A new monthly feature where we will answer your questions. This week we are answering questions on sex and relationships in sobriety.
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This week we’re answering questions about relationships and sex, so don’t listen to the episode around your children. This is NSFW.
Here are the questions we answer in this episode:
- My partner thought my resentments, negative behaviour and thoughts would disappear when I stopped drinking. However, they’re still there.
- Now that I am sober, I don’t have any desire to have sex with my partner. What do I do?
- How do you leave friendships that no longer serve you gracefully?
- How do you deal with your young-adult children who want to drink?
- How do you handle the fact that you’ve changed the rules in your relationships, which will upset your family who likes the old you better?
We share a few of our answers below.
1. My partner thought my resentments, negative behaviour and thoughts would disappear when I stopped drinking. However, they’re still there.
Prolonged drinking changes the dynamic of a relationship.
Some non-drinking or non-addicted partners can gain a lot of benefits from the power that you gifted to them when you were drinking.
But when you stop drinking, that hoarding of power becomes threatened and that can create problems because their weapon against you is being taken away.
But it all depends on the partner.
It’s going to take time for them to trust you again, that’s a given.
It’s going to take time for you to work through the mental and physical effects of your drinking. And it’s going to take time for the power in the relationship to rebalance itself.
It’s also going to take a lot of effort to work through your relationship issues together now that you’re in a better place.
So the ultimate question is, is your partner going to be patient and supportive, or a danger to your sobriety?
Seek the assistance of a professional to help you and your partner navigate the expectations, timeframes, emotions and tools you can use together.
2. Now that I am sober, I don’t have any desire to have sex with my partner. What do I do?
Every relationship has lower sexual activity as time progresses. So let’s first separate it.
Is it just a natural decline of sex drive in the relationship?
Or were you only able to have sex with your partner in the first place because you were drunk or under the influence of substances?
The next thing we need to do is acknowledge that radio silence on this issue is not a solution.
Communication needs to happen.
So don’t go through the motions and give in because it won’t be pleasant for you, nor your partner.
Instead, find a way to have that difficult conversation.
Chip has found a lot of success with partners having non-verbal communication – writing a letter, sending an email – it’s easier to articulate exactly how you’re feeling and what you want to be done in the relationship.
I hope this advice gives you courage.
3. How do you handle the fact that you’ve changed the rules in your relationships, which will upset your family who likes the old you better?
Your sobriety comes first.
That’s easy for us to say, we’re grown adults with our own children, and we’re over a few decades sober.
But when we walk into our homes, we’re instantly transformed into teenagers. We become people-pleasers all over again.
Family just has a big effect on us, no matter how grown we are.
And that feeling of being an outsider or an “other” can be very uncomfortable.
We can honestly say that we’re still dealing with this.
They are used to the role that you had, and people, in general, do not like change.
But it’s time to renegotiate. It’s time to create some boundaries and uphold them – and expect them to be challenged.
You can choose to live your life how you want and no one’s approval or disapproval is relevant to what you need to do for you.
So expect this to take some time, a lot of tries, and uncomfortable conversations.
But your life will get to a place where you can spend time with the family you love, without the urge to people please or go back into old patterns.
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