Should I date a woman in AA?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on April 13th, 2011 - Last updated: January 31st, 2014
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.


Further Reading

Dear Stanton,

I am presently locked into a marriage with a disabled wife, who can show no affection. Recently, I met a very attractive woman who, after a few meetings, expressed a desire to strike up a closer relationship (with an understanding that sex is not part of the deal). Turns out she is a ‘dried out’ alcoholic, living with a husband who still drinks, and seems uncertain about what she wants to do with her life. If we are occasionally providing each other with some otherwise missing tenderness and support, that’s good. Could be, though, there are hidden agendas which end up in tears. What issues should I consider most carefully?

Regards ….

Dear Brian:

You do raise several issues. First is how to handle a relationship with a disabled woman. That you have no sexual contact could, of course, be due to a number of things. There are the issues of one’s obligation to a disabled spouse, whether the absence of sex is actually a commentary about the relationship aside from the disability, etc. As to commencing a relationship with a new woman, one recovering in AA, particularly one in a transition period — I myself would not do it. She can go in many different directions, and I find the group essentially irrational. I sometimes encounter people who married someone in AA, and I have frequently noted horrible consequences down the road. In one case, a woman tired of AA and her husband and began drinking again and filed for divorce. Her husband used this to ceaselessly attack her about custody issues. It was so painful and stupid, I could only think that this is a lesson to derive for all time — don’t marry someone you meet at an AA meeting (not exactly your problem, but close).

Meanwhile, you actually seem to be saying, “Should I date outside of a sexless marriage?” That you have found someone who does not want to be sexually involved may indicate you want to take half measures. I think you need to decide how you want to proceed with intimacy in your life. Do you want another relationship? Do you want it to include sex? Do you not want to desert your wife entirely? I think these are the issues you must confront — then find someone who is not in AA to carry out your decisions with.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

Leave a Reply

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