It isn’t uncommon for recovering addicts to wind up in romantic relationships with one another. After all, they’ve been through similar experiences and can relate to one another. Also, recovery is incredibly time-consuming. Often the only people addicts usually come in contact with are the ones they meet in therapy groups or 12-step groups. So what are the dating rules for recovering sex addicts and is dating another addict a terrible idea? And what about ‘normal’ people? Can they date sex addicts? First off, there are no rules. Sure, we as certified sex addiction therapists tell our patients to wait and abstain until they’ve completed working on their own addiction. One year is a great time frame for an addict to build new behaviors and start healthy sex practices. Yet when it comes to relationships, the rules usually go out the window and there is little a therapist or 12-step group sponsor can do. Sometimes, the pain of breaking up, getting codependent on another person or entering a relationship before they’re ready is just part of the journey an addict has to go through. These painful lessons can be incredibly informative for the rest of their recovery as well as future relationships. Overall, recovery needs to be the priority. A pair of addicts who have met in recovery need to be acutely aware that the person they are dating is struggling with the same issues they have and may very well be in worse shape than they are. Relationships can become a huge distraction for both partners and individual wellness can take a backseat to making their new loved one happy. Sex addicts need to put themselves and treating their disease on the top of the list before another person enters the picture. If, however, both partners have some time being sexually sober and have each worked a program of recovery, addicts can make for incredibly supportive partners. Addicts understand one another’s’ struggles and can help each other when life gets tough. With the help of a therapist and their support group, addicts who have been sober for some time will know when a relationship is right for them. For regular folks who fall in love with sex addicts in recovery, the’rules’ are much the same. Dr. David Sack, M.D. says the benefits to dating a person in recovery are great. “Despite having a thorny past, recovering addicts can be some of the healthiest, most put-together individuals you’ll meet – with a few important stipulations,” he says. “First, the recovering addict should have at least one year of sobriety, and preferably many more. Second, they should be actively working a program of recovery – attending meetings, volunteering, practicing self-care and so on. These provisos are in place to give addicts a fair shot at lasting recovery and to protect the people they might date from falling for someone who is unhealthy, unavailable or worse.” Whether an addict meets the new love of their life in the rooms of recovery or at the supermarket, one thing is certain. Their recovery must come first. Healthy relationships and great sex lives with people they truly connect with are completely tangible goals for addicts who take care of themselves on a daily basis.
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