My grandma died last Saturday morning. I was really close to her. My boyfriend decided to stay overnight from Saturday to Sunday with me at home. I still live together with my parents. The thing about my boyfriend is that he is an excessive weed smoker. He asked me if he could bring his bong. Weed is illegal in my country. I said no, but he could bring a joint if he really needed a joint. He decided not to. In the night he asked me two times if we could just drive around the city, I could calm down and he could stop at home to smoke weed. I said I just wanted to stay home so no. Fast forward to Sunday morning. I slept one hour. The second thing he asked me after how i slept was when I could bring him home as he doesn’t have a license or a car. I said I was disappointed that he already wanted to go home and that I would just bring him after my parents are awake so we wouldn’t wake them up. About an hour later he says that he heard my parents and when I would bring him home. Again I said that I was disappointed that he already wanted to leave. I went outside of my room, told my father everything. He asked if we didn’t even want to have breakfast here. I went back to my room and asked: do you want to have breakfast here? No answer, and as I didn’t want to wait 10 minutes for my bf to answer I said: okay, then it seems like a no. Get ready and I will drive you./u/treasurehunter77, /r/relationship_advice
Since then we are constantly discussing. He said if I would have asked him to stay longer, he would have. But I think that me telling him how disappointed I am, was enough. He says I wouldn’t understand how important it is for him to smoke. I told him he is acting really shitty because his priority seems to be to smoke weed instead of his suffering girlfriend.
And now he is texting me that I don’t seem to love him and that this is the only reason why I don’t want him here. Oh and he says he tried to ‘plan’ anything that worked for both of us and I am just making him the bad guy because he smokes weed. Now he is pissed how I TREATED HIM.
I am so tired of this. I dont want to discuss anymore. I just want a fucking boyfriend that understands i want to be home and that i dont want him to bring a bong to my parents house.
Am i overreacting? Am I treating him wrongly?
Dear Treasure Hunter 77,
I am really sorry that you lost your grandma. As someone who has also lost a grandparent earlier this year, I can understand the grief and loss that come with losing someone so close to you. I wish I can give you a big hug.
There comes many a time in relationships where the couple is put to a challenge due to life’s circumstances. Sometimes, it is in discovery of an infidelity. Sometimes, it is in lost personal possessions after your house floods. Sometimes, it is in a close family member passing away. In those times of stress, we are asked to rise above the occasion, to put our sense of ego and intermediate needs aside, to focus on our partner’s need – albeit temporarily – so that our partner may focus on processing loss and grief. These tests can strengthen our bond with our partner but can also highlight some of our fault lines that fracture beneath the pressure. In this particular instance, it looks like this experience has shined a light into your relationship’s fault line.
It sounds like your boyfriend has a very unhealthy relationship with marijuana, a personal relationship that which appears to be prioritized over his romantic relationship with you. You first communicated your feelings in bringing an illegal substance into your parents’ home, a boundary that was not immediately respected but instead had to be justified. I have a feeling that this boundary has been reinforced in past discussions that you’ve had with your boyfriend, and is certainly not a one-time occurrence. He continued to push on your boundary and state his relationship with weed as a priority while neglecting to take care of you in this time of need. Then when you finally brought him back home, he is blaming you by claiming that you don’t love him. His relationship with marijuana may be addictive. But his relationship with you is definitely manipulative.
And I think it is time for you to escalate the boundaries you’ve already established.
We need to re-establish and re-verbalize your boundaries.
I think there are two essential boundaries that seem to be implicitly implied but need to be more explicitly fleshed out.
First is “I will not be in a relationship with a partner who uses/abuses illicit substances in inappropriate circumstances.” This particular boundary covers two aspects that your partner has displayed here. You don’t just live in your own house; you live with your parents. And it is disrespectful to be under influence among your partner’s parents. Inability to distinguish that sense of agency is unbecoming of your partner. In addition, as you stated, weed is illegal in your country. The relative ethics of legality of marijuana is for discussion here, and its legality is a binary. But most importantly, you are grieving a Big Loss of a loved one. That is not an appropriate time for you to have to justify and defend your boundary. And a boundary you have to justify and defend is not one that is being respected.
Second is “I will not be in a relationship with a partner who has an unhealthy or addictive relationship with other people, substances, or activities.” This particular boundary responds to his relationship with marijuana. Again, it is not important whether or not weed is legal. What’s more important is his unhealthy relationship with marijuana. Your boyfriend’s complete dependence in marijuana is very alarming. It almost sounds like his marijuana usage is a necessity for him. Since marijuana is not legalized in your country, I am also assuming that he was not medically approved for chronic marijuana usage either. Even if marijuana is not inherently addictive, any pain-relieving and endorphin-inducing substance can be abused to the point of addiction.
Acknowledging and reconciliating with those two boundaries is non-negotiable. You need to stand your ground here and explain that these are two non-negotiable boundaries for you, and a breach of either of these particular boundaries means the end of this romantic relationship.
I also need to point out that his subsequent behaviors and communication following the Sunday morning experience is unacceptable. His behavior is deeply dispassionate, unsympathetic, and selfish. His intention to manipulate your grief into guilt is abusive at best, sociopathic at worst. His inability to take responsibility for failing to support you in this personally challenging time is not okay.
In times of stress, it is important to take a step back, recenter in your own ego, and acknowledge your own state of emotion before coalescing with anyone else’s state of mind. If that means you have to take a step back from the intensity of this relationship while you personally regroup and heal, it will be beneficial your own recovery process. It could mean taking a break or just decreasing the interaction you have with your partner. You need to take this time to focus on yourself and engage in a process of healing with your parents who just lost their parents.
For me, it was very difficult to find myself when I lost my grandfather. But I believed it to be my own responsibility own my process back to mental wellness as I feel like I owed it to myself and other loved ones in my life to be the best I can be. Some days I was washed ashore, damp in my own sweat and tears. Some days I was able to put my next foot in front of the other. I was happy that I had the support of my loved ones to come back through loss and grief, to suffer and process through pain. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering you are currently experiencing, barely putting your best foot forth in spite of your partner.
My heart goes to you and your family.
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at email@example.com. If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!