Carefully ending a relationship with someone who has substance abuse issues
Life can be difficult when you’re an addict, and equally as hard when you love one. Addiction, a disease that starts with the use of a substance or drug, can start with a pleasurable pastime and quickly turns into a compulsive problem that can have an effect on one’s personal relationships.
Addiction’s Effect on One’s Life
As we all know, addiction has a direct impact on the brain. Specifically, it affects the part of the brain that controls emotions, impulses, habits, & motivation. So when one’s brain starts noticing changes due to drug addiction, their behaviors will soon follow suit.
Drug use, in addition to harming physical and mental health, can be detrimental for a person’s personal life. Addiction can cause an individual to:
- Have problems at work or school
- Lose their job
- Experience financial issues
- Cause more arguments
- Have difficulty with social situations and relationships
How Drug Addiction Can Impact Relationships
Addiction can impact all kinds of personal relationships, but romantic ones are perhaps one of the most notables. Someone who is dating an addict needs to be careful not to enable them or push them out of their comfort zone. Either reaction to the disease could lead to heartbreak, guilt, and other unhappy endings later on.
Romantic relationships that involve an addict can take an emotional toll on both parties. While they can be rewarding if both individuals are working to improve themselves and their lives, some of these relationships can instead result in unhealthy dependence.
Drug abuse can cause conflict, especially among romantic partners. These conflicts can induce stress which can trigger more drug use. It can have a circular effect, so it’s important to catch an unhealthy relationship with an addict before the cycle continues.
What to Expect When Dating A Drug Addict
Not every relationship with a drug addict is the same, but there are certain behaviors and patterns to look out for. If you are in a relationship with someone who has a drug addiction, you may have experienced these situations:
- Extreme emotional ups and downs
- Dependence – using the non-addicted partner as a shield
- More frequent arguments or infidelity
- Defensiveness, denial, and lying
- Fight or flight responses
Should You Stay Or Go?
So should you keep fighting the addiction by their side, or has the relationship harmed you to the point where leaving would be best? Making this decision can be difficult, and you probably have many questions running through your head:
Is it my fault?
Will it get worse if I leave?
What if something happens after I leave?
These questions will do no good for you. Always remember that the situation is never your fault, and you are not responsible for anything that occurs if you leave to work on your own wellbeing.
Some more beneficial questions to ask yourself when considering ending a relationship with an addict may be:
Do I keep covering for them with work, friends, and family?
Are our arguments usually centered around drug use?
Will thinking positively really fix anything?
If you are getting answers you’re unhappy with or aren’t able to cope with a partner’s drug use, it may be time to leave the situation. While you may think this can cause more harm than good, ending an unhealthy relationship will eventually leave both parties better off.
People with drug addictions are not able to make complete healthy decisions; but you can by ending a harmful relationship.
Ending Relationships Carefully & Constructively
Here are some tips on how to effectively and gently end a relationship with someone who has a drug addiction:
- Make sure they’re safe and have another support system
- Be firm with your decision. Stick with it & cut all ties if you’re ending it
- Consider your own safety & make sure you have someone to talk to
Moving on From A Breakup
If you have ever ended a relationship to work on your own wellbeing, you do not owe anything to anyone. Nobody deserves an explanation. Remember that you have to come first.
Consider your past as an opportunity to consider your dating patterns and set yourself for success in the future. To learn more about having a loved one with a drug addiction, give us a call 267.719.8689.