While we can’t choose our family, we all voluntarily enter romantic relationships based on the connection we have with another person. Even though we all pick our significant others, romantic relationships may take more work and commitment than any other type of relationship. This is because spouses are meant to be partners; to individuals who work together to become the best versions of themselves. But of course, there are always some rough spots along the way.
One particularly rough spot when it comes to romantic relationships is the potential for a mental illness such as drug addiction. Addiction can be extremely destructive to relationships since it is a disease that can not self-correct. If one partner has a substance abuse disorder, their spouse is bound to suffer the consequences as well.
How Addiction Can Impact Romantic Relationships
Addiction can impact romantic relationships in multiple ways. The effects all depend on the specific drug addiction and the severity of the addiction. After all, some addictions may be hidden for years and some may emerge as the relationship progresses. If someone in a relationship is struggling with an addiction to drugs, they may display the following behaviors:
- Lying to their spouse about the severity of the addiction
- Being dishonest
- Being unfaithful
- Aggression or irritability
- Promising to change behavior
- Breaking promises regularly
- Causing financial issues
- Lying about how much money was spent
- Possible domestic abuse or violence
- Increased arguments or decreased interest
If your spouse has displayed any of these behaviors, it’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed and to not know how to approach the situation.
What to Do if Your Spouse Is Addicted to Drugs
Below are a few tips on how to properly support your spouse if they are addicted to drugs:
- Don’t give up on them easily
- Avoid denial – admit that they have a problem
- Do your research on substance abuse
- Don’t enable them or their addiction
- Be their partner throughout recovery
- Contact a trusted medical provider
- Bring them to a medical center or rehab for detox
Of course, these things are all easier said than done. Upholding a marriage that has been affected by addiction can be taxing both for the addicted individual and their partner.
Can You Maintain A Marriage Affected by Addiction?
Yes, it is possible to maintain and even strengthen a relationship that has been impacted by addiction. However, both partners must remain honest with each other and be serious about getting help for the addicted individual. The addicted individual must also have support from their family and friends in addition to their spouse for them to have a healthy recovery process. There are many treatment options out there for individuals and couples struggling with drug addiction, such as:
- Inpatient or outpatient programs
- Family therapy
- Addiction support groups for couples
- Medication for substance abuse
Even though it is very possible to save a relationship that has been affected by addiction, sometimes the more beneficial option may be for both parties to go their separate ways.
Marriage & Addiction: Is Divorce the Better Option?
In some cases, divorce may be the better option for couples struggling with substance abuse. If the addicted partner has attempted to get help or has refused help multiple times without any improvement, then it may be time for the non-addicted partner to move on in the best interest of themselves, their significant other, and their family. Unfortunately, the mention of divorce has to sometimes be used as a tool to wake those with addictions up to the serious nature of their actions. Whether or not divorce is the better option depends on the couple and their dynamic.
Finding Support for Yourself As A Spouse
It’s very natural to feel overwhelmed if you have a spouse with a substance abuse issue. You want to support them, but it can be very difficult sometimes. And you cannot be there for someone who is struggling if you are not able to be there for yourself. If your spouse or significant other has a substance abuse disorder, there are many support groups and other resources to help you along the way.
To learn more about marriage and substance abuse, contact our team of recovery specialists here 267.719.8528.