One of the main reasons I created this site was because I remember how isolated I felt when I was dating my intelligent, handsome, talented, meth-addicted ex. I needed help, you see. I didn’t feel I had the emotional strength in me to help him all on my own, without confiding in a few friends or close family. This is because it was a stressful relationship at times and I needed to vent and get answers about how to deal.
Unfortunately, when you’re dating an addict, people in your inner circle are not likely to understand why you choose to stay with your partner. They may say the following things, which does nothing but make you feel more isolated and undermine your relationship:
1. “Do you not think you can do better?” My ex was a brilliant artist, great friend, smart businessman, amazing lover, and emotionally available and warm. He had amazing traits about him that made it difficult to “cut him off” just because he had a drug problem. People telling me “I could do better” showed they really did not understand my perspective and decision to stay with him at the time. I thought he was amazing because he had a full-time job and was a very sweet, dependable person DESPITE his drug addiction.
2. “Why do you stay with _________?” Comments like this are ignorant, heartless, and contribute to the stigma of addiction. I get it and I agree, drugs suck. But they don’t define a person. And to suggest abandoning a person struggling with a mental health problem or addiction is just cruel in my opinion. I stayed with my ex because I loved him. I didn’t like when people asked “why”.
3. “You should break up with them and let them hit rock bottom.” This could work to quell an addict, but it can also backfire. Either way, it’s not that easy to just walk away from someone you’re truly in love with, especially when they’re struggling.
4. “Why are you doing this to yourself?” Many people get into relationships with addicts and didn’t even know they were using to begin with! Addicts lie! And then we fall in love and get invested and it’s hard to get out, especially when we see all their good qualities. Addicts lie about their use because they know how stigmatized drugs are and they want us to give them a fair chance…This is an explanation, not an excuse. Either way, I’m not doing anything “to myself” by staying, except dating the person I love and wanting to get them help.
5. “You deserve so much better.” No one is perfect. We’ve seen our partner’s flaws and accept them. We’re just trying to learn how to navigate the relationship/life with their particular set of issues.
I wish that more people were educated about addiction so that it isn’t so raw and difficult to discuss. I wish people addressed drug addiction as a mental health condition instead of an example of “poor character”. People that do drugs aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, they may have lots more good traits than the average person, like empathy and creativity. They’re just caught up in a self-destruction cycle and need help getting out.