My sister is a pothead and she thinks I don’t know. It’s totally ridiculous. She’s stoned all the time, and if she’s not stoned, she’s about to get stoned.
She also thinks her boyfriend doesn’t know but he and I both know everything. I’ve known for years and assumed he knew because they live together. He thought I was unaware, so didn’t share anything with me. Then one day we were all meeting at a restaurant for dinner. My sister was late so her boyfriend and I sat and had a drink. When she arrived, it was clear that she was high and instinctually, he and I looked at each other. That’s when we both realized that we both knew.
We got together later that week to discuss my sister and her habit. It’s now been six months and we have corroborated on all the things we both know when we know them. We’re ready to intervene.
The problem is, though I really want to help my sister, I’m starting to fall in love with her boyfriend. I feel as though I’m falling down a rabbit hole of problems that I won’t be able to crawl out of. I need your advice.
Oh boy. Let’s start with your sister. If she’s as serious a pothead as you two think, enough that you feel the need to intervene, then focus on her, please. Get her the help she needs to quit or pull back on her addiction/habit so she can lead a successful, productive life.
Make a plan with her boyfriend regarding steps to recovery, and then leave him to execute said plan. Then WALK AWAY. Not from your sister, but from him.
They’re not married, and one day you two may end up together, but now is not the time. She needs his love and support to help her get healthy. He may be fabulous, but you need to leave him alone, pine and then find someone else to focus on.
Your sister also needs your support, but if you can’t handle keeping your feelings in check, then step back. It’s better for her in the long run and her health is more important than your love life right now. Sorry.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband becoming more and more obsessed with cars (July 12):
Reader – “My husband and my son are both on the autistic spectrum. I am a member of a Facebook group where members write about the difficult characteristics of their partners and, since we all deal with some or all of these traits in our mates, we have more understanding of how our lives are affected by these traits.
“One of the most difficult aspects of being, or married to, someone on the spectrum, is the lack of understanding from our neurotypical (NT) friends who fail to ‘get’ it. I suspect that some of your letters are from women whose husbands are on the spectrum.
“For example, the woman whose husband was becoming more and more obsessed with cars. This is one of the characteristics of people on the spectrum. They have ‘special interests’ that consume more and more of their time until it becomes a big problem for the family. This alone doesn’t make him autistic, but it can be an indicator to consider.
“This is only one letter that has caused me to wonder if the partner is neurodiverse rather than just ‘difficult’. Having lived with a husband on the spectrum for more than 50 years, I am perhaps more sensitive to this condition.
“Neurodiversity is present in 15 to 20 per cent of the world’s population so it is only fair to suggest that some of these problems are the result of NT/ND relationships.”
Reader #2 – “About the car widow - In her questions to you, she mentioned that the husband was recently the beneficiary of an inheritance, and she had some ideas about how he could spend the money instead of buying cars. I completely understand her feeling this way, but an inheritance is a gift to the beneficiary not to the family. Is this wife more concerned about how he is spending the windfall, or about his obsession with cars?”
FEEDBACK Regarding the scared parent of a teen driver (July 19):
Reader – “I was so glad to see your tough-love response to Scared Parent whose daughter drives distractedly. The favour that he’s doing her by reining her in will also protect her from a potential lifetime of having to live with the results of an accident that is likely to come. Even focussed teens are hampered by their youthful false sense that they’re invincible.”