Addiction and relationships (7 tips+PDF)

The current blogspot will be based on the question “what is the effect of addiction on relationships?”. We will discuss the effects on addiction on relationships.  We will talk about the short term effects of addiction on relationships, the long term effects of addiction on relationships, the effects of addiction on intimate relations. We will also highlight how addiction leads to abuse in relationships. We will also learn how addiction results in codependency in our relationships.

What is the effect of addiction on relationships?

Addiction to a substance results from overuse or problematic use of a substance to the extent that it hinders the individuals daily life skills. 

An addict abuses a certain substance to seek pleasure from it or as an unhealthy coping strategy to escape real life issues .

Addiction in turn has various effects on a person’s life. A person’s relationships are affected due to addiction in following terms:

  • Addiction affects relationships emotionally
  • Addiction affects relationships financially
  • Addiction affects the quality of relationship
  • Addiction leads to psychological effects on the relationship
  • Addiction declines the quality of life of the addict’s partner

What are the short term effects of addiction on relationships?

The short term effects of addiction on relationships include:

  • Giving less attention or time to the partner
  • Abusing the partner physically, emotionally or mentally
  • Not being able to fulfill the due rights of the relationship
  • Disturbed sexual life
  • Disturbed marital life
  • Domestic violence
  • More tension and conflicts among the partners
  • Decreased socialization as a couple

What are the long term effects of addiction on relationships?

The long term effects of addiction on relationships are :

  • Low sexual intimacy
  • Increased infidelity
  • Low marital satisfaction
  • Low sexual satisfaction
  • Financial conflicts
  • Conflicts related to fulfilment of responsibilities
  • Social anxiety related to partner’s image in the society
  • A potential decrease in interest in the relationship
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Emotional neglect
  • Lack of affiliation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Dysfunctional family system as a result of codependency

The adversities of addiction on relationships

The adverse effects of addiction on relationships outline the psychological and personal effects of addiction on the addict. The adversities of addiction lead to many various negative life consequences that distort the life quality as a whole.

The adverse effects of addiction on relationships are in the form of  feelings of codependency, enabling behaviors, nonconsensual sexual activities, declined intimacy, distrust, dejection, increased impulsivity, increased manipulation, having a more secret life leading to isolation and withdrawal.

The financial adversities of addiction on relationships

Addiction leads to a number of financial constraints on the relationships. When one of the apartments gets addicted to a substance, the relationship suffers badly due to high cost being spent on the substance purchase and maintenance of the dose.

Relationships pay a high cost for any of the partners getting addicted to drugs. At first the partner starts abusing the substance without the other partner knowing about it. As a result he lies, steals or cheats on the partner financially to acquire a specific amount of money out of the home finances without the partner knowing about it. As a result the home budget gets disturbed and many of the home utilities get affected. 

Heroin and cocaine addiction are the most expensive drug addictions that cost $ 20000 to $ 90000 per year. Other drugs like amphetamines or hydrocodones are available for around $ 20 over the streets.

Thus in order to fulfill the addiction needs, a relationship has to bear the financial consequences of addiction in any of the partners at the cost of declined life functioning or a distorted life style.

The adverse effects of addiction on sexual life of relationships

Couples suffer their intimate life and sexual relationship due to the effects of addiction on their relationship. Sexual life may turn out to be declined as a result of decreased addiction or increased as a result of impulsive behaviors due to addiction. 

The sexual life of couples with one partner being addicted to drugs is not smooth. At times it may end in a wild and rough sexual activity or a smooth and gentle pleasurable experience. 

Sex among couples with effects of drug addiciton could also be a sole point of intimacy and connection among both partners. The details of this would be shared later in the blogspot.

The emotional side effects of addiction on relationships

Addiction affects the emotional affiliation between the partners to a great extent. Emotional turmoils are a result of addiction in relationships. Due to strained finances and distorted sexual life, couples develop feelings of distrust and hardship.

The partner of an addict may seem to feel tired and helpless in a relationship. Feelings of lack of compassion, sympathy, decreased need for love and support are prominent among such relationships.

The unpleasant and negative emotional state further declines the emotional affiliation between both the  partners in a relationship.

An addict partner has a greater tendency of yelling at the other partner or abusing the other partner verbally or emotionally. 

The emotional toll on the relationship as a result of addiction takes many high and lows resulting in feelings of mistrust, dejection and inner conflicts between both the partners.

Codependency, enabling behaviors and addiction effects on relationships

Codependency is defined as a relationship where a partner has strong physical and emotional needs and the other partner feels obliged to support and fulfill those needs often at the cost of one’s own quality of life, rights and needs.

A codependent partner has the ability to enable the loved one to get engaged in or remain involved in destructive patterns of behaviors by fulfilling all their extreme physical and emotional needs.

Codepency facilitates and promotes unhealthy and destructive patterns of behaviors in addict partner due to the following prominent characteristics in the codependent partner:

  • A low sense of self worth outside the relationship
  • No boundary setting in the relationship
  • Extreme emotional attachment
  • Too much thoughts and feelings related to the relationship
  • A people pleasing nature
  • An increased sense of taking care of the partner

Codependency is prominent in close relations of the addict person.  A codependent could be an addict’s partner, child or any other family member.

As a result of living and taking care of the addict for a long time and giving up on one’s own needs, the following effects could be seen on codependent’s life:

  • Decreased subjective well-being
  • Decreased socialization
  • Increased risk of falling a prey to substance addiction
  • Inability to live a functional life

Hence codependents pose a threat to their own life and also to the life of the addict in the form of enabling behaviors. 

Enabling behaviors as a result of codependency in relationships due to addiction

We learned that codependency in relationships gives rise to enabling behaviors in relationships with addict partners. Enabling behaviors make it possible for the addict partner to continue with substance abuse in the form of addiction and encourage it directly or indirectly.

Enablers are partners who are codependent on their addict partner. Often enablers fail to identify themselves as enablers and they put down the real fact that they are further deteriorating the person’s addictive behavior in loving them.

Codependency and enabling behavior call for professional help for relationship maintenance. As codependency and enabling behaviors both encourage continuing the destructive behavior believing  the following:

  • Putting down the reality that a loved one has a problem
  • Getting addicted to drugs while living with the addicted partner
  • Rationalizing drug use if self and the partner
  • Denying relationship conflicts
  • Feeling superior to the loved one
  • Try to control the addicted person
  • An irrational belief that things will get better on their own.

Inturn, codependency and enabling behaviors that are developed as a result of an addictive partner in a relationship result in many damaging effects. Some of them are as follows:

  • All family members get addicted to drugs
  • The familial relationships lose their patterns and quality
  • Maintaining responsibilities outside the relationship gets problematic
  • Develop a guilt relate to the addiction of the partner or family member
  • Not taking up the responsibility of taking the addict partner to a rehab by accepting their behaviors unconditionally. 

Manipulative behaviors and addiction effects on relationships

An addict partner has a great tendency to manipulate the other partner’s behaviors. The addict manipulates the behaviors of the partner to fulfill own needs and desires and gratify the addiction urge.

The partner may never know that the addict was manipulating her / him to meet their own needs and demands. 

For example an addict may ask for extra money to help a friend in need and rather use it in buying the substance he or she has been abusing.

Intimate life and addiction effects on relationships

When a partner gets into addiction, the greatest pay is paid by the partner of the abuser rather than the abuser. Being in a relationship with a drug addict is like a ripple effect produced when a stone is thrown into a pond of water. The stone sinks and the ripples reach back to the shore.

Similarly, in a relationship when a partner gets addicted to drugs, the family members and the intimate partners pay the highest cost. Such relationships are often unhappy and uncontented with life. They lack support, love, emotional affiliation, trust and sexual desire for each other.

Addiction leaves negative effects on the couples intimate life. Couples avoid social gatherings so that people don’t know what their relationship is suffering from due to the addiction of a partner.

Physical intimacy and sexual relations of partenrs are also affected due to the addiction. A partner may get involved into forced sex due to addiciton to a substance or rape the partner wothout having any sane intention of doing it. Sexual abuse, ohysical abuse and emotional abuse are the major threats to the intimate life of partners due to addiction.

Use of recreational drugs among the male members like nicotine, marijuana,  cocaine and alcohol often results in erection problems among males resulting in erectile dysfunction.

Research studies have also highlighted the effects of addiction on the intimacy of partners in a relationship. Male drug addicts have been reported to rely completely on viagra for the solution of erection problems. Pablo and Juan (2012) stated that  the use of alcohol, heroin and cocaine has been related to negative effects on male erection and sexual climax.

Impulsivity and addiction effects on relationships

Addiction often increases reactivity and impulsivity. Due to addiction a person’s executive functioning to analyze, interpret and judge a situation before taking a decision declines to a greater extent.

An addict may take decisions out of impulsivity that later affect the relationship to a greater extent. Addicts have a high tendency to get involved in secret behaviors, to hide things from their partners, to lie to their partners and to cheat their partners.

For example an addict might go and sell out a property file without the consent of their partner to acquire money or an addict may get involved in immoral activities in return for money.


In the present article we discussed the various short term and long term effects of addiction on relationships. We learned that addiction results in lifelong adversities that negatively affect relationships. We discussed codependency and enabling behaviors as a result of addiction and their effects on relationships. We also highlighted the various effects on addiction upon sexual relationships.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Addiction and relationships

Do alcoholics have intimacy issues?

Alcoholics have intimacy issues that result due to low self esteem. They develop a distorted self image and have a low self esteem that results in performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction. Even if they may get involved in an intimate relationship, they are not able to emotionally affiliate with their partner.

Can addictive relationships be healthy?

Addictive relationships are mostly unhealthy, distorted and dysfunctional in nature. Addictive relationships are toxic with erratic behaviors that are powerful in nature. Addictive relationships are centered around a constant drama and a need for longing for the partner.

What are the four stages of addiction?

Following are the 4 stages of addiction:

Voluntary use
Problem use


3 Ways Addiction Affects Relationships

5 Ways Addicts Typically Behave in Relationships