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Rehab Romances: What’s Healthy and What’s Not

According to research published in the Frontiers of Psychology, romantic love is “a state of intense longing for the union with another.” Love is often characterized by feeling happy contentment with another person. But as with all things, not everyone’s love story is happy. Many romances end bitterly and carry the weight of emotional trauma. 

Starting a rehab romance and feeling the rush of new love may be exciting, but at what cost? There’s a lot to think about when it comes to your first big romance after treatment. Most importantly, your personal health and safety should come before anyone else’s. 

Why Rehab Romances Should Probably Be Avoided

During and immediately after treatment, you are in a delicate stage of your life. You’ve just made significant life changes, and your relationship with yourself is changing rapidly. It is difficult to juggle a large life change (even a positive one) with a change that requires you to compromise and change other aspects of your time and focus. 

Some thoughts and questions to consider:

  • Rehab romances can reinforce a false sense of security. If you’re overly dependent on this romance to keep you afloat mentally and in your sobriety, what happens when you run into issues? What happens when it ends? 
  • Rehab romances between two people who are struggling mean that both could be making questionable decisions for their health and safety, influencing bad decisions, or creating an unhealthy environment for the introspection that is vital during recovery. 
  • Instability in your life after treatment will not make a romance easier. New romances are often unstable, with a major learning curve. As much as you want to support each other, either party’s instability can ultimately bring you both back to square one.
  • Codependency issues often arise in rehab romances. Reliance on a romantic partner is not healthy in recovery. Your ability to stand on your own two feet should never be taken for granted. 
  • Rehab romances often instigate immature love rather than mature love. With the only references of relationships being before or during addiction, immature love is more likely to take place in rehab romances. Mature love encourages growth, individual well-being, and a strong sense of self, while immature love is filled with power games, obsessive thoughts, concerns over fidelity, “clingy” behavior, stress, and uncertainty. 

Addiction to Love Is Real

In today’s society, we hold love — or even just the idea of falling in love — in very high regard. For those who have struggled with addiction before and may have addictive personalities, love can easily become a problem. 

As strange as it sounds, addiction to love and relationships is a real thing. According to research published in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology (PPP), it is entirely possible to be addicted to love and another person.

Love causes physical changes in the human body, such as releasing serotonin and positive endorphins in the brain. This feeling of “love” and the positive rush it brings has the capability of being addictive. According to PPP, the processes the brain goes through when one is addicted to love are similar to those who are addicted to substances or who suffer from behavioral addictions. A healthy brain would not process love this way.

Strive for Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships are possible and should be strived for. And you deserve healthy relationships, but we must put work into ourselves before we can truly achieve them. In the critical time during and immediately after treatment, we aren’t usually in the position to give ourselves over to a rehab romance. We are much better off if we put that time and energy into ourselves and maintaining our sobriety.

Always remember that you are responsible for your own needs first. You must be able to stand on your own two feet, and so must your partner. This helps to avoid codependency and other relationship pitfalls. Remaining true to yourself and remaining honest with your partner is vital for a healthy relationship. Though there are always compromises in relationships, one person should not be making all the compromises or sacrifices. Love requires give and take, stability, and honesty at its core. If this is not what your rehab romance is offering, take a step back and focus on your recovery. You are worthy of real love, and that will come in time. 

It’s unfortunate that the requirements for a healthy relationship are often not attainable during and immediately after treatment, but that doesn’t mean it will be impossible for you later. You are in control of your own recovery, and your future partner is in control of theirs. As you pursue relationships in the future, make sure that you and your partner are healthy enough to do so. This may mean that you need some therapy, treatment, a meeting, or even just time to connect with yourself. When you are ready to pursue any of these things, seek out help from us at RECO Intensive. At RECO Intensive, we offer treatment programs, alumni programs, and many types of therapy to help you find success in your RECOvery. Our highly-trained professional staff and experienced alumni will help guide you through your RECOvery, so you can see when you’re ready to take that next step and be in a healthy, mature relationship. Give RECO Intensive a call today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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