Relationships in recovery can be tricky, and it is essential for people to make sure they take the right steps in order to protect their sobriety and make sure to stay healthy and happy. Most people in recovery are familiar with the theory that people should wait at least one year from their clean date to even start about dating. It isn’t a bad idea, and here’s why.

Wait One Year Before Starting Relationships in Recovery

The one year rule. While lots of people take it seriously, other scoff at the idea and look for someone to date as soon as they are done with treatment. There’s a reason people say to wait one year. Here are some of the top reasons.

  • You will have the chance to get to know the new and sober you. If you think about it, this makes absolute sense. This is likely the first time in a long time that you have significant sober time, and as a result you are re-learning how to act across the board. From social situations to school and work, every experience as a sober person is brand new.
  • You will be healthier. On therapist said it best when they said “two sick people can’t make a healthy relationship.” Whether you believe it literally or figuratively, addiction makes you sick, and if you get into a relationship too soon, it is highly likely that one of you will bring the other down.
  • To follow up on the previous point, being in a relationship, unfortunately, makes the chance of relapse much higher. This goes especially for if you and your significant other have the same drug of choice. If one of you picks up, the chances are extremely high that the other will pick up too.
  • You need to be comfortable in your sobriety. If you start dating and happen to be a former drinker, for example, you are likely to pick up a drink to calm your pre-date nerves. It isn’t worth it.
  • You don’t want to bring another person down. Addiction is selfish and as a result many addicts bring down with them the people who are closest to them. As part of recovery, you need to change all your old behaviors, including any selfish tendencies. If you think you may relapse and are in a relationship with another addict in recovery, you don’t want to be the one to bring them down too.

Relationships in Recovery are Tricky But Doable

It isn’t necessary to think you’ll never get the chance to date now that you are in recovery. The oppositite is the case, you just need to give yourself time! The first step is to wait until you feel confident in your sobriety enough to put yourself out there. If your feelings get hurt, you don’t want to run right to a drink or a drug.

Make sure you have firm boundaries once you start dating and have a good idea of what is right and wrong and what is best for you. Recovery is all about putting yourself first, even after you allow another person into your life.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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