Dear Dan: Gay, thirtysomething male in DC. My boyfriend of three years has been acting strange — not taking his antidepression meds, says he’s feeling weird. He has withdrawn from me, sleeps 15 hours a day, and has been canceling on commitments to socialize with friends. That I am fine with — he’s blue and I get it. Here’s why I’m writing: He was doing an online crossword, and when he got up, I was going to write a message in it — to be funny and sweet. What I saw messed me up. There was a browser window open about meth and depression. He is 48 and successful, and isn’t a clubber or party-going type. METH? What the hell? I snooped further, and there was a detailed search history on meth, meth and depression, meth and sex. He doesn’t seem to have been high around me — and I would never use meth, it’s not my thing and I have a security clearance (no drugs for me, ever) — but I don’t want to date an addict. I don’t want to be with someone who would take such a dumb risk. And for what? Dude! You’re 48, you have a career, a business and a guy who cares for you! WTF?!? I know what you’ll say: Use your words — and, trust me, I will. But am I totally crazy? I feel shitty for having snooped, but it started innocently enough with me wanting to write a goofy note on his crossword puzzle.
— Snoop Now All Fucked Up
Dear SNAFU: Meth addicts aren’t known for sleeping 15 hours a day, SNAFU. Meth addicts aren’t known for sleeping at all. So perhaps your boyfriend abused meth before you met — and there’s no using meth, only abusing meth — and conquered his addiction and/or stopped abusing meth years ago. And now he’s depressed and off his meds, and he went online to investigate whether his past meth abuse could be contributing to his current depression.
As for the snooping angle…
When we snoop, we sometimes find out things we don’t want to know, don’t need to know, and don’t need to do anything about. For example, the new boyfriend has a few sexts from his ex tucked away on his computer, your dad is cheating on his third wife, your adult daughter is selling her used panties online. But sometimes we find out things we needed to know and have to do something about. For example, your 14-year-old daughter is planning to meet up with a 35-year-old man she met on Instagram, your “straight” boyfriend is having unsafe sex with dozens of men behind your back, your spouse is planning to vote for Ted Cruz — in those cases, you have to intervene, break up, and file for civil commitment, respectively.
Learning your depressed-and-off-his-meds boyfriend may have — or may have had — a meth problem falls into the needed to know/have to do something about category. So, yeah, SNAFU, you gotta use your words. Go to your boyfriend, tell him what you discovered and how you discovered it, and demand an explanation while offering to help. Urge him to see his doctor — whoever prescribed the antidepressants he stopped taking — and go into the convo armed with a list of the resources available to him.
“We’re lucky to have a lot of great resources in DC,” says David Mariner, executive director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community (thedccenter.org). “The Triangle Club (triangleclub.org) is an LGBT recovery house, and they host all sorts of 12-step meetings. Crystal Meth Anonymous is really active here. And we’re just kicking off a harm-reduction group here at the DC Center.”
I asked Mariner if your boyfriend sounded to him like someone currently abusing meth.
“I’m not an expert,” Mariner replies, “but he doesn’t sound like it to me. He may be having a hard time talking to his boyfriend about this because for folks who have a history of meth use, sex can be tricky. Meth use and sexual activity are often so intertwined that it can make it hard to talk to a partner.”
Finally, SNAFU, don’t make it harder for your partner to be honest with you by threatening to break up with him. You don’t have to remain in a relationship with an addict, if indeed he is an addict, forever. But start by showing him compassion and offering support. You can make up your mind about your future — whether you have one together — during a subsequent conversation.
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