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Starting a Relationship in Recovery: Tips and Cautions

Anyone who has started a new relationship during their first year in recovery can tell you why it is frowned upon. As wonderful as new relationships can be, they are also very stressful. 

The first year of a relationship is a time of setting boundaries, developing your relationship’s communication patterns and deciding who is responsible for what in the relationship. This can put a lot of stress on both partners. This is why it is not recommended to begin a new relationship in your first year of recovery.

At some point, you may decide to move in together, get married or do other things to combine your lives. This means you both have to make compromises and work together as a team to plan a life together. 

While it can all be a wonderful, fun time of your life, it can also be very stressful. Many couples have disagreements over boundaries and compromises. This can be hard enough for someone not in recovery. For someone in recovery, it can lead to relapse!  For this reason, people in recovery have to be careful about anything that could add stress to their life including getting involved in a relationship.

Tips for Reducing Relationship Stress in Recovery

  • Set clear boundaries in your relationship
  • Discuss and agree upon who is responsible for what chores
  • Agree in advance that when an argument starts, you will each take a time-out and return to the discussion only once you have had time to calm down and reflect upon the issue
  • Be honest with each other even when it may be difficult to do so
  • Communicate your needs to your partner
  • Be open to meeting the needs of your partner

Understand that you will probably not always agree on everything but as long as you respect each other and treat each other with kindness, it can be alright to disagree

  • Let your partner know you love him/her on a daily basis
  • Discuss financial problems openly and work together as a team to solve them
  • Have a support network of friends who you can talk to when you are feeling under stress

Relationships can be loving, supportive and respectful but they are rarely perfect. Most relationships have their ups and downs.

There will be times when you get along and other times when you disagree about many things. As long as you prepare for these times of disagreement, it does not have to affect your recovery.

I am a recovering addict and a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have over 7 years clean from all substances and more than 10 years from illicit drugs. I work as an addiction counselor and have more than 5 years experience counseling addicts.

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