Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I've been seeing someone for a couple of months now. He's a lot of fun, he has a good job, and he gets along with my friends, which is really important. I love how laid back he is. It balances me -- I'm kind of type A. Mostly when we go out, it's a movie, dinner, drinks. We usually go out to the bars one night each week at least, for music, or just to hang out with each other or other friends.
I already knew he sometimes smoked cigarettes. He said it's just when he's drinking. I thought I could look past that or at least maybe get him to quit. Well last night he told me he also smokes pot regularly. I asked what regularly meant, and he said most days. He also said he's tried some other drugs and does those occasionally, "on special occasions."
I didn't ask for more information. I could deal with him smoking cigarettes sometimes, but I don't want to date a habitual drug user. I don't smoke pot. At my work they regularly drug test employees. I can't be with someone who is into that. But -- he has everything else I am looking for. I don't know what to do.
Up in Smoke?
Wanda: The fact that it took you two months to realize your sort-of boyfriend likes to smoke pot suggests he is not a raging stoner. Well, either that, or he's really good at hiding things. Regardless, now that he's admitted to regularly smoking pot and occasionally doing "other drugs," you're weighing whether this is a deal breaker. Clearly, you're having trouble separating his recreational drug habit from his values. You're not alone in this, but you may be in the minority.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that fewer adults see pot use as a moral issue. While half of Americans surveyed seven years ago said pot smoking was "morally wrong," only 32 percent said that this time around. While how many adults regularly smoke pot is routinely debated and not clearly known, Pew's poll did find that 52 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana use.
That said, you're entitled to decide what sort of lifestyle you want. Some people, for example, don't drink alcohol and would never date someone who does. Others attend church regularly and seek out someone who does the same. While it's always good to expose ourselves to different perspectives and personalities, the partner you ultimately choose should be someone who complements and supports this lifestyle -- and vice versa.
However, I'll reiterate my initial sentiment: If after a couple months of dating you had yet to realize he smokes pot, maybe it's not a big enough factor in his life to be the thing that ends your relationship. Before you make any final decisions, talk it out. Get more information. Share your concerns and feelings. Relationships are always about compromise. Maybe there's one to be had here.
Wayne: The fact that it took you two months to learn your sort-of boyfriend does drugs suggests he is not the man for you. Two months! Eight weeks. More than a dozen dates, I'm guessing. More than a few intimate moments, I bet. Yet he never revealed his daily lifestyle choice and you never caught on. He's either really, really stealth, or you're really, really naïve, or you two already have a really, really serious communication disconnect.
There are reasons he never brought this up earlier, of course. He figures that his awesome, got-it-together girlfriend doesn't do drugs and, in fact, probably frowns on them. Which is totally true, right? And good for you -- your life doesn't allow a lot of wiggle room for such things.
And what other drugs do you think he's into? Cocaine? 'Shrooms? Ecstasy? Some drug that squares like us haven't even heard of yet? Are any of those drugs that you'd be cool with your partner doing on "special occasions" and probably behind your back? Wouldn't a partner like that drive someone with a type-A personality just a little crazy?
Look, I'm not judging him, and you don't have to either. He's an adult and as long as he isn't hurting anyone else, I say let him live his life. But you're an adult too with a career, a fun life and a personality that leans toward anxiety and obsessiveness. You need to find someone more aligned with you.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.