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Will You Divorce Him Over Smoking?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

When my husband and I started dating three years ago, we both had a strong opposition to smoking. His parents smoked, and he hated it. My extended family smoked and is now dying from it. We both agreed we would NOT smoke.

When he got back from deployment, he confessed he did smoke and had started when he deployed. He said that since he didn’t have me as a stress reliever, he took up smoking.

I told him that I understood but now he needs to stop because I would not be with a smoker. He agreed to stop.

Well, fast forward a couple months. We are married, and he is still smoking. I tried getting mad at him for it, and that didn’t work. I tried being understanding but still telling him to stop, and that didn’t work. I tried the whole “I won’t kiss you when you smoke” act, and that didn’t work. I have come to my wits' end.

Last month, he finally went on Wellbutrin to try and stop. It worked for a while, but he still slipped up every now and then. He never smokes at home, only at work because almost everyone else around him smokes.

He went on a three-week leave bloc this past month and didn’t smoke at all. I was VERY proud of him and told him so.

Then about a week before he was supposed to go back, he ran to the store and took a long time. I asked him why when he got back and he said he ran into someone. After asking who and what did they talk about, it became clear he was lying.

I asked him if he had been smoking, and he became very defensive and walked away. I knew then that he had. I found the receipt in his truck and found the cigarettes hidden under his seat and confronted him about it.He said he couldn’t help it and it made him feel so good to smoke.

This is not the first time he has lied to me about smoking. It makes me feel like I can never trust him to tell me the truth about it again.

Please help me get through to him about how much not only the smoking, but the lying hurts me. The lying about the smoking has also made me question if he is lying to me about other things.

I know it is insecure of me to think so, but he has lied to me so many times that I just can’t help it. My mother has told me to just let it go and let him smoke, but I refuse to give in to something that means so much to me. I HATE that he smokes and he knows that. I want the man who hated smoking just as much as I do back. How can I get him to stop smoking? Please help!

Sincerely,
Kissing An Ashtray

Dear Kissing,

I understand that this is a very important issue to you. You don’t want a husband who smokes. However, you are married now and I think you and your husband are at an impasse on this issue. But if he doesn’t stop, will you divorce him?

Honestly, it does sound like this is about power and control for you, and you are judging your husband’s character on this one concern: smoking. If he smokes, he is a bad husband, and if he doesn’t smoke, he is a good, trustworthy husband.

This will definitely destroy your relationship with him. I know there was a time when you both agreed about smoking as neither one of you liked it. Fast forward to the future with me -- people change and sometimes do things they thought they would never do, like take up smoking.

I also think you are pushing him to lie about smoking. If he tells you the truth, you are disappointed and he feels like a failure. Trust me, this is tough for him because it’s almost like he will be scolded by you, “his mother.”

I’m not blaming you or bashing you, but he is a grown adult. He shouldn’t have to hide smoking from you.

Are you concerned about his health? Your health? Again, I understand and these are great concerns. In your defense, smoking does stink, but smokers will agree to this also.

Smokers like to smoke. This is also what your husband said:  He likes it. Smokers are not trying to offend anyone and are willing to follow rules of the non-smoker.

Now, there are some parameters you can place on his smoking: For example, no smoking in the house. You can also say no smoking in the car. I wouldn’t want a smoky smelling car because the smell gets in your clothes etc.

I think you should also talk to him about oral hygiene. Let him know that you like being close and intimate, but you don’t like kissing an ashtray. There are great mouthwashes etc. that cut the smell of smoke instantly.

No one can blame you for the way you feel, but you have to understand that your husband likes smoking and he is not ready to quit. Don’t let this one issue define your husband or your marriage.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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