You might already be in a long-term relationship when you make the decision to get sober. But if you aren’t, it’s best to put off dating for a while. Here are four reasons why you should wait a year before you think about romance again:

1. You have to take care of yourself first

Addiction recovery takes a lot of work, and intense self care. Trying to date can be a significant distraction from your self care routine. You have to put 100% of your energy into learning new ways to cope with stress, and learning how to live without alcohol. Only when you feel confident that you have those tools to succeed should you think about bringing a new person into your life.

2. Relationships require compromise

No matter how strong your chemistry is, every couple will run into conflicts that must be solved with compromise. Trying to build up strength in your sobriety while trying to make compromises with a new person in your life could create a lot of inner conflict. You need to first establish boundaries for yourself and get comfortable in them, before you can think about establishing boundaries with another person.

3. You need to learn how to date sober

Dating, in and of itself, can be a boozy activity. You might be accustomed to meeting people at bars, but when you are just starting to get sober, going to a bar might not be a good idea. You need to establish healthy habits of sober living and sober fun. Once you are comfortable in these habits, then you can think about what new dating strategies would be a good fit for you.

4. The person you date may not be sober

When you commit to sober living, it might be best for you to date someone who is also sober. But if it so happens that you meet someone you have a deep connection with who still drinks, you need to be secure in your own sobriety to have a relationship with that person. That kind of security takes time to develop.