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My boyfriend smokes and I hate it
October 19, 2001
12:13 pm
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nonsmoker
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Sounds whiny, doesn't it?

I myself quit smoking about 9 months ago, and I admit that it was not as difficult for me as it seems to be for most people. I did not need to use a patch, didn't really chew gum incessantly, although I started drinking water nonstop, perhaps that was what I used to distract my mouth from the cravings. The only times I really want a cigarette now is if I'm in a group of people who are smoking, either on a smoke break from work or out at a happy hour or some such thing. I've been able to avoid that situation where possible by not going on smoke breaks with coworkers anymore or making sure that my happy hours are spent with a large number of nonsmokers who can support me if I feel the urge. In general, a pretty healthy attitude and action plan, right? I like myself and want to take care of myself, so the smoking thing just isn't for me anymore.

Recently, I've started dating a very nice man, and he smokes. He has expressed to me that he wants to quit, and has even tried to go a day or two without. (It has driven him nuts.) He knows how other people smoking affects my cravings, and he refuses to smoke around me or in front of me. He doesn't smoke a lot, perhaps 3 or 4 cigarettes a day. But I can smell it on him, and when I ask him if he has smoked, he says "yes, I have." It really really bugs me. I hate the way he tastes afterwards, and the smell drives me nuts. I think what bothers me more is that he has said "that's it, I'm done, no more!" but keeps on going back. It's an addiction, one that I can't understand because I didn't have issues with quitting the way he seems to be.

I don't want to harass him about it, but I feel so let down every time I see him with that slightly buzzed look in his eye or I hear the happy relaxed laugh that only comes out after a smoke break. I feel like he has made a promise to me and to himself and has broken it. I shouldn't feel this way, since it is his body, and he goes out of his way to make sure that it doesn't happen in front of me, and it is an addiction. It seems like a really small thing to leave someone over, especially considering that he is so honest and up front about it. I guess another thing that bothers me is that if he is unable to keep a promise to himself, especially a promise of taking care of one's body, what does that say?

Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Should I just drop it completely and accept the probability that he will never quit? I know that people don't change unless they want to. Does anyone have advice as to how I could either help him quit or just move into some sort of acceptance mode and let him do his thing?

October 19, 2001
12:16 pm
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Molly
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The most likely situation is you should accept the probability that he will never quit, and if he does it will be like frosting on the cake.

October 19, 2001
12:18 pm
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pill
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Ahem.

He will quit when he can. I think he's trying to impress you with his efforts, which in itself is very heroic. Doesn't change the fact he hasn't made the committment to HIMSELF. He can't quit completely until he does. Maybe you can ask him if he wants your help. If he does, then you can tell him that his NOT smoking around you is one way to start. Then explain how you made a committment to your own health and that it's working for you. Invite him out for a run and show how not smoking for you helps you breathe easier. Give him rewards for making it through a day without. As long as he's truthful with you, I'd go with it. You're lucky he's not lying about it like some men.

October 19, 2001
12:37 pm
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nonsmoker
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Acceptance, that's the hard thing. Forcing other people to live up to my standards. He'll quit when he's ready, it just makes me so mad that he could mistreat his body like that. But, I'm sure that is the way that my family felt about me when I used to smoke too, but they stood by me, and I didn't stop until they laid off me. It's like I wanted it to be my own decision, not theirs. I'm sure he feels pretty crappy about not quitting even though he has tried and tried, and me harping on him would just make him feel worse. And I don't want to do that.

He's physically fit, and we do exercise together, so we'll keep it up.

Thanks Molly and Pill for your insites.

Have a great weekend.

October 19, 2001
8:14 pm
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Katherine
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I smoked for 10 years, at least 30 cigs a day. I quit once, after about a year of smoking, and went back after 2 months. I just quit again about 2 weeks ago and know that I now have the willpower to not go back. Just because I really do not want to have to go through the withdrawal again. Anyway, I tried many times to quit because this guy or that guy I was dating asked me to. Didn't work, hardly even made it a day. I just wasn't ready. The more someone would bug me about quitting, the more I smoked. So, he probably is not ready, and when he is, he will (like you said). Just don't bring up quitting, because it doesn't help. Zyban helps - that's what I'm taking to help me quit - but I also have a new niece, 2 weeks old, who was a great motivator.
Hope this helped.
Kate

October 19, 2001
8:49 pm
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nonsmoker
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Thanks Kate. Great to have the perspective of another smoker who has tried to kick the habit, has been set back, and is back in the saddle.

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