Dating in itself is already stressful. The problems that typically plague standard relationships, from forgetting an anniversary to cheating, create an almost impenetrable barrier in the relationship. Add in a drug-ridden past or present into the mix, and the relationship is not only stressful, but also very unpredictable.
I’ve had three serious relationships in my life, and two of them were with drug addicts. Dating became a daily juggling act between love and drugs, between happiness and utter devastation. I was constantly in a state of limbo about the success of my partner and the future of our relationship. This is my personal experience dating a drug addict. Although it won’t be the same for everyone, maybe some of you can relate.
If you’re romantically involved with a current or former drug addict, just know it’s not all bad. Dating a drug addict, as with dating anyone, comes with pros and cons.
Con: Lack of trust
Drug addicts, even if they have been clean for months or years, are difficult to trust. For part of their lives, addicts have been consumed with obtaining drugs and finding money to pay for them. Even if they swear they’re clean, trusting them completely is going to take time.
It’s hard to believe they could save money when the thought of buying drugs is always lurking in the back of their minds. They also have probably become experts at lying and making excuses about their whereabouts, friends and money, so you’ll want to check up on them constantly.
It also goes the other way. If recovering addicts are trying to push their pasts as far away from the relationship as possible, they will eventually resent you for questioning them.
There is a reason addicts continue attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings and therapy sessions; dealing with addiction is a lifelong battle. Some days are better than others, but the temptation to use drugs is a strong force that can set back years of progress. As an addict’s significant other, you take on that anxiety and worry.
You constantly have to be wondering if the person you love has relapsed. What is worse is you’ll also have to consider how you’ll deal with relapse if it happens.
Con: Second place
To recovering or present addicts, drugs are no. 1, the top priority, the best things in the world. Their bond with drugs will be stronger than their bond with you, because drugs are easier.
Even the best relationships are sometimes messy and chaotic, but drugs are an immediate escape and a quick way to temporary nirvana. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Some addicts realize that they’ve given up the truly important things in their life, and work as hard as they can not to mess them up again.
Ever hear the saying, “Replace one habit with another”? It’s incredibly true, especially among addicts. When trying to come or stay off drugs, they often switch vices. Smoking cigarettes, exercising or having sex are popular stand-ins. But beginning a serious relationship can be another substitute.
This quality could go either way, depending on the type of person you are. If you’re a fan of space, inconsistent talking and independence, dating an addict will bring out your worst.
But if you like knowing you’re an emotional support system for someone and enjoy interdependence, you’ll thrive in this relationship. Addicts will need you as much, if not more, than you need them, and it’s nice to know you’re their source of happiness.
Pro: Realistic expectations
A major perk of dating someone with a checkered past is that they most likely won’t judge you for yours. You have both made questionable choices or have done hurtful things at some point, so there is a mutual understanding that mistakes happen, and they don’t mark the end of the world.
Addicts will also be more forgiving with blunders made during the relationship for similar reasons. Instead of walking on eggshells in a relationship, you can approach it confidently since you know the relationship will probably survive.
Pro: Emotionally available
Recovering addicts are (hopefully) going to meetings and therapy sessions regularly. Overcoming an addiction involves being as open and honest as possible with those close to you, talking out your problems and frustrations and learning how to live a sober, satisfying life.
Addicts spend a lot of time working on themselves and their relationships on the path to sobriety, so they can apply all those lessons to your relationship.