SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH, 2018

DEAR ANNALISE,

My boyfriend has been doing a lot of drugs recently. He told me he has never done drugs before, and beyond that we haven’t really discussed drug use in our relationship.

He has been hiding his drug use from me, and I know because one of my friends made a joke about him smoking and I said he didn’t smoke. My friend told me that he smokes a lot, much to my surprise.

I feel very uncomfortable, not so much about the drug use, but more about him lying to me about it. Should I approach him about it? I’m not a hundred percent comfortable with him using a lot of drugs, or especially if he eventually pressures me to use them but I don’t know how to convey that to him in a non-judgmental way or in a way that could potentially compromise our relationship.

-ANON

DEAR ANON,

It’s completely normal to feel stuck in situations that force you to confront your feelings towards your partner. Above all, in a healthy relationship there needs to be honest and open communication between you two about these types of problems. Sweeping the problems under the rug isn’t going to make you feel any more comfortable, and you deserve to be happy in your relationship and have both you and your partner aware of your needs. Trust and boundaries are a necessary foundation for any relationship.

You need to set boundaries about how comfortable you are with certain aspects of your relationship with your partner, namely drug use. Find a neutral area for you to have an honest discussion with your partner, and begin with some objective observations about your relationship.

Perhaps share something like, “A few friends have told me that you are using drugs.” Try to be as objective as possible, because you can’t know for sure what he has done or why.

It’s going to be tough to bring up these things to your partner. However, it’s truly important that he knows what is bothering you so you can sort out your communication. If you told him that you cared about drug use in a relationship and wanted to set some boundaries, it would be clear what you are comfortable with in a relationship. It’s up to him if he can respect those boundaries.

It probably feels weird to approach a conversation about drugs with him. You may feel peer-pressured to develop a more accepting attitude towards drugs.

Many students may have a lax attitude toward drug use, but other opinions exist too, and he should respect that if he want to be in a relationship with you. Even if it’s “normal” to him and it bothers you, he should be aware and respect how you feel.

Also, moving forward, your boyfriend, or anyone else for that matter, should not force you to do anything. This kind of peer pressure is not something you need to conform to, your choices are yours and whatever you decide to do is perfectly okay. Make sure you are able to say no when you are uncomfortable and be able to stop your boyfriend from pressuring you into things if it ever happens or if you are concerned about it happening.

I know the drugs aren’t the entirety of the problem, the root of the problem is the lying about them. The lying is a separate issue with communication. You can’t guess why he was lying to you, though a million ideas may be racing through your head right now, and you may be feeling anxious or very confused.

You cannot assume what the truth is, so similar to confronting the drug use, be objective about what you feel transpired.

Obviously it bothers you, so find a time to reach out to him about it. If you’re comfortable about it, reach out to him about it at the same time as the drug use. Easier said than done, but he did something that betrayed your expectations of him as a boyfriend, and he has to know that. You can’t expect him to know it was wrong, so please talk it out with him and resolve the communication.

Overall, don’t be shy about pursuing happiness in a relationship. As a high-schooler myself I understand how hard it is to think about my happiness and convey what I want clearly before simply acquiescing and trying to make the other person happy.

Your happiness is so important! This act of communication in a relationship is just a tiny blip in your life, and what matters in the bigger picture is your overall happiness in relationships, and that is rooted in communication.

WITH LOVE,

Annalise

Dr. Moira Kessler, a child psychiatrist at the Stanford University Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, offers feedback to the column writer. She is not providing any clinical services.

To submit a question or issue to be published and answered in an upcoming issue of The Campanile, please complete the form “Dear Annalise Submission” which can be found at paly.io/dearannalise.

About The Author

Former Senior Staff Writer

Annalise Wang is a senior at Palo Alto High School and is an avid reader and writer. This is her second year writing for The Campanile and she has much interest in lifestyle and news writing. Outside of the journalistic work, Wang participates in track and field, interns with the Palo Alto Energy Conservation Program because of her passion for the biological sciences and enjoys traveling abroad whenever she can. Wang is proud to be a part of the wonderful Campanile staff and is excited to share news and ideas with the public whenever she can.

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