Living with addiction is hard – and not just for the individuals with the addiction. Addiction ruins the life of the addict and all those who love them. This is especially true for the addict’s spouse, girlfriend, or partner, who is constantly by their side watching them suffer.
In fact, even the most loving partners sometimes reach the point where they contemplate if the relationship is even worth the effort anymore.
More often than not, romantic partners of drug addicts find themselves worrying about their future and conflicted about whether they should leave their hopeless partners for good.
If you’ve reached that point in your relationship, it’s important to understand how to leave your boyfriend or girlfriend with the least amount of collateral damage. Keep reading to find out how to do just that.
How to Successfully End Your Relationship
It may be difficult to decide and figure out how to let go of a loved one who is an addict, but it might be the greatest thing you can do for both yourself and them. All too often, partners are left to clean up after their partner – picking up the broken pieces in their wake.
Their empathy and sympathy for their addict partner transformed them into enablers, allowing the addict to keep up their behavior without fear of repercussions.
Breaking up with a drug addict incorrectly might exacerbate the problem, which is why it’s critical to understand how to leave. Here are some crucial steps to follow and some tips for leaving the relationship successfully:
1. Ask yourself some questions first.
While it makes complete sense to part ways with a drug user, there are some situations where staying in the relationship might be the best option.
If you want to know whether or not leaving a relationship with a drug addict is the correct decision for you, remember to ask the proper questions and obtain the information you need:
- Are they open to change? This is a vital topic to address since sobriety requires a strong desire to change. If they can accept responsibility for their behavior and have a strong desire to rehabilitate, it could indicate that the relationship is worth fighting for.
- Are you enabling them? Enablers are extremely dangerous to addicts because they never hold them responsible for what they’ve done. As a result, enablers make it simpler for their addict partners to continue down this painful path and in fact do more damage in the long term.
- What will happen if you don’t break up? Staying with a drug addict will almost certainly worsen their condition, which is a clear warning that it’s time to leave the relationship. If you believe that staying with your addicted loved one won’t improve your situation, you should end your romantic relationship.
- Does your romantic relationship affect your children? If your partner’s dependency on you is beginning to impact your children’s lives significantly, then they either need to get sober as soon as possible – or leave. Explain to them the consequences of their addiction, and tell them about the ramifications of their drug use on their children or loved ones.
2. Understand that leaving is inevitable.
Realizing that you need to leave a drug addict is the first step in learning how to live without them. By asking yourself the questions outlined above and answering them honestly, you should be able to determine whether and when you’ve had enough – and when it’s necessary for you to leave your drug addict spouse/partner for good.
3. Create a support system for yourself.
Support systems are important for everyone – not just addicts – when it comes to recovery. They’re also crucial for the loved ones of the addicts in treatment.
Before you end things with your partner, make sure you have a safety net of loving and supportive friends to fall back on. They’ll help you recover and not regret your decision when you finally leave.
4. Separate yourself from them emotionally.
You’ll need to physically and emotionally distance yourself from your partner before you leave. Leaving isn’t as simple as picking up your things and walking out. It takes time and determination to leave someone you’ve spent a long time with.
Thus, it makes sense that you struggle during this step because leaving them doesn’t mean you’ve stopped liking them. At this stage, it’s critical that you find a good support system – because you’ll need it.
More often than not, romantic partners of drug addicts join self-help groups and support circles filled with people who were once in a similar situation. If you choose to do this, you’ll be able to move on in a constructive, proactive way while also realizing that you’re not alone.
5. Look after yourself.
Before you decide to leave, you need to make sure you’re ready and take care of yourself. Often, partners of addicts are so focused on taking care of their partners that they lose sight of their own wellbeing. It is time to put yourself first.
Set aside time to care for yourself and your physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing. That way, you won’t be itching to go back once you’ve left them. This “me-time” can include anything you enjoy, such as yoga, singing, playing a musical instrument, or practicing a self-care routine.
6. Establish boundaries for future contact.
It’s important to establish boundaries between you and your drug-addicted spouse or partner. This is particularly true if you intend to break up with them.
When people don’t set boundaries after their breakup, especially with drug-addicted partners, the outcome can be very messy. This is because addicts may slither back into the lives of their previous partners, leaving them unable to do anything about it.
The split will go more smoothly if you establish boundaries. Such boundaries will also make it simpler for someone struggling with substance abuse to accept responsibility for their behavior and seek addiction treatment.
7. Put your own safety first.
Alcohol and drugs can make people do things they regret later. If you’re splitting up with an alcoholic or addict who has a history of violence or aggression, ensure that your safety comes first.
End the relationship in a public setting, such as a park, where others will be present – in case something goes wrong. You can also have a friend nearby to assist you if needed.
Take your partner’s threats against you or your loved ones calmly and don’t be afraid to report them if they cross lines.
8. Don’t allow your emotions to control you.
Breakups are painful, but allowing your emotions to dictate your actions might exacerbate the problem. It’s easy to lose your cool in the heat of the moment, and yelling back at your partner will just make things worse.
Thus, maintain your composure throughout the breakup. It’s fine to take a step back if you feel like you’re losing control of the situation. Once you’re no longer with your ex, you can indulge in or explore these feelings to your heart’s content.
9. Get a new living space.
Living in separate spaces is one barrier that an individual who is planning to leave a relationship with a drug addict should establish. Individuals who intend to break their ties with drug addicts should not permit said addicts to visit them without advance notice or approval.
10. Don’t break up with them while they’re high.
Breaking up with a drug addict while they’re still high could be disastrous. If they’re high or inebriated, they’re more likely to act irrationally or not even remember the split the next day.
Instead, wait till they’ve had a chance to sober up so you can have a more defining conversation.
11. Keep an open mind – and don’t hold grudges.
It’s natural to feel resentful towards a partner with addiction and feel like things could have been better had they tried harder to get better. However, it’s important to leave on a good note with no hard feelings. Otherwise, they might not let you go.
Keep in mind that addiction is an illness – and that your ex-companion still needs help. You’ll never be able to move forward if you continue to live in the past and harbor a grudge towards them.
12. Let go of fear.
When you’re trying to figure out how to let go of a loved one who’s an addict, you must let go of fear – no matter how difficult it is – or you might not be able to live life as you imagine it.
Being in love with an addict generally means living in continual fear (for them or of them), which can make you feel miserable or hopeless. You must make an effort to let go of those emotions and take care of yourself as you move forward.
The final stage in breaking up with a drug addict is to actually leave them. It might be difficult to end a relationship with a drug user, but even so, many partners who have broken up with their addicted partners have felt lighter and more relieved since.
Remember that there’s still the possibility of going back if -and only if – they do decide to get help and rehabilitate completely.
Why Do People Stay in Relationships with Drug Addicts?
There are many reasons why someone would choose to stay in a loving relationship with a drug addict. Here are a few:
- They’re in Love with Their Partners
They might just be head over heels in love with them. Thinking of leaving their partner, no matter how toxic the relationship has become, scares them. Love makes you strong – but it can also make you weak.
- They’re Afraid It’ll Make Matters Worse
They’re afraid that leaving would make their partner spiral even further down this rabbit hole and become even more engrossed in his or her addiction. Even worse, they may be afraid that the user may do something dramatic – like take their own life – if they leave.
- They Don’t Know How to Get Out
Many romantic partners stay involved in an addict’s life because they don’t see a way out. Some people believe that their presence in the relationship is the only thing keeping the addict from committing suicide or becoming destitute. They also may be hesitant in starting over because they don’t remember what their life was like before their current relationship began.
Have You Decided to End Things? Here’s What You Should Know
- It isn’t your fault. Don’t blame yourself for your loved ones’ problems. They were the problem, not you.
- They’re responsible for their own choices. It’s important to realize that you did not cause your loved one’s illness in order to sever the connection effectively. At the end of the day, individuals who suffer from addiction are responsible for their own choices.
- You won’t be able to cure them. Staying longer in a relationship with a person who isn’t willing to get better is harmful to both of you. Staying longer in a doomed relationship will not rewind the spokes of time – nor will it guarantee an improvement in your partner’s condition. You cannot fix him or make him better – and knowing this should alleviate some of the guilt and stress you must be feeling.
- You’re NOT a bad person for wanting out. Some people are so accustomed to abuse that they may think your decision to leave comes from a place of selfishness – but that isn’t the case – and we can’t stress this enough. Deciding to put yourself and your future before someone who has no regard for you is a step in the right direction. You and your needs matter too.
- You may miss them – but that doesn’t mean you should go back. Missing them is a very natural occurrence in any breakup and healing process. It is possible that they recover for a bit and try to show you that they’ve changed – but do not let your emotions get the best of you in such a situation. More often than not, this is a ruse that your ex has created to manipulate your soft heart.
The Bottom Line
Making this decision is life-altering yet crucial. Wanting to break up with a partner who isn’t willing to get better is easier said than done, but it should not be regretted.
Move on with the belief that you were a rock during the entire ordeal, but you’re still human at the end of the day. You deserve a chance at a life where you’re not in a constant state of fear for your life or the lives of your loved ones.