In working with the spouses and significant others of addicts, I’ve often heard it said, “I’d rather be an addict than love one.” While few people would ever walk eyes-wide-open into a chronic disease like addiction, the statement speaks to the confusion, loneliness and despair common not only among addicts but also the men and women who love them.
A history of addiction doesn’t necessarily turn Mr./Mrs. Right into Mr./Mrs. Wrong. In fact, addicts who are solid in their recovery can make excellent partners. They’ve waged a courageous battle, spending a great deal of time working to take care of and improve themselves. But before you put yourself in a position to fall for an addict, there are a few things you need to know:
#1 Love does not conquer all.
For anyone considering dating an active addict, it is important to realize that love cannot conquer addiction. Addiction takes priority over everything – you, children, career, financial security, even one’s own freedom. Before diving into a relationship, find out if your prospective partner is actively using drugs or alcohol, or if they display addictive or compulsive patterns in other areas (e.g., gambling, work, sex, food or spending).