Illustration by Liz Kantrowitz
"I'd be ripping cannons and my [partner] wouldn't understand why I'd be up super late reading weird shit and mumbling about dessert nachos."
Smoking weed with a partner can be the best shared ritual. Lighting up and staying in to watch movies in bed is always a cozy and nice option for a Friday night; laughing about dumb stuff for far too long is a bonding exercise that's probably scientifically on par with sex. Not to mention that actual sex while stoned is never disappointing.
But for couples who are mismatched in their habits, weed is a lot less chill—and a lot more complicated to navigate. Sober lovers tend feel like their partner cares for their bong more than them. People who smoke, on the other hand, end up feeling judged by a partner who abstains. And giving up weed for a partner is never an easy decision.
Of course, the plant's impact on love is as varied as its strains. We asked some stoners to detail how weed has factored into their relationships—and break-ups.
A relationship I was in for three years just ended, and I low-key think weed was the reason why. I smoke weed every day, at least 10 times a day. For me, I'm more myself when I'm high—more honest and real with my partner—so smoking weed is my greatest joy. But when I would get stoned, my partner would always look at me with slight irritation and annoyance. My constant weed use would always lead to fights about it, like, Are you high right now?... Do you ever get nervous? It was like a bad Drake song. My partner would also feel bad because I would want to smoke before sex and she felt like I couldn't be sober.
I think I need to be in a relationship with someone who smokes weed so we can be happy and on the same level. I've been in flings where both my partner and I have both smoked and it's nice—but we also both spend our money on weed and bongs, and we're always late and stoned. Still, it's blissful, so maybe I can only date a version of myself with whom it's okay to be a fuck-up. I think it's impossible for me to date someone who doesn't want to get high with me.
I think I need to be in a relationship with someone who smokes weed so we can be happy and on the same level.
When my girlfriend and I first met, we smoked considerably less weed. Last year, she moved to New York from Europe, so while she was first getting acquainted with NYC we were way more active and out a lot. Now we both smoke more than ever. All winter we got into the habit of chain-smoking spliffs from the time we're home from work to the time we're KO'ed. My girlfriend also smokes a lot more than she used to because she almost entirely stopped drinking shortly after we met. She started getting brutal hangovers even if she had a single glass of wine, and alcohol would make her break out in a light rash. We both suspect she may be allergic to alcohol.
Like anything, it's not black or white, though I greatly prefer a partner who smokes over past relationships where I'd be ripping cannons and my then-partner(s) wouldn't understand why I'd be up super late reading weird shit and mumbling about dessert nachos.
The pros of being with someone who smokes is that I rarely smoke alone; my girlfriend and I can take turns rolling joints and buying weed; and it has definitely reaffirmed the feeling that my current partner truly likes me for me. I consistently act as stoned and weird and myself as humanly possible around my girlfriend, and she adores me nonetheless. Smoking is also like a ritual of empathy for us. My girlfriend, for example, has been anxiously waiting to find out if her visa application is approved and my way of showing that I'm sensitive to her stress is by a rolling up a joint.
Read more: Why People Smoke Weed to Treat Depression
And sometimes we'll smoke when we have sex. I remember one time she was smoking a joint while I was going down on her, and she said something along the lines of, This is how couples should smoke together. I remember blowing smoke on her clitoris while she came. Kinda hot!
The most noticeable con is that we enable one another to smoke incessantly. If one of us is smoking, be it a joint or a cigarette, the other will inevitably share it, regardless if we wanted to smoke. As a result, we often smoke way too much on any given night, which then leads to bad choices like staying up super late, eating super late, and then sleeping in super late together if we don't have somewhere to be in the morning. Lately, both of us have been talking about cutting down because new work projects kicked in for both of us, the cold is ending, and we're sick of feeling groggy in the morning. The issue is that when one person is being "noble" or making an effort to abstain, the other person isn't feeling it, and we both end up smoking. We encourage a feedback flower loop, and smoking less will be a real challenge for us.
I think my girlfriend would have an easier time developing her own community and life in the city that's separate from the one I've built over the past eight years if she smoked less. She's pretty new to both the US and New York, so I sometimes worry she's not putting herself out there and making her own friends and connections enough. Once she hears about her visa, I think it'd be healthy for her to go out on her own and do her own thing. If she can do it and continue smoking, then rad.
Photo by Kkgas via Stocksy
My partner used to smoke weed—he says he was addicted. It was really hard for him to quit. He tried to quit several times throughout this life. So right when I met him, he had probably not been smoking for a little under a year. For him, it was a big deal not to smoke. I smoked quite a bit—I would regularly have weed in my home, I would often smoke late at night while I was watching TV, or when I was out with friends.
Not being able to smoke around him was a little strange to navigate at first. With other people that I've dated, smoking weed together was an assumed thing that we would do. This dynamic was new for me. The hardest thing for me, especially early on, would be when he would come over and my roommates would be home, smoking. They would offer me some and I would have to decline. Or we would be at a party and someone would offer me a joint. Immediately what I would want to say is, Of course, but since he was around I would feel self-conscious. I didn't want him to feel alienated or make things difficult for him. So I wouldn't smoke in situations where I normally would. When I would decide to smoke around him, he would let me know that it wasn't necessarily cool. I think he just didn't want to be in a situation where everyone was smoking but him. I sympathized with that, but I didn't like feeling guilty or concerned about whether or not I should be smoking.
I didn't want him to feel alienated or make things difficult for him.
It was hard in the beginning, but I didn't want to encourage any kind of relapse for him. There was a lot at stake. That would just be so shitty. I definitely would never smoke when it is just him and myself. I prefer not being stoned with him, anyway. I mean, I love being stoned with friends, but I mostly just become an idiot. I'm a better version of myself when I'm generally sober.
My partner and I have been together for three years now. So at this point my default is to not smoke, and I'm super grateful about that. Before I met my partner, I didn't really have a reason not to smoke weed. If it was around I would smoke. Now I realize I would just rather not smoke weed. Sometimes I will have a joint in my backyard if I'm just having a "me" day or if I'm at a social gathering and my partner's not there.
But I think my partner is no longer so afraid relapsing. He doesn't really crave weed anymore and if he's around it he does okay. He thinks that maybe he could one day smoke again without going back into his old patterns. He's not there yet, but he thinks it's possible. If we're still together for another three years we might share a joint, and that would be wild. I don't even know if I would want that.
I don't think I've ever had a partner that I didn't smoke weed with, although I've had relationships where weed was not as positive a part of it. In past relationships, it's been sort of the situation where I'll go over to my partner's house, and he's stoned and just wants to watch dumb videos on the internet, and it's just a bummer of a time. I've dated people who smoked way too much weed.
My boyfriend and I now are really lucky that we both have pretty similar weed habits and comfort levels. I feel great that we can both smoke together. We don't think about it too much, even though we do it most days. It just feels like another thing we do together, like eating food or drinking, that doesn't even really register as an extra thing on top of our regular activities.
Stoned sex rules!
Usually, smoking makes us very productive, and we have magical, nice times writing music for our band together and then end up watching Columbo until we fall asleep. I'm not usually one to be creative on my own with weed—it's not like I sit down with a joint and a guitar and write a song or whatever. But it's as if smoking lets us get into this weird other social zone together and that dynamic lets us be more creative. It definitely brings us closer together. For us, we're both really involved in each other's professional lives—I'm just finishing my undergrad in Critical and Cultural Studies, my partner is working on an English Lit PhD thesis, and we're both teaching. There's a lot of overlap in our fields so we spend a fair amount of time being serious with each other, so it's fun to smoke weed and just giggle about dumb stuff and say dumb things together.
Whether or not we have sex after we smoke really depends on the strain—a lot of them will make us just too focused on writing or whatever else, or too sleepy. But sometimes it just clicks and sex is the next thing that needs to happen. Stoned sex rules! It's sort of the same thing with weed and writing music or other creative stuff, where there is just a level of inhibition that doesn't seem to be there, and it makes things really great for both of us. And, most importantly, truly nothing compares to smoking a joint in bed while cuddling after a really awesome stoned bang.
I recently realized that weed led to the neglect of communication between me and my partner, who just broke up with me. I started smoking heavily about five months ago, when I took this job that I don't like. I teach chess to kids in a public school and I thought I could use weed to chill me out and help me deal with it; I would wake up, smoke, and then go to work. But I think it made me a lot more likely to avoid people and want to be alone. And it definitely made me a lot less present with my girlfriend. She was in a fashion show, for example, and I couldn't even go to it because I smoked before. If I didn't start smoking I really think we would still be together.
If I smoked during the day, I would just try to avoid her. She lives across the street from me and I couldn't even invite her over. I feel like weed kind of shut me down and I couldn't show her love. I can't blame it all on weed—I have other problems—but it didn't help. I would just want to smoke and play chess by myself for hour. I also make music and art, and that's nice to focus on while I'm high. Now I completely regret not being with her.
If I didn't start smoking I really think we would still be together.
At the end of our relationship she said, "Well, now you get to do what you want. You always wanted to just study." That's really fucking sad. I don't want to be, like, one of those old chess men who sit in the park all day. I want to be someone who can share something with someone and be considerate of another person's feelings. When I'm sober, I have healthier social habits. I play chess for an hour, instead of five hours. I reach out to people. Like, I'd rather play chess for an hour than be a sad man who ends up alone.
I quit weed last week. I feel much better, but it's a little too late for the relationship.
I smoke a lot because it helps calm down my general anxiety and PTSD. My girlfriend, April, definitely smokes more often after being with me. But April is happy that I smoke because it's hard for both of us when I'm anxious or on the verge of a panic attack. I think I can confidently say that we both think the more cannabis I smoke to manage my anxiety, the better off I am and, consequently, our relationship is. And I'll never be mad if April wants to smoke more weed for her mental health concerns.
I love having a partner I can smoke with. Because cannabis is a big part of my mental health self-care practices, it feels a little alienating if my partner can't join in with me. When I was dating folks who didn't smoke, it was always a little sad for me. I love to pass a joint between my partner and me. It brings us closer together and it's one of the ways we have quality time. Get high, go for a walk. Get stoned, eat lots of food. Get high and fuck.
When we're high, we just feel more relaxed in our bodies. April and I are both sex workers—in addition to the freelancing I do as a writer and dog walker, and April's nine-to-five—so our down time is crucial for us. Smoking or eating edibles helps us decompress faster than just riding out our nerves.
For us, weed has never caused any fights. However, April once called me out on how she was supplying the cannabis and I wasn't saying thank you enough for her offerings. She likes a lot of verbal appreciation, which doesn't come naturally for me. I show appreciation through acts of service, but I learned to give her more verbal gratitude because I care about my partner's happiness.
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