Dating in Recovery

A silhouette of a couple in recovery on a date, kissing in front of a sunset background.

After undergoing treatment for addiction, sobriety comes with a sense of relief. Recovery is a long and complex process. It requires diligence and commitment to staying sober. Outside of rehabilitation, the support of friends and family plays a huge role in keeping loved ones accountable.

Recovering from addiction is often a slow and deliberate process. There are many things that can help simplify trying to stay sober. The first year of recovery can often be the most vulnerable. Introducing new romantic relationships during this process can sometimes be tumultuous. Is dating during recovery recommended? Here are a few things to consider when figuring out whether or not dating after rehabilitation is a good idea.

Why Dating in Recovery Can Be Difficult

Reintegrating into society after rehabilitation is a necessary part of recovery. While dating may seem like a normal part of this integration, many experts do not recommend dating during this time period.

Some romantic relationships are connected to addictive behavior. If a dependent dating relationship enabled addiction prior to rehabilitation, continuing the relationship outside of treatment can be harmful to recovery. Those struggling with substance abuse may need to weigh the relationships they’ve maintained both before and after recovery in order to prioritize sobriety moving forward.

For new relationships, the emotional pitfalls that can come with meeting a new person can cause unneeded stress during recovery. Learning to be self-sufficient and live a manageable healthy lifestyle is a key element to living outside of treatment. Dating requires people to share themselves and prioritize the needs of others. Sometimes, this can get in the way of sobriety.

Meeting new people and trying to fall in love is an exciting process. It’s something that people struggling with substance abuse are often unable to do during addiction. Unfortunately, the excitement that comes with dating can also be a distraction from sobriety and can open the doors for relapse.

When dating a new person, you have to decide when to tell them that you are in recovery. Discussing the potential issues surrounding addiction and recovery can be freeing but is also a hard subject to broach. The potential of rejection can sometimes prevent people from talking about it. However, having this discussion is one of the only ways to ensure that the person you are dating is supportive of your journey.

What to Do If You Decide to Date During Recovery

If you do decide to date while in recovery, it is best to approach new relationships with honesty.

Establishing a criteria to follow when trying to find the right type of person to date can be helpful. Finding someone who can support recovery, keep things simple, and stay focused on sobriety can go a long way in establishing a solid foundation.

Everyone wants companionship. During recovery, companionship can be an essential part of living a healthy life outside of treatment. However, it is important to approach dating very carefully. The ups and downs of dating are difficult to navigate in normal life. During recovery, things like dependency and erratic emotions can make dating even more difficult. For these reasons, it is important to evaluate the decision to date with professionals and loved ones before jumping in.