Ask Stef: My S.O. Struggles with Addiction and We Are Expecting


Stefanie Marshall

Dear Stef,

I’ve been in and out of my relationship for about a year now. My guy has struggled with addiction, has been in and out of rehab facilities, and is currently in a rehab facility. I recently found out I was pregnant with his baby. I’m not sure what I should do. I am afraid if I stay with him this will be an ongoing cycle and may negatively impact the baby and I. On the other side of the same coin, I feel that the baby not having a relationship with his father may also be negative.

Expecting and Concerned,

Dear Expecting and Concerned,

This question has weighed on me quite a bit because we are talking about the health and well being of not just you and your partner but a new life as well. Addiction is a hard and painful battle that a person is going to struggle with their whole life. It’s unfortunately not something that goes away after enough treatment. One can be on the upswing and be winning the battle, absolutely – but the fight is always going to be there. That is what you must remember.

I want to break this down into a couple parts. Since you didn’t disclose exactly what kind of addiction your partner is dealing with, I’m going to be kind of broad. I think you should absolutely attend an Al-Anon/Nar-Anon meeting or two (or three). In case you’re unaware, both are for the loved ones of those dealing with alcoholism and other addiction. These are the people who are going to know how you’re feeling better than anyone else. They are going to be able to help you through understanding the difference between loving someone and enabling them. The meetings are all over the world, and there is sure to be one near you. I urge you to go for a little more support and understanding that I can’t give from personal experience.

Now. You are going to have this person’s baby. With or without a romantic relationship, this child ties you to him. So while breaking up with him may mean you no longer feel the responsibility to him and his addiction, this is still your child together. I don’t know all the intricacies and details of the relationship. I don’t know how bad things might be for your partner, but I imagine a person who is fighting their addiction and currently in rehab is probably someone who cares about his future and those that may be in it. Perhaps ‘forever’ in the sense you imagined isn’t in the cards for you and your partner, but maybe this baby will give him something bigger to fight for and change his course.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this relationship. Remove your pregnancy from the equation. How do you feel about your partner? How do you feel about your love for him? Are you exhausted? Do you resent him? Can you be honest with yourself and him? You must remember that you are a part of this equation too, and you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes it’s really hard to remember how you truly feel once all the complicated factors of life start piling up against us. But try! Take a day or a week. Reflect. Remember who you are outside of this relationship and decide if you can be in it and be happy. And don’t punish yourself if the answer happens to be no.

The reality of the situation is this: a child is now involved. I’m not sure if you’ve told him you’re pregnant or not. Since you know your partner better than I do, I think you might know how he is going to react and whether or not this is going to trigger him in any negative way. You made this child as a team, and you can move forward as a team even if a romantic relationship is now off the table. Perhaps exposing a child to addiction seems scary and unwise, but I believe keeping a child from their father out of fear is as well. Give him a chance to rise to this occasion.

I want you to know I struggled with both sides of the coin while writing this answer because this is an incredibly difficult situation. You are obviously a strong and intelligent woman for reaching out and asking in the first place. Something as ominous as addiction can be overwhelming for the people surrounding those who suffer from it. Stay strong and don’t be afraid to reach out. I strongly urge you to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings as soon as you can for more educated advice and awareness. We will all be sending immense love and light to you in the coming months.


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