Wedding Woes

This is a whole bag of resentment on both your parts.

Dear Prudence,

My wife decided two months ago to quit smoking pot. We’re both daily smokers, and our use admittedly increased during the pandemic. She’s tried to cut back a few times but wasn’t successful, so she quit for good. She attends online Marijuana Anonymous meetings, where it was recommended that she should stop drinking as well, because they think there is a risk of switching one dependency for another. So she is pursuing sobriety with a vengeance. I feel terrible, but I don’t like my wife very much when she’s sober. She refers to herself as a “recovering addict” and is seeing an actual substance abuse counselor (as opposed to her regular therapist). I think this is ridiculous because pot isn’t addictive and her habit wasn’t that bad to begin with. She’s full of “affirmations” now, and I hear her reciting them multiple times per day, and she sounds so pretentious. She relies on a very specific routine and will not deviate from it, even on weekends. She doesn’t give herself much free time and says she needs to keep busy in order to maintain sobriety. She won’t watch TV with me anymore because that’s when she used to smoke the most, and she doesn’t want to feel the temptation. We can only have sex at certain times of day, when she has a pre-scheduled “break.”

She says that I don’t have to quit smoking but gets mad if she can smell the smoke on me. I’m smoking way less as a result, which she thinks is great and thanks me for being “supportive.” But really I’m just trying to avoid her wrath, which is making me resentful. The thing is that she seems happier since making these changes, but I feel like she’s a totally different person. I wish I didn’t feel this way. I find myself hoping that she’ll hit a bad patch and go back to smoking again. I know that’s wrong, and I won’t deliberately undermine her efforts if this is what she wants, but I don’t know how to talk to her about this without being “unsupportive” of her sobriety.

—Put Off by Sobriety

Re: This is a whole bag of resentment on both your parts.

  • Yikes. LW sounds super resentful wife is happier with the pot and LW sounds like a lot to live with right now. 

    I suspect wife will ease a bit as sobriety gets more familiar but LW needs to speak up about how they’re feeling. But LW is kind of awful for hoping his wife breaks her sobriety just to make himself feel better. 
  • I hope the LW means he doesn't like who his wife has become while she pursues sobriety and not that he actually doesn't like her when she is "sober".  To me, that is a key difference.

    Right now, she has had to turn her world upside down in order to maintain her sobriety.  She is struggling with that and has recognized it.  One of her ways of staying on track is to keep her habits and activities very structured.  But, as her new way of life becomes more normalized and she loses her emotional dependency on pot, I assume she'll also be able to ease up on her schedule and not need to recite her "pretentious" affirmations as much.

    However, if the LW couldn't see liking her sober even if some of those more annoying characteristics subside, then I don't see any hope for their future.

    I hope he really is being more supportive to her then he sounds in the letter.  But it's concerning he is so flippant on something she see as a major problem and he doesn't.  I especially side-eyed when he disparaged her about seeing a substance abuse counselor.  And used the word "ridiculous" because "pot isn't even addictive".  It's true that pot is not physically addictive, which is a big plus.  But it can be emotionally addictive and that's very powerful also. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I think LW is going to need to talk to his wife later but give it time. 

    If the wife needs things so scheduled because without a schedule she seems doomed to fail that can be hard.  But LW may also need to express things for himself so he can try to work with her. 

  • If you resent your wife’s efforts to stop doing something she felt was harmful even when you can tell she is now feeling better, your marriage will not last. 
  • LW sounds like they also smoke too much.
  • LW sounds like they also smoke too much.
    I wonder if part of this is the theory of things like, "There's nothing more annoying than a reformed drinker." 
    MIL used to drink.  And she used to say that she DIDN'T drink but she had her own small stash she'd sip from time to time.  Now she'll have a bit of alcohol here and there in some kind of whisky cocktail AND she uses medical marijuana because it's a huge help for her arthritis.  She also has her own other medications for assorted issues and takes daily quantities of vitamins because she sees them as beneficial.   But in her wisdom she's great to critique the substance consumption of everyone around her including FIL who drinks way too much in her eyes.  

    And that does NOT mean that you should go back to drinking but I think there's a serious communication issue with both of them.   In this one, it seems like the LW needs to understand that his wife is needing to stop the behaviors that triggered her use.  But unfortunately that means that the time they bonded isn't there.  So he needs to figure out what can they do together?  Instead of watching TV can they play cards?  Games?  Go for a walk?  There has to be SOMETHING!  For DH and me we reach 9 PM and the kids go to bed so we get about an hour of time to relax.  I would MISS him if that suddenly went away so I'd try to figure out what can we do for that time if he needed a change of scenery.  

    I will say that scheduling sex sounds rough and some people just DO NOT do well with it.  DH hates the concept so I need to NOT do that with him.  LW sounds similar and again -communication!  

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