Valentine’s Day Special: Can I be in a Relationship While in Recovery?

people dancing

With Valentine’s Day right around us, there is the inherent pressure to be in a relationship. Many people view Valentine’s Day as a couple’s holiday, and whether you are in a relationship or not, you’re probably thinking about it. For those of us in recovery, relationships can be a vague concept because we are currently spending most of our time focusing on developing tools that we need to succeed. Perhaps you’ve considered dating, or you may even be contemplating if now is the best time to be with your significant other. No matter the circumstance, the question remains: is being in a relationship appropriate while you’re in recovery?

Each person’s situation is different, but generally, it is suggested that the first year of recovery should be complete focus on that and nothing else. Several sources have provided reasons for this, including:

  1. Recovery involves ups and downs, which could hinder a romantic relationship.
  2. Being vulnerable while in recovery could lead to dependency on a romantic partner.
  3. Being in a romantic relationship could lend to additional distractions which hold you back from recovery.
  4. Romantic relationships involve both parties’ emotional “baggage”, which could make things more stressful.
  5. If the romantic relationship fails or has ups and downs, this could test your ability to cope in a way that you may not be ready for.

If you’re in a relationship and you want to have success in your recovery as well, make sure that you understand what needs to be a daily priority for you to clearly focus on your recovery goals. Unexpected turbulence in the relationship could bring about additional stress that could lead you towards relapse; be sure that you have an appropriate support system to rely on throughout both times of victory and times of need. Lastly, consider attending couples therapy while in recovery to ensure that both of you are on the same page and so that you both understand what is needed from one another to make the relationship work.





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