Look out for these Red Flags when dating as a Recovering Addict
Recovering from addiction is a complex process that impacts every aspect of your life. One area in which many addicts struggle is dating. Unhealthy relationships can sabotage your recovery, whether that is because your partner becomes an enabler or because they cause you pain and trigger you. A particularly toxic person may even be rooting for you to fail.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell if a potential partner might be bad for you. Even the nicest people can have outdated views on addiction. A person’s baggage might also lead them to treat you badly when the relationship becomes serious.
As a recovering addict, you need to look out for particular red flags when dating. Here are some behaviors that should make you think twice about a potential partner.
They disparage addiction or other mental illnesses:
While attitudes towards mental illness are changing in America, there is still stigma associated with it. Many people do not consider addiction and other mental illnesses to be real conditions. This does not make them bad people or even bad people to date. However, as a recovering addict you should steer clear.
Someone who disparages any mental illness might be open to learning and evolving, especially if you tell them about your own experience. But you cannot be expected to hold their hand through the process. You’re more likely to come out of it feeling undermined.
They are highly judgmental:
Everyone is judgmental to some extent. However, there are people you meet who are particularly quick to criticize. On a date, they probably won’t criticize you. But if they seem to criticize everything else, even in a humorous way, they might not be good for your recovery.
Again, this does not make them a bad person, but when recovering from addiction, you need a space of non-judgment. It is difficult not to judge yourself negatively even in your own self-talk. When someone you are dating adds to that, you may start seeing yourself and your recovery in a negative light. You will be much better off with someone who is able to appreciate your achievements.
They drink a lot:
Someone who drinks a fair amount of alcohol regularly is not necessarily an addict. They may just enjoy getting tipsy whenever they go out. They may be an incredible partner in a relationship. However, the fact that they drink on your first dates indicates that alcohol plays a significant part in their life.
They are unlikely to stop drinking on nights out, and are more likely to compartmentalize your relationship. Instead of enjoying themselves with you, they may begin to consider fun and romance to be mutually exclusive parts of their life.
Your partner does not need to abstain from drinking. Many recovering addicts have excellent relationships with people who still drink or smoke marijuana. You don’t need to live the rest of your life avoiding anyone who drinks. You can even enjoy nights out with them when they’re drinking.
But starting a relationship with someone who strongly associates enjoyment with alcohol can lead to a lot of negative feelings. It will be difficult to share your addiction journey with them, and they may not be ready to hear it.
Dating as an addict does not have to be a minefield, but there are red flags that you should look out for. Anyone who will not have the space to support you without judgment will not make a great partner.