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Jewish Journal

Feeling Confused

by Natalie Landver

March 24, 2012 | 10:40 am

Photo by Wikipedia/Geierunited

Dear Therapists,

My wife and I have been together for 3 years and we love each other very much. However, she believes that I am addicted to cigarettes.  I personally don’t see it like that.  I agree that sometimes I smoke too much, and I can be a bit irresponsible at times. But she wants me to cut them out of my life for good.  I told her I would not smoke for 2 weeks to prove that I can handle it, but the truth is, I don’t want to stop smoking.  I told her I should only stop smoking if I truly want to, not for her, but I also don’t want to lose her, so maybe I should do it for her.  I wonder if that is a good reason to quit though, and if I will resent her for that. What do you think?

Sincerely,
Feeling Confused


Dear Feeling Confused,

You seem quite aware of your desire to continue smoking, and per your post, you are resistant to quit unless it is on your own terms.  In fact what you are expressing is not too far from the norm. The success in quitting any addictive substance or habit depends so much on the motivation of the individual.  In the addiction circle, it is believed that most people become motivated to quit only when they “hit rock bottom.” For some this may come as the simple realization that their health can be compromised, and for others it may come with a higher price like being left by a loved one.  Whether or not you are addicted to smoking cigarettes, it is clear that you have not reached a point where you are self-motivated to quit. No one can force upon you to quit smoking, however, the question becomes, are you willing to deal with the consequences associated to continuing to smoke? It seems like you are contemplating that if you do not quit, you may lose your wife. Therefore, it feels to you that you would be quitting for her sake. It would be more useful if you shifted your thinking and looked at the decision to quit not for her sake but for your own sake because not wanting to loose her is about your need and not hers.  So you are right, you should not have to quit for her; it should be because you want to.  But which desire is stronger? Remaining in a marriage to her, or the desire to smoke?
In the end, however, this is a marriage, and the two of you should be able to have a free and open dialogue about this, as this would set the tone for all your other disagreements.
Finding a win/win situation is always the best outcome.

Good luck,
AskYourTherapists Team

For more information, visit our site at askyourtherapists.com, or e-mail us at ask@askyourtherapists.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Golie Zarabi is a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern. Golie practices psychotherapy in both English and Farsi. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of...

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