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 [email protected].