While some people can easily relate to and embrace the fact that everyone has a past, others can find it hard to reconcile the two.If you’ve decided to move forward with the relationship, here are some dos and don’ts that will make dating someone in recovery a lot easier for both of you.
Many love addicts who still have a person of addiction (Po A) on their brain long after the relationship has ended (this is a torchbearer, by the way) do so not because they still love them or think they will get back together, but as a form of protection.
You may even fantasize about the hot guy or girl at the office who gave you a “look.” But when it really comes down to it, and the question gets popped (), some of us are simply not ready, emotionally, mentally or physcially. You know when the idea of dating doesn’t scare the hell out of you to the point where you simply cannot make the date, when it sounds “scary” but exciting too, when you don’t curl up into a ball and start crying hysterically after a first date because all you can think about is your ex, when you start to feel comfortable around strangers (not 100% but enough to have the courage to do so), and when being alone is not a bad thing, but you’re ready for something new…
And you can’t go on a first date (or a second or third) and start expecting that the two of you are automatically a couple. And if we don’t feel complete on our own, we need to bring ourselves there first. Letting things happen organically means removing the fantasy…100%. You can think about the wonderful feeling of his touch, but do not try on his name and imagine the two of you on an Alaskan Cruise as Honeymooners. One of the most important steps a recovering love addict can take is to abandon any idea of online dating. Because love addicts need to learn to defer gratification, control their susceptibility to fantasy, and be able to judge people realistically, online dating is a bad idea. Cosmopolitan magazine recently wrote that not having sex on the first date is “outdated.” In other words, go ahead, girls, that rule is “antiquated and harmful” and produces “unnecessary anxiety and shame about something normal and natural: dating and sex.” Unfortunately, they were NOT talking to a love addict. Trouble is, when we want something bad enough, we are willing to ignore the red flags, and ignore our gut instincts. We need to depend more on our logical brain so that we begin to trust it again. Most of these things seem world’s away from a first-time meeting.
These are all unrealistic expectations and you are setting yourself up for a huge let down. Healthy dating is about meeting other people who are also complete. You can certain enjoy the thoughts of her that pop into your head the next day, but don’t imagine what your children will look like. The more you fantasize, or obsess the more you remove the organic nature of what is meant to happen versus what is not meant to happen. It’s like an alcoholic hanging out in a bar after he has given up drinking. Online dating may be great for healthy people, but not for love addicts. Like it or not, you need to play by the antiquated, SAFE rules from days of yore. It usually means a full blown commitment and an excuse to obsess over someone. A love addict’s job is to learn to defer gratification. Keeping a journal helps us to stay on track and remember how we felt and what we sensed in those first hours. It sounds counterintuitive when talking about dating. Only then are we able to allow our emotions to “speak up,” once our logical brain has first determined that we are safe and secure. And I do not suggest you try to find out what your date thinks about child rearing on date #1.
But there’s a simple formula for expectations: we can only have high expectations of people who are healthy enough, interested enough and capable of meeting our expectations. You didn’t go on this date “expecting” for a second or third date. Know the difference between dating and desperation. If you feel a void within you, you may pick and choose prospective dates for the wrong reasons. But they can’t shake a stick at something called values. If you don’t know your values, how can you know if someone else’s values are right for you?