Ask Erin: Will I Lose My Fiance To Rehab?

What can I do for us to have a healthy, better, successful life and future marriage? (Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez)

What can I do for us to have a healthy, better, successful life and future marriage? (Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez)

She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.


Q.

Erin,

My fiancé has been in inpatient rehab for close to a week. 

Everything with us was normal, then last night I get told that it’s not a good idea for me to go and see my fiancé during visitation — when that’s what we planned and wanted to do. 

I know she needs this. I’m supportive, and she says she loves me and wants a healthy relationship with us, but I just feel like I’m going to lose her. I feel like she’s not going to want me anymore after all this. 

I do support her, and I know things change, but how can you say you love someone but then not want them? 

What can I do to support her? What can I do for us to have a healthy, better, successful life and future marriage?


You Might Also Like: Ask Erin: Should I Lighten Up About My Partner’s Drug And Alcohol Use? 


A.

Okay, you might not like what I’m going to say. I understand why they (either the treatment facility or your fiancé or both) are asking you to step back right now.

Right now, more than anything, your fiancé needs the time and space to process her addiction and focus on recovery. 

You didn’t mention the circumstances around what landed her in inpatient rehab, but it indicates that she is dealing with a serious, and life-threatening problem. And I believe that you need to take it that seriously. Addiction is life-threatening. Dealing with it should be her priority, before anything else — including you. If she doesn’t make it a priority, your relationship will likely not survive anyhow. 

I also want to to make you aware of something I have learned over the years — both as a person who has needed rehab and the partner of a person who has needed rehab….

The relationships we have when drinking or using are not healthy, and both people in that relationship contribute to unhealthy behavior. This is not to put any blame on you for her addiction. This is to say that when we are involved with people who are in that state of dysfunction, we have to look at our own dysfunction. 

Every relationship I had while using depended on my partner’s codependency. 

So something you can do, right now, is to get some help for yourself. This could look like trying out an Al-Anon or CoDA meeting or seeking the help of a therapist. Keep the focus on yourself, not on her or where she is in her recovery. Your fiancé told you she wants a healthy relationship. Take her at her word. Give her the room to recover. 

You asked how she could say she loves you but then not want you. She didn’t say she didn’t want you. She said she needed space. 

What she has asked for is healthy and necessary. 

I can’t tell you that you won’t lose her. In some ways you will — you will lose the her that was loaded. But you stand to gain someone capable of a healthy relationship. And that someone is not just her, it’s you too. 

You have to let go of the relationship you had before to create a new healthier model today. I know it’s scary, and you want to hold on, but remember what you’d be holding on to. The future of your relationship depends on both of you putting your recovery first. Because yes, you will be recovering too, in your own way. 


The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Kammererite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at  askerin@ravishly.com. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share with you my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo

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