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The Vine: May 2, 2000

Submitted by on May 2, 2000 – 9:46 AMNo Comment

Sarah,Please help! I've had an argument with my wife that's upset us both very much. Here's the situation . . . we've been happily married for two years and I love my wife very much. During these two years we've really only had a serious argument over one thing: the fact that I smoke pot. I don't do any other drugs, but I've smoked pot for nearly ten years now. She knew when she married me that I smoked (but she did make it clear that she didn't approve). I've explained that I smoke as a way to relax, like some people drink a beer, smoke a cigarette, etc. She said she understands this, but that she's against smoking pot because it's illegal. While I realize that it is illegal, I don't consider pot any different than alcohol, tobacco, etc. I believe that regardless of the drug, you must use it responsibly (which I do). That's why I only smoke at home and always keep it hidden in case someone drops by. She smoked once and said it didn't do anything for her and her best friend smoked quite heavily until she became pregnant (and quit). So it's not as if she hasn't been around pot before she met me.Since we've been married, I wait for her to go to sleep, go out of town, etc., before I smoke. Then I'll usually smoke for a couple of hours and go to bed. About a year ago, she saw me smoking and became very upset, saying that I lied to her by saying that I'd never smoke again (which I did say at one time during an argument). Today, she saw a bag of pot that I recently bought and became very, very upset. She said that she wasn't upset that I bought it, but was hurt because she feels that I lied to her. She said she never thought I'd lie to her and now she can't trust me. She said she feels stupid because she trusted me and then she brought up the fact that the person she dated before me lied to her while he was cheating on her. She hasn't said hardly two words to me since and I'm quite miserable. This is the only thing that I've ever tried to conceal from her and I would NEVER do anything that would intentionally hurt her . . . I've told her this many many times only to see the back of her head as she walks off.

Hopefully, things will eventually return to normal, but my dilemma is what to do next? I don't want to quit smoking, but I really doubt that if I'm honest and say that I still plan on smoking, she won't get upset. If I quit to please her, I'll have a very difficult time overcoming the anger I'll have for giving up something I enjoy so much. I know from reading the columns on your site that you used to smoke but quit, so I'd really like to get your perspective on this.

Thanks very much,
Stan Owlsley

Dear Stan,

You have to sit down with your wife, and the two of you have to discuss what's going on here. Your wife has issues which, from the sound of it, have little to do with your toking per se, and you both need to sort it how it's come about that she equates smoking pot with infidelity. She's overreacting, and you have to get at why.

I can understand your instinctively bridling at having to "quit for" your wife, and you should share that with her. You should explain that you enjoy getting high and that you'd resent having to stop, and that you only said you'd quit to get her off your back. She won't like the sound of that, but again, I think you've departed from the issue of smoking pot and strayed into something else, and y'all need to get honest with each other about that something else.

I gave up smoking buds because I didn't like it that much in the end, but my ex enjoyed smoking and partook rather frequently. That bugged me a little bit – not just because I've grown out of thinking the behavior of giggling stoners is funny, but because I couldn't relate to that part of his life, and when he got stoned, I felt left out. Your wife might feel the same way. She doesn't pull tubes, she can't relate, maybe she thinks you want to numb yourself which in turn makes her feel even more shut out, she doesn't understand why you can't just stop if it means that much to her . . . it sounds kind of babyish and kind of illogical, but if that's how she feels, that's how she feels, and you've got to work through it with her.

It sucks trying to negotiate this kind of if-you-love-me-you'll-blah-blah-blah situation. One person has to fold, and nobody ends up winning. With that in mind, try to find a compromise you can both live with. But if it comes down to choosing one or the other – and it might – choose your wife and switch to beer.

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