“Is it Wrong to Ask Your Partner to Stop Smoking Weed?” | Dr. Stanton Peele Responds

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on June 23rd, 2023 - Last updated: November 20th, 2023
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Hi Dr. Peele,

I’m a long-time follower of your work, and have been reading about Ariel’s experience. I can relate to so many of the comments in this article, and I was going to just post my own response but instead, I wanted to write you to ask for your thoughts on my question – is it wrong to ask your partner to stop smoking weed?

My partner and I have been together for a few years, and he has been smoking marijuana recreationally since before we met. While it doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on his daily life, or our relationship for that matter, I can’t help but feel concerned about the potential long-term effects on his physical and mental health. I am fully aware of the need to approach the situation with empathy and compassion, but I also want to ensure that I am not crossing any boundaries or being unreasonable in my request.

Do you have any advice on how I can navigate this conversation with my partner? Are there specific factors that I should consider before broaching the subject, and what would be the best approach to ensure a healthy and productive dialogue?

I truly value your expertise and look forward to any guidance you can provide on this delicate matter.

Best regards,

– J.

Our Response

Dear J:

How thoughtfully you write.

Here are some considerations

1.) Is he healthy?
It is important that you note that your partner’s habit doesn’t significantly affect his life. This is critical as a start. If it was harming his life now, that is a significant matter. As for his future health—well, many people drink alcohol their whole lives and get by. The same can be true for marijuana. It’s possible that marijuana even benefits him in this regard.

Does your partner live a healthy life? Does he eat well, exercise, observe other health behaviors? As I mention in a previous post, these dynamics could and should be your concern.

2.) Does his behavior affect your couple’s planning, for instance around having children?
You don’t mention having, or planning to have, children. Would this significantly alter the equation? That is, would you want him raising a child constantly stoned. For one thing, you don’t want your child learning and imitating that behavior.

Do you want children? Is his smoking influencing your feelings about that?

3.) Is it affecting your relationship?
His smoking obviously is affecting you. That’s what your email is about. How? Do you feel that he is not present for you? Do you feel he should be more sensitive to your thinking and feelings?

These ARE your concerns, and you have the right to bring them up. You could say it is your duty to do so.

And that is how you should frame your discussion around his behavior. I always like to frame discussions in terms of questions. Here are five I might imagine you asking him.

  1. How do you think I feel about your marijuana use? Do I like it? Why am I concerned about it?
  2. I love you and I’m worried about your health. Can you help me by showing me that you are living a healthy life and will be with me for a long time?
  3. Do my feelings bother or concern you? Have you ever thought about discussing them?
  4. If it does trouble me, would you consider changing?
  5. Do you feel our relationship is as intimate as it could be? Do you want to have that kind of sharing? I do. That’s why I’m bringing this up.

People you love often have traits that aren’t perfect. Part of a relationship is learning to accept these. But that equation requires that you fully respect your own needs, and that the relationship can handle this. Otherwise, we could ask, “Is this relationship bad for you and why do you keep doing it?

After all, that can be the definition of an addictive relationship.

 


 

If you enjoyed this blog, you may be interested in this Q&A segment of The LPP Podcast, in which we explicate strategies for talking about drug use and addiction to friends and loved ones. 

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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