Ask Ammanda: my husband’s weed habit is ruining our marriage
I am so fed up with my husband of 16 years, our marriage is at rock bottom. I cannot communicate with him or get him to see how my needs are not being met in the marriage or why I’m so unhappy. He has been habitually messy, unreliable, irresponsible and unhelpful and I am unsure if there is a future for us. He does work full time and has held the job for 15 years. He takes an interest in our three children and I would say he is a good Dad. However he has often said that he is hanging around for his children and even said at our wedding if it wasn’t for them we probably wouldn’t be getting married!
He is a long term and every day weed smoker which seems to make him forgetful; unmotivated; moody; aggressive; messy; unreliable; low / no sex drive (sex once in the last two years) and isolating (he is in his own world.) He sleeps badly, he doesn’t really look after his health, and he suffers from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis which has ruined several holidays. His mood swings and withdrawal symptoms have ruined ALL holidays and family outings.
Over the years he has chosen to abuse porn, and rebuff all my attempts to make love. He stays up late watching porn, getting high and playing computer games, whilst I have spent many nights crying and lonely in bed. After many years of this I now have no interest in sleeping with him at all. We haven’t slept in the same bed for over a year now.
Because of all the problems above, over the years I have taken control of all the finances, household and family matters to the point where I am now a fully-fledged single parent. I am the main breadwinner, run my own business, work part time, take the kids to and from school and look after our 15 month old two days a week. I do all the cooking, cleaning, take all the financial responsibility, arrange for the bills to be paid, so all paperwork, car care, house insurance etc. I do all the school assemblies, sports days, etc. I chauffeur the kids to all of their activities. He has always point blank refused to help with dropping the kids off to school / childminders (as he needs to go to work early or work late) so I’ve always had the stress of running around, doing a full day’s work and running back to collect the kids. This has, in the past, resulted in me nearly having a breakdown. I had to go part time and rearrange my whole career as I just couldn’t cope with everything with very little support from my husband or anyone else for that matter.
He has a history of being terrible financially and has in the past run up big credit card bills and cannot repay them. He had a CCJ when we first got together which I worked hard to bring him out of and give him good credit but have babysat our finances ever since for fear it will happen again. He is the type of person who will let a £80 speeding fine escalate to £400 (until I take control and pay it). I am an accountant so this is totally unfathomable to me.
We really have lived separate lives for many years. I try not to talk to him for fear of being screamed at and the neighbourhood hearing our rows. He will also slam doors, throw things, call me names and try to damage the property when he flies into a rage – anytime I approach him about something I’m not happy with. Any days out with the children are ruined as he gets aggressive and grumpy after a few hours as his weed fix has run out. So I prefer to take them out on my own – we have such lovely days.
When I try to talk about our problems he shouts me down at the top of his voice and I never feel heard. I arranged marriage counselling for us two years ago. It was an absolute nightmare, he spent the whole hour screaming at me in front of the counsellor and suggesting her and I were conspiring against him.
After 16 years together, I’m so tired and frustrated of this. He has now left the house at my request and we are living separately. He pops in after work to eat dinner and see the kids but pretty much nothing has changed for me, I’m still doing it all, at least now I do not have to clear up after him or see him on the sofa every morning.
He says he has now stopped smoking, but the proof is in the pudding whether this remains the case and whether this addresses some of the problems between us
I am no angel but I always try to improve myself and my relationship – I am typically a high achiever and big believer in personal development. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge how his drug use and behaviours have contributed to the demise of our relationship. In our last conversation he said he loves me and feels like we need to start from scratch which I agree, then proceeded to tell me that he has put his career aspirations aside for mine (totally untrue) and that I’ve never supported him in his work (again untrue I’ve written CVs for him, done job searches, spoke to him about setting up his own business etc).
He cannot seem to take any responsibility for his life or behaviour. I am starting to think we will never be able to work together to build a happy and successful marriage. I just don’t know how much longer I can suffer this debacle of a marriage. Life is too short. Part of me thinks we have the potential to have a very happy and content marriage and family if we could tackle the behaviours and improve communication. The other part thinks that we are just in two different worlds and that my dreams of a happy marriage are not possible with this man.
It sounds like over the years, you’ve acquired all the attributes of a carer and a parent and applied them to your husband. This is often the lot of spouses who essentially live with an addict. They may love them, do everything for them, make allowances for them and sort out their life. But if that wasn’t enough of a workload, on top of having kids and working too, they get overwhelmed by the anger and frustration that also goes hand in hand with being the spouse of an addict. That’s where you seem to be right now.
I’m afraid there’s no easy way to say this but you absolutely have to make it clear to your husband that he, alone, is entirely responsible for his drug habit and therefore, he’s entirely responsible for sorting it out. Of course this is always more difficult to accomplish in the cold light of day.
The life you describe with your husband is one that many people will recognise. Often events go on for many years. Sometimes they’re interspersed with pleas, protestations and allegations from the addict that it’s the responsibility/fault/duty of their spouse, who has essentially become their carer, to keep the show on the road. Often there are promises that things will be different. It’s not at all unusual either for an addict to say that they need the support and forgiveness of their partner before they can possibly embark on getting professional help towards the road to recovery. And often, addicts refuse to acknowledge that what they do causes grief and problems for the whole family.
The tone of your letter is that of a critical and frustrated parent. I know that probably sounds like a tough thing to hear but all I’m trying to do is feedback what you’re saying, so that you really understand the importance of putting down some very clear boundaries by moving away from what is essentially contributing to him carrying on regardless. Put simply: absolutely nothing will change unless your husband accepts he has the issue and when he wants to do something about it. All of your coaching, organising and admonishment will continue to amount to nothing since he doesn’t get what you mean because you keep sorting everything out. As I say, this is so often what happens in families where someone is an addict of whatever description.
The couple relationship in situations like this is often complex. Occasionally the partner of the drug user thinks they can somehow change their partner by constantly telling them they’re in the wrong. Language like this, although understandably very tempting to use, given the level of grief that usually accompanies life with an addict, is usually counterproductive. It only adds to the general lack of self-worth that theyalso d so often have but so often find difficult to expresses productively, choosing only to further engage with their habit of choice.
So, I would suggest a few things. First, you’ve asked him to move out and he has done so. This sounds like a positive move because the verbal abuse you’ve been on the receiving end of, as well as witnessing damage to property, is going to affect your mental and emotional wellbeing, so putting some distance between you sounds like a good move.
Secondly, and this is really challenging, I would like to suggest that your sense of being a high achiever understandably means that you are solution focused when it comes to problems. It’s a touch of “there’s the problem – now I can find a way of fixing it”. But this particular problem is not yours to fix. With this in mind I’d like to encourage you to either get some individual therapy or join a support group for the partners and families of addicts. You need to let go of being the one to make changes. I can acknowledge your point of being no angel (none of us are totally blameless) but the essential and deep seated issue that needs addressing is your husband’s chronic use of weed.
Thirdly, you need to consider the impact on the kids. I’m sure you’ve already given this a great deal of thought but the legacy of family drug problems on children can be immense. Your daughters need to see that it’s possible to love someone but also require that they take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
Finally, at some point you will need to move away from the mind-set of “the fine gets bigger if I don’t deal with it on his behalf”. He knows you do this and will continue to take advantage of it until you finally feel able let him bear the brunt of the consequences of not sorting something out. This is difficult and often means that you have to put in place clear and separate systems so his failure to do important things does not impact on you and the family finances.
He says he loves you and wants to start from scratch. I can clearly see that despite everything you have deep feelings for him and just want it all to stop. He says he’s stopped using weed, which is all well and good except for the fact that he now has the vast, enormous journey of providing the evidence that he really means it. The only way he can do that is to get professional support and stick with it. Of course the love of a spouse in overcoming an addition is important, but your love has been severely tested already, so best not test it further until there’s something to base this on.
Despite any effort he might make, it’s very unlikely he can start this new chapter of being weed-free on his own. Getting the help he needs is his responsibility. Don’t make the appointment, find the group or in any way mop up after him anymore. You’ve been doing that for years so time to stop now. Although this sounds like tough love – it is in fact probably the most loving thing you can do for him, for you and for the kids.I am so fed up with my husband of 16 years, our marriage is at rock bottom. I cannot communicate with him or get him to see how my needs are not being met in the marriage or why I’m so unhappy. He has been habitually messy, unreliable, irresponsible and unhelpful and I am unsure if there is a future for us. He does work full time and has held the job for 15 years. He takes an
Partner Smokes Weed, Anyone Else Putting Up With It?
Partner Smokes Weed, Anyone Else Putting Up With It?
- Posted on 07-02-2012 at 11.32PM
My partner and myself have a baby girl, 5 months, and he continues to smoke weed, every day.
And im finding it really hard to cope with it all, ive been diagnosed with PND and my partner lost his job just before christmas (not drug related, poxy b&q . who may I add is a shocking company) and I just feel like such a nag!!
We were a week late on rent, yet he STILL has £60/£80 to spend on weed? I cant physically stop him, ive tried to talk to him about it but I just feel like im in this relationship all alone, as weed seems to always be more important!
Hes an AMAZING dad and doesnt do it near her or lets her near any of it, which i really am thankful for, but I just struggle to cope with it all.
Anyone else out there putting up with a partner who is the same?
- Posted on 08-02-2012 at 12.26AM
- Posted on 08-02-2012 at 12.32AM
- Posted on 08-02-2012 at 12.42AM
Sounds like he isn’t just using weed but abusing it.
if you were on here saying your partner drinks
every night I would be saying the same, he is Abusing
weed, and that may well lead to his destruction
No-one smokes weed everyday because they “want” to
or enjoy it, It sounds like it’s an addiction and sadly he
is the only person who can change that, think really hard about
what you want and what’s best for your Lo, then have a serious chat
with him, trust yourself and do what’s best for you!!
- Posted on 10-02-2012 at 9.13PM
I can see you are feeling upset and frustrated by your partners drug use You mentioned you have PND, is your partner supporting you with that? It is unfair that he is choosing paying for weed over paying the rent and although you say he is good with your LO he is failing to contribute to her safety and well being by doing this, as well as not setting a good example for her as she gets older.
Nicole I am going to ask one of colleagues from a drug and alcohol support service to look at your post and give you some support and advice, hope that’s OK X
Elizabeth is a qualified nursery nurse, has trained with the NCT and Barnardo’s and formerly worked with Sure Start.
The support Netmums Parent Supporters provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice from a health professional or any other qualified advisory organisation. Users should always seek professional advice relevant to their particular set of circumstances from a qualified health professional or other relevant professional organisations.
- Posted on 10-02-2012 at 9.35PM
I am too in a rship with a weed smoker and it’s a tough life , especially when he hasn’t got any . It seems like weed comes before anything else when he has no money . I have give up with him and he now rents a room over the road and I send him over there when he hasn’t got the money for weed coz a nightmare is an understatement. Recently the paranoia has stated aswell coz to be honest the weed is just too strong (and not to mention too expensive!)these days and it’s becoming even more addictive than ever .
Obviously your oh needs to realise that keeping a roof over the little ones head especially is the important thing but I’m not sure if people with an addiction even register this .
I feel for you hun coz it’s not a life , it’s an existence on that and it causes so so many arguments and relationships to fail . I really hope your OH gets help before you choose to walk away with your baby !
massive to you , feel free to pm me if you need to chat xx
- Posted on 12-02-2012 at 11.13AM
- Posted on 12-02-2012 at 11.31AM
- Posted on 15-02-2012 at 2.10PM
My name is Sam and I am a substance misuse worker, I hope you don’t mind me posting on your thread.
It is a difficult situation that you are in given that you are suffering from PND and that your partner is choosing weed over rent, which in turn puts his addiction as a priority over his family. It is selfish behaviour, but unfortunately that is connected to the addiction.
Are you receiving support from anyone regarding your PND? It is important to get as much support as possible.
People can and do change their behaviours, and it is possible for your partner to change, but unfortunately only if he wants to. Have you explained to him the impact his weed smoking is having on yourself and your little girl? You say that he is not smoking anywhere near your little girl, but there is such a thing called 3rd hand smoking. I am sure you have heard of 2nd hand smoking (or passive smoking), but with 3rd hand smoking this means that nicotine and other components of the smoke coats surfaces including clothes, furniture, hair and skin and continue to emit toxins. Obviously there is a risk to others especially small children. The way to avoid this is to stop smoking – even if it is nowhere near little ones.
Do you think that if you explain this to him that he would consider changing his behaviours for more positive ones?
Check the following website out for further support for yourself:
And the following website for help and support for your partner:
Please keep us updated with how things are for you.
- Posted on 15-02-2012 at 8.46PM
I am in a very similar situation. My OH has been promising ever since we found out I was pregnant that he would stop smoking weed, she is now 6 months old and it is still continuing regardless of anything I do or say to him. The whole situation is constantly causing rows and he is just not a nice person to be around when he is high. He claims that he uses it to ‘get out of is own head’ so that he doesn’t have to think about his ‘problems’, but ultimately all he is doing is blocking things out and not dealing with whatever it is that is bothering him. I have tried to talk to him about these ‘problems’ but he just gets really defensive and angry, so I don’t know whether this is just an excuse to try and justify his weed addiction or whether there is actually some underlying issue.
We don’t have an awful lot of money, but it seems he always somehow manages to find the money to feed his addiction. I am at my wits end with it all, and it is getting to the point that I am beginning to seriously consider telling him to leave as I simply do not want a weed smoker in mine or my daughters life. It is extremely hard though because I do love him and I would dearly love him to stop so that we can be a happy family together, but I just don’t know what else to do.
I am so relieved that I am not the only person out there who has been ‘putting up’ with this awful habit. I hope that you are getting the much needed support for your PND. Sending you and hoping that you find a way to make yourself happy in spite of your partners behaviour. x
- Posted on 17-02-2012 at 8.27PM
- Posted on 19-02-2012 at 8.58PM
Thank you for coming back to us, please do speak to your HV about your PND and about get the right support, you deserve to have this and will feel so much better when it’s in place and be able to manage better.
Have you spoken to your OH about your PND and how his behaviour makes you feel? He won’t be able to consider it if you don’t let him know. I can understand its not easy to leave and I understand you would like him to change so you could move forward together as a family, unfortunately as long as he continues to put his drug use in front of you and your LO he is putting you both at risk emotionally, financially and physically.
It doesn’t sound like he is willing to change which means you will have to think about what you find is acceptable behaviour and try to protect your LO as much as you can. Have you though about how you and your OH will explain to your daughter about your financial situation when she is older? Do remember You and your daughter deserve better than this but I think he will continue to use if he is allowed to and is never challenged
Do have a look at the links that Swanswell have left you and remember the advice they gave you around 3rd hand smoke and the effect that weed has on your mental health, please come back and let us know if you need any more advice or support.
Elizabeth is a qualified nursery nurse, has trained with the NCT and Barnardo’s and formerly worked with Sure Start.
The support Netmums Parent Supporters provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice from a health professional or any other qualified advisory organisation. Users should always seek professional advice relevant to their particular set of circumstances from a qualified health professional or other relevant professional organisations.Partner Smokes Weed, Anyone Else Putting Up With It? Partner Smokes Weed, Anyone Else Putting Up With It? Posted on 07-02-2012 at 11.32PM My partner and myself have a baby girl, 5 ]]>