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Help with talking about smoking with my boyfriend.

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  1. applesmapple
    applesmapple avatar
    3 posts
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    25 Nov 2019
    25 Nov 2019
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    Hello,

    I'm not sure if I'm posting this to the right place and if it isn't appropriate I understand.

    I'm struggling with how to broach the subject with my boyfriend around his return to smoking and not telling me about it. I don't have proof as I haven't caught him and I haven't tried to catch him because I could be wrong. But his clothes have smelt like smoke, his car smells like smoke, and he's waking up early and going outside for 10 minutes before I get up and rushes into the shower if he hears me getting up. I asked him once why he was outside and I got up early to go bathroom and he said he was super hot and needed to call off outside, which is legitimate as he's always done this, but it's never been a daily thing till now. Trying to spy on him and catch him feels deceitful and the wrong way to go about it and part of me hopes he will tell me and maybe I'm wrong.

    Some background.
    I've been with my boyfriend for a few years now. When we met, he had quit smoking 6 years previously. He told me he had quit because he had wanted to and his dog had died and he used her memory as a way to draw strength and quit. He says it's probably the second hardest thing he's ever done, other than being there for his dog as she was dying. I have always valued his strength and admired him for telling me this. It was because of this that I didn't think he would ever smoke again. I've lost family members to smoking and I told him when we first started dating that I appreciated him sharing that story and that if we were a smoker I never would have agreed to our first date as I can't stand the smell and get headaches when visiting family or friends who smoke inside their homes.  

    Some of his friends and family are smokers and if they were ever smoking near us and would forget that we didn't he would ask them to move away (I have allergies that smoke can aggravate in the spring/summer and the lingering smell gives me headaches) and when we weren't around them he would tell me privately that he always hated the smell part of smoking and was glad he didn't anymore.

    We've recently moved and financially we aren't doing terribly, but I think he feels we should be in a better place, but he's started a new job and the pay isn't nearly as good as it was before and I think he might regret the new job, but not the move, but the new job is pretty awful in comparison to his old job. He doesn't want to rely on me and refuses to let me pay more for the rent. We've moved away from family, but not ridiculously far (just a couple hours) but here there is just us and his best friend so our social circle has shrunk. So there are changes we've discussed and I thought we were both on the same page and understanding. He's really an amazing, awesome partner that I don't want to lose.

    Now that I am suspicious of him smoking I am at a lost as to how to approach the subject with him. His explanation for the way he smells or his car can't be true, because he would never let anyone but him drive his car, never mind the the 20 year old that works with him, but smokes almost a pack a day that he says has driven it. The new job requires driving certifications and this younger guy has already had 2 accidents and he would never let him drive. My boyfriend parks his car at the other of the yard to avoid it being scratched, it really is his baby. Sometimes the smell isn't there. So maybe he's telling me the truth but I find it hard to believe when he can barely sit still if I'm driving us home from a night out. Maybe the coworkers smoking habit tempted him too far? is that possible? He's said in the past he hates the smell and it disgusted him. So I don't know.

    Now this might sound weird but I have a very sensitive B.S. meter and his explanation is potato paper thin to my intuition. So now i doubt myself. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't help but feel I'm right on this.

    Sorry for the long post and thank you for taking the time to read so far. Now is the part where I really need help with.

    How do I broach the subject? Should I even broach the subject of him smoking?
    I haven't yet because maybe I'm wrong, and I also can't believe he would go behind my back.
    I realize now he's an addict, and I never would have understood that before now.
    I also haven't because I don't want to be preachy about it. I'm equal parts angry, sad, betrayed and scared and I'm afraid my emotions will make it worse. I don't know if feeling betrayed is even justifiable, I feel like I'm being lied to and can't trust him. But is this something that can be considered trust breaking?
    I also haven't because I don't feel fully justified in talking to him about this because who am I to say what he can or can't do with his body. He occasionally smokes maryjane (I don't) but he's always been upfont about it and tells me when ever he does so I can turn the air purifier on for when he comes back in the house.
    I also don't think it's been very long since he's started based on behaviours.
    I also feel as though he may have started due to stress. We've talked about his anxiety before which I admire in him for sharing and I wonder if it was just too much for him this time around.
    I also haven't said anything because I think it's due to stress and I don't want to make it worse for him.
    I also know he's hiding because he knows I won't like it and I feel like talking to him about it could be selfish and just for me. But what if he's lonely and sad and just doesn't know how to talk to me about it?
    Part of me hopes that it's temporary and that he'll quit (if he actually is), but I know I can't stand feeling the way I do for the long term and I need to talk to him.
    Do I just wait? has anyone whose hidden smoking from their spouse/partner/gf/bf felt like they wish they were found out even though they tried really hard to hide it? or is that just me wanting an excuse.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    The last thing I want to do is make it worst for him.

    I'm also very afraid that if I ask the wrong way, he'll deny and hide it more.


    Thank you in advance for your thoughts (and prayers if that's something you do).

    Alyssa
  2. atp
    atp avatar
    491 posts
    Registered:
    31 Dec 2018
    25 Nov 2019 in reply to applesmapple
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    applesmapple,

    Wow, you really laid it out there. And I suspect you already know your answer as to whether he is smoking or not....

    I'm 51. I smoked since I was 17. I met my wife at 18. So she always knew me as a smoker. She smoked too, but quit with out first kid at 24 and never started again. 

    I tried to quit a lot of times over the years. Some because I wanted to, some because of pressure from my wife. Mostly I quit for the wrong reasons. I wasn't ready. 

    Lots of times I tried to cheat or lie about keeping my quit. My wife always knew. She could smell it. I thought she had like superwoman smell sense or something. Now that I've quit smoking for almost a year, I can tell you that I can sniff out a smoker a mile away. 

    At some point my wife accepted that I will quit when I am ready. No amount of her pushing me was going to change that. She let up on me. So when I decided to quit last year she was reserved, but supportive. Been there, done that. 

    After I got past a week of not smoking, a personal best for me, she was patient, listened to me rant about quitting, told me how much better I smelled, and was never pushy. For the first time in all my quit attempts I rally involved her. I talked on and on. She listened. Offered the odd word of support. 

    You can suggest, you can prod, you can even decide not to enable him with smoking, but you can't make him quit. 

    He is an addict. No different than the alcoholics, meth heads, etc. That is the part that is hard to wrap your head around. The addiction. 

    I wish I had a good answer. All I can offer is my story. 



  3. applesmapple
    applesmapple avatar
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    Registered:
    25 Nov 2019
    25 Nov 2019 in reply to atp
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    Thank for your story atp.
  4. justfortoday
    justfortoday avatar
    168 posts
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    12 Aug 2019
    25 Nov 2019 in reply to applesmapple
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    Hi applesmapple,

    I can see how torn you are, and my heart goes out to you.

    I must echo atp's words here. You cant make him quit. My husband quit smoking over 15 years ago, and never tried to pressure me to quit. He knew only I could decide when the time was right for me.

    When I was a smoker I honestly thought I could hide the smell. If I washed my hands, brushed my teeth and ran some product through my hair, no one could tell I smoked! I wasn't fooling anyone... I stank.

    I think you know the answer to one of the questions. If you smell smoke on him, in his car, etc., chances are good he's smoking.

    Your other question regarding what you should do is not something I can advise you in. All I can say is talking is better than keeping secrets in any relationship. Having my husband's ear makes a huge difference in my quit journey.

    I hope you find some answers to help you through this.
  5. applesmapple
    applesmapple avatar
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    25 Nov 2019
    25 Nov 2019 in reply to justfortoday
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    Thank you justfortoday. 
  6. camiloo
    camiloo avatar
    7 posts
    Registered:
    19 Nov 2019
    17 Sep
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    When a partner or spouse starts back smoking, it can put a great deal of stress on the relationship especially when the other partner is against it. Whether you smoke, have previously smoked, or have never taken a puff in your life, understanding the feat of a quitter can help you support your loved one.
    Last modified on 17 Sep 2020 10:24 by Quit Coach 16
  7. brieffree
    brieffree avatar
    1472 posts
    Registered:
    28 Nov 2017
    19 Sep
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    Hi applesmapple

    I am sure, that you can talk to him about it, after all is our boyfriend and the love is first, 

    About  all you said, I am pretty sure you are concerning about his health, you can ask him like in friendly conversation.

    After all it will be his decision to quit!

    All the best   
7 posts, 0 answered