Sex & Relationships

Ask Sharleen: My BF Is a Heavy Pot-Smoker, Should I Leave?

Sharleen Joynt—opera singer, fellow Canuck, former Bachelor contestant and all-around cool girl—answers your most pressing matters of the heart. This month: How to deal with a chronic pothead and too-nice in-laws

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(Photo: Spiros Halaris)

Up In Smoke
I just started seeing this guy in his late twenties who I met on a dating site. We get along really well, have incredible chemistry and best of all, he’s doing all the pursuing. My only qualm is that he’s a heavy pot smoker—a wake-and-bake kind of guy. He smokes when he’s around his friends, before and after sex and sometimes sneaks off to do it while we’re just hanging out. I’ve gently mentioned that I’m not super into it (though I am known to indulge every once in a while), but he hasn’t drastically reduced his consumption like I was hoping he would. When can I have a serious chat with him? Or, since it’s only been a couple months, should I ditch him altogether?

Sharleen: Your question sparked an interesting debate between my fiancé, Andy, and me. Andy insisted that the issue lies not in whether or not your man is a heavy pot smoker, but rather in the type of pot smoker he is. Does he have a career to which he is dedicated? Does he lead a fairly active social life, and overall, is he highly functional? (Apparently Steve Jobs was quite the stoner.) Or, conversely, does he sit on the sofa all day, playing video games? In Andy’s words, “If he’s the latter, dump him.”

Okay, so those are two extremes, but you see what I’m getting at. Even if my man were highly functional, the thought of him relying on pot with that sort of frequency would bother me—it’s less about the effect and more about the dependency.

You know the old saying, “You can’t change him so stop trying”? There’s a lot of truth to that and it’s worth weighing in this situation. On one hand, it hasn’t really been long enough to expect a guy to give up what’s clearly a major part of his lifestyle for you. On the other, a couple of months is still a couple of months of your life, and before you invest more time in him, you should know if he’s willing to invest in you.

Needless to say, you must tell him, not gently, but firmly, that his smoking bothers you. What happens from there is up to you. Maybe he’ll make a real effort to smoke less, which regardless of the result might be enough. Maybe he won’t make any effort, which would be a sign unto itself. Until you lay it out there, you simply won’t know. From here, you could try the ultimatum route—“It’s me or the marijuana!”—but I personally don’t believe ultimatums make for healthy relationships. Time is precious and information leads to informed decisions, so make it clear how you feel, and as soon as possible.

Kindess Overkill
I recently got engaged, and am very happy in my relationship. However, I have a really hard time with my future in-laws. They love to dote on me, which makes me uncomfortable. I’m unable to pretend to be happy and warm when I’m not feeling that way, so I end up acting cold and aloof around them. This only makes them dote on me more. It’s a vicious cycle which makes me feel very guilty, because I know it’s hurtful to my fiancé. Is this something that will pass with time? Have you experienced this?

Sharleen: I know all too well the feeling of being uncomfortable in certain social situations. I understand wanting space and, at those times, it feels like a massive effort to slap on a smile. However, assuming you’re not living under the same roof as your future in-laws and you only see them sporadically, this is one of those just-suck-it-up circumstances.

In addition to being an exciting time for you and your man, this is also an exciting time for his parents. Part of me suspects their intensity will subside a bit with time, after the freshness of the engagement has worn off, but regardless, force yourself to be patient and gracious. If your future in-laws treating you with overbearing kindness is a source of stress, you must lead a pretty charmed life. So, as best you can, focus on the ways in which you are happy and fortunate.

A little gratitude goes a long way.

Have a question for Sharleen? Email your queries to, leave a comment below, tweet us @FLAREfashion or post on our Facebook page using #AskSharleen. Then look for her reply in an upcoming issue.

More from Sharleen Joynt:
How Do I Get Back in the Dating Game After Years?
Dating Rich and Ditching the Friend Zone
Why Is My BF Icing Me Out on Social?