Dear Barb – Smoker Needs to Quit for Himself, Not the Relationship

Dear Barb:

I am a single woman in my early thirties. I have never been married, but have had lots of relationships. I would like to marry and have a family, but I’m having a hard time finding the right man. I recently met a man that I feel an attraction to. We get along great; he makes me laugh and we seem to have a lot in common. My biggest problem with him is his smoking.

I’ve tried to convince myself that this is not an issue, but it keeps popping up. He says he will quit if I really want him to. I’m not sure that I want him to quit smoking for me. I believe he has to quit smoking for himself, not because I want him too.

Should I continue in this relationship and hope he will quit smoking, or should I end it right now before I get too involved? I really like him and we do seem to have a connection. Please advise.

Michelle

Good to hear from you, Michelle. Smoking is such a taboo in today’s society. It is difficult for the smoker as well as those around them. Aside from the smell and cost, there is no doubt that smoking contributes to the development of many illnesses; not only in the smoker, but second-hand smoke affects the health of those around the smoker. Therefore, if you were to marry and have children, you would be putting yourself as well as your children at risk.

Only you know how strong your feelings are for this person, but this is a big issue. You are right that if he quits smoking for you it could lead to other problems in the relationship. He may have feelings of resentment toward you that could manifest in other areas of your life, thus leading to additional difficulties.

I think you need to tell him how you feel and how much you care for him, and that you don’t want him to quit for your sake but rather for himself. If he insists he wants to quit because your relationship is that important to him, then he needs to get outside help through his doctor or the many quit-smoking programs that are available. By joining a program he will be receiving help to deal with all the issues that come along with quitting smoking.

If he agrees to this, I would suggest you give him the opportunity to prove to you that he really wants to quit. If he successfully completes the program, then make your decision whether you want to continue in the relationship. Sometimes all it takes is a nudge from the right person for someone to give up a bad habit.

Good luck to you both.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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