Addiction in a Marriage: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Leaving a partner is never an easy decision to make. But there are lots of reasons to do it, some much easier decisions to make than others.

One of the most difficult times to make that decision is when your partner is struggling with addiction. It’s a far more complex decision. On the one hand, your partner is in their hour of need. On the other hand, addiction can have a severe impact and consequences on those around them, particularly loved ones.

Which makes the question of “should I stay or should I go?” an incredibly tough one to answer.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. Everybody is different. Everybody reacts in different ways. Everybody copes in different ways and every relationship hurt by addiction plays out in a different way.

However, there are tell-tale signs it’s time to leave, time to stand by your partner and other tips on the best approach to take when thinking about leaving someone due to addiction.

Why Stay With An Addict?

The reasons as to why you would want to stay with someone suffering with addiction, whether that be drug, alcohol, gambling or any other addiction, is quite clear. They are someone you care for dearly and you only want to see them get better.

However, in many cases it all comes down to fear. Firstly, if in an abusive relationship, which addiction can often lead to, then there’s the fear of the reaction. Then there’s the other fears like how you’re perceived.

For example, will people think you are a terrible person? Or will your partner do something drastic if you leave? What will happen to your partner?

Facing those fears can be incredibly difficult. But if the relationship isn’t working for you, then you also need to think about your own health, well-being, and in some cases safety.

Taking a step back from the situation, speaking to friends, family and even professionals will help you make a more rationalised decision on whether it’s a good idea to stay and support your partner, or if the situation is just too toxic and it’s time to part ways.

Why Leave an Addict?

Addiction is a cruel disease and it’s one that can completely transform a person from the one you knew and loved when you met.

Addiction is one of the major driving forces behind things like domestic violence in marriages, while it can also have huge financial implications and health impacts too. Among the main reasons why you should perhaps start considering leaving a relationship that is being influenced by addiction include:


There is a clear correlation between addiction and abuse, and while not every addict is abusive, if your partner is being abusive towards you, then for your own safety, and perhaps even your children or other loved ones safety, it could well be time to leave.

Addiction can see loved ones behave completely out of character and whether it be verbal or physical abuse, it’s not something anyone should suffer with.


One problem you may find in a partner is that they point blank refuse to accept that they have a problem with addiction. In their eyes it may be that they have it under control and there are no problems.

Ignoring you and your request for them to get help can be frustrating. However, this is normal, and it is perhaps worth trying a number of times to open their eyes. If that doesn’t seem to be working though, and you cannot help that person, then packing your bags may be the only option.

If it gets to that point, questions over whether they can change and the impact they are having on you should be brought into question and decisions can be made based upon those outcomes.


Addiction will naturally bring secrets. Partners will try to hide their addiction and the misuse of substances can lead to things like theft, cheating and have real financial implications on the both of you, not to mention increasing stress levels and tension within a household.

That isn’t a healthy relationship. It needs to be an equal partnership that is open and honest, and if that’s not the case then perhaps it’s what opens the door for you.

Should I Stay or Go?

Essentially, every relationship that is suffering from addiction is different, but asking and answering those key questions and highlighting any negative impacts on your relationship will help you make a clear decision that is best for yourself, the rest of your family, and even your partner in the long run.

Speak to people, speak to a professional and get clear advice and perspectives rather than bottling it all up, and the decision will be a much easier one to make.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.