“My Husband Smokes Weed Every Day for His IBS”

My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. When we started dating, he smoked weed about once a day if not more. Where we live, even medical marijuana was illegal so this always made me very uncomfortable. Looking back now, I know I probably should not have dated and then married someone I didn’t agree with on an issue as big as this, but I can’t do anything about that now.

I told him that I would not marry him unless he went at least a year without smoking and so he quit for a while. We planned a big wedding and it was all paid for and then he started smoking weed again one month before. I could not get any of my money back and I knew my family would forever disapprove of him if they found out. I loved him and was ignorantly believing him when he said it was just for fun a few more times before we married. I should have known better.

I married him anyway, and less than a month later he went back to smoking at least once a day.

The biggest difference in my situation and all the other situations I read about online is that he has IBS, which causes stomach pain and frequent bowel movements, which he uses as a reason to smoke weed everyday. He tells me he will be in pain if he doesn’t smoke, which makes me feel like a bad guy if I ever ask him not to.

Now every night when I come home, he rolls his blunt and then smokes outside our house. Every single night. He also smokes at work which makes me worry about his job since we rely solely on his income. He smokes so much, I barely see him. I feel very isolated and depressed since we married. We have gotten in some pretty nasty fights. But besides this one issue, I feel like we are fine together. I am just so sick of never seeing him and the smell of pot and feeling like I’m being put second.

I’ve asked him to go to counseling and he refuses, and he won’t let me go either because he doesn’t want anyone, even a counselor, to know what he does. I don’t know what to do. — Desperate Wife

I’m curious about why you rely solely on your husband’s income. You don’t mention any reason — like having kids, being in school, or having a disability — that might preclude you from working at all. Your having a job wouldn’t change the situation — you married someone with whom you have differing values on a major lifestyle choice and practice — but your not having one could help explain some of your husband’s need and desire to self-medicate (in addition to the IBS/stomach pain). I would imagine it’s incredibly stressful being the sole financial provider, and I wonder if your husband doesn’t also feel some resentment about that (the same way you resent that he smokes and doesn’t make time for you).

All that said, it doesn’t seem like you two are match. And you knew that before you got married, but you didn’t want to lose the money already spent on a wedding. The bad news is the that time, effort, and expense of getting divorced will be a much bigger ordeal than canceling an already-paid-for wedding. The good news is that there’s no reason you can’t move on from this fairly quickly and seamlessly, go on to find a better match for yourself, and have a happy, fulfilling marriage with someone else.

It would seem that your husband’s seemingly total indifference to your needs, coupled with his refusal of counseling, is reason enough to cut your losses now and move on. And your husband, for his part, will probably be happier and less anxious, too, to smoke in peace (well, as much peace as one can when it’s illegal) and not feel the stress of being financially responsible for an additional person.

By the way, you don’t need your husband’s permission for independent counseling. I would definitely look into it if I were you, especially as you navigate a potential separation and divorce.


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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.


  1. Good god what is wrong with people? Are they so afraid of being alone that they’ll settle for anyone? There were so many LW’s like this in the forum’s this week.

    LW, figure out a way to support yourself then get a divorce. You married this dude knowing exactly who he was, yet you went through with it. People don’t fundamentally change. They might compromise on a few things, but they are who they are. And no, you don’t need permission to go to counseling. If you don’t have the funds to seek counseling and he won’t pay for it, look for some low cost or free support groups in your area.

    Being alone is not the end of the world. It’s far better than being with someone you are constantly in disagreement with. The person you choose as your life long partner should enhance your life. Add to it. Make you happy. Help you when your down. Stop settling!

    1. Pretty much – some people will do anything not to be alone. It’s really sad.

  2. GertiethDino says:

    If MJ is illegal where you live and he is smoking at work, eventually, someone will catch on and he will lose his job. Get out now!

  3. There’s at least some anecdotal evidence that weed can help with IBS. But has he seen a doctor for it? Tried other medications/treatments?

    I don’t know, if my husband had IBS and weed was the only thing that helped him, I’d be seriously considering moving to a state where it was legal.

  4. It seems to me a lot of LW’s are saying ‘My boyfriend/husband is doing a thing, how do I MAKE him stop doing the thing?’ And I think the important part of the question is ‘make’ – hasn’t anyone ever told them that you can’t make someone stop doing something they want to do?
    Counselling is a safe place where you can discuss your problems with an intermediary that can help you find compromises, and understand where the other person is coming from and why so many of us suggest it if possible. If that’s not an option because of finances or one person not wanting to go, you’re kind of stuck in a nowhere’s land.
    In this case, LW you knew he smoked pot every day before you married him. You didn’t like it and you still went through with the marriage. Bad idea, because again you can’t MAKE him stop. He has to want to on his own. Now all you can do is make your peace with it, or walk away. I’d probably do the latter, I hate the smell of pot and find a lot of longterm pot smokers a dull.

    1. artsygirl says:

      Nookie – so true. I think the LW fell in love with blinders on and despite all evidence pointing to them being incompatible, she refused to accept reality. Just because he said he was going to quit, his actions clearly showed that he was unwilling to do it.

      1. He did say he was going to stop, which changes my comment somewhat. But even with that the case, I would’ve waited at least a year to see if he could keep that promise. If he couldn’t, game over if it’s a personal deal breaker.

      2. artsygirl says:

        Yes – I wish she was a lot more clear on the timeline. Did he stop for a few weeks, a few months, or ever close to a year before the wedding took place? How long did they date while he was smoking? I am assuming (possibly incorrectly) that their relationship might have moved really fast since she was willing to ignore behavior that really is not acceptable to her sensibilities.

  5. I fail to see how getting high every day is any different than getting drunk every day. Although it may help with the IBS symptoms you are still altering your cognition – it slows down your thinking and changes the way you interact. People who are high act different than when they are not high. It’s not the same as taking a pill. I wouldn’t want to be around someone who was high all the time. Just as I wouldn’t want to be around someone who was drunk all the time. This is a huge difference in values and it won’t go away. Your husband has not sought out a doctor for alternatives because he likes being high all the time (who wouldn’t?!) but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. I would think seriously about ending this marriage and also look into getting a job for yourself so you’re not stuck in a situation just because you can’t afford to support yourself.

    1. There’s a huge level between smoking weed and being stoned, just like one glass of wine probably doesn’t get most people drunk. I’m not sure what sort of pills would be prescribed for IBS, but many pills cause people to act different than when they are not using medication. Of course, any drug in any form is harmful if abused.

  6. artsygirl says:

    LW – you and your husband have fundamentally differing views on a BIG issue. You need to stop being passive regarding your life. Smoking was a deal breaker for you and he has continuously crossed the line likely knowing that you were unwilling to break it off with him. You have two choices, you can either accept his behavior (because he has been very clear that he is not going to give up smoking) or you can change your situation and leave him. I know it is hard to end a marriage, you feel like you failed in someway, but you didn’t. You and your husband are incompatible and there is no way that is going to change.

  7. Juliecatharine says:

    I’m a firm believer in the benefits of medical marijuana so that definitely colors my thinking on this issue. I’m pretty disgusted by the LW’s willingness to completely disregard the fact that weed helps her husband function comfortably. LW, get a job, earn your own way, and leave him to medicate as he sees fit. Alternately, look into moving to a state where it’s legal, or buy him a vaporizer so you don’t have to smell it.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      She’s allowed to not enjoy being around someone who’s not high all the time though. I wouldn’t like that either. Add in the fact that it’s illegal where they are, and that he’s doing illegal drugs at work, and I’d personally be miserable with the situition. Of course I never would have gotten this far with him because I know it’s a deal breaker for me.

      As to the IBS, of course he should be allowed to treat it. But has he been to a doctor? Is he diagnosed and has he tried legal treatments? If he’s tried everything and this is his last resort, then that’s one thing. But if he’s tried nothing else and just loves smoking pot, and uses this as an excuse even though he knows how uncomfortable his wife is with it, then he’s the one being a jerk.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah. Its one thing to be a proponent of medical marijuana, and maybe even to use occasionally even though its illegal if it really is THAT helpful…. but another thing to be actively breaking the law AT WORK and sitting in front of the house. I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty LW herself could get in legal trouble for it being in their shared home.

    2. Northern Star says:

      As a firm believer in not consciously breaking the law (and risking going to jail) every single day, I’m disgusted that this husband is toking up every night AND on the job.

      He refuses to see a counselor—what makes anyone think he’s seeing a doctor for treatment of his problem instead of “self-medicating”?

      No one wants to hang around someone who’s high or drunk ALL THE TIME. Yuck. The big mistake for the LW was not canceling the wedding. She acknowledges that. But divorcing the stoner is about her only choice, as far as I can see.

      1. ele4phant says:

        I agree with you on the illegality of it. And I do side-eye smoking on the job, BUT it’s a little disingenous to compare being drink all the time to being high.

        Habitual users do develop a tolerance, and it doesn’t impede them the way alcohol can. They may not be as impaired as someone with less tolerance who smokes the same amount.

        And I *do* think there’s lots of legitimate medical uses for it. We wouldn’t get on his case for, I don’t know, taking low levels of painkillers throughout the day if prescribed them for chronic pain. Nor would we think, if being used as prescribed, that it would impair him from functioning throughout the day.

        To my understanding, IBS is very challenging to treat. Pot may be an effective way to do it.

        Not to say I’d be cool with it if I were the LW and living in a place where it was illegal. But I don’t think it should be illegal, it very well could be an effective therapeutic option for him, and without a better understanding of his usage, I also think it’s unfair to assume he’s going around blazed out of his mind 24/7 and is unable to function.

      2. Northern Star says:

        The LW’s closing sentence: “he doesn’t want anyone, even a counselor, to know what he does…” totally colors my opinion of this guy’s “medical need” for marijuana. Based on that, I do not think he’s gotten treatment from a doctor for his condition—it’s just a nice, convenient excuse for indulging in his favorite hobby. My guess.

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        That’s how I read it too.

      4. ele4phant says:

        I dunno. Maybe I live somewhere where it’s usage is so common (and legal), that I can think that yes, pot can be legitimately used medically.

        He doesn’t live where I would do, and should be under the care of the doctor, but I also think it’s unfair to brand him as just some stoner who found an excuse to justify his habit. That seems unfair to him.

        He probably has a legitimate medical issue, he stumbled upon the fact that marijuana can rightfully alleviate a lot of his discomfort. So he wants to keep using it.

        He should go to the doctor, he shouldn’t be engaging in illegal activity, but I also don’t think it’s fair to characterize him just somebody using an excuse to indulge in his hobby.

        And even if that is the case, he didn’t hide anything from her. If this was a dealbreaker, she should have broken the damn deal.

      5. Northern Star says:

        Well, now she IS probably going to break the deal (or at least, that’s the advice we’re all giving her). Lesson learned the hard way. By the way, HE knew not using marijuana was important to her and chose not to break up with her after realizing he was too addicted to keep his (multiple) promises to stop using. He lied to her repeatedly about his intentions. It’s on the husband, too.

      6. ele4phant says:

        Yeah, that’s why I’ve been saying the blame lies with both of them.

        But she’s writing in, so I’m focusing on her and what she’s done and said.

      7. If he wrote in and said his wife won’t stop bugging him to quit smoking the pot, I’d tell him if he knew it bothered her, then why marry her in the first place? So, basically what ele4phant said.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Beside the smoking problem, you both seem disconnected. He is avoidant, immersed in his problems, you barely see him, you have hardly a relationship. You say you love him, but why, what does it bring you, what does it meet in you? You both seem miserable in this situation… Wendy gave you good advice. Believe in yourself, dont focus on the weed problem, but on the relationship shortcomings, and take lead in your own life.

  9. dinoceros says:

    I think it’s extreme for people to be acting like she’s the worst person on the planet for not liking that he smokes. It’s affecting their relationship beyond her just not liking it, and I think it’s valid to not like that your husband is never around or is high all of the time (including at work). Yes, she should have not married him, but I think it was also a little disingenuous of him to accept her request to not smoke for a year without saying that it’s a dealbreaker for him to stop smoking. It’d be one thing if he had just said no, but he agreed and then pretended that not smoking was sustainable for him when it wasn’t. Based on that, I’d say this is a case of incompatibility mixed with poor decision-making. Nobody here is a monster.

    That said, LW, you can’t go back in time, but you can reverse your bad decisions. The two of you are not going to make each other happy because you’re going to be stressed and upset over this, and he’s going to probably resent you. Go to counseling alone, but I think that this marriage has run its course.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      As always, I agree with you. 🙂 It seems like he misled her here. He should have been honest, but then he would have lost her. So instead he waited till everything was paid for, started smoking again, told her he’d stop when they were married, then just kept doing it. Not cool.

      1. ele4phant says:

        I don’t know. It sounds like she knew about his smoking well before the wedding. And he probably genuinely tried to quit, so I don’t think he was “misleading” her. And she knew he couldn’t do it and started up again before their wedding, but she went through with it anyways.

        I personally don’t like weed, I wouldn’t date someone who regularly used it, but I think she had plenty of forewarning.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        It’s his timing. Seems like he hung on till everything was paid for and she couldn’t easily back out. He knows he’s addicted, he couldn’t give it up for good. So he waits till he’s pretty safe, then he tells her it’s just a few final ones, then once she’s locked down he goes whole hog. I agree she should have known when he started up again, but I can see how it would seem pretty hard to dump your fiancé over what he’s insisting is just a few joints, after he’d been off it for almost a year.

      3. ele4phant says:

        Yeah, I still leave the fault with her just as much as him.

        She asked him to do something. I don’t truly know his intentions, but I could see it that he tried, genuinely tried, but couldn’t do it. It doesn’t sound like he hid anything from her or purposefully waited until it was “too late to cancel (btw there is no such thing – if this was a true dealbreaker for her it wouldn’t have mattered if it was the morning of)”. He tried until he couldn’t do it anymore. That happened to be a month before the wedding.

        And ultimately she made the decision to stay despite knowing he couldn’t or wouldn’t give up this habit she claimed was a dealbreaker.

        That’s on her.

      4. Northern Star says:

        He LIED TO HER. “Just a few, once in awhile” is not “all day, every day.” She was naive and foolish to believe him, but the liar who lied is the person MOST responsible for the fallout, in my opinion.

      5. ele4phant says:

        Agree to disagree.

        Or at the very least, I don’t feel I have enough to see a deliberate lie.

        She asked him to do something. He tried but couldn’t sustain it. She saw he had started smoking again and didn’t make good on her promise to back out, he seems that as complicit agreement for him to start smoking again. He then thinks the issue is behind him.

        With time, his smoking ratchets back up and now he’s smoking even more.

        I don’t think she has to like it, or stay, but if this was her line in the sand, she didn’t draw it and therefore he didn’t realize he was crossing it.

  10. for_cutie says:

    Another letter with its answer in the first paragraph. You admit you should have stopped dating him. Now you need to divorce him. If he wasn’t a fit dating, then he is definitely not a lifetime match. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s not okay for you both to be miserable for the rest of your lives, for the sake of staying in a bad marriage.

    You say your family would not like him if they knew the truth – maybe now is the time to turn to them for support when you make a life-changing transition.

  11. ele4phant says:

    Look, in the abstract I don’t think there’s anything wrong with smoking weed, even daily. Some people have a beer with at the end of the day, and some people like a joint. NBD.

    That said, in practice I don’t enjoy it myself and don’t enjoy being around it; so I can’t fault the LW for not wanting to be around it either. It’s kind of akin to a teetoler dating somebody who likes to drink socially. Nobody’s right or wrong, but it’s not a good match.

    And I happen to live somewhere where it is legal. But, if I didn’t, yeah, I might be concerned about the legalities of being with someone who did something illegal frequently. Especially if on the job.

    LW – you know you shouldn’t have married this guy. Your divorce is going to cost you more than those unrefundable bookings you would have had to eat if you had just called it off.

    But no matter. You did get married, now you will need to get a divorce. He’s clearly not going to change. And aside from the fact that where you live somewhere it’s legally problematic to smoke, there’s nothing morally wrong with him wanting to smoke. You don’t have the moral high ground here. You’re just incompatible.

    Figure out how to support yourself financially, and then separate.

  12. Wendy, I think you missed the mark on this one. The husband is an addict. He has the disease of addiction. He clearly has a problem if it is running his marriage and he is smoking at work. The writer is not going to change that by getting a job, being nicer, funnier, or prettier. You are perpetuating the myth behind codependency by insinuating if she did something different he would be different. He won’t. You are right that she is responsible for her choices, taking care of herself, and her own happiness. That is where change begins.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      I disagree with you that his smoking pot is what is ruining his marriage. Saying that implies there was something good to ruin. This marriage should not have happened. It’s like if someone who had a problem with meat-eaters married a carnivore and then said, “His eating meat ruined my marriage.” Wrong. You marrying someone who eats meat when you are morally opposed to that ruined your chance at a successful marriage.

      1. artsygirl says:

        I agree Wendy – it sounds like by the LW and her husband expected the other to change and people don’t tend to do that. They both saw the partner they wanted and not the one that actually exits.

    2. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

      Marijuana is not addictive.

      1. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

        Huh. Never mind, apparently thought has changed since last time I learned about this; though I’d still say that it’s rarely addictive and this guy can’t be diagnosed based on the information given here.

      2. If someone is smoking daily, despite his wife requesting him stop, despite promising her he would stop, when it is illegal to smoke and could cost him his job, then yes the guy is addicted.
        Self medication for imaginary ailments not withstanding.

      3. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

        I think there are lots of people who would argue with your declaration that IBS is imaginary.

      4. Wendy, we don’t know if he had actually been diagnosed with IBIS. Just that LW read online about IBIS and the husband says he has it. Before marriage, he also said he is just doing it for fun.

  13. The only thing missing from this letter is:

    “Oh, and I’m 7 months pregnant. Bye!”

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      She’s saving that for the update.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        I want Wendy to bring the thumbs back just so I can upvote this.

  14. My first thought is if your husband is smoking that much every day, on a consistent basis, and it really, truly is mostly for IBS symptoms, then his condition is not being managed properly. Does he see a doctor regularly? Is he prescribed medication and its not working?

    I can definitely see how frustrating it would be to be around someone who is high every day and also could get into very serious trouble, especially if he’s smoking at work. To me, this says more than he doesn’t care about you, he doesn’t care about his own career and well being either. He’s hiding behind the pot and not dealing with the major things in his life.

    On the flip side, you knew he smoked, and you gave him an ultimatum to quit – that rarely works long term. He quit to get what he wanted, and now that he has it, he’s back to his old habits. If he is unwilling to work with a doctor to get a better handle on the IBS, and to see a counselor to deal with why he’s really smoking that much, its time to think about at least separating.

  15. The fact there is so much conjecture on the nature of the husbands disease shows how little the LW regards it. I’m curious to know if he has IBS truly or IBD. IBD is a set of autoimmune disorders that have very specific treatments. IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome and is a set of symptoms that have no known cause. Treatments range from low dose anti depressants, diet modifications, to meds like linzess and viberzi. It is a tough thing to treat and no one person is the same. He may very well have run the gamut of treatments and decided marijuana was the only thing that helped. Given if he has IBS-d that could land him in the bathroom several times a day, I don’t blame him. With the way healthcare is nowadays it could very well be cheaper!

    1. artsygirl says:

      It could also be celiac disease – my BIL was misdiagnosed as having IBS until a doctor suggested they see if he was allergic to gluten. He was in his 30s at the time and had been suffering for over two decades.

  16. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    I don’t think we can assume the husband is stressed by the wife having no income. He might be but he also might like being the source of money. It gives him power he wouldn’t otherwise have. He can say no counseling because he won’t pay his money for it. He can also feel that she doesn’t have the money to leave so he can do what he wants. He may like the situation as is.

    LW Get yourself a job because that will give you independence and options. It will give you the money you will need to pay your own bills which will give you the freedom to choose counseling and the freedom to find another place to live. Take whatever job will hire an unemployed woman and then move up as you can, either in that job or move to another job. The important thing is to start working so that you have work experience to put on a resume in the future. Once you start working you will also not feel so isolated because you will be working with other people and talking to those people and you might become friends with some of those people which will expand your social world.

  17. There are some really effective LEGAL prescription drugs for treating IBS. That might be worth a shot for filing divorce papers.

  18. Sorry – that should say ‘BEFORE filing divorce papers’, not ‘for filing’…

  19. Bittergaymark says:

    Wowee… so many of you are still THIS hung up on the evils of weed? Really? Yet, somehow, I suspect you all guzzle wine down by the box… classic.

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