#7 Fiancé broke no-smoking agreement / Can't inspire fiancé to opt for health
Dear Ann Landers: I have been dating an attractive woman for several months, and we have a good relationship. There is one big problem, however. "Lucinda" smokes more than a pack of cigarettes a day.
When we first began dating, I told her I did not want to be in the company of anyone who smokes. After that, she did not smoke around me, neither in my car nor in my home. Lately, however, she has been lighting up in my presence. I offered her a financial incentive to quit (big bucks), she did for two months. After I paid her the money, she started smoking again. This woman keeps promising to quit, and then goes back on her word. Her mother has emphysema, and I expect that, eventually, she will have it too,
My doctor says that, considering my age and medical history, passive smoke inhalation could be dangerous. Therefore, as long as Lucinda smokes, I will not consider marrying her. I have tried all forms of persuasion, but I am now convinced that she will never quit. I have decided to stop seeing her altogether if she does not quit by November. Am I being cruel? What would you advise? —UNDECIDED SOME WHERE IN TENNESSEE
Dear Tennessee: Dump her now. Marriage would be a constant battle. Take her back only if she manages on her own to quit smoking for three months and promises to stay off cigarettes permanently. If she goes back on her word, start looking for a tobacco free woman. —ANN LANDERS
Hi Tennessee: What you say is the "big problem" ain't it. She is mirroring your lack of commitment to your own health. That is to say, there is a correlation between you telling the truth and the results you produce, to include your health.
How did she know that you didn't mean it when you told her you didn't want to be in the company of anyone who smokes? She intuitively knew you were lying. She knew she could con you. Cons are always connable.
You say, "Lately, however, she has been lighting up in my presence." Lately indicates more than once. How you handled her first light-up in your presence gave her permission to light-up in your presence again. This leads me to suspect that you traded off your integrity for a favor, perhaps only her company but, I think there’s more to it. The first time you allowed her to light up again was the test. She was testing you to see if you were worthy of respect. Of course you’re not, so she lies and breaks her word with you just as you have with her.
Notice the discrepancy between what you say you know and what you know, re: ". . . I am now convinced that she will never quit," immediately followed with, "I have decided to stop seeing her altogether if she does not quit by November." You lie even to yourself. In other words, if you are "convinced" why would you wait until Nov?
This is also about you learning to find someone to love exactly the way they are. It will be as difficult for her to complete her addiction to smoking as it will be for you to give up your addiction to fault-finding, to making another wrong.
Yes, it is "cruel" to hang around someone and try to change/improve them. Being addicted to making others wrong is equally unhealthy for you. You'll notice that when you do handle this problem you will once again create something similar with a new person and you'll be embroiled in another issue of trying to change someone. You are addicted to finding fault; this communication model of yours serves as a barrier to happiness.
You describe your relationship as "good" and good is as good (never great or magnificent) as it will get, until you get some counseling. To hang around someone satisfied with it being only good is equally cruel. It keeps them stuck in mediocrity.
Finally, and most importantly, you write that she broke an agreement with you. This is another lie. What you created was the illusion of an agreement. Thank you, Gabby
Anonymous' Response (posted 6/13/01)
You say Lucinda is attractive and she smokes. I say you don't deserve Lucinda. Dump her before she dumps you. I suspect Lucinda started smoking long before you met her, so you knew full well this beautiful woman was a smoker and you chose not to accept her. I'm sure there are plenty of men, both smokers and non-smokers, who could love Lucinda unconditionally. —Anonymous
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