Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Baby Daddy Won’t Quit the Pot”

I recently left my on-again/off-again boyfriend of five years. When we first started dating, much of our bonding occurred over Sailor Jerry’s and lots of marijuana. Now I am pregnant with our first child together and have decided to give up drinking for obvious reasons. I also quit smoking pot shortly into the first trimester for worry on how it would affect the developing baby and also the fact that I felt guilty about spending that money on such a frivolous habit when we should be saving for a baby on the way.

My problem is this: My boyfriend said he would quit smoking and drinking, but so far it has all been talk. He was turning into a jerk because of his drinking, and I had to leave on a few occasions because of it. I am staying at my parents’ house currently while waiting for him to change, but recently I have begun to think I am wasting my time. I was cleaning his apartment the other day while he was at work, and I found a stash of weed. Naturally, I am infuriated, especially because I had gone on and on about how proud I was of him for quitting. I told him what I found, and he tried to justify it by saying it’s better than his drinking (which he still does, but not as excessively) and it’s not like he’s smoking crack.

I cannot understand why he refuses to give up his habits and resorts to being dishonest about them with me. Am I being too hard on him? Should I give him more time? I really don’t want to be a single mom, but, from the looks of it, there may not be much of an option here. Any advice is greatly appreciated! I’m at the end of my rope. — Are We Up in Smoke?

You seriously can’t understand why he refuses to give up his habits and is dishonest with you about them? He’s not giving up his drinking and smoking because he likes drinking and smoking. And he’s lying to you about drinking and smoking because he knows you want him to give those things up and it’s easier for him to tell you he is and then do it behind your back than to actually give them up. I’ll repeat: He does not want to give them up. He isn’t motivated to apparently, or isn’t ready, or doesn’t like being told what to do by you. If I were you, I’d quit trying to force him to give up his habits and figure out whether, and in what capacity, you want this guy to be in your life.

You need to decide whether his habits are bad enough to warrant breaking up and living apart and raising your child on your own. Quit wasting time sitting around waiting for him to change and start making proactive and smart decisions about your future as a single parent. Take a parenting class. Take a childbirth class. Make sure you’re getting good prenatal care. (And as an FYI: The time to quit smoking pot isn’t “shortly into the first trimester,” it’s as soon as you find out you’re pregnant or think you could be pregnant! I’m not generally a pearl-clutcher, but, God, you’re painting yourself to be so responsible giving up booze and pot when it sounds like you didn’t even give those up immediately — at least, not the pot — and that is the absolute bare minimum expected of a pregnant woman). Also, stop cleaning your boyfriend’s apartment, wtf.


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

23 comments… add one
  • jlyfsh August 11, 2015, 8:24 am

    Why were you cleaning his apartment? Wendy is spot on with her advice. But,I just really want to know why you were cleaning an apartment you don’t live in. Unless you were getting paid.

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    • bagge72 August 11, 2015, 9:09 am

      Really people can’t just clean a significant others apartment to help out especially if the spend a lot of time there and contribute? I’m sure there are tons of reasons why somebody would do such a thing with out getting paid.

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      • keyblade August 11, 2015, 9:16 am

        But she said they just broke up and she’s staying at her parents waiting for him to change. She quit smoking for the baby but also because of money concerns. Cleaning his apartment isn’t helping her better her situation it’s just undermining her resolve to move on if he won’t change. Its a waste of time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere, like figuring out when she’s moving out and how she will afford living on her own with a baby.

      • jlyfsh August 11, 2015, 9:25 am

        But, they aren’t together. She doesn’t live there and she isn’t dating him. I guess I don’t go around cleaning ex-boyfriend’s houses for fun. If anything I’m going to guess she’s cleaning it because she’s hoping he’ll decide he’s losing a great thing by not changing.

      • bagge72 August 11, 2015, 9:44 am

        clearly she is lying about how much time she is spending at his place, but that still doesn’t mean somebody can’t clean somebody’s apartment without getting paid.

      • jlyfsh August 11, 2015, 9:51 am

        Sure there are plenty of cases where someone might clean someone else’s house without getting paid. However I was talking about this specific instance. In this case, I can’t imagine any that don’t revolve around her hoping he’ll change and suddenly see what he’s missing.

  • SpaceySteph August 11, 2015, 8:36 am

    Wow. I’m surprised this one didn’t get saved for Facepalm Friday. I think you could have done it in 3 sentences or less, Wendy.
    Waiting for him to change is never going to work if he doesn’t want to change–and he doesn’t. Forcing someone to change never works, they have to come to it on their own.
    I can’t say MOA completely because he’s your child’s father, but definitely move on from any kind of romantic relationship with him and focus on finding a co-parent relationship that keeps your soon-to-be-born child safe.

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  • K August 11, 2015, 8:54 am

    WWS. How could you not give up the pot as soon as you found out you were pregnant? As far as the apartment cleaning, I was thinking that I sometimes clean my boyfriend’s apartment, b/c I spend more time there than at my own apartment. But then I re-read that they are on-again off-again, most recently off…yeah she should not be cleaning his place.

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  • Ika August 11, 2015, 9:17 am

    I hope “I decided to give up drinking” means you DID give up drinking. And WWS about your pot use.

    These letters piss me off.

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  • Diablo August 11, 2015, 9:48 am

    Pot destroys lives. I was supposed to be a super genius, and i woulda been if i hadn’t smoked pot. But thanks to this pernicious drug, I was barely able to complete two degrees and have a minimal career holding various meaningful but not extremely well paid positions. I should have been in charge of the world by now. And a novelist. And a rock star. Also, during the time I have smoked, I have barely been able to maintain one marriage, where most successful people are on their second or third. So cheers to you, LW, for escaping this heinous and life-destroying nightmare and not permitting amoral fiends like me and the bf in your life, and good luck with those double standards. Also: sheesh.

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    • othy August 11, 2015, 10:59 am

      And I, having never smoked pot, AM in charge of the world, with 5 NY Times Best Sellers and I’m a rock star. And I have millions of men fawning over me on a regular basis. And I’m not giving away my actual identity because I appreciate being incognito on this site.

      (Disclaimer: Not actually a rock star or novelist, just a normal upper-middle class non-pot smoking average American who doesn’t judge my pot-smoking brother who is incidentally an excellent father).

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      • Kate August 11, 2015, 11:01 am

        I mix uppers and downers and am an unstoppable force.

      • Diablo August 11, 2015, 11:56 am

        I ingest huge amounts of caffeine and then drive like a madman in the morning traffic.

    • Texas T August 11, 2015, 11:13 am

      And I do and I am a successful paralegal who sings, runs a family, is an awesome friend, better partner, has a slammin body from working out, is currently trying her hand at writing a book and is thinking that she is tired of hearing people’s cops out.
      Its up to you to make things happen. Dont be a lazy ass.

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      • Diablo August 11, 2015, 11:50 am

        Did you seriously miss all the sarcasm (like, “literally” dripping from every word?) in my post? Did you seriously think I was copping out in some way? I’m Zaphod Beeblebrox, baby! And you need a turn in the Total Perspective Vortex.

  • Anon August 11, 2015, 9:52 am

    WWS. Also, YOU are pregnant. Not him. Don’t want him, or anyone for that matter, smoking around you, fine, but to demand or ask that he stop smoking all together? nope. If he can afford it and still be a father and do what he has to do he can have some drinks and smoke if and when he wants. dont like it? leave. you don’t get to change who he is. you knew this of him when you decided to not use protection and get pregnant by him.

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  • Bostonpupgal August 11, 2015, 10:19 am

    I’m wondering if the boyfriend is an alcoholic. What does “he turned into a jerk due to his drinking and I had to leave a couple of times” mean? Does it mean he became abusive, was drinking to excess regularly, that his drinking is interfering with his life and relationships? Lw, have you done any research into alcoholism and addiction, and do you believe him to be an addict? Does your boyfriend have a job? Do you have a job? Do you have the strong support of family and others to help you raise this child? Do you have the financial means to support this child, and a safe place for you both to live? If the answer to any of that is “no”, you need to line those things up right away. I’d also suggest looking into any social service programs, including WIC, that you may qualify for. Also, see a lawyer to get custody and child support worked out. This baby is going to change your life and everything about it, and depend entirely on you, and you need to be doing everything you can to prepare for that. Figure out if your boyfriend, and his drinking and smoking, is someone you want in your life and your child’s life, and in what capacity. Line up what you need to be a mother with or without your boyfriend, and get child support and custody arranged.

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  • Firestar August 11, 2015, 10:47 am

    You can’t make decisions for other people – only for yourself. So if he has decided to continue smoking and drinking and that is not something you want around your child – then what are YOU going to do? Hint: stay or go are your only choices here since you’ve already asked him to change and his answer was no. Waiting is just delaying the inevitable.

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  • bittergaymark August 11, 2015, 10:54 am

    Gee, I dunno. If you want a life with somebody who doesn’t smoke pot — maybe try to date somebody (for FIVE years!) who — GASP! — doesn’t smoke pot. A radical concept, I am sure. Too radical for most of the LW’s around here as it requires a wee bit of common sense. That said, honestly, you and your boyfriend are going through a rather stressful situation — you know, kinda, sorta stupidly getting whoopsie!-pregnant in 2015 when that SO EASILY need not happen, but whatever. At any rate, no wonder he feels the need to get high. You’ve both fucked up here. Him get high occasionally should be the LAST thing you worry about. But hey, why see the forest when one can so enjoy the trees, eh?

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  • keyblade August 11, 2015, 11:10 am

    You got together with your boyfriend based on mutual love for pot and rum. Now that you are having a kid, I don’t blame you for changing your priorities. An occasional vice is fine, but I wouldn’t want to raise my kid with someone constantly getting shit-faced and mean and smoking away a huge chunk of the disposable income. Or someone who hides it and lies about it.

    Having a baby has been a lifestyle changer for most people I know. What the new life looks like depends on what both people want. If you and your boyfriend have drastically different ideas of what things should look like, you are better off cutting your losses. Especially since you two have been on again-off again, anyway. Get child support and don’t worry what he does with the rest of his income. If I were in your shoes I would start steering the conversations with him towards parenting classes and sobriety during visitations.

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  • Anonymous August 11, 2015, 4:39 pm

    The I ly person I feel sorry for in this situation is the unborn child. Would you consider adoption instead of parenting alone to give the kid a shot?

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  • pamplemousse August 12, 2015, 1:15 am

    Please consider adoption and then a long-term birth control method such as an IUD or implant.

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  • wobster109 August 12, 2015, 1:07 pm

    LW, you should break up. If you had to stay away from him because of his behavior, then how can you trust him with a child?

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