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How Opioid Addiction Can Affect Marriage

Opioid addiction can have drastic effects on marriages. One spouse may want to help their partner but may find themselves frustrated and unsure of what to do. Fortunately, many of the negative effects of opioid addiction on a marriage can be addressed before and during treatment.


Codependency can occur in any relationship, not just those in which one partner has an addiction. Codependency is an unhealthy relationship characteristic in which one partner puts the well-being of the other partner ahead of themselves, often to their own detriment. The partner who sacrifices themselves seeks the approval and affection of the other partner, and will go to any lengths to get the love they need.

How to Break the Cycle:

  • Seek individual counseling for adults with spouses who have an addiction.
  • Join a support group for spouses of people with addictions.
  • Do things to boost your own sense of self-worth, like picking up a new hobby or a challenging career.
  • Start saying “no”.

Communication Issues

Communication can be difficult or even non-existent in a relationship where addiction exists. You may have trouble expressing your needs, or may not want to burden your partner with your problems. You may also have trouble expressing the positives in your partner or the relationship because you are so focused on the addiction.

How to Communicate:

  • Every day, find one positive thing to compliment your partner on. It can be as simple as: “I appreciate you washing the dishes”.
  • Speak up for yourself, but in a way that doesn’t blame your partner. Non-blaming statements use “I” and not “you”.
  • Do not avoid showing emotion or discussing problems. Give your partner opportunities to provide emotional support.


It may be difficult to trust a spouse who lies, hides their addiction or makes promises they don’t follow through on. Trust is something that is earned, and once it’s gone, efforts need to be made to rebuild that trust. You may find yourself wondering if you can ever trust your partner again.

How to Rebuild Trust:

  • Forgive your partner. Writing a letter can be a powerful way of getting out your emotions and letting go of past hurt.
  • Lead by example. Be a reliable, trustworthy person. If you tell your partner you’re going to do something, do it.
  • Do not bring up the past. You can’t trust someone again if you dwell on the event that caused them to lose your trust.

Financial Difficulties

Money problems are a big source of stress in relationships. Couples disagree about budgeting, spending and saving. Opioid addiction can create financial issues that can spiral into fights.

How to Improve Finances:

  • Discuss life goals with your partner, and how to save for them.
  • Include your partner in budgeting. Track expenses and share them with your partner. It may be eye-opening for your partner to see how much money is going towards the addiction.

An opioid addiction doesn’t have to create marital problems. If you identify the issues and address them, you and your partner can have a healthy relationship.

Additional Reading About Recovery

Healthy Relationships While in Recovery

Road to Recovery: Begin Your Journey

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