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‘My fiancé is addicted to weed and I can’t cope any more’

Ask Roe: ‘When we argue he shuts down, takes off and ignores the situation’

‘My fiancé doesn’t believe or won’t admit it he has an addiction.’ Photograph: iStock

Dear Roe,

I have been with my fiancé for 6½ years and we are due to marry later this year. We have a house, a dog and lots of financial commitments as a result. I love my fiancé but he has lots of problems and I am struggling to cope with them.

He has a highly addictive personality, mostly junk food, etc, but weed/marijuana is something he has struggled with for years. He has quit many times, and told me he will never smoke it again, but it feels like every six months it is back in our lives. He lies and keeps it a secret until I notice the tell-tale moods and figure it out. It has caused a significant number of problems for us and I can’t have it in our lives.

His response the last few times is that he was managing to control it and who is he hurting – that what I don’t know won’t hurt me. He doesn’t believe or won’t admit it is an addiction. When we argue he shuts down, takes off and ignores the situation. He never really genuinely apologises and gets so angry.


On top of this he has a terrible relationship with his parents, he treats them terribly and hates them for some reason that he will never tell me. They didn’t have much of a marriage but he was spoiled rotten, never taught any lessons, scolded or reprimanded for his actions growing up and sometimes I feel like I am with a 35-year-old going on 16.

He went to counselling for a while but always came home angry from it and whatever was being dragged up from the past and just quit it all of a sudden and refuses to go back. I feel like he needs real help but he won’t get it and I don’t know how to deal with this circle of drama and emotion.

How do I deal with this? I don’t want to leave him, on a practical level it would financially ruin us and on a personal level it would be devastating but I’m not sure how to live like this.

Is the financial and personal devastation that would hypothetically be caused by ending this relationship now going to be any easier than marrying this person and committing to a life you’re “not sure how to live” – and either having the relationship continue on, or break down at another point? This is the question you’re going to have to ask yourself – and quickly, because apparently there’s a wedding approaching.

You say in your longer letter that your fiancé sometimes indicates that there’s a reason he lashes out as his parents, but that that he never goes into detail or explains this reasoning fully. And this seems to be a recurring theme for him – he has some personal issues, he uses these issues to excuse his behaviour, and yet he has no desire to explicitly address either his past pain or how his actions are inflicting pain on those around him.

What your fiancé is ignoring is that his chosen coping mechanisms are causing problems and anxieties and tensions.

He doesn’t want his relationship with his parents to improve, he doesn’t want his relationship with you to improve, he doesn’t want his relationship with himself to improve.

I don’t judge anyone for having a dependency or a coping mechanism they’re reluctant to surrender. Sometimes people are doing what they think they need to do to cope. Your boyfriend could genuinely feel that weed and junk food help to alleviate his anxieties or make him feel better – and honestly, who doesn’t understand that, on some level? And in places where weed is legally available (and places where it’s not, let’s be honest), many people report using it to help alleviate anxiety and a host of other problems.

But what your fiancé is ignoring is that his chosen coping mechanisms are causing problems and anxieties and tensions. He has mood swings that affect you, he lies to you, you’re arguing, he’s often angry. You say his dependency on weed has “caused a significant number of problems for us” and have told him that you can’t have weed in your lives.

Your life together has become a “circle of drama and emotion”. And yet he refuses to acknowledge these realities or account for them. His catchphrase that he is “managing to control it and who is he hurting” is a self-serving lie that seems to apply to a lot of things in his life – his drug use, his emotions, his relationships. He quits weed, starts again, but won’t acknowledge that he has a dependency.

He hasn’t tried to explore other coping mechanisms that could give him the comfort or relief or pleasure he’s seeking. He hasn’t committed to any process of managing his emotions in healthier ways. He hasn’t put in place boundaries with his parents so he can interact with them respectfully. He refuses to take any steps to try improve the trust and communication and respect in his relationship with you.

You say your fiancé never faced consequences for his actions. It sounds like it's time.

And honestly? That’s his right. He’s an adult. He gets to decide how he lives he life. You give no indication that your fiancé has pervasive mental health problems, that he’s having trouble functioning in day-to-day life, that he has problems maintaining other friendships or relationships beyond you and his parents. His problems are focused on relationships with people who can see him clearly, people who ask him for some accountability, people who ask him to examine his emotions and actions – which is possibly why therapy was so difficult for him.

You’ve been with this person nearly seven years. This has been a repeated conversation. The situation hasn’t changed. So now you have to do what your fiancé has been doing all along. You need to decide how you live your life, and what you are or are not willing to give up for a relationship. He is not willing to give up weed for you. Are you willing to give up trust, respect, healthy communication, accountability, and emotional intelligence for a man who won’t give up weed?

You say your fiancé never faced consequences for his actions. It sounds like it’s time.

Roe McDermott is a writer and Fulbright scholar with an MA in sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She is researching a PhD in gendered and sexual citizenship at the Open University and Oxford

If you have a problem or query you would like her to answer, you can submit it anonymously at