Dating can seem like a challenge in today’s world, and for someone who is in addiction recovery, it can seem even more difficult to start dating. Many who are in the recovery process have a history of codependent or abusive relationships. Drug and alcohol addiction is often linked to violent and withdrawn behaviors that lead to unstable relationships. It is common for those with substance use disorder to find partners that support their substance abuse. However, during the early stages of sobriety, it is recommended to abstain from dating until after a year of sobriety.
Dignity Hall Sober Living Homes in South Jersey can provide a safe space during addiction recovery so that you can focus on healing before dating again. There are several reasons it is recommended to stay away from the dating scene in your first year of sobriety.
Dating During Recovery is Risky for Mental Health
Within dating, there are many highs and lows. Getting dumped in the early stages of recovery can be dangerous and lead to relapse. The first year of recovery can cause you to become more sensitive and vulnerable to life’s ups and downs. The most important thing during recovery is focusing on yourself without any distractions that place your sobriety at risk. Before you decide if you are ready to jump into a relationship, you should ask yourself the following:
- Can you be upfront about your addiction to your partner?
- Can you deal with the disappointments that come with dating and relationships?
- Are you at a point in your life where you can take care of yourself?
You May Choose Unhealthy Partners when Dating During Recovery
Who you date right out of recovery versus who you choose to date after a year of sobriety may look like two very different people. In early recovery, you may likely fall for the same type of person you did while you were struggling with your addiction. Often, dating in early recovery leads to finding an abusive or codependent partner.
Women commonly chose abusive partners when dating in the early recovery stages. Often, this is because they grew accustomed to being abused in their childhood, and the same stressor that led to their drug abuse in the first place may be the same dissatisfaction they are feeling in their new relationship. The longer a woman has been in recovery, the more likely she is to become confident, emotionally healthy, and choose partners who are better for their wellbeing.
Thirteen Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship
Before starting a new relationship, you must consider the weight of these characteristics:
- Trust- this is the foundation of a relationship. Without trust, both you and your partner will not feel secure.
- Communication- This is a key component of a relationship. To have healthy communication, you and your partner must be able to communicate uncomfortable topics and feelings.
- Empathy- Those in healthy relationships can see each other’s perspective even if they do not necessarily agree with one another. When in substance use recovery, it is important to find a partner who provides support during all times.
- Patience- As you continue to get to know your partner, you will find that they have small quirks that you could find annoying. You must be patient during this time with your partner.
- Affection- Expressing affection will help you build a stronger bond with your partner.
- Appreciation- Express your love and appreciation for your partner regularly.
- Growth- Both you and your partner will experience growth throughout your lives. You must be willing to adapt and grow with your partner.
- Respect- A healthy relationship does not consist of belittling or invalidation.
- Healthy conflict resolution- Arguments are bound to happen occasionally. When faced with an argument, you must know how to resolve it without violence or stonewalling.
- Reciprocity- Help each other when needed, but do not make it a competition. Instead, you and your partner should both feel supported.
- Boundaries- Respect your partner’s space and that you each have your own life outside of your relationship.
- Honesty- Be open about mistakes, feelings, and emotions. Let your partner in on your dreams, fears, and expectations.
- Flexibility- You and your partner should be flexible enough with one another to reach a compromise when deciding on things.
You Could Become Addicted to Love
In the early stages of recovery, when your substance use is gone, you may seek something as a replacement. When you start dating someone you have a strong attraction to, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine, which are known as the “feel good” chemicals. Instead of drug addiction, you could now become dependent on that feel-good feeling your new relationship gives you.
Dignity Hall Sober Living Homes
Finding a partner that is right for you carries a lot of stress and pressure. Your partner should be understanding about your sobriety and addiction recovery journey. At Dignity Hall Sober Living Homes in South Jersey, we offer support and structure during your recovery process. To learn more about Dignity Hall Sober Living Homes, reach out today at 855.380.7560.