I've been with my wonderful wife for fourteen years, married for the last eight. We have two kids (five and two years old) and a house in the 'burbs. She is the love of my life and I couldn't be happier. Except. There are demons, and they're mine. It's nothing crazy, just pot. (Though there was a period a couple of years ago when I kind of lost my head for a bit and was doing mushrooms and molly but nothing harder and clubbing and chatting up girls but never cheated and that's over now but she found out.) To her, pot is something she tolerated initially — a vice — but since then she's resented it more and more. Specifically, what it represents: me lying to her and it being a "limitation to my love."
Besides how it makes her feel, it hasn't impacted me in other ways. More context (and I'm not expecting any gold stars for the following, I just want you to know): I consider myself a caring and conscientious father and a dedicated professional with multiple advanced degrees. I do most of the shopping and cooking, exercise regularly, and generally have my shit together. But I just can't quite pass on grass. She's found evidence of my use a few times recently which was troubling for her but she's sort of just stopped caring (though she hasn't made peace with it) and that's where the problem lies. Her arguments against it are irrefutable — it's illegal (and will probably be more so, thanks Jefferson Beauregard) and unhealthy. Hearing her say she's stopped caring has been really painful.
I feel like we're drifting apart in a real way now. We haven't had sex in months. There's always this elephant in the room. I've tried talking to her about it multiple times but I don't think she wants to hear the truth — that I want to smoke once a while. I enjoy it, it centers me, and it helps me cope. And who can blame her after the emotional roller coaster I've put her on? Now she's concerned our kids will find it someday. From my end I feel like I'm losing everything that I enjoyed doing — she doesn't like it when I drink or even when I go to the gym or the movies because it takes time away from me being home. Evidence of my sad existence: What I look forward to most nowadays is any opportunity to masturbate.
I don't want to end up one of those sexless marriages. She said she won't break up our family because of this but I don't want to just co-habitate with the mother of my children. I've already cut out of my life a couple of dear friends because of my substance use and I don't want to lose her too. What do I do, Dan?
Marijuana Offers Very Ethereal Overstimulation Now
My first impulse was to jump all the way down your wife's throat.
I mean, her arguments against recreational marijuana use are bullshit — and easily refuted bullshit at that. She says it's illegal. Yeah, yeah. So was sucking a cock (in many states) the first time I put a dick in my mouth. Interracial relationships used to be illegal. Women couldn't legally vote in this country until 1920. Some laws are unjust and breaking them is a moral good. (And let's remember why pot is illegal: racism and this asshole. Surely your wife isn't down with with racism or that asshole, MOVEON.) Is smoking (or eating) pot "unhealthy"? Well, sure. But alcohol is worse for you — and so, it seems, is sugar. Driving, fucking, snowboarding, grilling, bathing: lots of life's little pleasures expose us to incidental health risks. (And if smoking pot helps you feel sane or centered or makes it possible for your to keep food down during chemo or stay off opioids, not smoking pot is a health risk.) You know what else is unhealthy? Not getting any exercise because your wife makes you feel guilty about going to the gym. Pot "takes time away" from your family? There are lots of people out there who say pot makes them better parents.
Like I said, MOVEON, I was tempted to jump all the way down your wife's throat. But then I went back and reread your letter and I bumped on this...
(Though there was a period a couple of years ago when I kind of lost my head for a bit and was doing mushrooms and molly but nothing harder and clubbing and chatting up girls but never cheated and that's over now but she found out.)
That one sentence is doing a lot of work. A decade into your marriage you started abusing drugs ("lost my head") and ditching your wife and kids ("clubbing and chatting up girls") and your wife found out and that was the end of that. But what, exactly, did your wife find out? Only that her husband, the father of her two young children, was slamming his hand down on the self-destruct button and/or the eject button. You were engaging in behaviors that had a good chance of destroying your marriage and/or breaking up the only home your kids have ever known. You've stopped taking MDMA and you've stopped taking shrooms — which I regard as hardish drugs — and cut a few of your hard-partying/worst-impulse-enabling friends out of your life and you've stopped clubbing. Good for you, MOVEON, that was the right thing(s) to do.
But you don't want to give up pot. And I don't think you should give up pot, MOVEON. And my hunch is that your wife's problem isn't with the pot itself but what pot use symbolizes. Not its effect, but its meaning. Pot is the last part of your dumspringa that you insist on holding onto, the one thing you don't want to give up and shouldn't have to give up, but something that your wife associates with a very bad time in your marriage. End result: your wife is either desperately fearful in the wake of your drugs-and-clubs "period" (a near-death experience for your marriage) or she feels entitled to be unreasonably controlling in the wake of it. Whichever one it is, MOVEON, you two need to hash this out with a marriage counselor (preferably one who smokes pot). Your wife is obviously threatened by anything — movies, gym, pot, friends — that distances you from your family physically or pharmacologically. You should be able to address her reasonable concerns with the help of a professional. But you can't and shouldn't accede to her unreasonable demands.
You can't be on parole or in purgatory for the rest of your life. If your wife can't ever relent or relax — if she can never allow you to see a movie or go to the gym or enjoy some pot once — then your family is going to break up. And it'll be her fault, MOVEON, not pot's fault.