Help with Husband Lying About Smoking - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

This is quite a long back story, so please prepare yourself!
My husband and I have been married for 8 months, and were together for 5 years before that. 3 months into the marriage, I found out that he has been smoking cigarettes off and on since I asked him to quit 3 years prior. I realize now that my asking him to quit when he wasn't ready/didn't want to has a huge part in his relapse, etc. I asked him to quit because I just witnessed a family friend's husband get and die of lung cancer; it was terribly sad, as he was confined to a hospital bed in his own home and talked what could only be described as baby gibberish. I knew then that I could never see my boyfriend that way and that I didn't want any illness pertaining to his smoking affecting the length of our relationship. Not sure how to deal with this issue and thinking it would be enough to keep him from starting again, I told him if he ever started smoking again I would break up with him.


This scared him badly, but had the opposite effect than I intended; when he started smoking again, he didn't tell me and told his entire family and friends not to tell me he had started smoking again, otherwise I would leave him; he truly believed I would over th. I had suspected him of smoking several times over the past few years (I moved in with him over 2 years ago), when he would come home smelling like it or I'd find lighters in his car, etc; but it was difficult to pin point that it was truly him smoking because literally EVERYONE in his family and ALL of his friends smoke cigarettes (this is honestly not an exaggeration). He always had an alibi, whether it was people blew smoke on him (which, they do, I've seen, whenever they talk, they don't care it's covering him) and people smoke in his car (which is why his car smelled like smoke), and that they leave their trash in it, too. Believing that he would truly tell me if he had started smoking again, I always dropped it.


I didn't drop it one time, however, when I found a pack with cigarettes stashed directly under his seat, which was 4 months ago. I didn't, as he and his whole family thought, leave him; it was simply out of the question and honestly never occurred to me. After a month or so of him still smoking and me getting peeved about it (I can't help how upset I get when he smokes; my blood boils in my veins instantly at just the thought), and him switching the an electronic cigarette, which I was perfectly fine with, he got sick with Bronchitis and an onset of Strep and didn't use it anymore. I was excited, hoping that maybe he was done with both real and electronic cigarettes for good, and yet worried that he was back to smoking real cigarettes.


Come to find out, he was, and lied to me about it again, after telling me he wouldn't anymore. I found this out about a month ago. We had a serious discussion in which I broke down and told him I could NOT have him lying to me anymore (this is what upset me more than him smoking cigarettes, because I honestly did not think he was capable of lying to me; it literally changed my entire view of him.) We've been more open about things since then, such as our true reasons for our behaviors, etc. He was not able to quit cold turkey either time, but has significantly reduced his smoking from (and this I'm not even sure of because he said he honestly couldn't tell me) 1/2 a pack to a whole pack a day to just a couple drags off a cigarette a few times a day. For the most part, I have not gotten terribly mad at him about it. I thank him for telling me every day and time when he does smoke, if even just a drag (but, hell, he could be doing a lot more than he's admitting and I wouldn't know any better) and have been dealing with the entire situation rather well.

However, lately, I found that he has lied to me a few more times. The other day he ran to the story and came back smelling like cigarettes; I asked him if he had (not upset, but just straightforward). He said he didn't know why he smelled like that and just that he had chewed a piece of gum. A few minutes later he texted me and said that he had in fact smoked a few drags off a cigarette and wasn't sure why he had lied. This upset me; it was if my heart had broken all over again as it did the first time he told me that he had been lying to me for the past 3 years. Furthermore, today, he ran to his parents to grab something real quick and came back smelling like it. He immediately told me that he had smoked a few drags while he was outside with his sister and brother. I said ok; though I don't like it and him smoking bothers me down to my core, I've grown accustomed to him doing this, especially when he goes out for errands on his own. I decided to test his brother to see if he would tell me the truth (I now have trust issues with nearly his entire family (cousins, etc included) because they all told me after I found out the first time months ago that if they ever saw him smoking again they would tell me because it wasn't right for him to lie to me - they told me this on their own accord ; obviously none of them held true to their word since - and I hate that I've lost count of how many times this has happened -the last time - I think it's just happened twice now, possibly three times.). Anyway, I texted him asking him if my husband had smoked while he'd been there. He replied with a "I don't know, I came inside". I then proceeded to text his sister the same thing. She too, said she wasn't sure (although this is a little more excusable since she's in the middle of a stressful divorce). Curious, to see if she, too, was lying, I asked my husband which one of his siblings had given him the cigarette of which he took a few drags of (again, not mad, solely to see if I could trust either of them to be honest with me).

He then proceeded to tell me that neither of them; the cigarette had been one from a pack he'd bought around 3 weeks ago. This was completely without my knowledge; he had told me that he's been taking drags from cigarettes of others' and last I knew, he hadn't bought a pack in well over a month. This discovery, too, broke my heart. I don't even get upset anymore when he tells me he's smoked (most times I say ok, ask how much and then we continue on with our day!!) and he has absolutely no reason to lie to me anymore yet he can't stop!!

Every time I rebuild my trust with him, he completely shatters it!! I'm basically just playing the waiting game because he picked Nov 17th of this year to quit altogether, so the cigarettes aren't my primary worry. But, I don't feel like I can trust him anymore. I honestly don't know if he lies about anything else, how much he smokes, etc. I have half the mind to give him a certain amount each day and require receipts and change to document if he's bought any packs, etc. I originally came on here to get advice on rationally behaving, such as limits to place on him, like not going places without me (he only smokes when I'm not there, or if I go inside) (not so he won't smoke but just to be sure I know about it when he does and how much, etc); I felt like I was quite lenient on him, giving him the space to tell me the truth, but now since he's betrayed my trust and lied to me I've lost count how many times, I feel like it's time to kick it up and be semi-Nazi. I don't know how to deal with this. But I do know that I definitely can't take him lying to me; he's pushing me really far away and in the process doing irreparable damage - I feel myself building a wall up and turning cold and distant (I guess in an effort to protect my feelings and prevent from crying which is all I feel like doing). What's worse, I feel like I'm getting used to this, him lying to me, which I hate the most. I definitely DO NOT want this to be the rest of my marriage, not being surprised by the fact that my husband lies to me.

I'm not sure what it is I'm asking for by posting this, I just know I need help dealing with this situation.

Thank you in advance for anyone who reads and replies; it means a lot to me that someone cares enough to lend a pair of eyes and maybe some advice.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 05:44 AM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

You can ask him to not smoke. You can try to persuade him to not smoke. You can't order him to not smoke. Why does he lie to you about smoking but tells his family the truth? For most people, lying is an unnatural act, generally used when we don't trust others with the truth.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

He does want to quit and has decided that nov 17th will be his last day, with trial cigarette-free days in the weeks leading up to it. His entire family smokes, they've known he always smokes, etc. They understand his pov since they are all a bunch of smokers. I think it's because even though I don't get mad at him anymore about smoking, he can still tell I am disappointed and I guess doesn't want to have to see "that look" in my eyes.

I don't know what else I can do to get him to stop lying to me about it, though. I honestly barely react anymore. I don't know if there's still residual feelings on his part that I'll get mad at him, or what. I think he's just really ashamed about it and truly wants to be a better person with this issue.
That's all just best guess, though.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my post, it means a lot to me <3
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 07:40 AM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

Cigarettes are a very powerful addiction. If it were possible for people to simply quit because you told them to, you'd be appointed Surgeon General. I've had several former heroin addicts tell me that kicking heroin was a breeze compared to cigarettes. It's wonderful that you care about his health but please don't think he's an evil, dishonest person because he suffers from an addiction. Most people try to quit several times before they succeed. Be patient and supportive.
You don't want to go uber-nazi on him. The only thing that will accomplish is to drive his addiction into the shadows where he will enjoy it when you aren't around. In his mind, that makes time with you "miserable time" and time apart from you "pleasure time". Also, the more people engage in deception the easier deception becomes.
You might keep his body and mind busy with fun stuff when you are together. It's hard to smoke and swim, bike, or make love at the same time. Relaxation techniques are helpful and there are medications that can help. Praise the successes and try not to turn smoking into a "him against me" thing. The goal is a peaceful, happy marriage. With or without cigarettes, neither of you know how long you have together. Better to have a short, happy marriage than a long, contentious one.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 11:13 AM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

I'm a smoker. One who watched her MIL die of lung cancer and COPD in 2004...literally. We took her off of life support after a COPD related heart attack that reduced her to a coma and low level brain activity.

Literally stood there and watched her die. I'm still smoking. Not because I want to die the same way and I'm a very self aware smoker (what it does to you, what's in it, respectful of non smokers).

I even have cardiac issues that I'm going through but the addiction is so strong and so powerful it's difficult to quit. I've tried quiting several times without success too.

It's a very physiological and psychological addiction. It takes the average smoker 8 to 12 tries to quit fully without any cessation support. Those odds drop down to 3 to 7 attempts or less with cessation support.

Has he tried a cessation program, he can ask his doctor for something like Zyban or Chantix (BIG BLACK BOX WARNING: Chantix causes psychological changes in some people). Even the mild medication Welbutrin (like Zyban) may be able to help. Jump into a group therapy session or two. Join other quiting smokers.

The fact that his whole family smokes makes it less likely to quit and that much harder. It's there in his face. The smell, the sight of it, the taste..it's all there in his face while the rest of his family does it.

You can't force someone to quit, you can't even really ask unless they are truly ready to quit. Him picking a quit date may be to appease you...if it is, he'll fail again at quiting.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 01:34 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

You need to try to stop being offended by his lying to you. Addictions are such powerful forces; he wants you to respect and love him, but he can't quit yet. So he lies. Stupid, yes, but it is out of love to you and not wanting you to be disappointed in him.
I recommend you check out some al-anon meetings. I know he is not drinking, but the things you are mentioning sound like typical codependent behaviors and you will want to work on yourself if you don't want to go crazy!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 02:07 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

He's smoking and it's his choice. If he smokes, he smokes. It's not healthy and it's not what you may want in a partner, but it's the reality RIGHT NOW.

he'll quit when he's ready. Smoking is enjoyable (if you don't smoke, you don't know). You can maybe ask for him to cut back, but if he doesn't want to quit, he won't-- which he hasn't-- he just started lying to you about it.

I'd rather have my husband openly smoke around me, than lie.


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They want vodka and Taco Bell.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

that_girl,
Since I found out he was smoking initially, he told me himself that he wants to quit for him, not for me; I suggested a date to make it more of a reality to him instead of it being "I'll quit sometime soon". He picked his own date, which I wasn't expecting it to be so soon and the day he had set the date, I told him he could change it but only at the end of the day, so that the week before he wouldn't prolong it, etc.

No, I'm not happy that he's smoking, but I told him that he needs to be honest about it and he swore he would be from now on, and has for the most part. I don't want him lying to me about it, but there's nothing that I can do on my part to make him not lie to me about it - that is entirely his choice. The whole reason I'm so upset is because he lied to me for 3/5 of our relationship and got his entire family and all of his friends, old and new, to lie to my face and make me believe he wasn't smoking.


justsumchik,
The fact that he's lying about it is cowardly, selfish and arrogant. I'm not going to respect someone who has lied to me on such a large scale and continues to lie to me and with whom I have no trust; this has been difficult because I have recently found out several other occasions and instances where he's lied to me about various things, too. I flat out told him that while I may not be jumping for joy that he's smoking, I would much rather know about it than have him lie to me, because if I find out he lied about it, I am actually going to be upset. I don't know how much clearer I can get. And as for the fact that I shouldn't be so hard on him about lying: lying destroys trust which is a MAJOR component in a relationship, so, no, I don't think I should be lenient and let him lie to me.

And also, are you saying that I'm being codependent? I don't understand how, please explain.



CantePe,
He hasn't tried any meds that I know of, but I believe at one point he was on the gum, and he is currently using an electronic cigarette about at least 90% of the time.


I told him that I can only offer him so much support and that a huge chunk is going to come from his family respecting his long-term wish to quit smoking and not offering or giving him cigarettes, etc.

I offered going to counseling about this issue, so that I can better understand his addiction and his side and deal with everything rationally and in a way best conducive to his needs. He detests psychologists and refused to go. I'm considering going to my school's counselor since it's free and discussing these issues with him/her. My husband disliked that idea though, because then it would all just be one-sided, so I don't know.


unbeliebable,
I realize that he won't quit unless he's ready, which he told me his is, unless he lied about that too. It's a very difficult situation that I feel I'm handling very well considering cigarettes repulse me. I don't think I can properly explain how thoroughly disgusted I am with cigarettes. I can handle him smoking now, knowing that he will soon, but I'm not sure if I can handle going through this every few years for who knows how long, and on top of that all the lies; that seems overwhelming.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 05:09 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

If he's using the E-Cig then he should just move over to it full time. It's cleaner, less chemicals and no smoke at all. In fact, if I had the money I'd be buying one of these myself. It's a touch expensive but I think worth it if you want to go smokeless. The only thing contained in the E-Cig is the nicotine and none of the harsh chemicals like tar, benzine, etc

You suggesting a date of quiting is still viewed by the addict as a forceful event and a sense of trying to control his addiction and him as an addict. I still think he's only agreeing to pacify you. Your past reactions may be the result of this even though you've settled a little and relinquished some of the strong emotions about it.

He's going off of past experiences with you about this issue. You must remove yourself from his cessation plan other than to only offer support and encouragement and to allow him to make his plans and goals for cessation. He needs to work it out for himself or he will never be able to quit. He still feels pressure from you regardless of you pulling back that pressure and trying to understand.

My mom tried in the past and still does sometimes to pressure me into quiting. It doesn't work. It never will.

Perhaps what you can do is ask him to come up with his own cessation plans and goals instead or tell him you make your plans and goals I'll support you but it's up to you.

Do set boundaries though, no smoking in the house (reasonable, I don't smoke in the house), no smoking in mutually shared areas like the car. If you have kids, no smoking around the kids or you.
Before kissing you he can use mouthwash or tooth brushing. If he makes it difficult on himself to enjoy the smoking he'll be able to reduce the amount he smokes and possibly even quit smoking all together but it has to come from him.

There is no reason not to set personal boundaries either for yourself to keep your lungs healthy from his habit. That's just respectful smoking in the first place.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 09:57 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

I don't know if you are being codependent or not, but one of the common symptoms of people who are is the obsession with the addict's behavior - wondering if he's smoking, asking if he's smoking, counting cigarettes smoked over time, quizzing other people, thinking about handing out money and requesting receipts - all of those to me seem like signs of codependency and unhealthy.
He is going to smoke or not. You just need to decide whether to live with it or not. As they say in Al-anon - You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. Or something like that.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

Those behaviors stemmed from him lying to me for 3/5 of our relationship, not from him smoking. And I'd say that it's pretty normal for me to have trust issues about him telling me the truth about him smoking since he lied to me about it for 3 years.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

CantePe,
He says that the e cig isn't "the same" as a regular cigarette, which is why he feels the need to take drags, etc.

I asked him if he was actually wanted to quit, etc and he told me he did. I never told him what the date had to be or anything, he picked that entirely on his own. How am I supposed to be supportive if I do absolutely nothing to help him stick to his goals about quitting? If he picked that date, he needs to stick with it, be strong-willed and I can help encourage that. He already did make his plan, to quit on the 17th and from now until then he is going to go every other day without smoking and only if he absolutely has to, then to make it two days and then three. He told me this all on his own.

As for boundaries, we live in an apt, so he does all his smoking outside, and rarely in the car, and always washes his hands and face before kissing me (although I think these are habits that carried over from when he was lying to me, but whatever).

We've talked before about how this is only going to work if he really wants to quit himself, etc, and he told me he does (unless he's lying about that, which I can't help)
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 11:09 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

It's hard...very hard. Tried Chantix and it was working but I had vivid nightmares and random thoughts of just going out to the garage and hanging my self. It scared the hell out of me so I stopped taking it. Just giving you a heads up in case that is something he plans on using to stop. Keep an eye on him if he does use Chantix.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 11:43 PM
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe kidd View Post
It's hard...very hard. Tried Chantix and it was working but I had vivid nightmares and random thoughts of just going out to the garage and hanging my self. It scared the hell out of me so I stopped taking it. Just giving you a heads up in case that is something he plans on using to stop. Keep an eye on him if he does use Chantix.
Another heads up, had a girlfriend who tried using Chantix for cessation therapy. It made her want to kill people, literally. It gave her vivid nightmares too and made her extremely psychotic to the point she had to have doctor supervised detox from it.

It has a huge black box label about psychological changes in some people and that it can cause psychosis in some. It's an SSRI (seritonin re-uptake inhibitor) and SSRIs are notorious for psychotic breaks and advisement of not using in certain groups of people (ie: people with history of suicide or suicidal tendencies, self mutilators and family history of psychosis, as well as children under 18).

They are actually investigating Chantix right now (FDA) but we all know how the wheels turn slow on those types of investigations right. Welbutrin is reported to be the most effective with the least symptoms of side effects. It's a lower dose SSRI with a slower release and half life.

I was on welbutrin xr for clinical depression a few years back with little to no side effects and it seemed to slow my smoking down to barely anything too. That's why I suggested welbutrin as an alternative.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Help with Husband Lying About Smoking

Thank y'all for the heads up. He hasn't mentioned wanting to take any meds for it yet, but I'll make sure we stay clear of Chantix; he's already been having bad nightmares, he said just from the stress of quitting. I'll keep welbutrin in mind if he decides that's the route he wants to go.
Thank y'all so much!
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