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How Long Should I Wait Before Dating in Recovery?

Recovery is such a personal journey. During early recovery, you likely identified healthy coping skills and learned more about codependency and boundaries. You may have reflected on your life and grown mentally and emotionally. Perhaps you are even in the process of overhauling your life and your identity. This process is not to be taken lightly. Still, you may be wondering when you can invite another person to join you on this journey of transformation. Have you waited long enough in recovery before dating? The simple answer is: Your recovery is personal.

This blog will discuss dating in recovery, prioritizing your recovery, and exploring healthy coping skills before dating in recovery.

Recovery Before Dating

If you are reading this, it is safe to say that you have worked very hard to get to where you are. It is vital to remember why you started on this journey in the first place. You also will want to recognize important milestones that can motivate you to keep going with your recovery.

Recovery is based on a personal inventory and continual growth and improvement in health and wellness. Your recovery should come first in all areas of your life. Everything else will fall into place when you put your needs first before dating. After all, you have put hard work into your life. Placing your focus elsewhere could impede your progress.

After treatment, entering the newfound world of recovery can be overwhelming. Many people leave treatment with a sense of eagerness to get started with this new life. For some people, this eagerness may include a desire to jump into the dating scene. The truth is, there is no timeline for dating in recovery. Nevertheless, most clinicians and therapists recommend waiting at least a year before dating in recovery.

Why Do People Recommend Waiting a Year Before Dating in Recovery?

When you are fresh out of treatment, your world is different. You have a new perspective and want to share that with everyone. While you were using substances, you may have thought that you could never be in a healthy relationship. Now, you feel healthy and you are in a hurry to take action. However, it is for this reason that you should be hesitant. There are several main reasons that experts recommend that people wait at least a year before dating in recovery.

First, when you are in early recovery, you are trying to get to know who your true self is. Recovery requires you to be invested in yourself daily. This process takes time, awareness, and patience. Learning and exploring your own needs and wants in recovery should be a top priority before dating in recovery. Adding another person into this mix can limit your growth and prevent you from fully engaging in getting to know your sober self.

Secondly, emotions need to be stabilized before dating in recovery. You may feel easily overwhelmed by strong emotions and not know how to process them. Taking this time to explore and analyze your emotions is important to find stabilization in recovery. At The Guest House, we offer an alumni program to help with the stabilization of emotions during your recovery.

What Are Your Boundaries?

In treatment, you probably learned what keeps you safe and how to implement boundaries in your recovery. Your boundaries in recovery are determined by your values and belief system. Establishing your boundaries before dating is important so that you are aware of your limits. You must know what you are willing to accept and what you are not. If you can acknowledge what your boundaries are or the “lines” that you will not cross, then you may be ready to start dating in recovery.

Think about things that are not acceptable in your recovery. For example, perhaps you cannot go on a date before a meeting or are not willing to get in a car with someone. Whatever your boundaries are, it is imperative for your recovery that you have them established before dating. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a sticky situation and lose what you have worked so diligently to gain.

Love Yourself First

There is a quote by an unknown source that explains the next point perfectly: “The goal isn’t to be sober. The goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need to drink.” Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Loving yourself means putting yourself above all else and identifying what makes your heart sing.

Recovery sets you out on a new path of learning. As with recovery, self-love is a journey, not a destination. Learning how to love yourself takes time and effort. Sometimes it is easy to ignore what you need for yourself and focus on someone else. This all-too-common tendency is another reason why it is important to wait before dating in recovery.

At The Guest House, we believe strongly in practicing loving yourself before dating in recovery. We offer an alumni program that connects you to others who have different perspectives. These connections are important as they can help you grow and learn how to be your best self before dating in recovery.

Address Relapse Prevention Before Dating in Recovery

Reviewing your relapse prevention plan is essential as well as updating your list of successes. Initially, it may have seemed that everything was a trigger. Now, there are different triggers. The reason for this change is that just as you have grown in recovery, your relapse prevention plan has also changed.

According to research published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, a relapse prevention plan is important. This is because a high-risk situation can occur without warning. Sometimes situations can suddenly trigger uncomfortable feelings, which lead to unwanted behaviors. A relapse prevention plan addresses those scenarios before they occur, just in case.

As with anything, reviewing your relapse prevention plan before dating can be an antidote for any situation that may cause a trigger.

Thinking about getting back into the dating scene is an exciting time in your recovery. However, this prospect can also cause you to be apprehensive. You have grown and continue to learn about yourself daily. Perhaps you want to share this growth with someone else. There is no right or wrong way to recover; there is only your way. At The Guest House, we value you and understand that dating in recovery can be both strenuous and exhilarating. You do not have to do this alone, nor are you ever alone. You have support. We can walk you through any challenging times in recovery. Give us a call today at (855) 483-7800