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“My Boyfriend Lied to Me About His Drug Use”

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half now, and he’s been a really great guy up until lately. Within the last week things have become very complicated and I’m finding it difficult to tell whether or not I’m overreacting. Last summer, we were out with friends and while walking from one bar to another a friend of his offered him some marijuana and he smoked it. We had a big fight about the whole thing and I explained that drug use was kind of a deal-breaker for me due to past family issues with drugs, not to mention that I would soon be starting an internship as a substance abuse counselor as part of my graduate studies in social work.

Fast forward to a week ago and I come to find out that he used marijuana with a friend one other night and hadn’t told me about it because he was worried about how I would react. He apologized a number of times and seemed very genuine. Then, the next night he let me know that it hadn’t just been him and one other friend — it had been him and 3, maybe 4 other friends from work. I was once again really upset because he hadn’t told me the entire truth and had made it seem like he was genuinely sorry about everything but he really couldn’t have been that sorry if he didn’t even fess up the entire story. He said he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to have negative feelings towards his work friends.

Then, five days later he let me know that during finals last semester he took an Adderall so he could get all of his studying done (he’s a law student). I’m angry; I understand his fears of telling me because he thought I would react badly but I can’t get over the fact that he’s broken my trust and it feels like there’s no honesty in this relationship. I want to forgive him but at the same time I don’t because I worry that he’ll see that as an excuse to behave badly in the future — he will think he can get away with it. But, I have to wonder: am I overreacting? Am I right to be so upset? I can understand why he was afraid to tell me everything at once but I still feel betrayed. — That’s a Deal-Breaker!

You need to MOA, sister, and not necessarily because your boyfriend lied to you — although I suppose if your trust in him is shattered, that would be a good enough reason — but because you clearly have different values and it isn’t fair for either of you to compromise yourselves for each other. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is about your boyfriend smoking pot a couple of times or popping an Adderall to help him study. Sure, you can argue that it’s illegal, but I happen to think some of the drug laws in our country are seriously ridiculous. But that’s me. That’s my value call. You, obviously, have different values and that’s perfectly fine. You have your own personal history, experiences and reasons for arriving at your values, and there’s no reason you should have to compromise those for anyone. But the thing is, the same can be said for your boyfriend.

You’ve made it clear to him what your values are, and through his actions he’s made it clear he has different values. I mean, he’s apologized for disappointing you and lying to you, but has he at any point promised not do it again? And if he has, do you believe he’ll keep his word? Or do you suppose he’s now come clean because he wants you to accept that you have different values and be with him anyway?

Obviously, for you, not sharing the same values is a deal-breaker. So, rather than keep your boyfriend on a short leash and make him conform to your value system, which he’s already shown you he isn’t interested in doing, let him go. Let him find a woman for whom his behavior won’t be a deal-breaker. And in return, you’ll be free to find someone who shares your no-tolerance policy on drug use. That way, your boyfriend no longer has to feel that he’s disappointing his girlfriend, and you no longer have to feel like you’re with someone you can’t trust. Win-win for everyone.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 9:30 am

I’ve been in the same situation as you, LW. I knew when I began dating my current boyfriend (about 2 years ago) that he smoked pot. I didn’t know how often, but I guessed maybe one or twice a week. I didn’t like it, but I began dating him officially with the hope that if this became serious, he’d eventually stop if it was important to me. During the first few weeks, I discovered that he smoked more than I had assumed, and it really bothered me…and like you, it bothered me that he hid how often he did it. Flashforward a few months – Soon after my boyfriend told me he loved me, he stopped smoking. He said: “I hated seeing how much I hurt you…smoking wasn’t worth that.”

Point is, it doesn’t really matter if your boyfriend (or anyone else) thinks you’re overreacting. Some people, like me, take issue with any illegal substances (and the effect they have on people you love). No matter how up-tight or crazy some people might think that opinion is, you’re entitled to it, and it’s not wrong for you to want a partner who can share in that ideal. Bottom line – if your boyfriend isn’t willing to give up pot and adderall (as harmless as HE might think they are), then this isn’t the right relationship for you.

And honestly…that sentiment goes for relationships in general. If you feel strongly about a certain life value, you shouldn’t have to compromise it. We’re not talking “I only want to date men who make over 100k.” We’re talking “I don’t want to date someone who does illegal drugs” or “I want to date someone with a religious background.” Everyone has a set of values and morals that are key to who they are. If you and your partner aren’t able to meld your value sets together, it isn’t going to work.

avatar cat-i-z April 20, 2011, 9:58 am

Great response ReginaRey!

avatar hana April 20, 2011, 12:17 pm

I agree with you 100% ReginaRey.

I had a very similar situation, except with a different outcome. I began dating my ex about 2 months after he quit smoking weed. But while we were dating (2 yr off/on relationship) he began smoking again. He had also quit harder drugs and began doing those again but I didn’t know that part. I didn’t question it because I thought I was in love and due to previous experiences thought the way he acted was the way men were supposed to treat me. I went through one bad experience after another with him, mostly stemming from his drug use and our joint friends drug use. Eventually he began doing hard drugs again and he broke up with me because of his dependancy on the drugs.
Now I am not saying this will happen to the LW or that her boyfriend is like this at all. And obviously RR’s boyfriend is a nice guy who wanted to make it work with her. My ex was a bad person beyond drug use and someone I should never have been dealing with.
However LW, I would suggest keeping your values. You will be able to find a man who matches them. You can talk to your bf about it again, but if you have no faith in him or he is not willing to quit, it may be better to just move on. Another reason to move on would be your internship. I don’t know how strict the rules are where you are working, but my friend had an internship like that and if she was caught with someone else who was smoking/doing drugs/drinking to access she would have been fired. f course, we went to a very strict, religious University.

Just for the record, I don’t smoke pot but I agree with Wendy that some drug laws in this country are ridiculous. I have a lot of friends who do this and t doe snot bother me one bit. What upsets me is the excuses people make for their actions because of this. I am against harder drugs due to family that I have seen suffer form them.

avatar cdj0815 April 20, 2011, 12:19 pm


avatar Bellz April 20, 2011, 3:22 pm

The same goes for the flipside — if you aren’t willing to compromise on the issue and let your boyfriend smoke pot and take adderall once in a while, this isn’t the right relationship for him. Either way, he is going to do what he wants to do.

avatar Fairhaired Child April 22, 2011, 1:16 am

There are a lot of hot debates on this subject but I love your response the most. I have dated a number of exboyfriends who have smoked pot, or used other substances, and while its not my cup of tea, I did not hold it against them. I was definately hurt though when it was hidden from me rather than given to me up straight in a relationship – because then I second guessed a lot of “past conversations” etc.

My current boyfriend actually stopped doing drugs a year before we met (because he had to – he actually got in trouble with the law). Its eye opening for me when him and I discuss his past drug use and how it affected his life and how he’s glad he stopped for many reasons. I think that it wouldn’t have been a deal breaker for me, given my own history with ex boyfriends, but the way that he discribed how he behaved I think eventually it would have. He actually was really interested in this post and reading some of the responses because he thought “this could have been about me a few years ago.” He did pot almost daily, as well as occasionally using some other drugs, and not only did he feel that he had to hide it from everyone, but that while he thorougly enjoyed it he also felt he couldnt trust anyone with the knowledge that he did drugs besides other people who used drugs. Its sad for me when we talk about how he felt when he was doing it, and how he sees how he acted after the fact and that he’s glad that he got caught so that he could be forced to clean up, no matter how angry it made him at first.

I’m glad your boyfriend stopped for you. It seems like he is a very wonderful person to make a decision to better, not only himself, but his relationship with you since it ment so much to you.

avatar kerrycontrary April 20, 2011, 9:31 am

Yeh, I think this relationship is doomed…I don’t think its unreasonable for you to want a drug free boyfriend, but this guy clearly isn’t it. Early on in college I was 100 percent against any kind of drug use in a guy I was a dating. Although my boyfriend at the time complied, I later realized that it’s ridiculous to try and control someone else. Like Wendy said, you have different values which is a recipe for disaster in the long run.

avatar LolaBeans April 20, 2011, 9:33 am

I agree with Wendy.

You have these set values due to your past and personal beliefs. I just think your boyfriend will let you down time and time again.. because he doesnt have those same values as you. and thats ok, nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with trying to instill your values on him.. especially if he isn’t willing, which he doesn’t seem to be.
I’d say MOA and try to find someone similar to the views that you have.

avatar sarita_f April 20, 2011, 9:38 am

I have nothing to add – I 100% agree with everything Wendy said (and I take her same view on *relatively* benign recreational drug use) and everything ReginaRey said about not compromising.

avatar Addie Pray April 20, 2011, 9:41 am

Good advice. When I saw the first line in Wendy’s advice (“You need to MOA…”), I was a little shocked. That is not where I would have gone after reading the letter. I would’ve said something like, “oh geez, no big deal, relax.” I mean, he’s a lawstudent (or a lawyer now?), I’m assuming he has his shit together (ie, the sporadic pot use is not making him stupid), and it doesn’t even sound like he does this regularly. …. But then I would be imposing my values on the LW, and Wendy did a good job of not doing that. I think we all have a tendancy to do this. [Remember that LW from several weeks ago that wanted her boyfriend to agree to raise their kids Jewish, to not celebrate Christmas, to not take the kids to church, etc.? A lot of us (me included) acted a little negatively to her, but she knew what she wanted and should not have to compromise.] Well, this LW need not compromise either. But first, LW, find out if he is promising to not do it again (and if you can trust that) or like Wendy said if he is coming clean because he wants you to accept that you have different values (which you need not accept). I’d hate for you to throw the relationship away because of a few indiscretions that he intends to not let happen again…

avatar Addie Pray April 20, 2011, 11:20 am

*gasp* – a purple thumb!? pussy. (i just wanted to use this word.)

avatar Amy April 20, 2011, 11:27 am

Shame on you -you made me laugh out loud while drinking coffee at work – I spit it on my computer. I like what you said in your first comment too. We always think we are right – but we’re much nicer people when we let everyone be who they are too. Now… hopefully I don’t have to call the IT guy for liquid in my laptop…. again.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 9:55 am

LW: “Drug use was kind of a deal-breaker for me due to past family issues with drugs, not to mention that I would soon be starting an internship as a substance abuse counselor as part of my graduate studies in social work.”

LW’s boyfriend has shown deep disrespect and indifference towards her on two counts: first, she has a painful family history with drugs that he has blown off; second, his actions are in direct opposition to her professional position. He could really harm her–for a social worker needs to have a certain moral authority. She can’t be dating someone who is buying drugs from her clients. He could ruin her professional reputation. And if her clients knew (which, in a small county, they easily would), they would not respect her as a drug counselor one iota!

Plus, although he may not have known about her family situation originally, once he knew about their drug issues, he should have been quick to refrain out of consideration for her feelings.

I’m not personally morally opposed to occasional use of pot, for instance, but this is not a good situation, and it’s about more than just different values.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 10:13 am

Do you not believe that a boyfriend or husband’s drug use could be professionally damaging to a social worker?

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 10:32 am

I don’t believe that….

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 11:31 am

I think that it has the potential to be very damaging. Often, social workers are state employees. My mother, who is a social worker, is frequently in court testifying about drug use. She and her co-workers must mandate and conduct drug tests, which have serious consequences in terms of custody. She meets with parents who are about to lose their kids because they are strung out on drugs, and meets with kids who are failing because of pot use, and she has to try to get them into treatment and recovery.

She works in a small county. The great majority of the people who she works with are from a very small sub-set of the community. They are often sleeping with each other, doing drugs with each other, and buying drugs from each other. The police know who they are, the judges know who they are, the lawyers know who they are, and the teachers know who they are. If her boyfriend/husband is visiting the dealers, people will know. And that will undermine her credibility with everyone in the system, from her boss to her judge to the very people she’s trying to treat. I think that this situation would be made worse by the fact that she is in addiction treatment (my mother was in foster care prevention).

There is no anonymity.

avatar LolaBeans April 20, 2011, 11:41 am

thats a little extreme in this case, i’d think.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 11:47 am

Why do you think so? (just curious)

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 12:02 pm

Personally, I think so because I would bet serious money that the LW’s boyfriend has never purchased pot. It sounds like he has been offered some, casually, at parties, and he’s accepted. Twice in 18 months certainly does not require purchase.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 12:11 pm

Perhaps. And it may be that he really is a casual smoker who will gladly give it up. I’m concerned because he’s hidden stuff from her, though. Perhaps he’s a more regular user than he’s let on so far?

I tend to err in the direction of being too stringent rather than too permissive, when I post on these sites. I fear that in general women think it’s necessary to compromise–and that their definition of compromise is actually to give up on things that are really important to themselves so as to not be alone.

I’d hate to see this woman risk her career–or her sense of safety in her own relationship (due to her family history). I watched a dear friend lose her much-wanted career as a police officer because she married a three-strike felon/embezzler. She was so sure he’d changed …

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 12:54 pm

Gotcha. Coincidentally, I feel the same way about Democrats–compromising doesn’t mean giving up almost everything and then triumphing over a small shred of your original goal.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 1:05 pm

And isn’t it interesting the democrats and liberal values are often portrayed in a feminized fashion?

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 2:56 pm

Definitely, demoiselle. Think about it–Don’t be a pussy. Grow some balls. It’s very gender-oriented with female as weak and male as strong.

Skyblossom Skyblossom April 20, 2011, 3:30 pm

I came from a small community just like you described and it would definitely harm your career.

avatar LolaBeans April 20, 2011, 10:42 am

I think it could be damaging if he is a daily user. it seems like he does it occassionally….

avatar NolaGirl April 20, 2011, 10:49 am

I do. And frankly if it’s a big issue for her – it’s a total deal breaker for the relationship. A person’s values are core to who they are, and if LW has expressed her feelings with the boyfriend – and she does have a legitimate issue with it – and he still disrespects her like this, I think it’s time to count your losses and move on.

Personally I don’t see a little pot use here or there is a big deal, BUT, honestly I’m not sure I could spend my time with someone who lied to me about something like this. It’s one thing if he sat down and said “pot is important to me” and they dealt with their differences like adults and came to a compromise. However, it looks like in this case, he is taking to subterfuge rather than actually working out a compromise with LW or even giving up smoking pot. I’d always wonder what he’s not telling me. But that’s just me.

avatar hana April 20, 2011, 12:26 pm

I absolutely agree with this. It does not matter if he is buying pot or not or if he is the occasional user. If he is stupid enough to post photos of himself on FB or something and people see it knowing they are dating it reflects on her. I have had this happen to me, and my friends have had it happen to them.

While I do not think he has a drug problem at all based on the letter or that he is smoking all day everyday, I have to say it only takes one time. The risk is very low for her because I doubt he would smoke around her, but what if one day he got in trouble and expected her to pull some strings or she was walking out with him and her boss happened to run into her and see the bf smoking a j. It would absolutely be damaging.

Heather Heather April 20, 2011, 11:40 am

You guys, regardless of whether or not it’s a big deal for US that he chooses to do these, I personally don’t think it’s that bad, but it’s a deal breaker for her. And as someone who also has a really awful family history with drug abuse (my brother was an addict for somewhere around 11 years) I can completely understand where she’s coming from. I don’t think his drug use seems that bad, personally. But either way, the relationship doesn’t seem like it can work out.

avatar NolaGirl April 20, 2011, 11:45 am

Here here! That’s what I was trying to get at ;) Who cares what we think about pot use. It’s what SHE thinks she can live with. Regardless of what it is that the issue is – lying is the big issue for me. Even little white lies can eat away at a relationship and trust.

Heather Heather April 20, 2011, 2:01 pm

Right! There just doesn’t seem like there’s any way to compromise. She has a no tolerance policy, and with her family history and future line of work ambitions, it really is understandable. But anything happening would require either him to give up what he obviously wants to do (or continue lying to protect her feelings), or forcing her to be comfortable with something she’s really not.

Differences are a good thing, but you cannot be different in your core values if you truly want to have a happy relationship. I have seen and experienced that many times, and stand by it.

avatar kali April 20, 2011, 12:30 pm

Apparently no one believes drug use is detrimental to a future career in law?

avatar HmC April 20, 2011, 1:03 pm

Lawyers are notorious drunks. Pot smoking would be a step up from that. :)

Really though, the ABA is similar to the federal government in that it doesn’t care much about pot, so long as you’re not selling it.

avatar Addie Pray April 20, 2011, 1:52 pm

As a lawyer, I can drink to that!

avatar Spark April 21, 2011, 6:32 pm

Maybe, but the state bar would give him an awfully hard time about a cannabis arrest.

The standards are different for those who are already admitted and those who are trying to get in.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 1:07 pm

It could be detrimental, of course. And it’s not a good sign for his study skills if he needs a stimulant in order to cram for exams. That’s a bad habit even in college, let alone graduate school. But I’m not really concerned in this letter about the damage he could do to his own career–I think that’s a separate issue from what the LW is trying to address.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 1:47 pm

Sorry demoiselle, but that’s a little judgemental. Just because someone uses medication doesn’t mean it’s a “bad habit.” Depending on HOW they use it, is what defines that. There is absolutely nothing wrong in someone using Adderrall to study for a test. If taken responsibly, it helps A LOT. & like I said, I’m sure being a law student isn’t easy & I know their exams require tons & tons of memorization.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 1:56 pm

Just want to address the “absolutely nothing wrong” sentiment – A lot of schools, my alma mater being one of them, have extremely strict honor codes that prohibited use of drugs like Adderall to use to study (and use of drugs, period). It’s something that can get you kicked out of school if you’re taking it illegally…so I definitely think there’s something wrong with it in THAT instance.

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 1:59 pm

well guess there goes caffine then…

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 1:59 pm

That’s completely true. But I meant in the moral sense. Saying that it’s a sign of “bad habits” because he used Adderrall to study for his exams is judgemental. Sorry. Maybe because I used to take Adderrall I’m a little bias. I did have a prescription, but I know many people that went through nursing school & took a pill to study for a big test & never touched it again. I think it’s harsh what she said.

avatar demoiselle April 20, 2011, 2:38 pm

Perhaps it was harsh.

However, I do think that it is important to develop study skills early which will allow you to study over time, rather than cramming for exams or to finish papers. Unfortunately, high-pressure work and deadlines don’t go away after college or law school. If using a performance enhancing drug is a one-time thing (or used rarely and responsibly) and isn’t against honor codes, it may not be a big deal.

But if it becomes a pattern, I do think it’s a bad habit to develop. There will always be some kind of looming deadline. Why not learn techniques for handling the work-load without a performance enhancing drug? Or if one is actually ADD, why not see a doctor and get a prescription?

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 2:58 pm

Ehh. Her letter indicated he only used it once. Unless she left out other times he used, I still don’t see what the big deal is. That’s really what I was getting out. *I* personally don’t see the problem. My point is the same. It’s clearly a big deal for *her*, she’s the one in the relationship. She needs to understand she cannot change him, if she demands he stops all together he’ll either do it behind her back or dump her. Unless they BOTH come to an agreement & understanding, this relationship is doomed.

avatar Maracuya April 20, 2011, 2:40 pm

I think demoiselle was talking more abstractly about cramming for exams. I think most people will agree that pulling an all-nighter before the test isn’t an extremely effective way to study.

avatar Spark April 21, 2011, 6:36 pm

Taking Adderall in law school is like taking steroids in baseball. It’s not fair, and it hurts those who play by the rules. Law schools grade on a curve. When I was in law school, I would never have dared to take a drug, although I know people who did. I wouldn’t have taken it for health reasons–Adderall is a stimulant that can cause heart palpitations and worse. For most of us, the risk isn’t worth it. And it’s unfair when someone else forces your grade down (by virtue of the curve) because he broke the rule.

It’s like saying cheating (on a test) isn’t a big deal cause it doesn’t hurt other people. Copying your friend’s answers on a math test won’t make her grade go down, but it’s still wrong and unfair. And against the rules.

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 1:08 pm

Based on the many lawyers I have met, it is not.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 1:48 pm

Pot isn’t really a drug.

avatar TECH April 20, 2011, 9:58 am

Wendy’s got a point, if your basic core beliefs and values do not match up, this guy is probably not a good match for you. And while I don’t know your personal values or family history, I still would have to say your intolerance of occasional marijuana use does seem a little extreme. Wendy makes a good point that American drug laws are extremely skewed. Why is it okay for him to drink alcohol (you did mention he went to a bar) but not smoke weed occasionally? If it’s not interfering with his life, what is the big deal? Millions of Americans use marijuana recreationally (even medically) and find the benefits outweigh the side effects.
Perhaps my personal experience is uncommon (I don’t think it is) but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t used marijuana at least a few times in their life. Many use it occasionally. Some even use it daily. On a personal note, my boyfriend uses medical marijuana as it approved by his neurologist. And while I am not thrilled he uses it, I’ve learned to live with it because I don’t see it having an overall negative impact on his life. Of course, this is just my opinion, and if it’s not something you can live with — you’ve just answered your own question. It’s not something you can live with.
Your boyfriend probably thought of it as a “white lie” not letting you know about his marijuana use. There are far greater betrayals in life.

avatar Kate April 20, 2011, 10:27 am

I’ve never used it, nor would I.

Whether her views are extreme or not, the point is the LW has an issue with her BF using. But like you said, she cannot live with it and MOA.

eelavocado eel avocado April 20, 2011, 10:01 am

I had the same thing happen with my college boyfriend. He smoked weed many times one summer, didn’t tell me about it, and then confessed in August. I wasn’t OK with it. We had a very calm discussion about his drug use and lying, and he broke up with me the next day. Then we got back together (big whoops) a week later. I was persuaded to smoke with him occasionally. We dated for 9 more months, but broke up again because he felt like I was his mom in the relationship. The bottom line is that I could never become OK with his drug use (and lying) because of my values. As much as I tried to accept it, it was a dealbreaker for me. At the same time, he felt guilty whenever he would light up. We let each other go and now we’re both living happier lives because of it. (And now I’m with a guy who shares my values 100%.)

avatar Kate April 20, 2011, 10:02 am

LW should MOA, because she already stated drugs are a deal breaker for her. Like Wendy and other said, it’s not even about the lying, it’s that he doesn’t respect your feelings on this issue.

Personally, the lying part of it would really irritate me (on top of the drug use). I dated a guy in the past who sounds much worse than this BF. He lied about drugs regularly to me. So, not only was I mad all the time about the drugs, I felt like a nag, constantly asking about his activities and his friends, and then even madder when he would lie about it. It became clear that it was NOT going to work and we broke up.

avatar LolaBeans April 20, 2011, 10:12 am

Is he lying or is he omitting it?
Do they go through every minute of their day when they aren’t together etc. Maybe he just didnt think it was a big deal or just didn’t feel the need to tell her.

avatar Kate April 20, 2011, 10:15 am

I got the impression the BF DOES know she thinks it’s a big deal. So it seems like he is lying.

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 12:04 pm

I actually got the opposite impression–the LW mentioned “bringing it up” only after she’d discovered that her bf had smoked. Maybe he knew the family history but didn’t know it would be such a big deal.

avatar ape escape April 20, 2011, 11:04 am

I mean, I feel like he is lying by omitting it since he undoubtedly knows it’s a big deal to her. But…I kind of don’t blame him. Not that it’s a complete excuse or anything, but smoking twice in a year (or whatever), in his thinking, is probably not enough to warrant what he might assume would be a huge blow-up crazy flip-out argument.

(I’m, of course, making an assumption, but from the tone of the LW’s letter, I have to think it’s likely that that would be the case…)

avatar hana April 20, 2011, 12:36 pm

I feel like in this situation omitting is just as bad as lying, to the LW.

Hey, people omit that they cheated sometimes. Does that make it ok because they weren’t lying?

If he knew it was such a big deal to the LW he should have told her honestly, not done it or broken up with her if he can’t live without it.

avatar LolaBeans April 20, 2011, 2:31 pm

maybe he didn’t tell her so that he could avoid a reaction like this. the guy is just trying to have fun with his buddies.

avatar BoomChakaLaka April 20, 2011, 10:12 am

I’m with Wendy here, but would like to emphasize that no one is really in the wrong here. LW is right for having her beliefs and not wanting her BF to lie to her, and the BF for enjoying himself and not trying to hurt LW.

LW, if you really want to try to work things out, I would come out and ask your BF if he would be willing to give up smoking for you. Of course, this could set the stage for him sneaking around and smoking behind your back, but maybe he could be upfront with it and say, no. Which in that case, you’ll have your clear answer right there. But I would definitely communicate to him (not in an accusatory manner, but in a seriously concerned about his welfare/the relationship manner) and let him know that this is disappointing you and you really can’t live with it.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 10:20 am

It’s simple…You either learn to accept him for who he is (clearly he has his shit together, as someone else pointed out), or you MOA. To be in a successful relationship you must learn to accept the person for WHO THEY ARE. If that’s not something you can accept, then you can’t be in a relationship with that person. You cannot change him, no matter how hard you try. He can only change himself. End of story.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 10:59 am

True, and it works both ways – He can also accept HER for who SHE is, and give up smoking. If he’s willing to give it up, then it’s not that big of a deal to him and the relationshop outweighs the smoking. If he’s not, then he feels just as firmly about smoking as she feels about NOT smoking, and it’s time to MOA.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 11:17 am

Yeah. I meant that. That’s why I said only *he* can change himself. If he wants to give it up all together, great! But it has to be his choice. If he’s lied to her about it several times & hasn’t promised to stop, then it sounds like he’ll just do it again & not tell her anymore. He may have even done it more times than he’s admitted. Who knows?
I just know that if a relationship gets to the point where one person is trying to force their values on their partner, its unneccessary. Focus on yourself & MOA.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 11:19 am

Or she could get over it and accept him for who He is. This could go around and around all day but the fact remains neither of them should have to give up their values. Just because he chooses to not give up smoking to please her doesn’t mean he values smoking over the relationship, it just means that he values his independence and ability to make his own decisions of the relationship (which is understandable). I agree that she needs to MOA but not because I think he’s wrong or I think he’s disrespectfuly, I think he is his own person who does marijuana every once in a while. I’m going to apply a Dan Savagism here: better to be with that he be an open marijuana smoker (couple times a year) than a liar with a cocaine habit. Of course that’s just my opinion. Nobody is in the wrong here and for everybody’s sake the relationship needs to end. She shouldn’t compromise her no tolerance policy and he shouldn’t compromise his independence.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 11:38 am

Yeah, that’s basically what I said way up there in my first long comment. I just wanted to make sure it was clear that just as he shouldn’t compromise, she shouldn’t either. This is one of those things that’s never going to change or be worked out, if both are strong in their separate stances…and that’s alright!

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 12:13 pm

Yupp. It’s as simple as that. They both can either compromise, or end it.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 2:18 pm

I totally agree with everything you said, and it could just be me seeing things again, I just disagree that if he refused to give up smoking it will be because he value smoking over her. I would say that in the majority of cases (not extreme, living on the street meth addict cases) when people decide to end a relationship because they don’t want to give something up it’s more because they don’t want to give up their independence and decision making abilities. You wouldn’t stay with someone if they demanded that you stop seeing a friend because nobody has the right to demand that you amend your behavior. Of course, this only applies to certain circumstances where said “bad” behavior isn’t putting anyone in danger.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 2:46 pm

No, you’re definitely right. When people choose not to give something up, it’s usually because they value their independence and don’t want someone telling them what to do. If he gave up smoking, it doesn’t mean smoking is more important than the relationship. BUT, if he decided to give up smoking because it was important to her, then in THAT reverse instance, I think it’s true that he ultimately valued the relationship over smoking occasionally.

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 2:47 pm

whoops! meant to say if he DOESN’T give up smoking in that 3rd sentence

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 2:58 pm


avatar HmC April 20, 2011, 1:07 pm

I agree with your comment, but I want to point out that being a law student does NOT automatically mean you have your shit together. Plenty of people are in law school for the wrong reasons, and they drink and party far too much due to the stress. Long term, tons of lawyers turn into drunks… functional drunks usually, but not always. And they’re often unhappy.

avatar Spark April 21, 2011, 6:39 pm

I was going to say the same thing! Most of the pot smokers I knew in law school got poor grades and failed the bar the first time around. I don’t think the drug itself did that, of course, but I do think the pot lifestyle was responsible.

avatar PFG-SCR April 20, 2011, 10:27 am

While the LW has a very strong anti-drug stance, her boyfriend is not a regular drug user. He’s smoked pot twice in a year and a half. While he obviously doesn’t share the same view of illegal drugs, given the infrequency of use, it’s unlikely that it’s “that important” to him.

“I understand his fears of telling me because he thought I would react badly but I can’t get over the fact that he’s broken my trust and it feels like there’s no honesty in this relationship.”

To me, this is the bigger concern of the LW – the issue of whether she can trust him again given that he’s lied to her. To say there is no honesty in the relationship seems a bit dramatic – all of this was him trying to soften the blow when he knew she’d react badly. Only the LW can decide if she will be able to get over it and trust him again, but if this is the only time that he’s been dishonest, then I think she needs to realize that people make mistakes, but he wasn’t trying to hurt her.

If this guy is someone that the LW sees a future with, then I think they need to have a serious talk about this – not just the importance of being honest, but her intolerance with any drugs. To me, this might still be salvageable if _he_ is willing to conform to her anti-drug position but given how infrequently he’s used drugs, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think he might be willing to do that. (He might need to for his own professional reasons, as well.)

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 10:52 am

Actually, you’d be surprised at how many lawyers do LOTS of drugs, not just smoke pot, so I don’t think he would need to quit for professional reasons.

I do agree with you that someone that’s smoked pot twice in over a year might very easily give it up for a good relationship, but I have to question as to whether this guy will give it up… he has not proven that to be the case so far.

avatar randi April 20, 2011, 11:07 am

way more people smoke weed than the LW thinks. a lot of cops in my town pull kids over, scare the crap out of them and make them think they’re going to be arrested for posession, but then just take the weed and let kids go. which i mean, is good, as a warning to the kids never to have it in their car or whatever. but i’m close with a lot of cop families, and more than a few of them have said the cops keep the weed and smoke it or sell it themselves. it’s totally corrupt but it happens everywhere i’m sure.

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 10:55 am

She doesn’t say it in her letter – but maybe the drug use with the coworkers was before the smoke in between the bars in the Summer? If that’s the case he just didn’t tell her his drug use of the past? We just don’t know…..

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 11:01 am

You know, I re-read the letter and I think you are right! There is a possibility that he’s just letting her know about all his drug ‘indiscretions’ since they started dating because he feels like he needs to clear the air now that he knows how she feels. The LW was not specific as to when everything occurred.

avatar Lindsay April 20, 2011, 11:37 am

Just because she found out doesn’t mean those are the only times. I doubt that after years of college and some law school that he randomly just decided to take adderall or smoke pot for the first time.

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 12:08 pm

I disagree. I think you can start up with something new at any point, especially when dealing with the newfound stressors of law school.

avatar SpyGlassez April 20, 2011, 3:20 pm

Here, here. I didn’t start drinking till I worked full-time retail, especially at Christmas. And I have DEFINITELY cut back since I quit working retail.

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 10:43 am

I have to say I see nothing wrong with the Adderall. I wish my boyfriend would take it sometimes. It is a very good, powerful drug that really does help people. You can get it via perscription – so maybe he has a perscription. And even if he doesn’t. If his law buddy gave it to him, I think you need to let that one go. A one time pill to stay awake studying….?

You really need to have a long talk with him about how he feels about marijuana. Would he be okay with his children smoking it? If he really truly sees no problem with it then yes, you have value difference and one of you has to compromise. Either you need to be okay with it or he needs to stop. If neither of you want to compromise well then MOA.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 10:56 am

Agreed. I’ve taken Adderrall before because I have ADD. It’s VERY helpful & if he’s a law student, I can def. understand him wanting to use it. He most likely has a lot of pressure at school. As long as he’s not abusing it (such as using it at parties, or anything other than for studying) I don’t see what the problem with it is.

avatar Spark April 21, 2011, 6:42 pm

Why does being a law student justify Adderall use? Unless you have a prescription, you shouldn’t use it. Especially because law school is graded on a curve–those who take illegal, performance-enhancing drugs push down grades of the people who are honest and play by the rules.

avatar BoomChakaLaka April 20, 2011, 12:35 pm

Actually, you don’t necessarily need a perscription. There’s definitely a market for Adderall on college campuses and let’s just say,not everyone got a doctor’s note for it. Same with painkillers or any type of medication.

Except Advil. I have a lot of that, and no one wants to pay me for it.

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 1:01 pm

yes, I said that in my comment. If he took one pill from a law student buddy then I don’t see a big deal.

avatar DramaQueen224 April 20, 2011, 1:29 pm

I think the Adderall is a way bigger deal than the pot. I work with kids with some serious attention problems and think Adderall is a wonderful drug that helps many people when prescribed and used correctly. However, if the LW’s boyfriend is using it only for finals there’s no way in hell he’s using it correctly and I seriously doubt he has a prescription. The way he is using it is as a performance enhancer and I think that’s completely morally wrong, like baseball players taking steroids and bicyclists blood doping. Law school is incredibly difficult and competitive and by doing so he is hurting the law students who choose to actually follow the law.

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 1:30 pm

my gosh – one time is morally wrong? Maybe we can just agree to disagree.

avatar DramaQueen224 April 20, 2011, 1:45 pm

Lying one time is morally wrong, stealing one time is morally wrong and killing someone one time is morally wrong. I agree that it’s better to only do it once than all the time, but it doesn’t make the action any less wrong.

Heather Heather April 20, 2011, 1:54 pm

I can’t tell you what you feel about Adderall is wrong, but at the same time, I just don’t see it on the same level as steroids. A lot of people have a really tough time concentrating, and taking one Adderall to simply sharpen that focus doesn’t seem the equivalent of athletes doping up to give them the upper hand above other athletes.

avatar Spark April 21, 2011, 6:43 pm

But it law school, you are graded against your peers. So it IS a performance enhancer that gives one person an unfair advantage over others.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 20, 2011, 1:47 pm

That’s funny, I actually feel the opposite. I am way less concerned about occasional marijuana use than I am about prescription drug use. Specifically about stimulants (like adderall) and narcotics which have physiological potential for addiction. (Obviously, you can be addicted to anything psychologically- pot, cheese, sex, whatever- so I’m just going to assume that goes without saying.)

I completely agree that she shouldn’t compromise on this, as she clearly feels very strongly.

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 1:57 pm

Ha! I think I might be psychologically addicted to cheddar. I just can’t help myself around it…

avatar ReginaRey April 20, 2011, 1:58 pm

I think I might be one of those cheese addicts you just mentioned…it’s so awesome.

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 2:06 pm

I know, right? I walk by this little Fromagerie every day and I know I shouldn’t go in, but I just can’t help myself! You know its bad when you’re fishing through your purse for change to score a little wedge of gouda.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 3:01 pm

Addiction is such a serious issue and can touch everyone: my cat is a cheese addict. It’s so sad to see him licking cheese off the floor :(

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 3:08 pm

Mine is too! He’s obsessed with nacho cheese Doritos, but he won’t actually eat them – just lick the cheese off of them. Or your fingers if you let him get too close while you are eating them.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 3:16 pm

Goldfish cracker for my little guy. If I drop one I have to get it right away or he has it eating in a matter of seconds. Piggy.

avatar MissDre April 20, 2011, 8:02 pm

Mine goes INSANE whenever I open a yogurt cup…

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 3:00 pm

My friends like to pose the question, If you had to give up either cheese or oral sex for the rest of your life, which would you give up?

Cheese–I’m gay, so oral sex is rather important.

avatar Christy April 20, 2011, 3:01 pm

But I’d really miss cheese. Like, really miss it.

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 3:06 pm

hmmm… My problem is that I can’t have wheat anymore (damn Celiac’s) so cheese is one of the few delicious things left to me… Oral sex, however, is also one of the few delicious things left to me.

I guess I’m stuck giving up the cheese!

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 20, 2011, 3:36 pm

*sigh* I gave up cheese two weeks ago as an experiment to explore possible lactose sensitivity. I miss it so much.

avatar Kate April 20, 2011, 3:41 pm

Eat aged cheese. It has little to no lactose.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 3:41 pm

But if the enemy of your enemy is a grilled cheese, wouldn’t a grilled cheese be your friend?

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 20, 2011, 3:44 pm

no gluten+no dairy= I am my own worst enemy.

avatar cmarie April 20, 2011, 3:51 pm

*sad face* I know someone who has galactosemia and a gluten intolerance. I feel for you.

avatar Maynard April 20, 2011, 10:58 am

Wendy- good letter for 4/20! Someone pass it this way ;)

Dear Wendy Wendy April 20, 2011, 11:00 am


avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 11:02 am

I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!

avatar sarolabelle April 20, 2011, 11:12 am

oh yea….wonder where’s Drew’s photo shop of a joint hanging out of Wendy’s mouth in the banner…ha!

avatar Maynard April 20, 2011, 12:25 pm

That would freaking hilarious! Though if people have an attack over calling someone a pussy then imagine the hate mail that would come along with that!

avatar Mainer April 20, 2011, 11:12 am

Good to know we can always count on you to make these connections, mainard.

avatar Maynard April 20, 2011, 12:24 pm

I totally missed that miles the cat made his first appearance on April fools so I had to redeem myself somehow!

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 12:12 pm

haha I just realized that as well :)

avatar HmC April 20, 2011, 3:48 pm

Lol nice.

avatar randi April 20, 2011, 11:02 am

my ex boyfriend did this very same thing, and i took too long to realize he wasn’t going to change. though, our values are different than yours, he still betrayed my trust.
it started when he went away to school. i made him promise to stick to weed and drinking, and instead, on my birthday, instead of calling me or sending me flowers, or anything like that, he took mushrooms and treated it like any other day. i almost broke up with him right then, but i still liked him, obviously. i made him promise again to stop.
cut to a few months later, when smoking weed started to effect his schoolwork. he was cutting classes to do homework that he didnt get to the night before because he was smoking. i asked him to please, for me, and for our future, to stop smoking and focus. to grow up a little bit. he said he would, and i found out a while later that he had been continuing to smoke behind my back. yet i still forgave him and had him promise me again that he would stop.
he never did. instead, he took up smoking cigarettes! i got really angry, and asked him to stop because it was a dealbreaker. i don’t like liars and i dont date smokers. he said he would.
the next time i found out he’d been smoking (weed AND cigarettes…) was the final straw. i saw that even though i liked him as a person and we had fun together, he didn’t respect me and continually lied to me. it took so long for me to break things off because in the grand scheme of things, not telling me he shared a joint with a few friends really isn’t that big of a deal. but i realzed he wasn’t the type of man i wanted to spend my life with.

caitie_didnt caitie_didn't April 20, 2011, 11:07 am

I agree that the LW needs to cut her losses and MOA. I can understand someone who is becoming a drug and addictions counsellor taking a very strong anti-drug stance, but the bottom line is that the LW and her boyfriend simply have different values.

I personally don’t use weed because I don’t like the way it makes me feel, so I wouldn’t date someone who smoked more than very rarely.

avatar honeybeenicki April 20, 2011, 11:08 am

I definitely need to agree with Wendy that the drug laws in this country are a bit crazy (I mean, REALLY crazy) and to some of us, this response to a few occasional recreational uses of marijuana seems kind of extreme, but I agree with many people – if this is truly an issue of her values or even a trust problem, its time for her to just let go.

We won’t get into my personal feelings about drugs, but I can see how a family history and her chosen career would lead someone to a 0 tolerance drug policy for their loved ones. I am in the criminal justice field and sometimes, I’ve had to just let go of friends who were damaging my career. I don’t know about social work, but in CJ when they do background checks, they DO background checks. They have talked to friends of mine from high school in these checks. I lost a job I loved because my husband was arrested and they had a fraternization policy that stated I couldn’t be involved with anyone who was under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Mind you, I had worked for them for 4 years, had been married for a short time, and he was arrested after we were married. While mine is a more extreme case, in fields like CJ and probably social work, even occasional drug use by someone close to you can be damaging. The way one of my professor put it was – you can have a big clean tank of water with crystal clear ice in it (“good” friends), but once one turd (“bad” friend) gets in there, it spoils the whole thing and no one wants to drink it.

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 11:12 am

Well that’s…vivid.

avatar honeybeenicki April 20, 2011, 1:52 pm

His little turd in the drinking water tank was the first thing after “Hi class, my name is…” that we heard on the first day of our first class with him. And many of us found it to be quite true. But many of us also didn’t want any water for a few days!

avatar TheGirl April 20, 2011, 1:57 pm

I was totally taking a big swig from a water bottle when I read it too…

avatar SpyGlassez April 20, 2011, 3:24 pm

It isn’t exactly the same, but my karate sensei was going into the police academy a few years ago, and she ended up going to her neighbor downstairs and leaving a little note on his door stating that she was in the academy, and had friends who were cops, and would he mind not smoking pot in his apartment because the smell filtered up to her apartment. He moved shortly thereafter.

mandalee amandalee April 20, 2011, 11:16 am

I completely agree with everyone who stated that the LW needs to just MOA from this situation. Her boyfriend has every right as an adult to make choices on how to live his life. The occasional use of marijuana and Adderall doesn’t seem to effect him living his life as a productive person (being a great boyfriend in all aspects except this, law school, etc). So, it’s just a personal lifestyle choice of his. It’s a common reaction that once someone overreacts (in their eyes) to something they see no problem with, they will hide or lie about it. This is where the trouble starts in the relationship.

I can see the LW’s view on this also, so if this truly is a dealbreaker for her careerwise and personal wise, then she needs to move on. They are both adults entitled to their opinion about things like this, and unless someone wants to change his habits on his own, it’s never going to change. Compatibility is so important in a relationship especially on values- which clearly there is a disagreement on here.

landygirl Landy April 20, 2011, 12:08 pm

Dear LW,

Love someone for who they are, not what you want or expect them to be. Just as you shouldn’t have to change for him to accept you, he shouldn’t need to change for you to accept him. When you keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, you’ll only be frustrated. There is someone out there that is a better fit for you, you’re trying to make him conform to your ideals isn’t fair to either of you. Good luck.


avatar slamy April 20, 2011, 12:27 pm

MOA so that he can find someone who understands it’s no big deal to smoke a little weed and maybe take one Adderall ONCE. He wants a girlfriend, not a second mother.

avatar slamy April 20, 2011, 4:50 pm

okay, okay. It’s a big deal to her. So she should find someone to whom it is also a big deal.

Happy 4-20, anyways.

avatar LTC039 April 20, 2011, 6:14 pm

No. I think you were pretty on point, actually. lol