Dear Amy: I’m a (more or less) straight woman in a relationship with a man 10 years older. We’ve been together for more than a year, living in the same house (with housemates). He is mature, compassionate, sweet, and supportive in many ways. He had some experiences in his teen years that he feels have scarred him, including going to prison for a naive, one-time experience with selling drugs.
He has dealt with his problems mainly through sobriety and Buddhism, but a few months before we met, he decided to start smoking marijuana again, both to process his teen angst and to elicit his creative, emotional side. He seems to spend about half (or more) of his evenings stoned.
I don’t smoke pot because it makes me incredibly paranoid, and I don’t really like him as much when he’s high. Honestly, I don’t even want to be around him. The fact that I hate it seems to make him smoke more. When he is sober, I am so happy to be with him, and I feel at ease. When he is stoned, I dislike him and don’t want to be around him.
I support him as a person, but I want to have kids — and not with someone who is using pot to work out his teen issues. He’s also fairly disorganized and barely works.
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I want a relationship that feels good for the long haul. Should I suck it up and hope it’s a phase? We have a hard time talking about this stuff and the tension is terrible.
– Unsure Monogamist
Dear Unsure: According to your narrative, your guy was 100% sober at one time — but all this stopped just before you met. Are you sure he has ever been completely sober? And since he’s dropped the sobriety — what happened to the Buddhism?
My read is that his previous periods of sobriety were phases — and what you have now — the person who is stoned half the time to unlock his creativity and deal with his teen issues and who doesn’t seem to work very hard — that’s him.
You two have a classic addiction dynamic (whether it’s alcohol, pot, food or tobacco).
He is not long-term partner/father-of-your-children material. He should seek spiritual and/or psychological counseling to deal with his “teen issues.” You should join in the large and growing “friends and family” fellowship by checking out a Nar-Anon meeting (Nar-anon.org). You might gain insight into the prospects of being with someone who is only 50% here.
Dear Amy: My brother is engaged to a great woman whom we all love. She has two kids (ages 6 and 5) from a previous marriage. As a family we all love her kids, too!
She and my brother are now expecting a baby and while there is no wedding date set (a sticking point with some members of our family), my real question is regarding a baby shower.
I’ve heard of throwing a “sprinkle” for someone’s second baby, but I don’t know what is expected in this sort of situation. If we do anything we’d like it to be co-ed to involve my brother as well, but should we throw a full-on baby shower?
– Eager (Almost) Aunt
Dear Eager: This baby is a “first” for your family, so if you are able it would be nice to host a shower. Check with the expectant mother in advance about what items she might need, and involve the other children, too. Decorating plain cotton baby “onesies” with fabric paint is a fun shower project they might enjoy.
Dear Amy: “Bigger Brother” was looking for a way to respond to his younger, more aggressive brother. Your response was great. I could have written this letter 15 years ago about my sister and me. It took me a long time to stop rising to meet her aggression with more aggression. When I first started remaining calm and neutral, it made her more aggressive, but it is the right way to handle it. I’m proud of how I handle myself by remaining calm and neutral. And that personal pride makes the venom sting less.
– Bigger Sister
Dear Sister: Exactly.