My boyfriend is a heavy weed smoker
June 27, 2011 7:40 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are seriously talking about moving in together soon. He is a heavy weed smoker, and I would not want him to smoke so much in our shared apartment. What should I do?

He mostly smokes in the evening, EVERY evening, ALL evening. He is addicted and very much depended on it. It is quite an issue for me, as I am afraid living together might not work out because of this. Until now we have been hanging out in my place most of the time (where he is not smoking) so I am not around him when he usually smokes. I doubt if I can make him quit, but do I have the right to ask him to stop smoking or smoke somewhere else? Should I reconsider us moving in together just because of that?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
do I have the right to ask him to stop smoking or smoke somewhere else? Should I reconsider us moving in together just because of that?

Yes and yes.
posted by ghharr at 7:41 PM on June 27, 2011 [36 favorites]

Agreed with ghharr. This is a pretty straightforward situation. You shouldn't move in with him until you get this issue resolved.
posted by alms at 7:42 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can only answer the most important of the questions: Should you reconsider moving in just because of that? Yes. HELL YES.

Please seriously reconsider your plans. Do you really want to be with a guy who smokes EVERY evening, ALL evening? (Emphasis yours.) This is one of those questions that makes me feel I can see into the future: Dear Metafilter. My husband smokes all night, every night and he has for years. I want to leave him, but we have kids and a mortgage.

Get out now.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2011 [9 favorites]

You have the right to tell him that it's not something you can live with. He has the right to say yes or no. Then you have the right to make a decison based on that outcome.

And yes, you should reconsider your shared life together. It's something that is important to you. You'll soon see what he values most in his choice.
posted by inturnaround at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Should I reconsider us moving in together just because of that?

It's definitely a crucial thing to work out. You do have the right to demand that nobody smokes in your apartment. He also has the right to chose not to move in. Make it absolutely clear before you move.
posted by beau jackson at 7:44 PM on June 27, 2011

You absolutely have the right to ask him not to smoke in the apartment, but it seems the issue may be deeper for you than that.
posted by xingcat at 7:44 PM on June 27, 2011

You absolutely should not take the next step in your relationship based on your hope that he will decide to change. You are well within your rights to let him know that you can't take the next step in your relationship while he is making a life choice you can't live with. But the choice is up to him, and you can't make him change.
posted by decathecting at 7:44 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I doubt if I can make him quit, but do I have the right to ask him to stop smoking or smoke somewhere else?


Should I reconsider us moving in together just because of that?

posted by Netzapper at 7:46 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Depending on how big an issue the actual smoke is, he can look into investing in a vaporizer. No smoke, no smell outside of a foot or two radius.
posted by griphus at 7:51 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

You could ask him to get a vaporizer. That could solve the actual smoke issue.

But you seem to have a problem with his usage in general and that's the bigger issue here.

Something else for you to think on: it seems that your BF is stoned during much of the time you spend together. He might be different if/when you start to spend more sober time with him.
posted by gnutron at 7:54 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

I would not move in together until you get this resolved. And this is from someone who's more or less pro-pot.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:54 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am living what BlahLaLa described and was in your position over ten years ago. I really wish I had really thought about what it meant to be with an addict. Do as much as you can to find out more about addiction and how it works. And please don't move in with this guy until he's been clean for a long time.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:54 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Do you not like the fact that he smokes weed at all, or that he's addicted? Have you told him that it is "quite an issue"? It seems like just telling him and seeing how he reacts would be the first step.

I guess the fact that he doesn't smoke at your place is a good sign that he's willing to compromise, somewhat.

Don't move in with him until you've told him how you feel and he's given you a good reason to believe you won't be uncomfortable in your own home. He needs help, and he has to start getting it before you move in together. MA (Marijuana Anonymous) meetings exist.

Good luck. (I have experience with this issue. Please feel free to memail me.)
posted by swingbraid at 7:55 PM on June 27, 2011

similar to others above, my alarm bells went off at reading "I would not want him to smoke so much"

Be wary of setting some arbitrary, vague, subjective line in the sand. I agree with most that it will probably not work out well. He will push it until you get upset at him, then you both will feel bad.

I'm not saying you need to DTMFA, but I would seriously reconsider the reasons you want to move in together and examine what you'd do if he doesn't cut back at all. If it's a deal-breaker, it's best to tackle that issue head-on up-front, without the added complexity of sharing a living space.
posted by Queen Sabium at 7:56 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I want to add: there are lots of resources for getting through drug addiction, but I mentioned MA because marijuana addiction gets overlooked quite a bit. But there are places that address this kind of addiction specifically.
posted by swingbraid at 7:58 PM on June 27, 2011

Unless he's very invested in quitting his habit (and it does not appear that he is) he will resent any ultimatums you give him about this and you will both likely be irritated by the eventual compromises you're forced to make.

reconsider like whoa.
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

there's nothing wrong with being a weed addict. but i think you should realize that for a weed addict, weed is really, really, really important. if you substituted "another girlfriend" for "weed" in your question, would you still want to go through with this move-in? you may be in for a very big letdown if you genuinely don't like weed smoke in your house (or if you can't deal with the fact that your bf has to be stoned all the time). then again, i'm just an anonymous internet dweeb, so maybe you won't. but in my opinion getting this question on the table and dealt with is a must.
posted by facetious at 8:03 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Many people I know have a rule that smoking is only an outside activity, never done inside; it's reasonable and most people are fine with it. But I agree with everyone who's said you should look at the deeper issue of getting stuck in a bad situation.
posted by anadem at 8:07 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

People who smoke marijuana daily generally keep a fair amount of it in their homes. If you're renting an apartment with a heavy pot smoker, you've got a right to be concerned about all the other people who may know he's a heavy pot smoker, and all the people who may be entering your apartment for service reasons, as anybody who gives your address as a place where a stash is likely kept, is getting you into trouble, as well as your boyfriend/roommate. Trying to convince cops that weed found in your apartment isn't your weed isn't likely to be fun, should it ever come to that.
posted by paulsc at 8:09 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

Not to join a pile-on, but I had to note that you said "I doubt if I can make him quit..."

Let me assure you that your doubts are well-founded. But that you have any reservation at all is wrong. You cannot make him quit. It's a relationship: you take him as is. You don't have a boyfriend for who he might potentially be some day. I personally would not take him as is, not even as a non-live-in boyfriend, much less a live-in one, but it's your life and we all like different things.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:15 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Speaking as someone else that also made an AskMe complaining about my roommates pot smoking, I think you have to say no. Your liberalness may try to rationalize that his pot smoking isn't harming you, but you'll have instinctual urges asking why he needs it every evening. I'm moving out because I can't stand my roommate's pot smoking behavior. I suggest you refuse to let your boyfriend move in with you.
posted by DetriusXii at 8:16 PM on June 27, 2011

Yeah, you're going to need to nip this one in the bud.
posted by mleigh at 8:18 PM on June 27, 2011 [7 favorites]

I agree with Queen Sabium in saying that setting up arbitrary boundaries can be dangerous to a new progression in a relationship. However, I would take it a step further and say that if you do talk to him about it, be very aware of how he reacts and how he deals with the situation. This will be a really good chance for you to see how interactions on larger matters are handled by him, by you, and by the two of you together.
posted by TheBones at 8:21 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Someone else mentioned it above, but it's a hot button with me, so I'm going to repeat it: YOU DON'T KNOW THIS GUY. You know a guy who's stoned, deeply, every night. Are you EVER around him when he's NOT stoned? Addicts are very, VERY different people when they are off their drug of choice. I have been in a relationship with someone with an addiction problem, and I strongly - VERY, VERY strongly - recommend not doing it.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:25 PM on June 27, 2011 [9 favorites]

Someone who is "dependent" on weed is probably not addicted to it like heroin or other physical addiction. Weed is very habit forming and if he has a habit of smoking in the evenings asking him to disrupt that habit would be like asking you to stop your morning ritual, or not to brush your teeth, or to break some other enjoyable, self-caring aspect of your routine. This disruption in habit will cause conflict but if you are both serious about the relationship it isn't unworkable. He can take his smoking to a friend's house or just plain stop smoking. Y'all probably shouldn't be moving in together unless you are ready to make such compromises (that means you too).

The other thing is that someone who is "dependent" on weed may be using it to self-medicate stuff like ADHD and that's a different plate of beans.

The other other thing is that maybe you are overreacting but you two will break up anyway.

*In any case* you should definitely think again about moving in with your boyfriend.
posted by fuq at 8:43 PM on June 27, 2011 [6 favorites]

Lots of good advice here. :)

Nthing: Put off the living together until you two discuss this a bit more. This is not the sort of thing you should work on after you move in together.
posted by luckynerd at 8:46 PM on June 27, 2011

Have you asked him about his "addiction"? Why does he like to smoke pot, and more to the point, why does he like to smoke so much of it? Have you two ever smoked together? Have you ever smoked at all?

Further, you might ask yourself if your problem is with marijuana specifically or rather with the amount of time he devotes to a particular activity. For example, if he played WOW all night, or read French literature from dusk til bedtime, (or...?) would that be as much of a problem?

Clearly you need to discuss these things before moving in. However, you obviously like him or you wouldn't even be having this discussion. Try and keep an open mind. If you can't come to a compromise that suits both of you, end the relationship.
posted by MetalFingerz at 10:11 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

As everyone says above, you're either going to have to take him as-is, or work on any problems you have before moving in. Imagine briefly if the shoe were on the other foot: would you want to move in with someone only to realize they wanted you to not engage in some behavior you engage in daily?
posted by Gilbert at 10:17 PM on June 27, 2011

Regarding vaporizers: my roommate uses one. I can smell it all over the house, and it drives me fucking crazy.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:46 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Regarding pothead boyfriends: I had one once. When we met, he smoked after work, which didn't really bother me. When we lived together, he got to the point where he woke up, leaned over, took a bong hit, showered, smoked a one-hitter on the way to work, smoked on his lunch break, smoked a one-hitter on his way home from work, and then sat in front of his video games with a bong til he got too tired to stay awake. I don't think he was ever not high during the last six months of our relationship. I finally dumped him after I had to cash out my 401k to bail him out of jail when he got pulled over for expired plates and the cops found a bag of weed in his car. I did wait a month or so for him to pay me back the bail money before I dumped him, though.

Regarding vaporizers: my current roommate is under the delusion that they don't smell. They really, really do.

Regarding your question: I'd reconsider moving in with him if I were you. It sounds like you're uncomfortable with his pot use, especially given your question title. If it bothers you, discuss it with him and see if you can come to some sort of compromise before you move in together. If you can't, reconsider the move. You can always wait and move in together later if you're having doubts now, but moving out when you break up in the middle of a lease is not as pleasant as just waiting to move in until you're actually ready.
posted by bedhead at 10:59 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yes, this would cause problems. Probably a lot of fights. Likely a lot of resentment. I think this is a talk you should have with him a long, long time before you start making any concrete plans to move in together, and be prepared for that talk not to go so well.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:07 AM on June 28, 2011

UGh, I lived with a serious pot smoker, no judgement, I did a hell of a lot of recreational drugs- I just can't smoke- not tabacco or anything else.
I insisted that he get a proper job and came home from a business trip to find that he had installed a pot farm in our attic - proper hydroponic system and lights( my basil plants never did so well), and the tripling in electricity bill which goes with that and the customers coming and going and he seemed to think that there was no problem with that or if, when the police found out about it - me being prosecuted too!. The guy would get so stoned that he would get up to change the channel on the T.V. and would forget why he had stood up.
There are two things that really ring alarm bells for me in your post, the fact that you spend time almost exclusively hanging out at your house- does this mean that he is going to move in with you and start parasiting off you? Because he will! And .. the second is that this is not a habit that you are sharing- if you were both complete pot heads and enjoying it together, I could understand, but you seem to be on your own while he gets blasted every night- Trust me, that gets REALLY boring and soon he will be too stoned to have sex and it's all down hill from there.
The fact that you are asking this question means that you know that there is a problem, Yes, you absolutely have the right to question him about his pot usage and whether he smokes at home or not- other posts are right, there are ways to get round secondary smoke issues etc.- but you seem to be asking more than that - do you seriously want to move in with a guy who seems to be totally unavailable to you for large portions of the time and refuses to modify his behaviour despite knowing that it upsets you.If you haven't told him of your concerns then you have to do it immediately!If he was gaming al night or watching porn and you were excluded - would you put up with that?
I promise you, in my experience, it doesn't get better and you end up having to police/parent someone while they say that they have changed. Have the conversation and if he won't modify his behaviour -Dump his sorry ass - you deserve better!
posted by hitchcockblonde at 4:20 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

When one of my daughters met her now ex, he was mellow (because he was a smoker.)
They got married, had a kid, he quit smoking, (because he went into the Navy and they do drug tests) and turned out, he had an anger problem. Who knew?

You don't know this guy till you know him without the pot. (I used to smoke so I am not trying to be judgemental here, just trying to make a point.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:06 AM on June 28, 2011 [8 favorites]

Aw, come on people -- are you really sure we have a reliable narrator here? The subtext is "My boyfriend does X and I don't like it, can I change him with the threat of an ultimatum?"

Doesn't matter if it's pot or whatever. She's been with this guy for long enough where she's considering moving in with him. What if instead of pot, it was video games, or instead of video games it was obsessively monitoring stock movements.

Yes, there's no secondhand stock smoke, but really. It seems like this is being used to kill two birds with one stone.

1. I don't like him smoking, 2. Now that I'm serious about this dude, it's time for him to straighten up and fly right because I need him to have ambition.

Ultimately, if you make him choose "that or me", and he doesn't quit it's not because he chose it over you, it's because you attempted to change him because of yourself.
posted by Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night at 6:21 AM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you really want to move in with him, and you don't mind him smoking -- you just mind him smoking in your living space -- why not try finding an rental that comes with a nice shed or a little separate garage or something where he can smoke without disturbing you? (If he would agree to that; if you can find a little separate space he'd find comfortable, where he could take a little sofa or something.)

But certainly you need to talk about it first, and make sure it's not the pot smoking itself that bugs you, and that is an arrangement he'd like.
posted by Clotilde at 6:48 AM on June 28, 2011

By the way, I lived with a drinker once. It wasn't a big deal before we lived together, but it became a huge problem once we did live together. It was very hard to maintain a sympatico lifestyle (we never went to bed at the same time or woke up at the same time because of his late-night drinking in front of the computer, and we finally had separate bedrooms because of the nuisance of his drinking late, then coming to bed liquored up, waking me). I reiterate: when we didn't live together, I barely even noticed his drinking.
posted by Clotilde at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is your problem the way the smoke smells? If so, get a place with a separate "smoking lounge" as per Clotilde's suggestion (or a well-concealed balcony). Problem solved!

Is your problem THAT he smokes? If so, do not move in with him. It will be awful. Either he'll resent you for forcing him to quit, he won't quit and will attempt to lie to you about it, or he'll quit and be such a totally different person it won't be worth it.

If you absolutely love this dude except for the smoking, aim for: "I cannot move in with you until you quit smoking up." Some people are saying that it's not okay to ask that of him. It is okay -- it's okay to ask for what you need in a relationship. However, it's not okay to expect him to make that change. Ask it with no expectations. If he changes, and stays changed, move in with him. If he doesn't and you can't stand the idea of being in a relationship that will never go further than where you are, leave.
posted by AmandaA at 7:08 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: few comments removed - be civil.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 AM on June 28, 2011

From a MeFite who would prefer to remain anon:
I moved in with my heavy pot-smoker boyfriend back when I was only an occasional smoker. You didn't say whether you smoke or not. But based on my experience it seems highly unlikely that if you live with him, he'll cut back just because you don't do it a lot, or because you've asked him to. he may want to, but once you're at that level it's incredibly difficult to cut back (as i now know, unfortunately, from personal experience.)

What might easily happen is that you'll start smoking with him a little. Then a little more, then more, etc. I used to smoke only occasionally/ socially, say, every few weeks to months. By the time my relationship with my pothead ex ended (after about two years of living together) I smoked as much as him- some days, more. it happened so gradually that i was shocked the first time i realized i couldn't remember the last day i went without smoking. the thing is, smoking pot is pretty fun and is enjoyable when you're doing it here and there. when you're around someone ALL THE TIME who's always doing it, eventually it gets harder to say no every time to something that's fun and relaxing and that your partner is doing already anyway. my attitude became, "ah, fuck it, he's smoking and i don't have anything important to do now anyway, might as well join him." we bonded over it.

once the relationship started turning to crap due to all his pot related issues (anxiety, trouble with school/ jobs, poor judgment, immaturity etc.) and the fighting and tension got worse, i turned to pot to ease the tension. because hey, it was always there, available to me. and it worked very well in glossing over the bad feelings and doubts. it made me feel like our relationship wasn't so bad, and i was overreacting, and i really did love him and just needed to chill out. that's more or less how i became a huge pothead. eventually i did pull my shit together enough to DTMFA and i'm much happier for it. thank god i got out of that mess. but guess what? six months later i'm still saying how i'm gonna cut back on the pot and i haven't really been able to do it. i'm not blaming him for my own addiction- i know i am responsible for letting that happen. but i can guarantee that it would NOT have happened if i was not living in a situation where it was around me, freely available and with someone to smoke it with, all the time.

if you're gonna keep dating him, do yourself a favor and don't live with him. you may think all that won't happen to you, but i sure as shit wouldn't have thought it'd happen to me either and it did. aside from all that, it's nerve-wracking to live with a person who does illegal things and is irresponsible. i had to constantly fight with my ex over why it would be a bad idea for him to grow pot or shrooms in our apartment and i got to a point where i was paranoid that he'd find a way to do it without my knowledge, in an apartment with MY name on it. by the end i didn't feel like i was dating him, i felt like i was taking care of him. my 16-year-old pothead son who i cooked for and cleaned up after and begged to go to school while he smoked pot and played video games and worked a shit job until he lost the job and failed to get another one. who took me for granted and blamed me and everyone else for all his problems . . . sounds like fun, right? tread carefully with this shit.
posted by jessamyn at 7:35 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

She's been with this guy for long enough where she's considering moving in with him. What if instead of pot, it was video games, or instead of video games it was obsessively monitoring stock movements.

We can only know what she's written. If his use is as high as she says it is (heck even half or a third would be enough for me), then she rightfully recognizes she has a problem that has to be dealt with before he moves in. She's asking for help. Maybe you could take your snark and unkind characterizations for elsewhere.

I've known a few people divorced because of exes who used video games as an escape from taking any sort of responsibility for their own life. So, yes, I think any sort of addictive behavior that casts a big pall over a relationship should be addressed before moving in.

However, while the OP should definitely have a conversation with her boyfriend about his pot use to discover why this is his thing and whether he's willing to cut back, only he can ultimately decide to make that change. For reasons other have mentioned, better to sort this issue out now, before moving in. Better to learn who he is now - off the pot - than learn when she's already entwined her life with his.

The discussion on cutting back should have no relation to moving in together, because this concern exists regardless. See what he says. If he's not willing to cut back after a heartfelt conversation and doesn't show progress over the next six months or so, then this is clearly not the right relationship for either of them.
posted by canine epigram at 7:55 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't say how old he is. I could tell you a story about let's call him a friend of mine, he was 31, who smoked every night while he lived alone. He met a girl, they got serious, she was against all drugs, he didn't lie but didn't smoke around her. He continued to smoke every night, only after they had talked on the phone. When she stayed over, or he stayed over, no smoking; it wouldn't have been fun for either of them. Hell, he wasn't even getting especially high anyway. These two people just celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary, and have a 6-year-old. She has limited her demands to his not having any in the house. He in turn sometimes goes the entirety of a year without smoking. When he does smoke, he doesn't need to keep it a secret, because it's not in the house.

All this to say that while a lot of responders here have been quick to suggest cutting him loose, a conversation with your boyfriend seems smart to me. The DTMFA-ers might be giving you good advice if he has a real dependency problem (or prefers weed to you), but he should get a chance to speak for hmiself. That said, he might well decide he prefers weed to you, given the ultimatum, and like others here, I of course agree you should reconsider living together. Living together is hard enough without the livers agreeing on the big important stuff. But it might turn out some alternate arrangement, like the one I described above, works for you both.
posted by troywestfield at 8:32 AM on June 29, 2011

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