking. Users also have the option of sharing why they chose to get sober—whether it be for the health benefits, because they are in recovery, or simply because they were curious about how it would make them feel.

Gottlieb wants people to know that—in spite of the stereotypes—dating without drinking can be fun. He's thrilled that more people today are examining how alcohol actually makes them feel versus how they think it's supposed to make them feel.

"If there was a sober curious movement when I was trying to quit, I would have done it a long time ago," he said. "It's so important for people to have a safe space to explore their relationship with alcohol. When I was trying to get sober, you were either an alcoholic or you weren't, and it's much more complicated than that."

According to experts, sober dating is an interesting experiment even if you haven't had any previous problems with alcohol because all people behave differently while they're under the influence.

"Alcohol clouds judgement and exaggerates behavior," Christopher Gerhart, an independent substance abuse specialist, told Best Life. "If you don't drink, you get to find out if you really like the person you are dating."

Tired of the impersonal nature of social media and the catfishing that can happen with online dating, many singles today want to have a meaningful connection with someone that's genuine, and abstaining from alcohol can be a good way to help them do that.

"Dating without beer goggles on will certainly improve your connections," Kelly Keating, the founder of the blog Modern Man Dating Advice, told Best Life. "You will be able to have deeper discussions and determine if there is real chemistry between the two of you."

Ultimately, you should do whatever makes you comfortable, but it's nice to see that we're moving away from the idea that not drinking makes you boring.

"It's not lame. It's a healthy lifestyle, and you don't need to drink to enjoy yourself," Sameera Sullivan, an elite dating coach and founder of Lasting Connections, told Best Life.

Cheers to that.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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