Couple in Relationship

What You Should Know About Dating Someone in Recovery

Dating someone in recovery can be a difficult thing to discuss as there are different schools of thought in recovery spaces about when to begin dating. The relationship between a person in recovery from addiction and someone outside the recovery circle can be quite healthy but boundaries and guidelines are good to set up early to avoid doing unnecessary harm to a person’s recovery plan.

Healthy Recovery Equals Health Relationship

Finding out a person is in recovery from addiction in a dating relationship can trigger difficult emotions and reactions. It may be hard to fathom how a person who seems healthy and self-aware was dependent on substances at one point. Challenges will exist like in any relationship but it is helpful not to dismiss the possibility of a relationship working to write off the past as ‘baggage.’ A person in recovery can be healthy and balanced with the right attitude on self-improvement and a focused intention of growth. Some of the following are things to watch for when developing a relationship with someone in recovery:

  • Potential partners should have at least one year of sobriety, preferably more
  • Watch for signs the person is sober but still emotionally caught up in addiction mindset
  • People active in recovery programs are more likely to be healthier in relationships

Relationship Dos and Don’ts

To keep an open line of communication with a partner is the most important thing. Address any concerns and stay focused on developing a relationship that suits everyone’s needs. Past challenges should not define a person in a dating relationship, instead focus energy on someone who lets the past positively impact the future.

Do: Get the facts

Don’t: Be quick to judge

It may be easy to pass judgment about a person’s history with drug addiction or recovery. Instead, focus on becoming educated about addiction to let go of stigmas which don’t serve the relationship. Understand what it means to live with addiction and how to support a loved one who is struggling. Be open to asking questions and expressing any concerns.

Do: Support recovery

Don’t: Deter efforts or push the person away from recovery

Learning to communicate concerns can be very helpful when focusing on effective things to do that support the recovery process. For some people this means dating someone who is not in recovery. The best thing to do is support the program and encourage meeting attendance. Go to a meeting if possible. A relationship will only work if a partner remains sober so do what is possible to offer support.

Do: Stay present

Don’t: Ignore personal needs

It is good to empathize with the past but remember personal needs matter also and are a priority in the relationship. Do not get stuck over-empathizing about the past. Both parties should focus on empowering each other. Move forward and grow together.


Recovery is challenging for anyone especially in a dating relationship. If you are struggling in recovery, call The Villa. We can support you in your journey to a healthy and long lasting recovery.