New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.
Since the wedding early last year, he has not upheld his part of the agreement, and I am very annoyed. We have tried to discuss it rationally, but I shut down in frustration during the conversations. This has all sort of exploded in the past two weeks, and it has lead to lots of bickering between the two of us. I’m frustrated for two reasons: 1) he’s not upholding his part of the agreement; and 2) whenever he gets the urge to smoke, he would like me to reiterate why we made the agreement, and I’m tired of having the conversation over and over again. (He does agree that one or two times a week is a good frequency, but he he just can’t seem to adhere to it).
We’re at a stalemate on this issue, and it’s created more cranky evenings in our home than I care for. Do I just need to suck it up and have the conversation a thousand more times? Should I tell him to deal with it on his own? (Just for the record, we live in a state where marijuana is illegal, and a positive drug test or citation would have very detrimental effects on his career). — Pot My Problem
I don’t understand — if smoking weed is a big deal to you, why did you marry someone who smokes every day? What were you expecting would change after your wedding that would motivate your husband to quit (or at least cut back)? Why was it ok for him to smoke as much as he wanted before you got married but not after? And if your big concern is the illegality of marijuana where you live, what difference does it make if he smokes once a week or every day? Illegal is illegal. Your argument about it being illegal doesn’t hold much water if your compromise is to “allow” him to smoke a couple times a week. You need a different argument and I suspect you have one, but what is it? Does HE know what it is? Because that would go a long way in giving him some incentive to change his habit.
Right now, there is no incentive for your husband to change his behavior. I mean, you say you have a “deal,” but what’s in it for him? Usually in a deal, the person asked to make a change is offered something in return. What have you offered him? What does he get out of not smoking pot so often? Are you offering anything in return but the promise to quit nagging him (about that issue, anyway?). And how does he know that if he cuts back to once or twice a week, per your “deal,” that you won’t turn around in a few months and demand he stop altogether? Maybe he’s afraid that, if he gives into you now, you’ll only expect more from him later.
Look, I’m sure you have plenty of good reasons for not wanting your husband to smoke pot, but it’s your responsibility to not only communicate those reasons to your husband, but to also get him to understand and appreciate them — or at the very least present him with a deal he really can’t refuse. Without a basic agreement on reasons or a major incentive to change, there really is no motivation for him to quit doing something he obviously enjoys except to make you happy and to stop you from complaining. Is your happiness worth more to him than his own personal enjoyment? I have no idea. Is your complaining annoying enough to motivate him to stop? Again, I don’t know. It may be bad enough for him to HIDE his habit better, but that’s not what you want, is it?
You want him to quit smoking — or to at least cut back to once or twice a week. But you have to be very clear about WHY that is so important to you. If your reasons aren’t persuasive enough, I guess you’ll just have to up the nagging and hope you drive him just crazy enough to break his habit but not so crazy that he smokes even more (either out of spite or just because he needs to escape his reality). Honestly, though, I think this is an issue that would have been better dealt with before you got married. Now that you’ve tied the knot, you’ve basically sent the message that any behavior pre-wedding is acceptable since you knew about it and married it anyway.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].