**This is a work of nonfiction based on an actual event as told to me by a friend who experienced this firsthand; used with permission.
It’s tough to see someone you care about emotionally and physically suffering because of their tobacco addiction. But it is not uncommon, and if they are lucky, they will have a caring friend who can provide the support they need.
What happens when your loved one refuses to quit smoking? What do you do when the person you care about most in the world tells you, “I’m sorry, but this is just too hard for me”?
This happened to one of my old friends. I ca n’t tell you his name because I promised him that I would keep his identity confidential. If he hadn’t already insisted that I write this story, I wouldn’t have either, but he permitted me to share this tale of betrayal with the rest of you. He has asked me to do it for several reasons.
- First, he wants everyone else out there dealing with a loved one’s addiction to be better informed and more prepared for what to expect.
- Second, he wants to encourage anyone who is going through the same thing to not be alone and to know that they are not alone.
- Third, he has been trying to quit smoking, and this story might just inspire him to do so. Lastly, he wanted to tell the story because someone needs to write about it, and perhaps that someone will be you.
So things in his life were good. He had a good job; everything was going well. He and his girlfriend were happy together. Then one day, she told him that the next time he lit up a cigarette, it would be their last of her. He thought that she was joking at first, but the look in her eyes told him otherwise. When he asked her to reconsider her decision, she said that she cared about him too much and she could not bear to watch him slowly kill himself anymore. She loved him, but she wasn’t prepared to stand idly on the sidelines as he slowly self-destructed. She would continue to love him, but it would be from a distance.
He was at a loss for words and began to beg her not to do this to them. She tried everything she could think of to convince him that this was the right thing for both of them, but nothing worked. He pleaded with her, even offering to go back on his medications if they would help.
In the end, she said that if he promised to quit for good, she would stay with him and try to help him get through it. But if he was unable to stop for good, then she would have to leave him and move out of his apartment from her. She gave him two weeks to sort himself out.
He started smoking again immediately after she left. He realized that he needed her to help him, but she had already made up her mind about her, and he was out of time.
Why She Left
She loved him. She wanted the best for him, just as he did for her. She knew that his decision to smoke was killing him, but she had already spent years watching and waiting for the day when he would finally realize the damage that he was doing to himself and quit. They had already had this conversation many times. They talked about it when they first started dating and again every time he attempted to quit smoking down the line.
She didn’t want to give him ultimatums, but she was at her wits’ end with him. She knew how much it would hurt him when she moved out, but she also knew she was doing the right thing for her and him. She had tried everything to convince him that quitting was the right thing, but he wasn’t listening. She tried to reason with him, but he wouldn’t hear it. She tried again, and then again and again until she could no longer stand it. When she thought that she understood her point of view and would finally quit for good, she moved out.
The sad part is that they are not even dating anymore because they broke up after she moved out.
If you are dealing with a situation like this, don’t despair. If you can’t convince your loved one to quit on their own, get some help. There are several support groups out there that can help you cope with the situation.
You will need them soon enough. But keep in mind that this is not your fault and it’s not your loved one’s fault either.
Hopefully, this story will inspire other loved ones to do the same and help them through those difficult times when they are struggling with their own decision to stay or go.