my husband wont stop smoking pot

Ask Ammanda: my husband’s weed habit is ruining our marriage

I am so fed up with my husband of 16 years, our marriage is at rock bottom. I cannot communicate with him or get him to see how my needs are not being met in the marriage or why I’m so unhappy. He has been habitually messy, unreliable, irresponsible and unhelpful and I am unsure if there is a future for us. He does work full time and has held the job for 15 years. He takes an interest in our three children and I would say he is a good Dad. However he has often said that he is hanging around for his children and even said at our wedding if it wasn’t for them we probably wouldn’t be getting married!

He is a long term and every day weed smoker which seems to make him forgetful; unmotivated; moody; aggressive; messy; unreliable; low / no sex drive (sex once in the last two years) and isolating (he is in his own world.) He sleeps badly, he doesn’t really look after his health, and he suffers from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis which has ruined several holidays. His mood swings and withdrawal symptoms have ruined ALL holidays and family outings.

Over the years he has chosen to abuse porn, and rebuff all my attempts to make love. He stays up late watching porn, getting high and playing computer games, whilst I have spent many nights crying and lonely in bed. After many years of this I now have no interest in sleeping with him at all. We haven’t slept in the same bed for over a year now.

Because of all the problems above, over the years I have taken control of all the finances, household and family matters to the point where I am now a fully-fledged single parent. I am the main breadwinner, run my own business, work part time, take the kids to and from school and look after our 15 month old two days a week. I do all the cooking, cleaning, take all the financial responsibility, arrange for the bills to be paid, so all paperwork, car care, house insurance etc. I do all the school assemblies, sports days, etc. I chauffeur the kids to all of their activities. He has always point blank refused to help with dropping the kids off to school / childminders (as he needs to go to work early or work late) so I’ve always had the stress of running around, doing a full day’s work and running back to collect the kids. This has, in the past, resulted in me nearly having a breakdown. I had to go part time and rearrange my whole career as I just couldn’t cope with everything with very little support from my husband or anyone else for that matter.

He has a history of being terrible financially and has in the past run up big credit card bills and cannot repay them. He had a CCJ when we first got together which I worked hard to bring him out of and give him good credit but have babysat our finances ever since for fear it will happen again. He is the type of person who will let a £80 speeding fine escalate to £400 (until I take control and pay it). I am an accountant so this is totally unfathomable to me.

We really have lived separate lives for many years. I try not to talk to him for fear of being screamed at and the neighbourhood hearing our rows. He will also slam doors, throw things, call me names and try to damage the property when he flies into a rage – anytime I approach him about something I’m not happy with. Any days out with the children are ruined as he gets aggressive and grumpy after a few hours as his weed fix has run out. So I prefer to take them out on my own – we have such lovely days.

When I try to talk about our problems he shouts me down at the top of his voice and I never feel heard. I arranged marriage counselling for us two years ago. It was an absolute nightmare, he spent the whole hour screaming at me in front of the counsellor and suggesting her and I were conspiring against him.

After 16 years together, I’m so tired and frustrated of this. He has now left the house at my request and we are living separately. He pops in after work to eat dinner and see the kids but pretty much nothing has changed for me, I’m still doing it all, at least now I do not have to clear up after him or see him on the sofa every morning.

He says he has now stopped smoking, but the proof is in the pudding whether this remains the case and whether this addresses some of the problems between us

I am no angel but I always try to improve myself and my relationship – I am typically a high achiever and big believer in personal development. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge how his drug use and behaviours have contributed to the demise of our relationship. In our last conversation he said he loves me and feels like we need to start from scratch which I agree, then proceeded to tell me that he has put his career aspirations aside for mine (totally untrue) and that I’ve never supported him in his work (again untrue I’ve written CVs for him, done job searches, spoke to him about setting up his own business etc).

He cannot seem to take any responsibility for his life or behaviour. I am starting to think we will never be able to work together to build a happy and successful marriage. I just don’t know how much longer I can suffer this debacle of a marriage. Life is too short. Part of me thinks we have the potential to have a very happy and content marriage and family if we could tackle the behaviours and improve communication. The other part thinks that we are just in two different worlds and that my dreams of a happy marriage are not possible with this man.

Ammanda says…

It sounds like over the years, you’ve acquired all the attributes of a carer and a parent and applied them to your husband. This is often the lot of spouses who essentially live with an addict. They may love them, do everything for them, make allowances for them and sort out their life. But if that wasn’t enough of a workload, on top of having kids and working too, they get overwhelmed by the anger and frustration that also goes hand in hand with being the spouse of an addict. That’s where you seem to be right now.

I’m afraid there’s no easy way to say this but you absolutely have to make it clear to your husband that he, alone, is entirely responsible for his drug habit and therefore, he’s entirely responsible for sorting it out. Of course this is always more difficult to accomplish in the cold light of day.

The life you describe with your husband is one that many people will recognise. Often events go on for many years. Sometimes they’re interspersed with pleas, protestations and allegations from the addict that it’s the responsibility/fault/duty of their spouse, who has essentially become their carer, to keep the show on the road. Often there are promises that things will be different. It’s not at all unusual either for an addict to say that they need the support and forgiveness of their partner before they can possibly embark on getting professional help towards the road to recovery. And often, addicts refuse to acknowledge that what they do causes grief and problems for the whole family.

The tone of your letter is that of a critical and frustrated parent. I know that probably sounds like a tough thing to hear but all I’m trying to do is feedback what you’re saying, so that you really understand the importance of putting down some very clear boundaries by moving away from what is essentially contributing to him carrying on regardless. Put simply: absolutely nothing will change unless your husband accepts he has the issue and when he wants to do something about it. All of your coaching, organising and admonishment will continue to amount to nothing since he doesn’t get what you mean because you keep sorting everything out. As I say, this is so often what happens in families where someone is an addict of whatever description.

The couple relationship in situations like this is often complex. Occasionally the partner of the drug user thinks they can somehow change their partner by constantly telling them they’re in the wrong. Language like this, although understandably very tempting to use, given the level of grief that usually accompanies life with an addict, is usually counterproductive. It only adds to the general lack of self-worth that theyalso d so often have but so often find difficult to expresses productively, choosing only to further engage with their habit of choice.

So, I would suggest a few things. First, you’ve asked him to move out and he has done so. This sounds like a positive move because the verbal abuse you’ve been on the receiving end of, as well as witnessing damage to property, is going to affect your mental and emotional wellbeing, so putting some distance between you sounds like a good move.

Secondly, and this is really challenging, I would like to suggest that your sense of being a high achiever understandably means that you are solution focused when it comes to problems. It’s a touch of “there’s the problem – now I can find a way of fixing it”. But this particular problem is not yours to fix. With this in mind I’d like to encourage you to either get some individual therapy or join a support group for the partners and families of addicts. You need to let go of being the one to make changes. I can acknowledge your point of being no angel (none of us are totally blameless) but the essential and deep seated issue that needs addressing is your husband’s chronic use of weed.

Thirdly, you need to consider the impact on the kids. I’m sure you’ve already given this a great deal of thought but the legacy of family drug problems on children can be immense. Your daughters need to see that it’s possible to love someone but also require that they take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

Finally, at some point you will need to move away from the mind-set of “the fine gets bigger if I don’t deal with it on his behalf”. He knows you do this and will continue to take advantage of it until you finally feel able let him bear the brunt of the consequences of not sorting something out. This is difficult and often means that you have to put in place clear and separate systems so his failure to do important things does not impact on you and the family finances.

He says he loves you and wants to start from scratch. I can clearly see that despite everything you have deep feelings for him and just want it all to stop. He says he’s stopped using weed, which is all well and good except for the fact that he now has the vast, enormous journey of providing the evidence that he really means it. The only way he can do that is to get professional support and stick with it. Of course the love of a spouse in overcoming an addition is important, but your love has been severely tested already, so best not test it further until there’s something to base this on.

Despite any effort he might make, it’s very unlikely he can start this new chapter of being weed-free on his own. Getting the help he needs is his responsibility. Don’t make the appointment, find the group or in any way mop up after him anymore. You’ve been doing that for years so time to stop now. Although this sounds like tough love – it is in fact probably the most loving thing you can do for him, for you and for the kids.

I am so fed up with my husband of 16 years, our marriage is at rock bottom. I cannot communicate with him or get him to see how my needs are not being met in the marriage or why I’m so unhappy. He has been habitually messy, unreliable, irresponsible and unhelpful and I am unsure if there is a future for us. He does work full time and has held the job for 15 years. He takes an

My husband won’t stop smoking weed

My husband and I have been married for almost one year. Our relationship is wonderful but has recently experienced a major challenge, one that seems as though we cannot over come. Before we were married my husband had a past with drugs and alcohol but when we met he was completely sober and had promised me that those habits were in he dust. I am a pretty straight laced person, I never got into drugs and I follow the rules. Of course I made my husband aware of this before we got married.
I recently found out that my husband has been smoking weed behind my back daily for more than 6 months. He snuck it into our garage and would do it early in the mornings and before I would come home from work. When I uncovered this, he completely denied it. After further pressuring him, he came clean about what he had been doing. I was devastated. Not just about the pot smoking but also about the lying to my face and lying to me by omission for 6 months.
I have tried explaining to him why I do not like pot and he refuses to understand. In fact, he believes that pot is gods gift to earth. My husband knew how I felt about pot before marrying me but he expects me to accept it now? This doesn’t seem fair at all. Since this has happened he has continued to smoke pot daily and I have continued to dislike it. WE have argued numerous times, all of them consisting of him shoving “scientific” facts down my throat while I try to explain my feelings, the same feelings I had before our wedding. We even plan on having children one day, this only deepens my feelings considering that weed is illegal where we live.
I have tried to come to grips with this and accept his habit but I am struggling and it is taking a toll on my marriage. I love my husband but I am not sure how we can find common ground on this topic. I would appreciate some advice and/or opinions.

I know people are going to say it’s just weed and you should be more relaxed about it, but it’s his behavior about it that’s really problematic.

Couple questions: is weed legal in your state? Could he get drug tested at work and lose his job? Is he smoking every day before work?? If he could get fired for this, that would fuck you up. Not fair.

I know someone who got married a year ago and is already getting a divorce because her husband, a first responder, no less, was addicted to some kind of opiates and had been hiding it from her for years. She found out after he got fired. She stuck it out for a while but he wasn’t going to kick it. I think she did the right thing.

Your husband is an addict, and this is classic addict behavior and very concerning. Definitely go talk to an addiction counselor by yourself and figure out what to do.

Sigh. Don’t date addicts or marry addicts, especially ones who haven’t managed to stay clean for years. But it’s to late for that wisdom, but possibly in the future it’ll stick. You can’t control or change another human being. If he’s an addict & this is his addiction then there is nothing you can do to stop it. He’ll continue to lie to you or say the right thing but do the opposite , if you continue to push or even if you don’t push. So if you hate weed and hate him smoking it, then leave. Move on already. Sorry, but this the only advice I can give. I do have some experience of this too, so this isn’t just opinion.

You may decide to try and accept this about him & stay. Ok, but then you really have accept it and not say you do, but nag and try and convince him etc. As that’s dishonest and frankly a waste of your time. It’s far easier( though it’ll hurt etc) to leave him. It’s early days in the marriage and you’ve discovered a character flaw that isn’t going be easier to deal with as time, children and stress of normal life pile on.

Oh & don’t ever marry someone who you don’t really know. Good luck.

I don’t think weed is that bad of a drug, but wtf with smoking in the morning before work? If you go to work high, someone is eventually going to give you a drug test and fire you. Or does he not work? If not, what are his prospects of finding work if he’s high all day AND may get a drug test where he applies?

Thank you for responding. Weed is illegal where we live and if drug tested, my husband would loose his job. To makes matters even worse, we work for affiliated companies. If he got caught, it would also tarnish my reputation and possibly effect my career.

He does not smoke week before work every morning, he only smokes weed in the mornings on weekends. But he does smoke once, sometimes twice when he gets home from work. From what I understand, THC can stay in someone’s system for 30 days. Regardless of if he does it before work or not if he was tested, he would fail.

I understand that some people feel like weed is “just weed” and that is okay. We all have different opinions and for some people and some relationships smoking weed daily is perfectly fine. But unfortunately I don’t feel that way. I want to have children and live a happy worry free life. If my husband is smoking weed everyday, he might be able to live that life but I will not. I will worry about my children finding out, or about him loosing his job and leaving us only relying on my income.

I don’t know what the LW’s husband is normally addicted to, but I’m betting weed is probably the lesser of his addictions. Though it doesn’t matter. If you don’t like the behaviour of an addict on a drug, then my advice remains the same. Leave him.

Yep, morning weed smoking is a bad sign…

I think you answered your question. You can’t tolerate this, he’s not going to stop, you can’t have kids with him, and you’ve unfortunately found out too late that you’re not compatible. I’d still go talk too somebody, but I don’t see how this would work out, resolve itself, be okay, whatever. I think you need to call it a loss.

I appreciate your input. I don’t want to leave my husband, I love him and want nothing more than to grow a family with him. This is a goal that he also shares. However to me, pot use and family do not go hand in hand. I have tried to be open about his habit and understand why he does it but I find it hard to accept. Am I wrong for this? He believes that it is no different than drinking a beer.

I think both of you sort of hoped for the ideal situation. You married someone with a history of alcohol and drug problems and hoped he wouldn’t start again, and he presumably had hopes for that as well. Or he thought that once you guys were married, he could start back up and you’d have to accept it.

I understand your concerns. Any addiction (whether it is from a physically addictive substance or it’s an emotional addiction to something that makes someone feel good) affects your relationship and has a ripple effect on everything else. Plus, it’s no fun if your partner spends most of your time together high or sneaks around and lies. Aside from that, yes, him being involved in something illegal is sort of a ticking time bomb. Everything might be fine, but he also could get fired at any time. Particularly if he’s the kind of person who can’t just maintain a habit, but keeps diving in deeper. Like if after work turns into before work or not going to work (my friend’s BIL is currently in the position where he misses work to get high a lot). I think everyone is clear on the fact that drug testing catches marijuana use if it’s not before work, but I think the point was that if a person appears high, they are more likely to be drug tested.

Anyway, unless he has intentions of immediately acting to curb his habit, I’m not sure there’s much you can do to change him. You can just decide what you want for your life. I think it’s probably best to be with someone else who share similar values. Definitely make sure you don’t have kids with him before determine whether you want this to be your life.

No, you’re not wrong. Maybe someone will come on here and convince you why you should be comfortable with this bullshit (the lying, the addiction, the putting his employability in jeopardy), or maybe they’ll give you the magic code to get him to stop. Really really do go see a counselor who specializes in families of addicts.

Love doesn’t make up for not being compatible in life. Sorry. I wish it did, but love only really enhances a relationship were two people are compatible in a lot of practical and emotional ways. People actions are more important than the words they say (they should match, but…) & no where is it more important to notice this disparity or alignment in when choosing life partners.

Oh & addicts are incredibly good at words and manipulation, they need to be in order to get what they want.

Try going to a local Al anon meeting to get perspective.

It is a major concern, and one that I never expected to happen. We have a loving relationship, but this topic and this habit looms over me like a dark cloud. I don’t believe it effects my husband the way that it effects me, probably because he is getting what he always wanted. He never told me about his smoking weed becuase he knew that I would disagree but he thought that by keeping it from me and continuing to be a wondeful husband that I would grow to accept it when the day finally came that he would tell me. His choosing to hide this from me had the opposite effect. In fact, I think I dislike weed more now than I ever did.

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