Forgive Him or Get Him Out of My Life?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am 21 and am dating a 29 year old who used to be a addicted to cocaine before he started dating me. he’s done pretty well with not doing drugs with me with him knowing I do not, and will absolutely not tolerate drug use around me or in my life. we started dating 6 months ago and from the beginning I told him one thing I never wanted him to do. lie to me about it. I caught him in a lie last saturday while he was trying to get it. I am in complete denial with the situation. He has usually been very honest with me if I ask him a question. I don’t want this to effect my trust with him towards other things, like woman but i’m scared that it might.

maybe I just need some words of wisdom to help me forgive him? there is nothing that hurts worse to not be forgiven when the person really is ready to change or if i’m in complete denial and should get him out of my life asap.

A.I do not think you are in “complete denial.” You are expressing appropriate concern about his lying behavior. You are asking if you should “get him out of your life asap.” That is a difficult question to answer. Below I will provide my opinion but only you can determine whether or not you want to continue the relationship.

He had a serious drug problem before the two of you met. He says that he has stopped. I can’t be certain of this because of limited information but it seems as though he did so without any professional help. Quitting drugs “cold turkey” is often very difficult. The success rate is very low. It is a very difficult way to deal with the problem of addiction.

When you and he began dating you explicitly told him not to lie, especially about drug use. You recently caught him lying about trying to get drugs. Your hope is that it was a one-time only event. That may or may not be true but given the high relapse rate associated with the “cold turkey” approach it is likely not the first time he has lied about attempting to get or use drugs. If he was trying to score drugs, then in all likelihood he was planning to consume them. I would not recommend giving him the benefit of the doubt. This doesn’t mean that you should indiscriminately end the relationship but further investigation is necessary. You need to determine whether or not he is using drugs. This information can help you decide about the direction of the relationship.

Make him aware of your concerns. Have an open and honest conversation. You may want to consider asking him if he would agree to regular drug screenings (home testing kits are available in drugstores). Unfortunately, he is in the position where he has to prove that he is trustworthy. Lack of honesty and trust will destroy a relationship; so will drug use.

How you will handle this situation depends in large part on what you value and how invested you are in the relationship. Trust is the foundation of relationships. His infraction may have been a one-time mistake but it is a red flag. Ignoring it would have been an unwise decision on your part. Thankfully that did not happen.

I hope this answer provides some insight about how to proceed. If you need further guidance you may want to consult a therapist. You may not need a therapist for more than a few sessions. I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 May 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Forgive Him or Get Him Out of My Life?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/26/forgive-him-or-get-him-out-of-my-life/