You can maintain your relationship in the wake of an addiction or eating disorder. And you can restore trust and intimacy, which will support the recovery process.

Most people are familiar with how addiction and eating disorders can upend a person’s life. But the effect of addiction on a partner, and each partner's effect on each other, is less discussed.

If you are dealing with addiction or an eating disorder yourself, start on your own path to recovery first. Relationship factors are important in recovery, and your partner should support you in seeking help.

But you must address the behaviors behind the addiction first. At this early stage, relationship counseling would distract from the overall recovery. We advise separate counseling at this point.

Starting the recovery process

The separate recovery process has begun. After this point, more attention will be shifted to the damaged relationship and the other partner. If you are that partner, you have likely become used to feeling helpless, unable to fix the other's struggles.

If your partner has not yet sought help, you may have started going to therapy on your own to cope. This allows you to address your own feelings, and to make a plan for getting your partner into recovery. We recommend this if your partner is not yet willing to receive help.

Depending on their mindset, your partner may not be willing to seek help. In that case, you may have to stage an intervention. If you are in therapy, use that time to develop a plan. An intervention should be in a group setting, with trusted people. Prepare beforehand, with materials on treatment programs at the ready. And keep the focus of the conversation on the addicted partner, even if they try to distract.

Couples counseling

Your partner may have sought help on their own, or after an intervention. And you may have already sought help for yourself. But you also need additional healing as a couple.

Treating the addiction or eating disorder is essential, but not enough on its own. Addressing only the personal behaviors of each partner will dismiss damage done to the relationship.

This also keeps you from addressing actions that either contributed to the addiction or resulted from it. Separate therapy addressing those behaviors is vital. But relationship counseling is also an important next step.

Our therapists can help you shine a light on codependent and enabling behaviors. These are hard to identify, let alone address, on your own.We will offer you guidance on issues resulting from the addiction or eating disorder. These may be financial, legal, or health-related.

And you will receive a space to communicate, and start to rebuild the trust that has been broken.


It may be difficult for both partners to fully own up to their mistakes and the pain that has been inflicted.

But doing so is key to repairing your relationship. And recovering as a couple will enhance your separate recovery as well.

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