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He wants to revisit his old habit

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 23, 2010 08:00 AM

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Despite this letter, "I Want a New Drug" is not the Love Letters song of the day. It's something else.

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for over 2 1/2 years, and we've been living together the past seven months. We are both 27. He's pretty amazing -- incredibly funny, sweet -- and has become a part of my family (who live nearby). We have talked about marriage.

We met through a mutual friend. He became interested in me, but I knew he was a pothead, which held me back. I've never been into drugs of any kind, and I’m actually crazy allergic to smoke. I drink socially but nothing too crazy. My stomach is sensitive to alcohol, so I go out occasionally and have fun, but my body is just not cooperative to anything more. Anyway, my friend passed along the message that I "don't date people who smoke pot," so he chose to quit his daily habit. I gave him a chance, we went out on a date, and it's been happily ever after, for the most part.

A few times over the past nine months or so, my boyfriend and I have gotten into a couple of rather heated debates over pot. He has started to resent my control over his life because he's not "allowed" to smoke pot. I totally get why he feels this way, and I don't want to control him. But the alternative of letting him smoke when he wants isn't so attractive either. Given my allergy, I can't be around him when he smokes, and he isn't one to do it solo. He works full time, is in school at night, and also plays in a hard-core softball league (3-4 times a week), so our time together is already limited. I don't want pot taking away more of our time together. I think pot would become the "other" girlfriend.

He had been a daily pot smoker and used it to relax after work. I think he was addicted to the relaxed feeling it gave him that he had trouble getting from other things. He has ADHD and takes medication that makes him edgy. I think he was self-medicating to relax/de-stress. He agrees with me. He knows he would have a hard time smoking only occasionally, but that's what he would like to do. He has an addictive personality (right now he's addicted to softball, which is OK with me).

He says he would never choose pot over me and it's not that big of a deal, that he'll get over it. But I know it is a big deal, because it keeps coming up every three to four months.

I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I finally admitted that maybe I could agree to a compromise (even though I really don't want to) -- that pot is fine now at 27, but I won't be happy with it when we have a family in three to five years. His response was, "I feel like I am going to want to smoke every once in a while when I have kids, too." I can't keep fighting this fight for the rest of my life! I feel like this is a value/moral issue to me.

– Just Not Into Pot, Boston

A: JNIP, the big problem, to me, is your plan for the future. You want to live your life a certain way, but he has other ideas. Is there a compromise? Are you open to him smoking when the kids are away or if he's on a business trip (despite the fact that, ahem, it's still illegal)? That's the big question, whether you can find a middle ground.

My advice in the meantime is to put the ball in his court. He says he wouldn't choose pot over you. Really? Well, let's see what he does when he's making his own rules. My suspicion (and maybe I'm being naive) is that if you leave it up to him, he'll quickly realize that he's way too busy to start up his old habit. I think he'll also realize that he'd rather hang with you or play softball than curl up with acquaintances who happen to like the same drug.

The difference is that it will be his choice. Right now he resents you because he thinks you're making decisions for him. Let him make his own. Let him find out that at the end of the day, his choice is you, not the weed. He already made that choice. Let him make it again.

And if I'm wrong -- if he spirals into a snack-eating abyss and winds up ditching you for an entirely different lifestyle, then you'll know. But, really, I think this is about your boyfriend feeling like he's not governing his own body. Let him. See how it feels.

Readers? Thoughts on this guy's resentment? Can one actually become addicted to softball? Is this about control? Anyone had this problem? What should the letter writer do? Talk.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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