Substance abuse is one of the more detrimental problems faced by couples today, and the domino effect is felt by relatives, children, friends and so on. While the pain and struggle felt by the abuser is undeniable, the partner of the abuser is often overshadowed despite their own pain caused by the situation. Couples struggling with substance abuse face many emotional hardships and often develop unhealthy communication tools. No matter how in love a couple might be, drugs rewire the brain to make the abuser love the drugs more than the partner, and the aftermath is painful, complex and extremely unhealthy. If you suspect your partner might be suffering from substance addiction, know the signs and start relationship counseling before the partnership is damaged beyond repair.

  • The person seems to be more antisocial than usual, opting out of social events that typically interest her.
  • Substance abuse takes a massive toll on sexual relations and intimacy. The person may have reduced libido or overall lack of interest in romance.
  • Trust and intimacy go hand in hand, and as the substance abuser continues to test her partner’s trust,  intimacy dwindles and is often replaced with anger and resentment. You might notice more secrecy, defensiveness or uncommon financial discrepancies.
  • It’s common for partners of substance abusers to be at the receiving end of unexplained or unwarranted mood swings.
  • The person only seems interested in spending time with her partner if drugs or alcohol are involved.
  • Emotional or physical abuse is common among relationship where substance abuse is present — screaming, insults, name calling and belittling; unwarranted physical contact of any kind.

** Intermarriage abuse is often neglected because of the legal and assumed rights and privileges of a marriage. However rape is common among married couples where one or both partners abuse drugs or alcohol. On the other end, abusers can also use an abstinence of sex as a manipulative tactic.


When a partner recognizes the gravity of the issue, it’s common for her to criticize, nag or blame her partner. While these reactions may be cathartic, they are ultimately more destructive and can further damage the relationship. If a partner suspects any sort of drug or alcohol abuse problem, it’s best to confront her partner directly, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it might be. Direct confrontation puts the issue on the table and provides an opportunity for openness and honesty. Once the issue is addressed, relationship counseling or other professional help is strongly encouraged.

If you and your partner are experiencing relationship issues due to substance abuse, please consider counseling. Learn more about Healing Minds’ marriage and relationship counseling , or call Healing Minds today: 775-448-9760