Once you’ve become sober following an addiction, the recovery time can be an exciting process. It’s all about jumping barriers and rebuilding life, and romance is a natural part of that. However, though romance can be a healthy form of coping in recovery, it can also be a trigger for recovery’s demise if things go awry.

The Science of Co-Dependency

Co-dependency is very common in relationships with an addict. The addict depends on the other person in the relationship who has been taking care of them and may even be unable to do basic things without the help of that person. It makes recovery very difficult on the addict at that point, and because of that, romance at the early stages of recovery is not recommended.

Waiting for the Right Time to Date

It’s very important to wait for an appropriate time to date when in recovery. Those in their first year of recovery should hold off on beginning dating or reestablishing a relationship. You need time to get to know yourself and to know that you have a decent handle on recovery before you get involved with anyone else.

Handling Existing Relationships

Addiction puts a strain on any relationship, and unfortunately, not all of them survive it. If yours has been lucky enough to survive, you should know how to handle it. It can take a long time for both parties in the relationship to heal enough to fix their relationship. The key is to put feelings of hurt aside and work on recovery. The addict can show devotion by getting better, and the partner can show devotion by being patient.

Relationships within Your Recovery Group

It is recommended that you avoid relationships within your recovery group. Firstly, you may not be ready to handle that kind of emotional commitment, even if you think otherwise. Secondly, it’s difficult to remain sober in this situation, since if one participant in the relationship relapses, the other one is more likely to also. To avoid this altogether, consider choosing gender-specific recovery.

Romance Tips

Once you’ve been in recovery for a decent amount of time, and you believe it might be time for romance, consider these tips to help you get started.

  • Ask for Help: Talk to your counselors and sponsors before entering a relationship. Ask for their advice, and really listen to what they have to say.
  • Get a Plant: If your plant flourishes after one year under your care, this may be a good indicator that you are ready to take on the responsibility of dating.
  • Know Yourself: You must first be happy with yourself before you can be happy in a relationship.
  • Find New Hangouts: After you’re recovered, you should avoid picking up dates in a bar or other hangouts with bad influences. Find new places to meet people, like a coffee shop.

Finding romance after recovery is an exciting time. It’s a sign that your life is returning to normal. However, if you truly want that normalcy, you’ll want to heed this advice and wait to date until you’re truly ready.