Dating during recovery is usually not advised. This is due to the reality that you are essentially dating yourself and getting to know the real you. Can you provide yourself with the level of focus required to truly heal while dating? Some might answer absolutely not.
The thrill of a new adventure and responsibility can co-exist. However, in a perfect world, they could do so in harmony without one costing the other a dime. That is not the world in which we live.
Although treatment itself is a new adventure, it is a necessary adventure. On the other hand, dating is an adventure you choose to embark on for the pleasure of the journey. However, combining dating with recovery is risky.
Recovery promotes collaborative partnerships in people to ensure healthy people develop a healthy society. This is why a sense of isolation and self-focus is essential to your recovery. When considering dating in recovery, you must consider the reality that you are currently working on some things within yourself.
Are You Considering Dating During Treatment and Early Recovery?
Seeking treatment and recovery are giant steps for anyone to take. These actions require a lot of focus and self-discipline to see through. You probably do not want to add another responsibility to your load while in recovery. When you enter a relationship, you take on that person and their wants and needs. Their well-being and your contribution to it become a part of your responsibility.
Recovery, in many ways, is like dating yourself. Yes, some people go into recovery already in a romantic relationship. This is even challenging as you will find yourself making wagers for their needs. You carry the weight of balancing the requirements of your recovery with the needs of your relationship.
Healthy and well-balanced relationships are a necessary and essential part of life. However, a relationship can only produce and birth what we put into it. So, if you go into recovery open to getting to know yourself at your core, your time and energy are reserved for you. This allows you the time and space to develop a healthy relationship with yourself. When you are the best version of yourself, you can offer harmony to someone else.
Examining the Pros of Dating During Recovery
Sure, an opportunity may present itself to date someone after starting your recovery journey. However, just because the opportunity presents itself does not mean that you should take it on. You must evaluate the pros and the cons. You may find that it is worth a try. You may also find that the risk is too great.
Let’s say you have known someone for years, never dated, and now they are interested. It can be a pro because they are at least familiar with you as a person and more than likely familiar with your need for recovery. There will still be some strains on your relationship. You will have to put extra focus on yourself, and the relationship may suffer from your inability to always be present.
Weighing the Cons of Dating During Recovery
So yes, a relationship in recovery can offer encouragement, belonging, and a social aspect, but there are cons as well. Possible cons to dating during recovery to be aware of include:
You will be forced to pick and choose yourself or your relationship constantly in early recovery. You will be in a battle seemingly with yourself that holds no expiration date. This back-and-forth with yourself can be depressing.
There is also the possibility that you meet someone who is also in the process of healing. You can find yourself in a trauma bond where the two of you are insecurely attached partners. The trauma may be the only security you have in one another. When this happens, you become more of an enabler to each other than a healthy support person.
Recovery is a choice. As such, you must protect your space and be intentional with the environments you choose to be in. This causes you to have to make choices everywhere you go, and your partner would need to be equipped to make those choices with you.
The Connection Between Relationships and Mental Health
Relationships are part of a well-balanced life. People thrive off of the love, support, and connection they have with others. Relationships can even be crucial to mental health and having someone to explore life with. As long as a relationship is healthy, it can add to your life.
In dealing with mental health challenges such as anxiety and depressive disorders, you may need the support of someone else. However, this can be a relationship with family, friends, and others working on their mental health versus a romantic one. A new relationship could be healthy for your anxiety. However, the uncertainties that come with dating can intensify your anxiety also.
This is why recovery focuses on you and your overall health. Yes, the focus is on you, but that does not mean that you must feel completely isolated and alone. Forms of treatment — peer group therapy — can help you with building relationships among peers and encourage the development of healthy connections.
At SoCal Mental Health, we offer treatments like meditation, psychotherapy, and many more ways to secure peace of mind. Once you have that, you are equipped with the tools to date in a healthy way.
Everyone longs for companionship, but it can be difficult to navigate dating in recovery. However, you can still weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision. Be realistic with yourself and what you feel you can handle. Dating should never become a distraction or a hindrance to your recovery; recovery comes first. If you are seeking treatment or are in recovery and you want to date, it is your choice. Just be sure to consider the possibilities and put yourself as the priority no matter what. If you need help in your recovery journey, SoCal Mental Health can assist you in developing healthy relationships and coping strategies. Call (888) 312-0219 for more info.