Drugs, Trust and Marriage

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker


Q: I have been married for 12 years now and before we were married my husband had been involved in marijuana and cocaine. 11 years ago he did go through rehab for cocaine and tells me he is through with that. However we keep dealing with him sneaking marijuana behind my back. He now tells me his family is more important and he is on the right track to making things right between us. However I have so many doubts about him being able to keep his word. I feel as though our lives will always be like this. However I still love him and would like to see us work through this. We are both struggling on how to move forward and for me to be able to trust in him again. Is this relationship doomed or can it be saved? Any advice on how to build the trust between us again would be very helpful. Thank you

A: Your husband is a very lucky man to have a wife who loves him enough to put up with his lies and deceptions for such a long time. You’ve given him a lot of chances. Unfortunately, he may think that because you have been so forgiving you will keep giving him more. My sense from your letter is that you are running out of patience and rightfully so. Trust is the foundation of any good marriage and he has made it very, very hard for you to risk trusting him yet again.
Twelve years of intermittent dishonesty is a long time. If he could defeat his bad habits of drug use and lying by himself, he would have done so by now. If you are going to take his promises seriously, I think you both need to see him actively engaged in doing everything he can to get himself on track. Participation in NA (Narcotics Anonymous) would help him stay honest with himself and you. You would probably find Al-anon equally helpful for yourself. You two would also benefit from some couple counseling with an experienced substance abuse counselor.
Serious involvement with a serious treatment program is what will save this marriage. With every day that passes where he is clean and honest, another building block of trust gets put into place. You should both expect that it’s going to take a great many days and a great many building blocks before the foundation of your marriage is secure again. Only the two of you know if the relationship is worth the effort.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Aug 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Drugs, Trust and Marriage. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/08/13/drugs-trust-and-marriage/

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