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Friday, January 6, 2006

Dump a Smoker?

Posted by on January 6 at 10:27 AM

This just arrived in my Savage Love mail…

My girlfriend of three years is a smoker and I am not.  In the beginning of our relationship her smoking did not bother me.  I come from a family of smokers and even I used to smoke years ago. 

But now her smoking is a huge turn-off. I’ve also started a new job where I work with cancer patients and I see the deadly effects of smoking everyday.  I’ve tried everything under the sun to get her to stop, all to no avail.  She says she’ll try, but never makes much of an effort.  I don’t like to kiss or be near her when she smokes.  It ruined our sex life because she comes to bed smelling like cigarettes.  Everything she does revolves around cigarettes and I hate it!  I would like her to stop for the sake of our relationship, but even more I want her to stop to save her life.  If she doesn’t stop I want to move out.  I’ll sacrifice the relationship before I succumb to cancer from second-hand smoke.
Is it fair to give her an ultimatum or do I have to continue to lie in the bed I’ve made? 

Non-Smoking Section

Regular readers of the SLOG will no doubt be able to predict what I would advise NSS to do. But what do you people think?

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If he doesn't address the issue one way or another, the relationship is done for anyway.

Dump the girl. It's a doomed, doomed relationship. If she wanted to stop, she would have. Yes, addiction, she can't help it, I know, I know. Still.

I confess I have no idea what you would advise NSS to do, Dan ...

I'd say the same thing to someone dating an alcoholic or drug addict: dump them.

When a person puts their vices above the relationship is there really any need to continue.

As a smoker who used to date a guy who was a total dick about my smoking (hint: he knew I was a smoker months before our first date), it will be better for all parties involved if he just dumps her and gets it over with.

Well, he hasn't left yet so he must be fairly serious about being with her. In which case, she needs to understand the severity of the situation and be dealt an ultimatum, not just dumped but given one last chance, and then dumped. She's self-centered enough to get over it fast, so, on with it already.

Yeah, if it bothers him that much, maybe the guy should give an ultimatim, although it sounds like the "second-hand smoke" comment is crap.

He complained about her coming to bed smelling like smoke, not the bed smelling like smoke. If she's lighting up outside, then the secondhand smoke idea is crap, even if it's not overblown crap just as a concept.

Dump her. This actually describes the first three years of my marriage perfectly, and I tried everything. I finally just resorted to simple pleas for sympathy - I married you because I want to grow old with you; I don't want to grow old alone because cancer took you first. Didn't work.

The button that sealed the deal was the kids - I pointed out that she was smoking around the kids, setting a poor example, and even getting ashes on them/blowing smoke on them in the car. She didn't speak to me - at all - for a couple weeks, as it deeply hurt her. But she stopped that moment and hasn't smoked in five years. Never craved it, no withdrawals, nothing.

It's exceedingly unlikely that a normal relationship can survive this type of thing; I got extremely lucky. Unless this guy can stumble on the silver bullet as I did, he needs to get out.

You should advise him to quit being such wimp and take up smoking himself.

isnt it DTMF already? oh, but I believe it is. And let's not forget to berate NSS for whining instead of taking any action.

Just another example of how you cannot-change-nobody-not-nohow in a relationship. Either accept it, or move on. In this case...for the many reasons already stated, please move on!

that he dumps her is reasonable but how he dumps her is tricky.

dumping her because he doesn't want to get cancer from second-hand smoke will make him look like a self-righteous paternalistic prick, and (i'm just guessing) to her it will seem like being dumped because she doesn't eat organic produce, has slightly conservative views, etc.

dumping her by ultimatum would be better - basically saying he's sick of the smoke and will not do any relationship-y things like sleep in the same bed, kiss her, or even, well, be in or around her personal space unless she stops smoking. he doesn't find it attractive, it bothers him a great deal, and that's totally fair.

however, if she agrees to quit to save the relationship, he needs to commit to being totally supportive of her physical / mental withdrawal and resulting moodswings and any other crap she'll go through in the process, because although it's for her own good it was basically his idea.

Who cares if he dumps her because she smokes? She might think he's a self-righteous paternalistic prick, as Matt says, but then, she's not exactly showing herself to be particularly intelligent or considerate of her boyfriend. She has the right to smoke, not buy organic produce, and be a right-wing nutjob, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't have to suck it up and deal with the consequences. Definitely DTMFA, and don't baby her when he does.

It sounds like she doesn't want to/or is so addicted that she can't quit. Either way, I bet she'll be better off not living with such a nag.

Piling on: he should dump her. Her lifestyle choices and philosophy do not match his anymore. Let her find another puffer and may everyone involved live happily ever after... or something.

Dump her. She will not stop if she has not done so by now. And she is showing no regards for your feelings or respect for her own body let alone your lungs.

Smoking is obviously more important to her than you are. You can defend her and say she's addicted, but I've known so many people who have quit even without an ultimatum from someone they love. Smokers are also self destructive and you don't need that either. I don't know you NSS, but whoever you are, you deserve to be with someone who loves you more than she loves nicotene.

Total DTMFA. He's been supportive, loving, and genuinely cares for her health. She is a smoker in 2006 with a caring boyfriend. She's self destructive. Maybe she's trying to break down the relationship. It bothers him, it's bad for him, and he's not even just concerned about himself. He really cares for her.

I can't even imagine how disgusting it would be to be constantly near, let along fucking, someone who was a serious smoker like that. Hell, I made my fiance move over a seat when a couple skipped the courtesy seat in the movies the other day, sitting right next to me. They were clearly smokers, and I was repulsed by them. NSS should find a nice, non-smoking, non-toxic girl.

Yikes. I'm a female smoker, who's dated guys who didn't smoke. Initially, they're okay with it, then it's like the wake up one morning with, "Holy Shit! My girlfriend's a smoker!" stenciled on the inside of their eyelids. What gives? NSS knew she smoked when they started dating. Now it's a big deal. Y'know what - it sounds to me like NSS wants to dump her, and smoking is the most plausible excuse. If she actually crumbles under the ultimatum and quits, then it's only postponing the enevitable. This is not a relationship destined to work out.
Most smokers who quit, quit when they're ready. My dad quit cold turket after 35 years. I've been smoking ten, and I've set a deadline to quit. In the meantime, I enjoy lighting up without some sanctimonious dickwad shoving his lifestyle opinions in my face.
So, NSS, either let your girlfriend, who you think you love, quit in her own time - or dump her already and find a nonsmoker. Looking to compromise? Ban smoking in your shared living space. That's what my mom did while she waited 20 years for my dad to quit.

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