We all know how complicated dating can be. Initially, you have to decipher texts and figure out how into you they actually are. When things become more serious, you move on to making compromises, practicing good communication, and prioritizing your relationship.
These problems might not seem as prevalent if you are dating someone with an addiction. Being in a relationship with a drug addict presents its own unique set of challenges. We examine what it’s really like and offer some advice to help you and your significant other.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
It’s hard to know exactly what a drug addict is going through unless you’ve been there yourself. In general, some key points to remember about addiction include:
- It’s not the person’s fault. Addiction is considered a disorder of the brain, and is typically treated and managed rather than cured.
- Addiction alters a person’s sense of self. When someone is dependent on drugs or alcohol, they might not know who they are sober. As they start recovery, they might experience self-discovery and find out who they really are.
- Adjusting to the sober world can be difficult. It can be especially difficult for those suffering from alcohol addiction as today’s culture places a heavy focus on drinking.
- Relapses are common. Factors that make relapses common amongst addicts include: judgement from society, inability to seek help, and the fact that addiction is a disorder of the brain and not necessarily ‘curable’.
At the end of the day, everyone’s situation is different. To really put yourself in your partner’s shoes, talk to them. Ask questions. Not all addicts are ready and willing to broach the subject, but listen if they are. Hearing about their struggles can help you better empathize with and support them.
All good relationships are based on honesty, and yours should be no different. Voice your concerns to your partner in an open conversation where you both clearly communicate. Some things you might want to address include:
- Addicts can be difficult to trust even if they’ve been sober for a while. They’ve likely spent much of their life focused on getting a fix, not always aware of who they lie to or hurt.
- Addicts have a tendency to become reliant on their partner. Make sure you both have a sense of independence.
- Come to an agreement of where your relationship stands. Is your partner willing to place you above their need for a substance?
As previously mentioned, supporting your partner can include just being someone for them to talk to. You can also encourage them throughout their recovery by taking them to rehab.
Some treatment is rigorous and requires a good support system. Facilities that specialize in sober living in California, for instance, are very intense programs that are designed to help someone recover. Be there for your partner and let them know you are behind them every step of the way.
The last thing you want to do is hurt your partner when you are only trying to help. Don’t be an enabler; refrain from giving them money to fuel their addiction and encouraging poor habits through your behavior.
When you are in a relationship with a drug addict, it can be easy to push aside your own wellbeing. After all, they are going through something unimaginable. But you can’t forget about your own health. Remember that your health is just as important, and be sure to make time for yourself.
Dating someone with an addiction can be challenging. But if you both put in the work, the relationship can work despite all odds.