Fiancee did cocaine and I'm not okay
August 9, 2012 7:38 PM   Subscribe

My best friend of three years, lover, and fiancee did a line of coke today. Intellectually, it shouldn't be that big of a deal, but I cannot stop freaking out. How can I be okay with this, and with him?

He was hanging out with a friend of his, with whom he often smokes (pot). I'm okay with the pot. In the past, this friend has also provided my fiancee with prescription antidepressants, which I made clear did not sit well with me. My fiancee does have legitimate issues with anxiety that are helped by antidepressants, so I encouraged him to see a doctor. He did, and now has his own, legal drugs that he uses responsibly as per the label instructions. He doesn't drink much, and has mostly quit cigarettes.

Today when I got home from work, he told me that he needed to say something and that I wouldn't like it. His friend had a bit of cocaine, and the two of them snorted it. He had never done anything harder than pot before this. I started crying pretty much immediately (he seemed surprised at that) and i told him I was okay, I just needed to be by myself to work it out in my head.

I went to a coffeeshop and wrote out how I felt, which boiled down to I love you, cocaine is not such a big deal, but I don't like that you did it or that your friend led you into it.

Intellectually, this is true. Cocaine is not too bad, as far as the hard drugs go. Once probably won't hurt him. I also don't blame the friend--my fiancee is an adult, and it was his choice. I'm merely concerned with how easily (it seems to me) that his friend's example led to him doing it himself. I was proud of myself for being level-headed and using non-blaming phrases like "I feel".

But when I got back, all my calm evaporated. Just opening up our apartment door was upsetting, and then when I saw him it got so much worse. I feel like I can't trust him anymore, like he's someone I don't know the way I thought I did.

To top it all off, we have an appointment tomorrow to discuss pre-cana with the priest who will marry us next year.

I don't know how to deal with this hurt. My fiancee is acting the way he always does when I'm not happy, which is a lot of "I love you" and "you're beautiful" and trying to touch me. I don't want to be touched--it was a difficult decision to even come back home after I took an hour-long cooldown walk. Relationships are hard sometimes and I'm not giving up on us, but I don't know what to say to him or to myself now.

He said sorry (after I was clearly not able to be okay with it), that he didn't enjoy the experience, and that he'd never do it again. (Intellectually) I have to give him a nod for telling me about it in the first place, and I made sure to tell him that I appreciated that.

But I'm so not okay, and I don't know how to make it okay. He doesn't seem to get it--he's playing an MMO with this friend, and talking about this friend to me. He's trying to get us back to normal as fast as possible, but I feel like normal is broken.

Can I fix normal?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (75 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Give yourself permission to feel mad, hurt, sad, whatever. It doesn't matter that intellectually you know it's not that bad. It's ok not to want things to go back to normal right away. It's ok to want to stay aloof for a while. Give it time-- your feelings will likely crystallize soon. The dichotomy between being intellectually okay with something, but torn up emotionally, is totally normal.

Your explanation I think is spot-on. You didn't think this was something he would ever do, but he's shattered that preconceived notion, so what else that you would never expect of him might be lurking? Only you know your fiancé, so it's hard to say what he might be capable of that you would never expect, or truly how out of character this was for him.

You are probably at a good stage to at least get in touch with a relationship counselor to hash this sort of thing out, and have a neutral ear for the future.. I probably wouldn't go to your priest with it, but maybe talking about your relationship issues in vague terms might be ok? I really have no idea.
posted by supercres at 7:49 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think maybe you need to explore your feelings and try to figure out why this bothers you so much. I suspect it's going to be hard to move past this and return to normal without processing your feelings.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

All I know is that when I did my (brief and long ago) foray into illicit drugs, it was the individuals I hung out with that were the influencing factor.

I'm thinking that maybe your guy should have different friends.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [15 favorites]

Sometimes things are still scary even though you don't think they should be. That's because fear doesn't live in the intellectual part of your brain and can't be governed or affected by it. But you can think about it and try to figure out why it scares you. Maybe you should just give it a couple of days and see how you feel then.

Rhetorical questions to ask yourself: Is he generally trustworthy? If he says he didn't like it and won't do it again, do you believe that deep down?

In the meantime he should try to just understand that it was frightening to you, and apologize for frightening you, even if neither of you doesn't know precisely "why".
posted by bleep at 7:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was going to say something to you here, but decided not to.
Then I clicked on a link on the blue, and came across this:

Forgiveness is a sublime example of humanity that I explore at every opportunity, because it was the unconditional forgiveness I was given by people who I once claimed to hate that demonstrated the way from there to here.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:51 PM on August 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

If using drugs other than marijuana and alcohol is a deal-breaker for you, and that he agrees with you that it's not something he's going to do again, it seems to me like you can go on.

I don't know what your past experiences with recreational drug use and others using recreational drugs may have been, and I am certainly not going to tell you what you should think about your choices and your fiance's choices.

But I have done a lot of cocaine in my life, chose to stop doing it about 20 years ago, and I'm really a model citizen. I mean, seriously, apart from being a cranky asshole, I give out candy to kids on Halloween, I used to shovel my elderly neighbor's walk whenever it snowed, I nursed my dad through his two-year final illness, I am a fantastic godmother and aunt and just really a nice lady. Lots of the nice middle-aged people I know used a bunch of cocaine when we were all young and foolish and thought we were immortal.

I would encourage you to sort out what your feelings are about recreational drug use, what your feelings are about cocaine in particular, and what your feelings are about your fiance choosing to take risks and break laws, and to think about which of those things is upsetting you. Obviously the first is something you and your fiance need to set your own limits for yourself and each other about; the second sounds like it's off the table for good in any case; the third might be more complex.

I wish you were sockpuppeted instead of anonymized, so I could ask you just why this is freaking you out so much. Cocaine can be addictive, and it can have pretty serious impacts on users' health in some cases, but your fiance sounds like he's not planning on using it again, so no harm done in those respects.

On the other hand, if what's freaking you out is that your fiance made a risky and, face it, illegal choice that you weren't expecting him to make and now you feel like you don't really know him, that's something to give serious attention to. You might also think of rescheduling your pre-Cana appointment if it's something you feel is stressing you out and yet something you don't want to discuss with the priest counseling you.

I do think that taking time to yourself to really work through why this is difficult for you is an excellent thing, and it's really important for your fiance to understand that you need that time and it's not OK for him to try to jolly you out of your concern. This is something that's a crucial relationship skill.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2012 [36 favorites]

You have expectations of him that he didn't fulfil. You need to make those expectations explicit if you haven't already, then he can decide if he can live with them, and you can decide if you can live with him if he can't.
posted by unSane at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think you should reschedule your appointment with the priest. Deal with this first.

(Intellectually) I have to give him a nod for telling me about it in the first place, and I made sure to tell him that I appreciated that.

This is the absolutely most important thing. If the two of you are going to spend the rest of your lives together, you're going to end up doing things that piss each other off. In my opinion (your values may vary) being so up front about it is a much stronger personal quality than doing a line of coke is a moral failure.

Tell him to back off a bit so you can give yourself some room to breath. Sleep on it. Talk to him again about it once you've sorted out your own feelings.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

A single line of coke is a waste of time and money even for someone who has never done it before. If he did *one line* and that's it, there's really not much to worry about. It's like worrying that he smoke *one cigarette* or had *a beer*. If he keeps going, you have something to worry about but from where it looks right now, it was just a bit of peer pressure. If he liked it, he'd have kept going and if he had kept going, you'd know because he'd have been really coked up.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

In the meantime, you can absolutely ask him not to touch you like this. It can feel manipulative when you're trying to sort something out. It is ok for you to have boundaries, especially while you are negotiating these sorts of issues.
posted by barnone at 7:56 PM on August 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

Your reaction to this doesn't seem rational at all - but then neither does his having to "admit" using the drug to you either. Sounds like there's more of a story here that is influencing your response to this. There are MANY much bigger issues that will arise with marriage - so if this is freaking you out, I suggest backing off the wedding until you sort out whether you can handle a true crisis.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:57 PM on August 9, 2012 [21 favorites]

Your fiancee uses illegal drugs. Nothing has changed in that regard. He is still the same person that he was yesterday. You need to figure out why you have this arbitrary line in the sand between pot and everything else, and deal with that. Your fiancee didn't do anything wrong or dishonest with regards to you. You were engaged to a drug user yesterday and you are still engaged to a drug user.

Whether or not he should be using pot or any other drug is a different discussion, and maybe one you two need to have before getting married.
posted by COD at 7:58 PM on August 9, 2012 [29 favorites]

I disagree with those who have said you should reschedule your appointment with the priest. Counseling is part of his job description.

As a practical matter, your fiance needs to drop this friend. If he doesn't, this will happen again.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:01 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

You had an idealized picture of him in your head, and he went and ruined that picture by being human. It's understandable for you to be upset, even though that's unfair.

One thing that I think may help is to remind yourself that your fiance loves you, which means he wants to be that idealized person. You can still have that! But you need to help him out a little by explaining to him what that ideal person is like and giving him a road map.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:02 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Is the friend the sort of person who tells your so "You're not cool if you don't do intoxicants with me?" That isn't a real friend.
posted by brujita at 8:05 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cocaine is a dealbreaker for you. He was aware that cocaine is a dealbreaker for you. He did it anyway. He betrayed your trust. You can't marry someone you can't trust.

Are you willing to leave him over this? If you go ahead and marry him, this means that cocaine wasn't a dealbreaker after all. And if that's not a dealbreaker, what is?
posted by mochapickle at 8:06 PM on August 9, 2012 [10 favorites]

It sounds to me like you are describing anger. I might be wrong.

But I came in to let you know that one of the most usable pieces of information I picked up in therapy is that anger is often a secondary emotion.

Something scary or embarassing or just unexpected happens and we spend some amount of time with that primary emotion of fear or embarassment or confusion. Sometimes that is less than a moment, other times it's longer.

Are you afraid? Hurt? Disappointed? Something else?

Digging around in that might help you improve this.
posted by bilabial at 8:06 PM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

>As a practical matter, your fiance needs to drop this friend. If he doesn't, this will happen again.

As a practical matter, you cannot seek to control another person to this extent. You could make an ultimatum but that would be highly counter-productive. You need to work out, together or separately (but better together), the extent to which your differences as individuals really matter.

I do more risky things than my wife is comfortable, and I do it with friends that she may not always appreciate. But she accepts that that is who I am and what I am, and that we don't have to see eye to eye on every single thing. She wont lecture me and I wont rub her face in it. We're very happily married.
posted by wilful at 8:07 PM on August 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

You were engaged to a drug user yesterday and you are still engaged to a drug user.

I don't think this is the issue at hand, or even remotely related. Even if he quits the pot he's still on psychoactive medication. Would he still be a "drug user" then? It's a useless label, especially in this situation. OP is clearly ok with the pot but not the cocaine. I don't see anything especially odd about that, especially since she's had time to come to terms with the pot (or whatever the process was) but the cocaine is new. One is physically addictive, the other isn't. One is more harmful than the other. (On preview, it would be silly to call cocaine a "deal breaker" after a single instance, unless that was something they specifically talked about before.)

OP, give yourself time to either figure out why this bothers you so much (and it's okay if it does!) or to drop it and trust that it won't happen again. It's ok to be suspicious that this is the top of a slippery slope. You have plenty of time to work on this before the wedding. DTMFA is not the solution unless this is/becomes a pattern; time and reflection are.
posted by supercres at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's good that he told you, and that he accurately predicted that you wouldn't like it.

I think it's very understandable that this freaks you out more than alcohol or pot. I think you're well within your rights to tell him that it freaks you out and you need some time to think about it before you can be okey-dokey; even though you know he's basically safe, it still feels like a big departure from normal.

Are you mainly freaked out because you're wondering what this presages for his future behavior (impulsive? more of a risk-taker than you thought)? Or is it the mental associations you have with cocaine (addictive? only done by certain types of people?)?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:11 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I could say one thing to young women contemplating marriage it would be,

"If you hear the kind of alarm bell you have described here, take it as seriously as you ever took anything in your life."

If this man would play around with cocaine right before your pre-cana appointment, if he continues to smoke pot, if he continues to hang out with the person he so easily joined in doing cocaine, no amount of words, or sweet touches are worth what is in store for the woman who marries him. Please throw down now the gauntlet you will be forced to throw down in a few years after you have forgiven him over and over right into the depths of depression, debt, (and possibly you with children and two jobs and him with criminal charges), broken promises all of which will continue as long as he uses drugs.

He is so not ready to be a responsible married man. My advice would be to a young woman I loved dearly: call the whole thing off and challenge him to clean up completely before there's any chance of your reconsidering him as a reliable partner. If he is not willing to go to great lengths to prove himself now, it is not worth it. It would not be worth it if he were the most gorgeous, rich, brilliant and best lover in the world. Nothing is worth overriding your own security alarm. If you quiet that warning now, you will begin to lose it and make yourself much more vulnerable when you most need to protect yourself.

I do not know him. I do not know you. But I know drugs and alcohol and addicts and the insidious nature of addiction. That signal you heard is recognition of a very extreme danger to your hopes for a loving marriage and family life. Please do not ignore it. And please don't accept words or promises as assurance that he has taken care of his problem.
posted by Anitanola at 8:12 PM on August 9, 2012 [53 favorites]

I agree with Anitanola. Please, please listen to the alarm bell that's gone off. Please. Not because of any particular stance that I have about drugs, but because alarm bells exist for a reason, and its sounds like this one is big and deserves to be heard, acknowledged, and obeyed.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:14 PM on August 9, 2012 [8 favorites]

Anitanola has a good point: did this cause you so much emotion because it ties into an existing suspicion that he is prone to addictions?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:15 PM on August 9, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Have you talked with him about why he chose to do this? Is it possible that pre-cana appointment has caused him some anxiety or doubt about marriage, and his use of the drug was a conscious or subconscious expression of that?
posted by Anonymous at 8:16 PM on August 9, 2012

FYI they are going to ask you about illegal drug use in pre-cana, either during the long questionaire, or during the inventory of canonical impediments to marriage, or both. If the priest asks tomorrow, that might be super-upsetting for you so I wanted to be sure you were warned.

(It's not necessarily an impediment but they do ask.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:16 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

As a practical matter, you cannot seek to control another person to this extent. You could make an ultimatum but that would be highly counter-productive. You need to work out, together or separately (but better together), the extent to which your differences as individuals really matter.

I didn't say that anyone control anyone else. However, marriage is a bargain. I don't think a term of the bargain such as "don't do cocaine" is any more burdensome than "don't sleep with anyone else".

The OP is distressed that her fiance took cocaine. The cocaine was provided by a "friend", the same "friend" who provided illegal prescription drugs and who is his "toke buddy" or whatever the young people call it these days. Is there any reason to believe that the World's Greatest Friend won't provide the fiance (and possible future husband) hard drugs again? As an aside, it is frankly beyond me that a habitual drug user is considered husband material, but I digress.

I am overjoyed that your marriage is blissful, but it occurs to be that there are degrees of difference between "I don't know why you go to Hooters so often" and "please don't snort a drug that makes all of our money evaporate and your heart explode". I too am a happily married man of over ten years, and since a wife and two children depend on me to eat, I do not find engaging in unnecessary risks and self-destructive behavior to be a fine idea. Then again, I was never prone to such things in the first place.

To our anonymous OP, please find a good man who is not self-destructive.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

I was deleted. Apparently for being succinct. I'll be more succinct.

If you don't trust this guy enough to trust to accept that he can handle the innocuous end of mind alteration then why are you with him in the first place?
posted by cmoj at 8:28 PM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

Did you ask him what made him change his mind and why he wanted to do the coke? Why today and not other times? It seems like so much of this was focused on how it made you feel more than him.

I don't know, but it seems like this cocaine thing is the tip of a bigger iceberg, because you do seem to be acting kind of extreme about it (considering you're ok with his pot use). Like some others have said, you have to figure out exactly what it is about this situation that is making you angry. The coke? The fact that he did something you didn't expect? The peer pressure? A combination? Marriage fears - who IS this man I'm going to marry?

Take time and figure out just what it is that is bothering you about this situation.
Then deal with it as best you can.
Don't go to coffee shops to write how you feel - be in the moment - deal with him - tell him how you feel, don't run away until you can write the perfect resolution. It all came back when you walked in the apartment because HE was the one who needed to hear what you had written, not what you had already concluded about it. Marriage is full of this kind of stuff. You both need to develop healthy ways of dealing with things like this. Based on how you are acting now, he may start to think twice about telling you things in the future that he thinks will upset you and that is not a good start to a marriage.
Good luck figuring things out.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:28 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

To me, it seems like you're more upset that this is where you draw your line: that you now have an ultimatum for him. He can't do hard drugs, or it's over. Am I right? It's hard...but this is a choice you need to make on your own. Learn to trust him again. If you can't, go to couples therapy. If you still can't, you should reconsider your engagement before getting married.
posted by camylanded at 8:31 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

It sounds to me like there are several interrelated issues. One is, Is doing one line of coke going to be harmful? - The answer's no.

A second issue is that there seem to be some symbolic boundaries here that are being crossed, either wittingly or unwittingly, and I'm guessing that both of you interpret both the boundaries and the cocaine incident in different ways. Given that he smokes pot, drinks alcohol, smokes tobacco, dabbled in the meds, etc., I don't see any guarantee that he is not going to try other things in the future, and it's probable that these boundary issues will come up again. So I think you both have to figure out these boundary issues, if things are to move forward heathily.
posted by carter at 8:31 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everyone's allowed to try every drug, safely, once.... It's an experience.

And everyone's allowed to have a dealbreaker. I think the OP should know that she's not alone in considering hard drug use to be a dealbreaker, and that the choice to make this a dealbreaker is OK too.
posted by mochapickle at 8:37 PM on August 9, 2012 [16 favorites]

I don't have any direct experience here, so I feel a little weird chiming in, but.. I have a slightly different opinion than those above, and it seems to me that many of the responses are taking the same tone. First of all, I don't think you should define what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable (behavior-wise or, in this case, recreational drug-wise) based on what a bunch of strangers online say. Just because everyone on this site is assuring you that cocaine's not that bad and you're 'overreacting' does not mean that cocaine usage would be a positive (or a negative.. or a neutral) thing in YOUR relationship. Nor does it mean that you are overreacting. I don't think there's a 'normal' case here. Some people might try it once and not feel any inclination to ever do it again. There is a huge posibility that your fiance would never touch another hard drug again and/or betray your trust or your preconceived notion of who he is in a negative way. There's no way for us to know since we don't know him, or your relationship.. It's just anecdotal. Some people will have terrible stories about loved ones and drugs and others will have ones that are far more positive. It doesn't need to be the end of your relationship, but it also doesn't need to be something that you approve of or disapprove of because people on MetaFilter are telling you to be cool, it's not that bad. There's no way of knowing if it's bad (for YOU). And there's no way for US to know if your fiance would ever do something like this again. Maybe your fiance doesn't even know if he would do something to betray your trust or challenge your preconceptions again.

The other thing I wanted to suggest.. or ask.. Do you think you're upset by this because you felt you knew who your fiance was but he did something that you thought he never would do.. and now you wonder what else he would do that could possibly hurt you? I mean, is it not actually the cocaine itself that is the problem, but now you wonder if he would do other drugs or.. cheat.. or do something else that would destroy your relationship? I just ask because it seems people are honing in on you deciding what it is specifically about cocaine.. when I'm not so sure it's specifically that particular drug that's upsetting you. You know what I mean? Anyway, I sympathize with you, and I don't think I would have been okay if I were in your place.. and I wish you clarity and luck. You sound very level-headed to me. (I do agree that it is very positive that he admitted this to you. I think a lot of people do things that would be total deal-breakers that they never share with their SOs. Trust is a very fragile thing.)
posted by Mael Oui at 8:39 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I, too, am wondering why this specific action is bothering you so much. Is it a trust thing? Has there been stuff building up in your relationship that you have not been admitting to yourself and this is the straw that's broken it open? Do you have something in your past?

2) I was thinking that this was a run-of-the-mill situation until I got to this:
my fiancee is acting the way he always does when I'm not happy, which is a lot of "I love you" and "you're beautiful" and trying to touch me.

This raised a little flag in my head. This sounds like it might be- and I have no way of knowing, I have never met the guy- but it sounds like manipulative behaviour. He does something that he knows you will have a problem with, then says nice words to you to get you to forgive him. If this is something that happens frequently, I would think long and hard about this relationship.

3) right after he told you, you said that it was ok and you just needed to wrap your head around it (Why did you say that?). Now he's behaving like everything is normal and you're still upset. He knows that you're unhappy about it, but you don't say if you actually said "this is unacceptable" and really dealt with it, or just that you were unable to hide your upset. If you are feeling like you need to try to be ok with things or that you aren't able to express your emotions to this guy in a way thay makes you feel heard, and he just does stuff you won't like and then apologises and acts like everything is normal, that is a dynamic that worries me. If you can't tell your husband how you feel about things when you feel it and the incident is immediate, you're going to spend a lot of time being unheard.

4)is the problem that he is suceptible to influence from this friend, or is the issue that you have basically different ideas about morals and that he was so willing to snort the coke, not because he was influenced away from right behaviour, but because he doesn't have a problem with it in the first place? Because if you and he have fundamentally different morals and expectations, that is something that you need to work through before the wedding; he could cut off contact with all of his bad influences and the problem between you would still be there.
posted by windykites at 8:42 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think it's a huge red flag like Anitanola said. God how I wish someone had had that talk with me when I was engaged.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:43 PM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

I'm just here to tell you that it is perfectly fine to be this upset. This man is not an adult. Cocaine IS a big deal. I can't believe anyone is trying to tell you otherwise. Drug usage is very common, but that doesn't mean it's healthy or constructive most of the time. Your feelings on cocaine are perfectly valid, so don't let anyone try to shame you for being such a controlling Puritan. You are entitled to a relationship free of hard drug usage if you want one. You are not required to accept a relationship with someone who has substance issues, which this guy clearly has.

This obviously a dealbreaker for you, so you're trying to explain it away. Don't do this rationalization crap to yourself. This guy is a dumb kid, and he's not growing up any time soon. I'm sure he's a lovely human being, but he is not spouse material. I've been in a similar position, and he's not going to stop. He's just going to start hiding it. You deserve someone you can trust.

Oh, by the way -- this guy gets zero points for telling you the truth about what he had done. He doesn't get a shiny gold star for being bare minimum honest with you. You need to work on your self-image, and stop making excuses for this guy. So much of this "cocaine is not a big deal" talk you're spewing sounds an awful lot like you're trying to convince yourself of something you don't believe.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:43 PM on August 9, 2012 [23 favorites]

I don't think you're "overreacting". I would react exactly the same way, and I'm far more likely to react too little than too much overall (and also don't care about pot). I see hard drugs as a big deal and I think that is a totally okay mindset to have.

You'll need to have a conversation with your SO to decide what you're both ok with in terms of future drug use, but for now there is nothing wrong with feeling upset, or betrayed, or unsure about the future. Accept those feelings, and think about why you're feeling them and try to figure out some concrete reasons that could help you form a future drug use policy - e.g. are you worried about addiction, overdose, getting caught, etc etc.

All of these reasons (and others) are completely legitimate reasons for you to be upset right now, and even if they weren't, it would still be okay to have those feelings. Feelings are always okay.
posted by randomnity at 8:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's not weird for you to be freaked out by this. It's not. The consequences of trying cocaine once may not be crazy serious, but he's already a regular user of one illegal drug, has illegally used prescription drugs in the past and now he's trying harder drugs. Sure, it's once so far, but there's a pattern here that's not hard to see.

And assuming you live in America, the consequences of illegal drug use extend far beyond the side effects of the drugs themselves. In addition to the obvious potential legal consequences, there are potential employment problems (even if he doesn't have a job right now that tests employees, that doesn't mean he won't lose it and need to find another one, and then he's potentially facing down a pre-employment test with recent usage).

Maybe nothing will happen. But maybe bad things will happen. A willingness to risk bad things for a brief high isn't exactly a sign of the kind of mature, stable person you want to marry and plan a future with.

I don't know how much pre-Cana counselling in your parish is a genuine effort to help couples work through issues and establish a sound basis for marriage and how much it is a show couples put on to impress the people running it with how well they can provide the correct answers to the questions, but if you're fortunate enough to live in a parish that takes it seriously you may find you actually learn some of the skills you need to deal with this issue during that counselling.

And if you don't, and if you're still freaked out by this, and if you can't find other counselling or support resources that help you be not freaked out by this, please trust that your instincts aren't crazy. There are valid reasons, both emotional and intellectual to be concerned about this, and none of us, whether we fall on the 'it's just drugs, chill out, dude' side of the line or the 'zomg, he's a druggie' side of the line have your perspective on this issue. Nor do any of us have to marry this guy.

Fortunately, neither do you.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:55 PM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

if he thought after, "uh oh, OP isn't going to like this" then he also thought it before doing the coke. and did it anyways.


I don't feel like there's any problem with your reaction or even the situation itself, I just feel like a man who says he loves you enough that he wants to marry you just made a decision that disregarded your feelings in a big big way (he knew you'd dislike it enough that he felt the urge to tattle on himself as soon as you walked in the door) and did whatever he wanted, despite that fact that it would hurt you, and hurt your relationship.

double yuck.
posted by euphoria066 at 8:57 PM on August 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

I think the OP's feelings about cocaine are perfectly valid, whatever they may be. I think the feelings of the OP's fiancé about cocaine are perfectly valid, whatever they may be. I think my feelings about cocaine are perfectly valid as well.

There is no such thing as a bright-line definition of "hard drugs." It is true that on a US Federal level, cocaine is Schedule II and marijuana is Schedule I. On the other hand, LSD is also Schedule I and my own experience was that acid was, for me, riskier in terms of affecting my judgment than coke.

It is fine for the OP to see cocaine as a deal-breaker. It would be equally fine for her to see weed as a deal-breaker, if she did. It would be equally fine for her to see alcohol or tobacco as deal-breakers, even though both are currently legal in the US, unlike coke or weed.

There is no special inherent property of cocaine that means it should be A Big Deal for everyone. There is no special inherent property of marijuana that means it should be Not A Big Deal for everyone. Both are illegal to use as recreational drugs in the US. Both are fun to use as recreational drugs. Cocaine definitely has way more negative side effects with repeated use, but that's moot here given that we're talking about one-time one-line use at this point.

I don't think the OP shoud talk about this in pre-Cana tomorrow because she's still sorting this out. Also, pace Tanizaki, whose church may be way more on top of this than the Roman Catholic Church, very few Roman Catholic priests who do pre-Cana counseling are trained in counseling at all beyond a brief seminar covering the specific pre-Cana curriculum.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:08 PM on August 9, 2012 [16 favorites]

What stands out in this question to me is that your fiancee is at least dabbling in six different relatively deep known addiction vehicles. Perhaps cocaine is the one that brings the pattern into sharp focus, but I'd expect more addiction risk in his future.
posted by ead at 9:09 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think euphoria066 has it down, as well as everyone who discussed the idea that this is a bigger issue in the sense that you may be wondering what else is he capable of doing that I would never expect him to do AND that he would do it knowing it would upset you. I think you really need to address those issues with him. And really, truly, hard drugs are a perfectly reasonable thing to be worried about. I'm a little concerned with how casually cocaine is being considered, but then again, I don't even drink. But regardless, you are entitled to feel how you feel about this issue.
posted by DeltaForce at 9:10 PM on August 9, 2012

Speaking only for myself, the only drug I ever used to the point of its affecting my judgment to where it endangered my health was alcohol.

The idea of "hard drugs" vs. other drugs really isn't that relevant to the OP's question, except insofar as it's relevant to her and her fiancé.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:14 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I honestly wonder if he didn't do it in part because you two are meeting with the priest tomorrow, and he's testing you to see what happens if and when he breaks rules in the future.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:15 PM on August 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

liketitanic, that's a reasonable point about risk. I'm not aware of that being a potential issue with cocaine, but if the OP is, her being upset that he had risked even the very small possibility of fucking up his heart just to get high makes perfect sense.

Fortunately, that didn't happen for him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2012

I think that being "not okay" with this whole thing - the sneaking around, the use of a "hard" drug, the manipulative "I can tell you're upset" nonsense, the fact this happened right before your pre-cana meeting, etc. - is totally fine. It is always okay to be not okay with something. You don't need permission to be upset or disappointed or whatever else you are feeling.

I really strongly suggest that tomorrow's meeting be devoted to this issue. "Normal" isn't necessarily a healthy/wise/possible goal - what you're really looking for is probably more like "peace of mind" or "security" or "a rational basis for mutual trust." And frankly, right now, you have a lot of legitimate reasons to believe you don't have those things in your relationship with your fiancé.

(Disclosure: This would be such a dealbreaker for me it's frankly kind of impossible for me to process how totally OK so many of the folks who've answered your question so far would apparently be with it.)
posted by SMPA at 9:24 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

This is MeFi. As you can see from reading, people fall all over the spectrum when it comes to opinions about drug use. You are not going to get any kind of constructive consensus from us about your fiance's cocaine use. And I hope that whatever you take away from those comments, you do not feel that your feelings have been invalidated.

Please focus on the relationship aspect because I think that's where us Internet strangers may be able to provide some food for thought. The answers with genuine potential to help are the ones that address your feelings (anger, sadness, betrayal) about your fiance breaking a boundary that is important to you. The answers that address the specific boundary — the one-time use of cocaine — will be, in my opinion, significantly less helpful.

It is your boundary. It is your relationship. And you have the right to draw a line in the sand anywhere you need to be happy.
posted by hypotheticole at 9:58 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think the core issue is that you previously trusted his judgement and thought you could predict the decisions he'd make (as you'd expect when you've been with someone for awhile), and then he did something you thought he'd never do. So now you're freaked because you have no idea if he'll say no the next time. Or if the friend offers him something even harder.

I think that's a perfectly normal emotional response to the situation, and you should be able to predict your SO's decisions on major issues, not to mention his assessment about which things are major. Like someone said above, coke is not a big deal to everybody but he should have known it's a big deal to you. And it sounds like he did know that, and decided to do it anyway. For me not a deal breaker, but a big ass red flag.

It will take some time for him to rebuild your trust, so I'd definitely take the marriage thing more slowly until you figure out if his disregarding your feelings was an anomaly or a pattern of behavior.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 10:22 PM on August 9, 2012 [8 favorites]

Came here to say exactly what TallulahBankhead just said.

This is A Big Deal, because this calls into question his decision making skills. You really need to take a long hard look at this Big Red Flag that is waving in the wind.

Therapy. Not just pre-cana.
posted by jph at 10:38 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you really ok with the pot, or have you just begrudgingly accepted it? I could see how this situation would be particularly upsetting if you were already unhappy with the pot.

Either way, this sounds like a good time in your relationship -- especially since you're planning to get married soon! -- to open up the lines of communication. Get everything out in the open, and encourage him to do the same. Lay out your dealbreakers and ask him what his are. Don't assume he knows what you want or expect, and vice versa.
posted by imalaowai at 11:22 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sidhedevil said it really well. Also, IMHO coke is considered a white collar drug, so has little stigma if you already smoke weed. But in reality, it's pretty ,very, totally up there with alcohol as an addictive nightmare pot just isn't.

I dont use drugs, but my ex-husband did, and it started off innocently enough for him. I was crazy young, and in no place to think I had a right to say other.

This quote from Anitanola is very, very, very (i can't repeat this enough) important:

"If he is not willing to go to great lengths to prove himself now, it is not worth it."

Had it been heroin, or meth would you feel different? I'd explore that a lot, actually, because they are all on a level playing field, with meth and crack obviously being worse, but not so much more addictive to anyone inclined to addiction.

Which is pretty key. Heck, my mom has smoked pot (even done mushrooms once when we were away as kids) all her life, has tried coke, but cant even handle caffeine.

She's not a "druggie" if you will, but loves to smoke a bit a garden or redecorate.

My ex-husband liked to drink, I knew that. But, we were young, who didn't in college? Fine, but kept me from really ever taking a drop til we were divorced. Driver.

For the record, me: Pot, coke, LSD, mushrooms, PCP (jeeeeesus, thank god I'm not dead), a tiny bump of heroin just to say I did it, plenty of tequila, beer and wine for a lifetime.

Back to the timeline:

He tried heroin. Tiny little lines snorted, at first, just to be with the in-crowd (literally a bunch of musicians he wanted to hire him.)

But one day, he did a little "bump" in the morning to get right. ( a slow year, always snorting...but I was too young to see it it was the 90's, heroin was cool).

I had been very, very wary but never stated a me or heroin line in the sand,if you will. (pun marginally intended)

Lots of hospitals and rehab and divorce followed, eventually and way too slowly when I look back.

Point? Doing coke once? Not really a big deal, if he really isn't into it.

Twice? Twice as big a deal.

Three times? Fool me twice...gosh I'm a dunce.
posted by metasav at 11:59 PM on August 9, 2012

Ok, so put me down on the list of people who do not think this is a big deal and can't understand why you are making it into one. So your boyfriend did something you don't like, and that he knew you wouldn't like (although clearly he did NOT know how much you wouldn't like it, since he was surprised when you cried). You sound like you're ready to chuck a three-year relationship over one relatively minor transgression that your partner is sorry about.

I have to wonder whether you have realistic expectations for your relationship. People let other people down. It happens. There is no long-term relationship ever where it doesn't.

So I think the way you find normal again is by working on your own reaction, on your own expectations of perfection, not by trying to "fix" your partner. If you cannot temper the way you feel, I at least think you should stop taking it out on him. Work through your feelings in a journal or by talking to someone else.

Have you ever let your partner down? I'd be surprised if the answer were honestly no, after three years! Perhaps you could meditate on the times you let him down and how it was survivable. Maybe you even appreciated his loving and forgiving reaction when you let him down? Having a loving and supportive and forgiving partner is pretty crucial to make it over the long haul. More important, I'd say, than having a partner who never did a line of cocaine.
posted by parrot_person at 1:29 AM on August 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

This is about YOUR moral hangups about drugs that you'll need to work through. Please imagine how utterly ridiculous it would sound to tell everyone you called off the wedding because you found out your fiance tried a line of coke with his buddy when he was bored one night.

The last two presidents of the United States have done coke at some point in their lives; the past three have smoked pot.
posted by windbox at 4:34 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Please imagine how utterly ridiculous it would sound to tell everyone you called off the wedding because you found out your fiance tried a line of coke with his buddy when he was bored one night.

I have enjoyed cocaine in the past; I would not think you sounded even a little bit ridiculous. It is, as has been put forth already, reasonable to have dealbreakers, and this would be a very reasonable dealbreaker for a lot of people. Which is not to suggest it should be, just -- well, yeah. I'm surprised by how many of the drugs-are-good folk are forgetting about the terrific number of people for whom drugs are not good. Either camp, not interfering with the other, is a reasonable place to situate oneself.
posted by kmennie at 4:43 AM on August 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

Moral hangups are only very rarely the kinds of things people should just 'work through'. Not wanting to associate with, much less marry, people who contribute to such a stark system of oppression addiction, and violence is not ridiculous at all - its human.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:53 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Please imagine how utterly ridiculous it would sound to tell everyone you called off the wedding because you found out your fiance tried a line of coke with his buddy when he was bored one night.

No, do not make a decision based on what other people would think. If cocaine is beyond the line for you -- it would be for me, which is not to say I think drug users are terrible people, just that I don't want to be married to a current one -- then it is beyond the line. If it isn't, that's okay too. But you seem sort of confused. Are you worried that he will use cocaine again? Use other drugs? Do you realise now you don't really like that he uses so much pot? Do you just dislike this friend? If you could figure out, yourself, why this was so upsetting to you, you could more easily explain it to your fiance.
posted by jeather at 4:59 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

I don't think the OP shoud talk about this in pre-Cana tomorrow because she's still sorting this out. Also, pace Tanizaki, whose church may be way more on top of this than the Roman Catholic Church, very few Roman Catholic priests who do pre-Cana counseling are trained in counseling at all beyond a brief seminar covering the specific pre-Cana curriculum.

If nothing else, upon hearing this situation, the priest should say, "No marriage, not now. We're not scheduling a thing." (assuming he is at all worth his salt) The sad part is that for too many parishioners and certainly too many of the clergy, such pre-marriage counseling is a formality to go through rather than a substantive exercise. I was heartened that the pre-Cana in this case appears to be a private meeting rather than the large class I went through before my marriage. I don't know the OP's heart, but thus far I do not get the impression that conforming to the precepts of the Roman church is high on this couple's list, so I frankly shocked when pre-Cana was mentioned. This is not the passing of judgment but simply an observation.

I am familiar with the Roman church, having been a member until about six months ago, and I do not find your description of their counseling training to be accurate. Pastoral counseling is a part of every seminary program I have heard of. YMMV. In any event, I would hope the priest would at least postpone this wedding based on what has been discussed here.

I again advise the OP to find a man without such self-destructive tendencies and not to worry about being a "fuddy duddy". I hope she has a chance to read this thread again before the meeting so she can make a decision, and I do hope she will update on the progress of things.
posted by Tanizaki at 5:13 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

It sounds like he is trying to get you to break up with him or at least hold off on the wedding. Instead of communicating his hesitation at taking the next step into marriage, he is doing something he hopes you consider a dealbreaker enough to do something about it.
posted by spec80 at 5:18 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

The way you write this makes me think you are worried he is an addict, or has the potential to be, and that scares you. That would be my worry too, in your situation.

There are people who have no interest in drugs and never have, like me and my wife. In this area, at least, we have the comfort of knowing that each other will never risk losing or not getting a job, going to jail, expensive rehab (or expensive drugs), or most importantly, the health of our relationship, for the sake of drugs. To me, this is a basic requirement for a relationship, because I am not willing to deal with that stress. This is not true for everyone.

There are people who DO have interest in drugs. Sometimes they try drugs for a while, and then give them up for various reasons (like many of the people I know and love.) Sometimes they never get clean and their lives are horrible and short (like a couple of people I used to know.) Sometimes they spend their whole lives struggling with where the line is and go through periods of success and failure. This can actually be harder, emotionally, for the people who love them.

The point is, if he is someone who is interested in drugs, now you don't know which of those people he is, but you know it's not the first sort. You don't know how his health and your life are going to turn out, and you have to worry about him. And you are mad that he is making you worry about him, because you love him. So his trying coke isn't just about him trying coke, it's about him choosing to be a person who you maybe can't trust, who you have to worry about.

And secondly, he knew you would not like him trying coke and he did it anyway. Think about that.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 5:22 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Its okay to make cocaine use a dealbreaker for you. I'd be gentle about it.

Don't bring it up to the priest--as a lapsed catholic that will get back to your parents quick. The priest will use your parents against you.

Figure out your feelings and then discuss them completely.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:26 AM on August 10, 2012

You are NOT overreacting.

First: if my fiancee, who I love dearly and am planning to build a life with, came home and sheepishly told me he had just done a line of coke, I would be straight up calling off the wedding, and not worrying whether anyone would think me a fuddy duddy for doing so.

This is not a line I always drew. This is a line hard-drawn through experience.

Some time ago, someone I loved dearly, who I know used pot, did cocaine he got from some guy in a bar. And I was shocked, and thought it must have been his first time. He said no, it wasn't - he tried not to use it because it made him into an asshole - but that the first time he did it he felt so powerful that he wound up using it whenever someone else offered, which was a couple times a year.

On one of the occasions, him and a friend went hunting for drug dealers, and wound up trying to steal a vehicle. This was behavior he would never have undertaken sober. But it happened anyway.

This guy was not marriage material. He was not marriage material for me and he is not marriage material for his current girlfriend.

Listen to your heart. Lay some hard limits - and I consider "no hanging out with drug dealers" to be a reasonable one. Figure out if this guy is really marriage material after all.
posted by corb at 5:51 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's a pretty big deal, not the biggest deal, but a big deal. He's done something that's inherently addictive and illegal. (Illegal doesn't necessarily make it wrong or immoral, but it creates a lot of risk.) You have the right to be upset. You also have the obligation to work it through with him. He's not hiding it from you, and he wants to make right by you. Honestly I think this is the kind of guy you do want to get married to.
posted by moammargaret at 6:18 AM on August 10, 2012

If you're planning on having children, you don't want to think just in terms of "is he husband material?" You must think in terms of "is he father material?" Is the cocaine experimentation and his apparent susceptibility to peer pressure setting off your spidey sense that this might become a pattern? (He's a grown-ass man, right? Part of being a grown-ass person is learning to resist peer pressure, whether it's to wear unflattering shirts or try illegal and potentially dangerous drugs.)

Do you think he might want to hang out with his friends and smoke pot or snort coke even after he becomes a dad? That friends and drugs will take priority over family and kids? That he's going to use dysfunctional coping methods - whether drugs, drink, or intrusive boundary-crossing attempts at making the kids "love him" - when the inevitable toddler tantrums or teenage hormonal craziness and door-slamming arise?

You get to choose your spouse. Your future kids won't get to choose their parents. It's up to you to do your best to provide them with a good father. It's well and good that you are examining what this drug issue means to you now for your marriage. Just don't forget that when you have kids, there's going to be more to your marriage than just the two of you.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:46 AM on August 10, 2012 [10 favorites]

I'd keep the Pre Cana appointment tomorrow and I'd discuss this with your priest. The idea behind any pre-wedding counseling is to make sure the couple are on the same page about things. At this moment, you and your fiance so aren't.

I'd consider Pre Cana counseling a success if you uncovered issues that at their core, allowed you to see that you and your fiance aren't the right partners for each other.

I'd consider Pre Cana counseling a success if you brought this issue to light so you could discuss it and come to an agreement about it prior to getting married.

I'm considerably older than you are, and my opinion my be skewed by my life experience, so take it for what it's worth.

I did pot in high school and in college. Then I stopped. I stopped because it's juvenile. When I became an adult, I realized that pot had no place in my life.

I put it to you, are you HONESTLY okay with your fiance's pot use? Are you okay, that he'd take unprescribed pills recreationally? Are you okay with the fact that your fiance has a friend with whom he does drugs as a main part of their relationship? Frankly, I see these things as HUGE red flags. Enormous.

You can love your fiance, and still realize that you are in different parts of your life and while he may want to marry you, he may not be ready for marriage and family. Do you want the father of your children to be a pot smoker? Would you want his friend around your family?

To me, those would be deal breakers.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

I skimmed this thread and I didn't see that anyone else had asked this, so apologies if someone has: this is an important question, OP - have you every had this type of reaction to anything ELSE your fiancee has done? Maybe not as severe, but the same general pattern of "fiancee did something objectionable to me, I reacted with immediate crying, inability to hold emotions together when in his presence, etc."?

If you HAVEN'T - if this is a COMPLETELY NEW and unique reaction for you - then I think you were just shocked by your fiancee doing something which, to you, seemed SUPER-bad/uncharacteristic/foreign. This is not a gigantic deal. I know that you probably FEEL awful and unhinged now, but this type of shock is not sustainable long-term. You can and will talk it out, with or without professional help.

If you HAVE had this type of reaction before? That's a bigger deal. To me, that indicates that you and your fiancee have some deeper issues... either with trust, or responsibility, or closeness, or god-knows-what. But my gut tells me that you guys need to be more securely bonded (to the point where you implicitly trust him, to the point where he either DOESN'T do things that make you burst into tears, because he respects you, or where YOU don't burst into tears because of things he does, because you respect HIM).
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

When I used to get upset about my husband's one-off drug experiences, it was because I knew, in my heart, he had a larger problem with substance abuse in general. It took years, and a drug-induced psychotic break on his part, for me to figure this out. I am absolutely not saying this is what's happening with you. But I am saying to listen to yourself and trust your instincts. I wish I had given my gut more credence ten years ago.
posted by something something at 7:05 AM on August 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

People can argue what the definition of normal behavior is until the cows come home. As a recovering drug addict, I can tell you that the behavior you have described does sets off alarm bells for me. For someone that is supposed to love you, this person's want and use of substances has driven someone that they are supposed to love dearly to the internet to make this post. This is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. To me, this is like one of the very definitions of addict/enabler relationships. The groundwork is being laid for your making excuses for this person before you are even married. My suggestion for fixing things is to take a look at some codependency books.
posted by heatherly at 8:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [13 favorites]

I've been thinking about this since I first answered.

I wanted to come back and be more supportive.

You want to get back to normal. Normal for you is(was?) not having a partner who dabbles in cocaine. And I apologize, but my advice earlier to figure out what the primary emotion behind anger...that doesn't get your normal back.

If the cocaine use is a dealbreaker for you, that is ok. It is perfectly ok for this to be a reason for you to not marry this guy. And here is why:

Any reason you choose for not marrying someone is a perfectly good reason.

Do you hear me? Any reason.

Anyone who tells you that you are blowing this out of proportion, or that you need to chill out, or that his transgression is minimal, or whatever...those people are not looking down the barrel of marrying this guy. Sure, maybe they've married someone else who did a line of coke once, or a hundred times. Maybe they have their own experience with any number of illicit drugs.

But they are not you and they are not scheduled to marry this guy. This might not be the reason that they choose to cancel a wedding, to forgo a marriage. But it can be your reason.

Any reason can be your reason.
posted by bilabial at 9:39 AM on August 10, 2012 [21 favorites]

I came to ask if you thought he was at risk for addiction and notice that a number of other posters have brought it up. That's the main thing in my view. What do you think, and what does he think? The timing of his doing it, his confessing-- those could suggest a sort of last fling that's fairly harmless. On the other hand, addicts are always telling themselves they are having a last fling. He could be setting you up for an endless round of codependency.

Also agreed that his friend sounds like trouble. Honestly, passing around illicitly obtained antidepressants sounds weirder to me than cocaine in a way. It's so very feasible to just get your own antidepressants, why dabble with it like it's a street drug?
posted by BibiRose at 9:41 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't try to justify his actions. You have no idea if he has already done this before. It is downhill from here. He may be an addict and you don't even know it.

Your normal is NOT his normal, that is the problem here.
posted by pakora1 at 9:55 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aside from all that has been written...
I think the reason he had such a bad experience is because mixing cocaine with antidepressants is a BAD idea. Which, from my slightly twisted perspective, is a blessing in disguise because at least he didn't like it and would start thinking about doing it again.

But if this is a dealbreaker. . . you do need to take time to think about it and decide whether or not marriage is still on the table.
posted by Val_E_Yum at 10:34 AM on August 10, 2012

Yeah I've been thinking about this too since I answered, and I do agree with bilabial, that these are grounds for dismissal that you have a right to have without feeling judged over. Although I think I'm still more looking at this in terms of his patterns of behavior and his track record, rather than the specific coke incident. (Also I'm still a bit confused as to why you enable the pot and the meds, but are worried about the coke. Maybe underneath you are a little in denial with yourself here, and so rather than deal with the pot, you decided to draw the line at the coke?)

Also, how is he with money, btw? If the above behaviors are also lined up with debts (cc etc.) and inability to get his thing together with income and budgeting (for whatever reason, including lack of employment), I would feel totally justified in calling off the proceedings.

Also - you are not breaking the deal. It sounds like he is breaking the deal, and then manipulating you into feeling guilty.
posted by carter at 6:43 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

"I'm surprised by how many of the drugs-are-good folk are forgetting about the terrific number of people for whom drugs are not good."

This. I must recuse myself and say that I come from a position of being related to a number of people for whom drugs are not good.

I don't think you're reacting unreasonably at all. He's been using drugs for a while, including abuse of prescription drugs, and now he's taking it further. Of course, you don't know what's coming next. That is the way it is, in my experience. It could be as benign as MeFi says it is, and maybe this really is the last time he'll ever do it. Or it could turn into something nasty and dangerous, which is the lurking threat in every situation with an addict.

Not that I'm saying he is one - but that doesn't mean you should therefore enter into a lifelong spiritual and legal commitment with him on the assumption that this won't get worse. What assurance do you have that it won't get worse and that he won't continue to take it further? Why, given the timing of this confession, would you feel assured that you could take it at face value rather than as a manipulation or test of some kind? I absolutely do not think you are overreacting, and I think you have a right to draw this boundary, and not in a "of course you are entitled to your bizarre little quirks, my dear young lady! you'd have every right to see socks-with-sandals as a dealbreaker, and this is no different!" heatherly has it.

oh snapdragon said it better than I could. I won't even date someone who gets drunk too often because I grew up tired of dealing with that kind of anxiety, and as an adult, I have free agency not to have people in my life who do things that cause me anxiety. Because this isn't the prevailing worldview, and the UK is a very hard-drinking culture, my potential dating pool is reduced to four, but I don't care because I've done my time.

I think it's possible you have not been as comfortable with his level of drug use as you thought, but I could be wrong. I would really encourage you to think carefully about what level of drug and alcohol use you could be happy with - not just tolerate, but be happy with - in a partner and hold that line even though MeFi will think you're so square you're cuboid. MeFi isn't marrying this guy, you are.
posted by tel3path at 3:08 PM on August 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a hardcore drug user - I like my psychedelics in a pretty deep way. So do some of my boyfriends. And I still think you have reason to reconsider marrying this guy.

It sounds like your gut feeling is saying he's not trustworthy. On reading your question, it sounds like a guy who's not committed to building a life with you. He just isn't enough into the relationship. The guys I know who are good partners (some of them drug users!) are people who cherish their girlfriends or fiancees enough to protect them and protect the relationship. Those guys have a personal mission to be responsible people and good guys. They are careful. They are not seeing how much they can get away with. Their girlfriends are not typically surprised or upset.

This guy sounds immature, and like he's acting out, and like part of him might not want to be there. I imagine that if you break things off, you'll have a long slog ahead of being unhappy, and you might not find someone better right away who you are attracted to. But in the long-long-long term, you really want to be married to someone who undoubtedly and deeply cherishes you, and for whom protecting your relationship is a prime life directive. He's out battling the demons and solving the problems, not creating them himself.

I don't like the anxiety you're feeling in this moment when you are engaged. It's supposed to be a beautiful moment for both people. It's not supposed to feel the way you feel now.
posted by kellybird at 7:27 PM on August 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Kellybird put it better than I could.

The cocaine use itself is a bit of a MacGuffin, though obviously the stakes wouldn't be as high if he'd, say, confessed to eating one too many bananas. I may think any misuse of drugs is alarming, but you're not coming from that place, so telling you he's escalated is akin to giving you a mixed message. It's like Schroedinger's addiction: he is an addict, he's not an addict. The burden of interpreting this is placed on you and this won't resolve until you open the box/get married/respond in whatever way he's testing you for.

When you get a mixed message, the mixed message itself is the message. It says "I will not be straight with you, I want to see how far I can push things, I want to cause you distress and make you take the blame for interpreting the message incorrectly."

That's no way to live, even for people who consider that drug use is just fine and dandy.
posted by tel3path at 2:27 AM on August 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

Honestly, the guy probably went and did a line of coke for a lark thinking it would be no big deal. He probably also thought it wouldn't be a big deal to you. His impression of you was wrong, because obviously it was a big deal. He wants to get back into your good graces. Let him.
posted by scrutiny at 12:48 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

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