Being in a relationship is the goal for almost all of us, but we never expect that reaching that goal might lead us into a dangerous cycle of addiction.
Yet, when drugs or alcohol enter the picture, that’s almost always what happens. Whether you met your partner and connected because of a shared enjoyment of said substance or it showed up on the scene later, it is never going to work in your favour. Eventually, you’re going to end up on a slippery path that will end up in destruction, solo help, or rehab for couples.
How can we be so confident when we make that statement? The reality is that substance use and abuse have been a part of society for millennia, giving scientists plenty of research material. What these experts have learned is that there are 3 crucial ways addiction affects intimate relationships, and we’ll describe them here.
In a healthy relationship, both parties feel secure because there is mutual honesty, openness, and communication. When addiction enters the scene, it often leads to secrecy as one partner tries to hide who they’re with and where they are so they can use it with less judgement. Even when both people are addicted, one generally has more awareness and control.
As drug use worsens, it drives a wedge in the relationship, with both people resenting their loved ones. The addict often feels as though the more sober person is trying to control them and take away their fun and freedom. This leads to fighting instead of communicating and, eventually, loss of security.
When the person who isn’t using the substance can’t fix the problem, they often feel like it’s their fault and become depressed or anxious.
We know how dealers turn once-sober people into addicts. They start by offering “free” samples to entice you, making you think that this substance people warn about isn’t a big deal. But once you’re hooked, it becomes an expensive habit that takes more and more to satisfy your cravings.
The non-user prefers to spend the household money elsewhere, like on bills, gas, and food. The user prioritizes differently, taking every penny available to buy drugs or alcohol. This financial disconnect leads to a repeat of the first round of troubles, destroying security through fighting and secrecy. But now, there’s the added problem of financial instability.
When the user can’t get their money from their home, they may turn to criminal acts next, putting a substantial strain on the relationship and adding a possible jail record, too.
The physical relationship is integral to every couple’s health. Some drugs have a temporary stimulating effect, but most depress the libido and make it difficult to achieve and sustain an erection.
Putting oneself in a situation where drugs are flowing and people are uninhibited leaves one open to infidelity, as well. It’s easy to be tempted to cheat because the user feels that their partner doesn’t “get” them, and these other users do.
On the other side of it, the non-user may choose to turn to others because they don’t like who their partner has become due to drugs. They’re not willing to throw in the towel and give up just yet, but they need to fulfill their physical desires, and they’re not interested in doing so with someone they don’t respect or like at the moment.
If you and your partner are struggling with a third party in your relationship called addiction, it’s time to get help. Contact a detox or rehab center near you and take control of your partnership back.