The Pros and Cons of Dating in Early Recovery
Early in recovery, there will be times when you feel vulnerable and overwhelmed. Since numbing the pain from past trauma with drugs or alcohol is no longer an option, you can be left feeling emotionally raw. You might also be feeling physical pain and discomfort due to changes happening in your body. These challenges often leave people craving the emotional or physical support of another person, which is completely understandable. It’s hard to cope with feelings of loneliness, particularly when you’re struggling.
However, dating in early recovery can be very tricky. Many experts recommend waiting until you’ve been in recovery for at least a full year before getting into a romantic relationship. Feeling loved and supported in a romantic relationship is a positive part of anyone’s life, but in early recovery, your focus is on learning to love yourself first and foremost. And what happens if the relationship goes south? How will you protect your recovery in the event of a breakup that leaves you feeling devastated? Also, early recovery is a time when you’re still learning how to overcome addictive behaviors. If you’re not ready it can be easy to substitute one addiction for another. As you know, many addicts also struggle with codependence in relationships. Starting a new relationship too soon can easily lead to an unhealthy dynamic.
Tips for Dating in Recovery When The Time is Right
These are all critical aspects to consider before deciding to start dating in recovery. However, there will come a time when you’re ready to start dating. We’ve compiled the following tips for dating in recovery to help you create a positive, healthy, supportive relationship when the time is right.
1. Be sure to choose a healthy partner
You want to be sure the person you are potentially dating remains emotionally stable. If you’ve had unhealthy relationships in the past, you may be drawn to those types of partners again, but abuse and codependence can quickly derail the progress you’ve made. Before considering dating, identify critical qualities you desire in a partner and think how they will help you recover.
2. Make recovery your top priority
No one in the world is more deserving and in need of your love than you. You have overcome so much to be where you are, so your recovery deserves your full attention. If your relationship gets your full attention, staying engaged in your recovery may inadvertently take a back seat, and this can lead to relapse.
3. Keep communication open
Part of having a healthy relationship entails feeling comfortable sharing the good, bad, or indifferent with your partner. You are both able to better support each other when you know how the other is feeling.
4. Consider the people in your partner’s life
Before you dive into a relationship, ask yourself who your partner hangs around. As your relationship progresses, you will naturally meet their friends or family and become part of their social circle. Will these people be positive influences who will support your recovery, or are they struggling themselves? You’ve likely cut ties with negative influences in your own life, so avoid jumping back into a friend group that may not serve your best interests.
5. Set clear boundaries
Being aware of your triggers and what makes you uncomfortable helps you set clear boundaries with your significant other. Using open communication is essential when having these conversations, so you know exactly what the other expects.
6. Don’t allow lust or attraction to sway you
Be careful who you let into your healing heart and mind. Pure physical attraction is such a strong feeling, don’t let it persuade you to get into a relationship with someone who isn’t suitable for your recovery.
Where to Find Addiction Treatment
If you’re in recovery and feeling like you need additional support around healthy relationships or any other aspect of your life, please reach out for help. The Source treatment specialists are available online or by phone 24/7. We’re ready to help you achieve a life free from the constraints of addiction. Don’t let addiction ruin any more of your relationships, and contact us today to ensure you cultivate positive relationships in your life.