Congratulations on deciding to quit smoking!!! But what if your partner isn’t ready to give up their own smoking habits? And their smoking is a constant trigger.
The key is to have a plan in a place for yourself as to how you are going to quit. The next step begins with open and honest communication with your partner. Sit down and tell them your plan to quit smoking. Ask your partner how they see themselves helping you. Your partner may surprise you and offer to change their smoking habits around you. If not, trying explaining to them how their smoking may trigger a relapse. If they are not willing to help, you can request that they no longer smoke around you, or at least give you a heads up, so you can leave the room. You can also ask them to keep all their cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays out of sight, if that is helpful. If they just plain won’t help and it feels as if they are trying to sabotage you, just know this is hard for them too. The new habits you are creating for yourself may make your partner feel abandoned or just plain annoyed because they have to change too. Think of you and your spouse, do many of the activities you do together involve smoking? My patients often tell me that smoking with their partner is the one time of the day that they look forward to because it provides some quiet time and a space for them to connect.
In the end, there is no one solution for everyone, but openly expressing what you need and making requests, can initiate a conversation and lead to problem-solving. Also, don’t forget to let your partner know that you appreciate all they are doing to help you with your quit!!
For those of you who have quit and your partner smoked or you were often around others who smoked, what kinds of things were most helpful for you?
Heather Kraling-Coons, MA