/ By Recovery Expert

Just like many other forms of addiction, sex or pornography addictions will take time and patience when it comes to the recovery process. Those who are within this process will often have questions about the kinds of behaviors and activities they can take part in, and when, and a great example here is the world of dating.

At Desert Solace, we’re happy to provide a wide range of sex addiction and pornography addiction recovery programs, both of the inpatient and outpatient variety. From group classes and programs to individual sexual addiction therapy and many other areas in between, we’re here to help with any such addiction issue you’re dealing with. Our patients often have questions about getting back into the dating world during their recovery from sex addiction — is it healthy? When should/can it be done? What should you be thinking about when you take this step? Here are a number of important concepts to consider.

Dating is Definitely Okay During Recovery

First and foremost, for those who feel they’re in a comfortable and good place in their recovery, dating is definitely okay. It’s a natural and normal part of life, after all, and there’s no reason to feel like you need to put your life on hold while you’re going through the process of addiction recovery.

Of course, that being said, it’s important to make sure that you’re approaching dating in a healthy way. If you’re not feeling stable or confident in your recovery, then it might be best to wait a bit longer. If you are feeling uncertain about whether dating is right for you, we suggest speaking to your therapist about it. Many Certified Sexual Addiction Therapists suggest a short hiatus from dating while you first start recovery. Consistently discussing your recovery status with your therapist could help you determine when you are in a good position to start dating in recovery. After all, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where your triggers are constantly present and/or you’re feeling temptation that you might not be ready to handle yet.

We’ll go over some related concepts here in our next few sections.

Consider Your Goals

Before you wade back into the dating pool, it can be helpful to consider what your goals are. What do you hope to accomplish by dating? What kind of person do you want to date? Do you feel like you’re ready for a committed relationship or are you just looking to have some fun and meet new people?

It can also be helpful to consider what kind of relationship you’re looking for. Are you hoping for something long-term and serious, or are you just looking for something casual? This can help you to better determine who you want to date and how to approach dating in general.

Be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for and be upfront about it with any potential partners. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings down the road.

Think About Your Triggers

When you’re in recovery, it’s important to be aware of your triggers — those things, people, places, etc. that make you want to use or act out in unhealthy ways. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid any and all triggers while you’re dating, so it can be helpful to think about them ahead of time.

For example, if you know your sexual addiction is triggered by alcohol, then you’ll want to avoid any dates that involve drinking. Or, if you know you’re triggered by seeing certain types of pornography, then you might want to avoid dating anyone who watches it or shares your interest in it.

You should also be aware of things like jealousy and envy, as these can also be triggers. If you find yourself feeling jealous or envious of your partner, take a step back and evaluate the situation. If you’re not in a good place mentally or emotionally, it might be best to end the relationship or take a break from dating altogether.

It’s also important to be honest with your partner about your triggers and what you’re working on in recovery. This will help them to be understanding and supportive, and it can also help to prevent any triggering situations from happening in the first place.

Be Open and Honest With Potential Partners

As we mentioned above, it’s important to be honest with your partner about your goals, your triggers, and your recovery in general. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings down the road.

It’s also important to be honest about your past. If you’ve been addicted to sex or pornography in the past, you should tell your partner about it. This can be a difficult thing to do, but it’s important to be open and honest if you want the relationship to be healthy and supportive.

Your partner should also be made aware of any boundaries you’ve set for yourself in recovery. For example, if you’ve decided not to have sex until you’re further along in your recovery, you should tell your partner this upfront. The same goes for any other boundaries you may have set for yourself, such as no kissing, no touching, no certain types of sexual activity, etc.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to share everything about your past or your recovery with your partner. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with, but just be sure that you’re being honest about what you are and what you’re about.

Look for Desirable Traits

As you start to date, it can be helpful to keep an eye out for certain desirable traits. Obviously, everyone is different and what one person finds desirable might not be the same for another, but there are some general things you can look for that can help to make the dating process a bit easier.

For example, when you’re in recovery, it’s important to find someone who is supportive and understanding. This can be a great help, especially if your triggers are often jealousy or envy.

It’s also important to find someone who is patient and willing to work with you on your recovery.

For more on a healthy approach to dating during sex addiction recovery, or to learn about any of our sex addiction or pornography addiction recovery programs, speak to our caring staff at Desert Solace today.

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