Why Do People Stay In A Romantic Relationship With An Addict
There are many reasons why a person may stay in a romantic relationship with a drug addict. One reason is that the person is in love with the drug addict. Another reason why people stay in romantic relationships with drug addicts is that theyre fearful that ending a relationship with a drug addict will only cause more problems.
For example, many people fear that ending a relationship with a drug addict will cause the drug addict to burrow deeper into his or her addiction. Or worse, they fear that leaving will cause the drug addict to do something drastic, such as committing suicide.
Another reason why a person may struggle ending a relationship with a drug addict is that the person doesnt think that anyone else will take care of the drug addict. Some people may just choose to remain in a romantic relationship with drug addicts because they fear being alone themselves. In fact, nearly all of these reasons for not ending a relationship with a drug addict are based on fear.
Staying Busy And Focused
Dating An Addict: Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Like the song says, breaking up is hard to do. A breakup can be even harder when youre leaving a relationship because your partner cant shake off the long shadow cast by past addiction. If you are dating an addict, or married to one who is still caught up in a relapse cycle, it can be hard. It also hurts if they choose their addiction over you. You want to support them through their illness, but you also know their addiction is taking a toll on you. How do you know whether to stay or go?
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Remember The Three Cs Of Addiction
The Three Cs of addiction is a mantra that every loved one of an addict should take to heart.
You Did Not Cause It
When your spouse has a drug dependency, its easy for them to blame you for it. You must remember that youre not the cause of your spouses substance use disorder. Blaming you is just a way for them to justify their actions. Accepting this can help relieve some of your guilt and hopefully force your spouse to take responsibility for their behavior.
You Cannot Cure It
Unfortunately, addiction doesnt have a cure. Like most diseases, it can only be managed. However, this can be done with the help of a quality treatment facility like Discovery Institute. Your spouse can keep his or her problem use at bay with the help of detox, therapy, and aftercare programs.
You Cannot Control It
Someone with a substance use disorder cannot control their drinking or drug misuse. Substances have affected their brain to the point where they cant function without drugs or alcohol. You also cant control your spouse and force him or her to enter drug treatment. This is a decision your partner must make for themselves.
Its also important to remember that addiction is a disease that affects everyone. You may not be the one with the substance abuse problem, but it affects you just as much as it affects the person who drove you away with their poor choices.
When Is It Time To Leave An Addicted Spouse
Not all marriages affected by drug or alcohol addiction are salvageable. But identifying when this is the case isnt always as clear as some might like to think.
Seeing the impact of addiction on someone elses marriage, and experiencing it for yourself, are two different things. Theres more at stake for a spouse emotionally and financially.
Divorce isnt always a choice made by spouses of those with an active addiction. Sometimes its a decision made by one or both spouses after seeking treatment or well into a persons recovery.
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Recognizing Signs Of Substance Abuse In A Marriage
Each couple is unique, and the signs of drug and alcohol abuse may be difficult to spot or very obvious. If you suspect your partner has a problem, look for the following signs and symptoms:
- Money disappearing without explanation.
- Drugs, alcohol or drug paraphernalia hidden around the house.
- Extensive time spent with friends partying, especially without you.
- Broken promises, such as a promise not to drink at a party that turns into a binge.
- Inability to stop drinking or using substances even after repeated promises not to use them.
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence.
- Putting children or others lives at risk with their intoxication or behavior while intoxicated.
- Spending more time away from home without explanation.
- Difficulty keeping a job, especially due to chronic lateness or absenteeism.
- Health issues, such as liver problems, sores that wont heal, chronic coughs or digestive issues.
Many spouses say they feel like a single parent when their partner turns to drugs or alcohol. One of the hardest things to bear while your loved one is using is the undue burden it puts on you to run the household while your partner struggles with their disease.
Drugs and alcohol can cause peoples personalities to change drastically. While under the influence or while experiencing cravings, they may say or do things they wouldnt normally do. Personality changes are hard on a spouse. Its as if the person you married has disappeared, replaced by a monster named Addiction.
How To Overcome An Addiction
This article was co-authored by Tiffany Douglass, MA. Tiffany Douglass is the Founder of Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, a JCAHO accredited drug and alcohol treatment program based in San Jose, California. She is also the Executive Director for Midland Tennessee at JourneyPure. She has over ten years of experience in substance abuse treatment and was appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2019 for her efforts in residential addiction treatment. Tiffany earned a BA in Psychology from Emory University in 2004 and an MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Organization Behavior and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University in 2006.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 25 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,122,411 times.
Theres a myth out there that addiction is inescapable or something thats locked in for life, but thats definitely not the case. In fact, more people succeed at overcoming their addiction than fail.XResearch source Acknowledging that youre addicted to something and wanting to change are the first steps, so youre on the right track! This article will show you how to come up with a plan for overcoming your addiction and stick with it, even when things get tough.
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Q: So What Happened After You Left The Marriage
A: I ended up sitting Tom down one night and telling him I was done.
Its worth pointing out that Tom was high as a kite when I told him I was leaving, so I dont know if he really understood what I was saying to be honest and I didnt care.
Id threatened to leave him a hundred times beforeI just never followed through.
It took him about three days to realize things were different this time. He promised me the sun and moon, just like he always did, but I stood my ground. I refused to go back into that dark and suffocating environment.
About three months after I left Tom, I filed for divorce.
But What About When The Damage Isn’t Obvious
Not only are there individual reactions to addiction, but there are different kinds of addictions. The choice to assert the boundary to “leave an addict isnt always clear.
For example, if you went to therapy and told them your husband had a pornography addiction, you might get one of these three responses:
1. Why don’t you join him? Maybe it’ll be fun!
2. Why is he looking at porn- what’s missing in your relationship?
3. He has an addiction, it’s a disease.
If you told your secular therapist you wanted a divorce because of pornography, they may not take you seriously.
For the Christian woman, a husband’s pornography addiction is not only morally offensive but spiritually destructive. Seeking help for a problem that isn’t obviously hurting her can not only be confusing- it can be downright damaging when the response is, You need to calm down.
In my own experience, I was told multiple times I was the problem in my marriage for being such a prude. If maintaining a traditional standard of monogamy and morality in keeping the joy of a healthy, sexual relationship between husband and wife is considered prudish- fine. I’ll happily be a prude.
Until recently, porn seemed to be only a Christian problem. But with the rise of theNo-Fap Movement and the increasing conversation amongst non-Christians about the effects of pornography on their sex lives, were now seeing its a more dangerous addiction than we once believed.
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What Happened In My Marriage
My husband did not have an obvious addiction. Most people close to him didnt even know he had one and were shocked when he went to rehab. They blamed me and thought I was taking away his fun when in truth, he had struggled with addiction long before I came along. But the effects of his high-functioning addiction still hurt me and it was incredibly painful. He worked long hours, would not come home some nights, he spent an incredible amount of money, he lied to me daily, the list goes on.
Signs Of Addiction In A Marriage
Some couples know before they say I do that a partner has issues with drugs or alcohol. Those in recovery can be the healthiest, most well-adjusted people youll meet, but they can also relapse.
Other couples may be shocked to find out the extent of a partners problems with drugs or alcohol. Addicts can be especially skillful at concealing their problems from others, and that includes their spouse or potential spouse. It may be only after youre married that you realize your partner has a substance abuse problem, and then all your attention goes to helping your addicted spouse.
For yet a third group, addiction creeps into the marriage. One partner undergoes surgery and takes necessary prescription painkillers during recovery, only to find they cant stop taking them. Someone begins to dabble with marijuana, cocaine or synthetic drugs. After-work stops at the bar become nightly events instead of weekly events.
It doesnt matter how your partner got where they are today. What matters instead is recognizing the problem, and understanding and implementing the dos and donts of helping your addicted spouse.
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Take Small Steps To Setting Patterns
Patterns dont take hold instantly. It takes time for a pattern to become a pattern or for an action to become a habit. Pretend you drink everyday , and you have a goal of completely becoming sober from drinking alcohol. Instead of quitting cold turkey and suddenly stop drinking, meanwhile putting yourself at risk for withdrawal, it is easier and more efficient to limit yourself to smaller drinking patterns. Setting small goals such as only allowing yourself one drink today with dinner rather than a drink with every meal makes it easier to follow and easier to track how well you are progressing in your goals, therefore motivating you to continue your journey.
Take Care Of Yourself
When youre the spouse/partner of an individual that suffers from substance addiction, you need to take time out for yourself. Doing so will make sure that youre physically, mentally, and spiritually alright. That way you wont get drained and randomly lash out on the drug addict one day.
Even if you plan on leaving a relationship with a drug addict, you need to take time out for yourself to take care of yourself. This includes doing anything that you enjoy, whether that be yoga, dancing, or playing an instrument.
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Is This Negatively Affecting The Family Dynamic
For those who find themselves in a relationship with an addict and also have kids, that can throw another curveball into the equation. Sure, in a perfect world, you want to be a happy family and not have to explain to your children why they wont be living with mommy or daddy anymore, but it might be the only solution. If continuing to allow your children to live in the same house and constantly be around an addict is going to be detrimental to them and their well-being, then it might be time to leave.
Stay Away From Temptations That Help Feed Your Addiction Or Bad Habits
Staying away from temptations is a lot easier than you think. You contribute to your addiction or bad habits when you put yourself in familiar places where your triggers are present. The world is full of fun activities you dont have to be limited to a bar or a pill to have a good time. If your friends try forcing you to come out and drink or do drugs with them while you are attempting to get sober, then be honest and upfront with them. Good friends will help you achieve your goal, not set you backwards.
How bad do you want to be successful at breaking a bad habit and forming a positive one? Use that strength to remove temptations from your life. Certain people also trigger giving into our habits. Avoiding these people and their influence is the best solution to getting away from any triggers they may cause. Out of sight, out of mind.
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Some Boundaries To Think About
Consequences are key to inspiring change. Whether or not the addict continues self-harming behavior, if you do not put a halt to the actions that are harming you, youre only continuing to support the addiction. Without boundaries, the entire family continues to suffer.
When setting your boundaries, it helps to think about how helping has affected you financially or emotionally. Some examples to consider enforcing are:
- I will not spend time with you when youve been using.
- I will not give you money for your drug of choice.
- I will not provide housing or transportation for you if you are using.
- I will not pay to bail you out of jail or for legal fees if you are arrested.
- I will not cover for you if have trouble with a job, school, probation officer, friend, or anyone else.
- I will not be around you if you insult or threaten me.
- If you cant be on time for plans or an event, you are no longer welcome.
This may also require setting boundaries with others in the family. You must let them know that youre doing everything you can to help someone you love, and you must determine if theyre going to get on board. For example, lets say you have two young adult children living in your home. You set a boundary of no transportation, but you fear the addicts sibling will offer rides to support the addiction. At this point, you may have to make it clear that the sibling will also suffer consequences if he or she ignores the boundaries youve set.
How To Leave An Addict Or Abuser By Darlene Lancer Jd Mft
Darlene Lancer, author of Codependency for Dummies, shares information on how to leave an addict or abuser.
Once in love, its not easy for codependents to leave, despite unhappiness. You may be ambivalent because you still love your partner, have young children, lack resources, and/or enjoy lifestyle benefits. Outsiders often question why you stay, or urge you to, Just leave. Those words can feel humiliating, because you also think you should. You may want to leave, but feel stuck, and dont understand why. This is because there are deeper reasons that keep you bonded unlike in other relationships.
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How To Leave An Addict
why you stay with an addictDo You Find Yourself Saying
- I am scared that if I leave they will die or be homeless or kill themselves.
- I am afraid that if I leave, they will get better and find someone else.
- I am frightened of being alone.
- I am petrified that I will never love anyone like I love the addict.
- I am fearful of telling my friends and family how bad things really are.
Where Does The Fear Come From?Let Go Of The FearThe Underlying Truth: Youve Got Issues