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n33k0luv's avatar

How do I approach my fiance about his hidden smoking habit?

Asked by n33k0luv (24points) October 18th, 2010

My fiance was a smoker when I met him. He quit shortly after we started seriously dating, somewhat for me but mostly so he would not be addicted to something and require it to feel good. During our first year he started again and hid it, later telling me about it. It caused a huge argument. He quit again and lasted until we moved in together. He moved from another state to be with me and was stressed. Then he started again. I caught and confronted him, leading to another huge fight. I feel as though there was another time he smoked, but quit on his own in between these times, but I can’t remember for sure. And now he is smoking again. I can smell it and I found a receipt lying on the floor dated 3 days ago for a pack of Dorel Gold.
For the past week and a half I have been wondering whether to confront him or let him come to me. I spoke with his mother and a few of my friends for advice… I get mixed answers. The best so far I have heard is just to let him know that I know. If he is hiding it, he is probably upset about it.
I just want some advice on how to handle this situation. I don’t like smoking myself, and I prefer to be with a nonsmoker, but I truly love who he is and being with him. I believe he is stronger than this, but I feel like I am not giving him something he needs if he is turning to this bad habit again. I am hurt that he would hide this from me… again.
What do you guys think? Thank you in advance for any advice on the matter. This has been upsetting me for too many days but I feel too unable and unknowledgable to bring this up to him. Plus, I don’t want another nasty fight about this. I’m dreading the nicotine withdrawal again. Thank you.

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17 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You’re making it too much of an issue, which is what is partly adding to his inability to give it up. That is, it has at times become a “you against him” fight, and he has too much ego invested to just give in. That’s why the fights.

You have a chance of helping him quit for good if you admit to both of you that you care more for him than you do about whether or not he quits smoking—and then follow through on that by not “forcing”, “requiring”, “demanding” or even “asking” that he quit. Even “being disappointed” that he fails to quit is pushing things.

He has to want to quit for no other reason other than “he wants to quit”, and then you can give him all the support and encouragement that you can.

On the other hand, if you were just giving us lip service about “I love him regardless”, then you need to face the fact (if that is so) that you really care more about being with a nonsmoker… you just want to make him that guy. In that case, let him go and say good bye; you probably won’t win, he probably won’t quit (reliably and forever), and you’ll both be disappointed… and fighting.

And welcome to Fluther. It’s a good question.

Austinlad's avatar

Probably nothing you can say or do will convince him to quit until he’s ready to do for his own reasons. I was a fairly heavy smoker till I was almost 30 and quit cold turkey. Not because my doctor advised it (I had a small scar on my lung he felt was suseptible to cancer), but because, several months after that, I smelled stale tobacco on myself and was repelled enough by it never to light another cigarette.

Aster's avatar

I’d buy him a carton and tell him goodbye if I cared as much as you do. Some men will stop smoking for their GF but I think most would not. You may have to live with it and the smoke.
Welcome to fluther .

marinelife's avatar

First, stop thinking this has anything to do with you. It is simply that he is addicted to tobacco.

Second, he has to want to quit for his own reasons not just for you for it to take.

Third, has he tried quitting with the help of medication and a support group? Both of those things up the success rate for people attempting to quit.

Finally, as to how to confront him. Simply tell him that you know he is smoking again in a quiet, calm voice. Ask him to think about it and tell you what he wants to do about it. Then give him overnight or ask when he wants to let you know what he plans to do about it. Do not get in a loud, screaming fight about it.

john65pennington's avatar

I am going to tell you like my doctor told me, “smoking cigarettes is a stronger habit than addicted to morphine”.

Some people can quit and others cannot. i think it has something to do with being an OCD personality. i have been a smoker for 50 years. i am not proud of it, but at least i am truthful with my wife and myself. by the way, she also smokes. in reality, we are bad for each other in the smoking department.

Sometimes in life, you just have to accept things “as is”. you may want him to stop smoking, but this is a personal choice. i would have strick rules, concerning the cigarettes. no smoking inside the house and have plenty of mouth spray and hand cleaner to kill the odors. our children do not smoke. when we visit them, we take along the hand sanitizer and mouth spray. it works.

In conclusion, accept him as he is. after all, smoking a cigarette is not smoking pot. it could always be worse.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Get him this book, wrap it like a gift, and leave it on his pillow, on his desk, or someplace he’s likely to find it.

No confrontation, no judgment, just a very helpful piece of literature to help him get his mind in the right place to quit.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would tell him that you know he is smoking and you will not act like his mother anymore.
If he quits,great.

YoBob's avatar

You need to understand that smoking is more than a bad habit. Addiction is a very real thing that is hard to understand unless you have experienced it. I am not an addictive personality. In fact, I tended to be of the opinion that addiction was more of a psychological rather than a physiological thing. I found it hard to accept the fact that I was actually physically addicted to anything (chalk it up to arrogance).

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have not smoked a cigarette in well over a decade and can tell you from personal experience, cravings can hit you out of the blue even years later. In fact, that’s the really insidious thing. You think you have kicked the habit as you haven’t had a cig in months or even years and then you are out in a social situation and think something like “just one for old times sake won’t hurt”. The next thing you know you are right back in the habit.

Unfortunately, you can’t do it for him. The one thing he has to understand is that this is a battle that is never over. To quit smoking you simply have to commit to not letting the bastards win… ever.

rooeytoo's avatar

It sounds as if he wants to quit but is having problems with it. As @john65pennington says, it is a tremendously addictive and enjoyable substance so it is also tremendously difficult to kick it.

The American Lung Association offers a 6 or 8 week course in stopping, it was the only thing that helped me. I would check into that and pick up a brochure for him. After I stopped I absolutely cannot stand the smell on a person’s breath, if you feel the same way then you have to make the decision as to whether you want to stay with him or not because there is no guarantee he will ever be able to get off and stay off them.

lemming's avatar

I agree with MissAnthropes suggestion. The book works. And just leaving it somewhere is a good idea, because maybe it’s best that his smoking doesn’t come to light again, let him just quietly stop smoking in his own time (with the help of this book)

Frenchfry's avatar

It is bad, he has to hide that he is smoking again from you.( like a teenager getting caught by his mom , he is an adult) You need to be more understanding. It is a addiction and you knew he was doing it before he got together with you. He maybe stressed out or something ,started up again. Don’t get mad be empathic towards the struggle he goes through. Everyone struggles with something. They need understanding.

Eden's avatar

Ive been on the other side of this. My girlfriend hated me smoking. I tried to quit as soon as we got together and time and time again afterwards. I would never smoke around her but she would smell it on me from time to time. She would just let me know that she caught me but not be angry about it. She certainly handled it in the best way possible.

I hated the fact that I would smell bad to her, that my teeth were turning yellow, and that the smoking was causing me to snore at night which she would have to put up with. I felt so guilty and ashamed but I was addicted. Quitting would cause me anxiety and anger issues followed by severe depression. I was fearful that because I would become a jerk when I quit that she would end up leaving me, which was more motivation not to quit. I would often want her to leave so I could smoke and five minutes later, after I got my fix, I would want her back. I never lied but true honesty requires that you not keep secrets. I tried many different approaches to quitting including NRTs, ecigs, chantix, zyban, and many methods guaranteed to work. I never tried the book people are talking about.

What ended up working for me was a combination of zyban 150mg twice a day and lamictal 150mg once in the morning to help control my mood swings. Both are available as generics but require a prescription. After taking them both for maybe two months, i quit cigs and caffeine at the same time and slept 20 hours a day for almost 5 days. I am now back on caffeine but a month later am not smoking anymore. The smell and taste of a cig now disgusts me and that is how I know I have quit for good.

I am now getting off of the medicines that helped me quit. They are a mild inconvenience compared to quitting smoking.

Maybe this experience could help him.

skfinkel's avatar

I am with @marinelife on the notion that your boyfriend’s smoking is not about you. It is obviously really hard for him to quit. It may be that if you really love him, you will have to accept him as a smoker. Or maybe you can find someone who is not a smoker, and be with him instead. But if you love the guy, you have to take his habit too. And, the early death from cancer/heart disease/ and whatever else smoking is currently incriminated in. I know why you want him to stop.

jazmina88's avatar

it’s not good he cant be honest with you. Is it a deal breaker about smoking?? A occassional cigarette is okay. i dont date smokers either, especially ones that throw butts in my yard, instead of using ash trays.
stay calm, and give him a smoking porch. I’m sure he will try to make it as painless as possible. he sounds like a keeper, if that is your pet peeve.
You cant control people or expect them to be perfect. Accept his humanity.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

He’s addicted to tobacco and nicotine, it’s a terrible habit to quit for most. Has he asked you to be a support for him in trying to quit? If yes then at this point where he’s quit, resumed and is hiding his smoking then just let him know you are aware, disappointed and hope he can do something for himself. Like most addicts, it’s doubtful he’ll make much of an effort because it’s so inconvenient to feel like shite after quitting what the body wants soooooo bad. He’s got to want the non smoking lifestyle as much as he wants you happy with his health. Good luck.

tranquilsea's avatar

After watching the roller coaster of various family members trying to quit smoking and then my mother dying because she was a smoker I don’t think I could handle a SO smoking. I never dated smokers and my hubby isn’t a smoker.

If you really love this guy, though, you should talk to him and offer to support him in any way you can. From what I understand from people who have quit they have done so in stages. Quit, start, quit, start and repeat. Getting angry with him will have the result of having him dive for his smokes. It’s counterproductive.

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