There are many potential pitfalls of dating someone struggling with addiction. Whether you\u2019re considering entering into a relationship with an addict or leaving it, or you're wondering how best to support your partner, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember that you may not always be the top priority to your partner if he or she is currently battling substance abuse. With addiction, the substance comes first. It doesn\u2019t mean, however, that this person doesn\u2019t still love and care about you. Read on to find out how to make a relationship with an addict work. How Do I Know If My Partner Is Addicted to Substances? Dating someone addicted to drugs is very different from dating someone who\u2019s sober. Here are a few telltale signs of substance abuse: \tPoor work performance \u2014 Someone who is addicted makes work less of a priority. They will be late, receive poor performance reviews, and generally show a lack of interest in their responsibilities. \tChanged physical appearance \u2014 They may look tired and drained. Bloodshot eyes, lack of proper hygiene or grooming, and poor skin tone are visible signs of addiction. \tChanges in money habits \u2014 Fueling a drug and alcohol addiction is expensive. Someone struggling with addiction may have trouble paying bills or change their spending habits. \tIsolation \u2014 People with addictions tend to isolate themselves from family, friends, and romantic partners. They may be exhausted and need to sleep or seek privacy to use. They probably won\u2019t open up about the reason for their isolation and may continuously make excuses. \tChanges in relationships \u2014 Is your partner distancing themselves from close family? What about close, sober friends? If so, they may be prioritizing their substance use over the people closest to them. If you suspect your partner is abusing substances, don\u2019t jump to conclusions. Showing one or even several of these behaviors doesn\u2019t confirm abuse. Instead, gently bring up what you are noticing to him or her. Express genuine interest and concern and give them a chance to explain. How Do I Support an Addicted Partner? If you learn that your significant other is, in fact, addicted to drugs or alcohol, you have difficult decisions to make. If you\u2019re going to continue your relationship, either as a partner or otherwise, you need to know how best to support them. Keep the following tips in mind to make your relationship work as effectively as possible. Be Wary of Emotional Manipulation This is perhaps the most toxic element of dating someone with an addiction. They may take their anger, guilt, and shame out on you. Emotional manipulation can look like: \tGuilt trips \tLying \tAccusations and blaming behavior \t These things take a heavy toll on the partner of an addict. It\u2019s important to remember that the addict isn\u2019t necessarily choosing to manipulate you. It\u2019s an inevitable byproduct of the disease of addiction. Encourage Them to Get Help Research substance abuse treatment centers in your area, counselors who specialize in drug abuse, and support groups. Offer to attend groups with them or arrange supportive resources. Remember that there will come a time when it\u2019s the addict\u2019s responsibility to take over. Don\u2019t Enable Them Enabling usually feels like helping, rather than feeding their addiction. It can mean things like giving your partner money that will likely be used for drugs or giving them a ride to pick up drugs. Enabling can also mean letting your addicted partner cross your boundaries. This might look like allowing them to use in front of you when you aren\u2019t okay with it or calling into work sick for them. Know what your boundaries are and stay true to them, even if it means making painful choices. What Effect Will This Have on Me? More than anything, it\u2019s important to take care of yourself while in a relationship with an addict. There are going to be times you feel drained, defeated, and hopeless. You can\u2019t pour from an empty cup, so make sure you\u2019re practicing good self-care at all times. Self-care should involve the following: \tDon\u2019t take your partner\u2019s actions personally. When addiction takes hold, the user becomes powerless to the addiction. No matter how they may act toward you, it isn\u2019t your fault. It doesn\u2019t mean you allow them to cross your boundaries, and it certainly doesn\u2019t mean you allow them to mistreat you. \tAttend a support group. Al-Anon and Learn to Cope are support groups for the loved ones of people with addictions. Meet people who are going through similar difficulties and who can empathize with you. These groups will also teach you how to support your partner and take care of yourself in the process. \tKnow that it isn\u2019t your responsibility to change your partner. You might feel like if you love and support him or her enough, they will stop their behavior. However, your partner isn\u2019t thinking like him\/herself. The best you can do is encourage your partner to seek support from professionals, like licensed therapists and doctors specializing in addiction. In order to recover from substance abuse, support from loved ones is crucial. After your partner has received addiction treatment, your presence can make all the difference. It\u2019s important to not lose hope in your partner, even if you do need to create healthy boundaries. Washburn House is an addiction treatment facility offering a comprehensive residential rehab program that offers programs to suit different levels of need. Our highly qualified mental health therapists and medical staff help those with addictions sort through their emotional and behavioral difficulties in a highly structured, supportive setting. To learn about how we can help you or your loved one, contact us today.