This article was written by a guest blogger – Caleb Anderson from Recovery Hope
When a relationship is impacted by addiction, it can be difficult to navigate the problems that develop alongside the addiction. Those struggling with alcohol or drug use may also engage in risky behaviors like infidelity or fraud, and repairing a partnership under these conditions is not always possible. How do you assist a loved one in getting help, how do you heal as a couple, and how do you determine if you need to end the relationship?
Prepare a plan and avoid judgement
Education is the first step to helping your loved one accept the need for addiction treatment. It’s important to learn the signs of addiction, and Medical News Today notes that these typically include risk taking, changes in mood, sleep, or eating patterns, and issues with secrecy and solitude. You should also explore the available treatment options and put together a plan for how to proceed.
Your partner will need your support as they consider entering treatment, and this can be difficult if there have been risky behaviors involved that leave you feeling betrayed. Don’t issue idle threats as you approach this discussion, and try to avoid judgement. Make sure your partner knows how their actions are impacting you and reach out to your doctor or a local hospital if you need resources regarding what to do next.
Healing is possible, but takes a full commitment from both parties
Healing as a couple after an addiction or infidelity takes time, honesty, and commitment. The partner who has the addiction needs to accept the complex feelings their loved one is experiencing. These may include betrayal, anger, disappointment, and devastation, and it’s essential to understand their loved one’s need for space and answers.
Maintaining sobriety while repairing a broken relationship is vital, and Huffington Post shares that honesty and accountability are necessary too. Avoid being defensive and show a willingness to regain your partner’s trust, supporting their need for information. If you are the partner who has been hurt by a loved one’s addiction and associated behaviors, allow yourself time to process what has happened.
You do have a right to information when trust has been broken and you have been betrayed, and you should be assertive in setting boundaries. However, you also need to be prepared to hear difficult answers to your questions and while it is important to be honest about your feelings and hold your partner accountable, you should avoid being passive aggressive.
Sometimes ending a relationship becomes necessary
It takes a lot of work to heal as a couple after issues with addiction and/or infidelity. Not every couple will make it through this type of situation together, and it can be difficult to tell when you need to call it quits. Counseling, both together and individually, can be helpful, and both parties need to fully commit to repairing the relationship.
You shouldn’t rush into making decisions about the future of your relationship when the damage is fresh. Allow for a cooling off period before initiating major changes, and see if both parties can dedicate themselves to working through the issues. If, however, one partner resists doing the hard work necessary, a split may be for the best.
Addiction can wreak havoc on a relationship. It takes honesty and a willingness to support one another to remain together, and not every couple can do this. Be honest and understanding with one another and reach out to professionals for help. This type of journey can be a long, emotional one, but many pairs find they become stronger as a couple as a result of the challenges they navigated together.
[Photo via Pixabay]
Author: Caleb Anderson (RecoveryHope.org)