What Ariana Grande Gets Right About Dating Someone With Addiction

Less than a month ago, singer Ariana Grande and rapper Mac Miller called quits on their two year relationship. Soon after news of their split hit, Miller was arrested for a DUI where his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and a man on Twitter somehow thought it was Grande's fault. He called Miller's DUI "the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood," because he blamed the rapper's car accident on his fraught emotional state post-breakup. On Wednesday morning, Grande called the man out for implying that she caused Miller's accident and suggesting that she should have stayed in a relationship that she classifies as "toxic."
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"I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they have to be," Grande tweeted. "I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety and prayed for his balance for years (and always will of course), but shaming/blaming women for a man's inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem."
The man who originally tweeted about Grande has since apologized, but her response brings up an important point about dating someone with an addiction. While recovering from addiction is about much more than "keeping your shit together," partners should not feel as if they're forced to stay in a relationship with someone because they're supposed to help them through addiction. "None of us are responsible for anyone else’s actions and to ask someone to remain in a relationship that is unhealthy and toxic is unfair and harmful," says Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, an Atlanta-based therapist who runs the podcast Therapy for Black Girls.
Research shows that family members and significant others being involved in someone's recovery process can up the odds of success, Adi Jaffe, PhD, director of research, education, and innovation at Beverly Hills-based Alternatives Addiction Treatment, previously told Refinery29. But, relationships in which one partner has an addiction and one does not can also become codependent, which is harmful for both partners, according to American Addiction Centers. In those kinds of relationships the partner who becomes a caretaker can feel added stress of having to be a "babysitter" as Grande says, and the partner with addiction can suffer because having someone to take care of you can make it easier to continue destructive behavior, American Addiction Centers says.
Regardless of whether a relationship has become codependent, no one should have stay in a relationship that's damaging to their own mental health on the chance that it'll help their significant other get well. "Everyone is entitled to their own choices about what they would like to do in the name of supporting a partner who's struggling with an addiction, but it is unfair for any of us to say what someone else’s boundary should be," Dr. Joy says. And if Grande's relationship with Miller was "toxic" as she says, she shouldn't be judged from wanting out of it.
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