Realizing that your romantic partner is an addict can be a very painful, trying process. Those who have not experienced it cannot understand how strange a realization it is. It is often assumed that a person is able to tell right away if their significant other is an addict, but this is not the case at all. The very nature of addiction is to hide it and deny it, so even when two people are very close, the addiction in the relationship can stay concealed for a long time. Even if the signs are present, not everyone knows how to identify them and make the connection that they indicate addiction. In other words, discovering your partner’s addiction is a process, not a single incident.
At first, a person may feel confused and wonder if they are going crazy when their partner’s addiction tendencies affect them. They may feel disappointed by their partner’s priorities, hurt by their partner’s dismissal of their concerns and frustrated by being stuck in dysfunction. They will wonder if the problem is their’s instead of their partner’s. They will question their own judgment and assessment of the situation. Merely identifying that their partner is different is a confusing process.
Inevitably, the moment arrives when the non-addicted partner has experienced enough and has received enough of an education to admit that their partner is an addict. It is a very hard realization to make, and surprisingly elusive. It is very common for a non-addicted partner to be in denial about their partner’s addiction for a long time. They tell themselves that, yes, their partner has some problematic behavior, but surely they are not a real addict. They are too functional, too loving, too smart or too good for addiction. The moment that these falsities fall away, the non-addicted partner may feel scared and vulnerable at the realization of how serious the problem is.
Do not be afraid. Instead, be relieved that you know the true nature of the problem, because now it can be dealt with. You have many options ahead of you. A number of services are available to assist with addiction, including counseling, rehabilitation, support groups and self help options. Even if your partner is not ready to receive help, you still can.