Everyone desires love and intimacy. Starting a romantic relationship can usually be an exciting and happy experience. It can be one of the most formative things that can happen to most people.
However, when you are in recovery, dating might get messy. It may even get in the way of your day-to-day treatment process. To benefit your recovery progress and the quality of your desired relationship, it may be best that you wait to form romantic relationships.
The Challenges and Why
To some people, waiting for a romantic relationship can be difficult or even seem like unreasonable advice. After all, you need all the positive social support you can get.
However, dating during treatment might bring more risk factors to your recovery. The reason is quite simple. Dating can become a significant source of stress. If you have not arrived at an active place of healing, starting a new romantic relationship might just become a daunting and risky challenge.
Romantic Relationships and Emotional Stress
If you have ever been in a romantic relationship, you know that it can uplift your spirit but also stress you out. Depending on personal histories, individuals bring their own past issues into the new relationship. Some of these issues may include behavioral patterns that tend to produce harmful dynamics. Usually, once two people get into a romantic relationship, the dark corners or sharp edges will show and pose challenges.
For a romantic relationship to work out, two people also need to be there for each other. This requires high emotional availability. If you are still struggling with emotional detachment, being fully present for your partner can become an overwhelming task.
When you get sober, feelings that you have been masking for years pop up. These can be overwhelming and require hard work and attention to overcome. When you get into a relationship, you aren’t only dealing with your feelings, but your partner’s feelings as well.
This increasing commitment and emotional attachment can be daunting even for an emotionally healthy couple to navigate. If you have not done healing work, your relationship will likely become rockier as time goes by.
The Cost of Dating During Treatment
When you are in treatment for addiction, you may not feel like connecting with others, especially in a romantic way. Your emotional stability and availability is the foundational building block of your social relationships. Before that foundation is secured and in better shape, getting into a relationship would be adding more stress to the unstable structure. Romantic involvement with someone may also disrupt your treatment.
You might also ask, “Is dating in the cyber world a better way during treatment? Will no physical contact reduce the risk of adverse impact?” Meeting or dating someone online has its own set of stressors. There is more to online dating than finding a person to fall in love with. You may worry about their true identity, whether to disclose your sobriety, and other issues. This endless list of uncertainty may become overwhelming because, online or not, a relationship is a relationship — it takes hard work.
When in a relationship, you need to have great compassion for another person and support them through their troubles. However, this can become a burden to you as someone already struggling to meet your own personal challenges.
Dating while in treatment can become a distraction from your top priority. It can even become destructive to your emotional health and the quality of your relationship. Waiting and seeing what sobriety brings in your renewed social life is always wise. You need some time to get used to navigating healthy relationships.
Being the Best Partner You Can Be
While you would like to show positive qualities to the person you feel attracted to, you also want these traits to be authentic. Relationships often take learning a few essential life skills.
Mental health and addiction treatment professionals can help you learn these skills. You can also join a 12-Step program for peer support. Many people in the Fellowship will guide you through creating healthy relationships now that you are sober.
Before you are ready to enter a new dating relationship, you may want to consider:
- Plan a smooth, uninterrupted transition into sobriety and make time for yourself
- Have a consistent aftercare plan with an ongoing support system
- Be honest with potential partners
A Better Relationship Is Worth the Wait
Does being in recovery rule out romance for you? Absolutely not. You need to know that you are worthy of love. You are also worthy of a supportive partner who loves the true you with all your problems.
Your past with addiction does not disqualify you from becoming a loving, supportive partner either. Many people in recovery have strong relationships. They have learned how to watch for specific problems and to navigate different seasons of change.
Are you frustrated with how dating never worked out for you when you were struggling with addiction? Understand that you are worthy of love, and you always have the opportunity for romance. However, first, you need to focus on recovery. When you put your sobriety first, you give yourself time to heal and the opportunity to build essential relationship skills. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our team of professionals can walk alongside you in this healing process. At Laguna Shores, we deliver the personal attention you need for a successful start to a life in recovery. Whether you are seeking treatment for the first time or you have struggled with relapse many times, we are here to guide you. Our experienced and compassionate team offers customizable treatment options. Learn more and call us at (866) 906-3203, and our experienced staff can help you prepare for a new chapter of your life.