Romantic relationships can provide amazing support for those in recovery. However, establishing these kinds of relationships while balancing active sober efforts is incredibly complicated. Jumping into romantic relationships too soon in recovery can bring unnecessary stress and risk to a person’s emotional health, and even impact their continued sobriety. While those in recovery can absolutely establish and pursue love in recovery, it is important to first ensure that each individual is emotionally prepared for the challenges therein, and can decide for themselves if pursuing this path is necessary or healthy for their recovery and sobriety.
Love Yourself First
Romantic relationships are complicated, especially for those in recovery. However, whether an individual is rekindling a previous relationship or is beginning a new journey with another, it is paramount to approach love in recovery with the right mindset. Overcoming addiction is a difficult and taxing endeavor, and persistent feelings of shame, guilt, depression, frustration, and a myriad of mental health disorders can all linger well into each individual’s recovery journey. Before committing to a romantic relationship, it is important to first love oneself and accept that one is worthy of such love.
Learning to love oneself and take pride in developing hobbies and sober identity is necessary to continue pursuing the most effective therapeutic outlets while also ensuring that these romantic relationships are developed around this newfound sense of identity.
Preparing to Pursue Love in Recovery
It can be difficult to plan when and where an individual will “fall in love.” The idea of planning ahead for a romantic relationship can seem difficult if an individual doesn’t know where they may encounter a romantic prospect. However, there are several skills and practices that those in recovery can benefit from before pursuing romance of any kind. Developing these skills and routines in a safe and sober recovery environment can ensure that they are practiced and applicable to aid in the development of romantic relationships.
Strengthen Communication Strategies
Communication is the cornerstone of all relationships. Being able to effectively communicate with romantic partners is necessary throughout recovery. The ability to express particular needs or goals in recovery can be instrumental in letting romantic partners in on the recovery process and each individual’s sober efforts, creating a healthy and unified approach to continued sobriety. Others may develop communication strategies to ensure that they can safely and accurately express emotional needs.
Finding effective communication strategies in recovery and developing these strategies alongside peers is necessary to ensure that they are ready to be employed in a romantic setting. Without practicing these strategies ahead of time, miscommunication in relationships can be common. As a result, an individual may inadvertently erect unnecessary emotional barriers between themselves and their partner, compromising the relationship.
Practice Self-Care Routines and Personal Hobbies
Relationships take a lot of compromise while learning to work together. However, that doesn’t mean that any one individual’s interests, identity, or goals should be wholly compromised for the sake of the relationship. Continuing to pursue personal interests and feeling both empowered and encouraged to continue engaging in personal hobbies is necessary. Recovery is a constantly shifting time of change, and having the opportunity to continue exploring personal outlets and ideas is crucial.
Ensuring that any particular romantic relationship would not compromise these interests and continuing to prioritize the development of personal skills is necessary. Engaging in hobby groups, meeting with friends for game nights, and more are all important. Establishing these outlets before jumping into a relationship can be a great way to manage this balance. Likewise, continuing to schedule and engage with effective outpatient treatment programs and following up on any other challenges in sobriety with peers and professionals is instrumental in creating a sober life, even while pursuing a relationship.
Prepare to Cope with Stress
Even the most loving relationships are still filled with stress. Being able to effectively and safely process stress in recovery is necessary for the development of these healthy relationships. Navigating stress in its various forms and having established support systems and relapse prevention strategies to address unforeseen stresses that may manifest is necessary. While it can be tempting to want to pursue a romantic relationship early in recovery, being unable to effectively process unforeseen stresses in a healthy and sober manner can help prevent relapse and promote a healthier, more sustainable relationship.
There is no specific “date” when an individual can begin pursuing romance in recovery. Each individual will progress toward their sober goals at their own pace. Knowing when a person can safely pursue these relationships is a personal question. However, these relationships can never come at the expense of a person’s sober efforts or focus. Developing practiced coping strategies and safely navigating stresses, urges, and cravings while continuing to pursue personal interests is necessary for the healthiest, most supportive romantic relationships in sobriety.
Romantic relationships can signal genuine transformations and healthy lifestyles developed throughout recovery. At Buena Vista Recovery, we can help you establish the skills you need to pursue a healthy and supportive relationship in sobriety. Our unique approach to each individual recovery journey can be personalized to your needs and goals. Coupled with our holistic approach to healing and supportive community of peers, we are prepared to help you address the continued effects of addiction and help you develop the necessary skills for a healthy and sustained romantic relationship in recovery. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to our caring, trained staff today at (480) 741-9414 or complete your insurance verification form.