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Hi all,


I need some advice on how to let go of being in control. About 3 months ago, my boyfriend broke up with me - he didn't know what he wanted, he kept promising me things and then changing his mind or never follow through with his words "action speaks louder than words" etc etc.. Anyway we worked things out and are back together again.


Everything is great, we don't fight at all, only when he drinks and smokes which I hate. He used to binge drink alot at the start of our relationship which led us to fight alot but now he is managing to control that aspect of it. Anyway when he was younger, he did alot of dope smoking which he has stopped, thank god and he used to smoke alot. Everyone of his friends and family say he's so much better now than what he used to be and even though I didn't know him back in those days, I know he has improved so much since then. However he only smokes when he's drinking now. Every other day he doesn't smoke, is into going to the gym and being all healthy. I think the reason I get upset is because I feel it is a contradiction to be all healthy one week and then to go drinking and smoking when he goes out. I get very upset as soon as I see him smoking and I will become quiet and I can go a day or two not speaking to him. I'm not a great actor so it always shows that I'm upset on my face and this has happened on quite a few occasions around his family and friends and it's really embarrassing for him and myself because I don't want them to see this side of me and I don't want them to think that we always fight when we don't.


My boyfriend is really trying and I appreciate the effort he is going to to not drink as much and not smoke as much (on an average night it could be 4 -6)

but this still upsets me. He says it shouldn't as it doesn't affect me that he does this but I don't know why it does. Maybe because I don't drink or smoke? I need to be able to kick this so that we can go out and have a good time without me becoming upset when he does this. I know I shouldn't "sweat the small stuff" and that it's a two way street but I can't help it feeling this way. He said that if I wanted a boyfriend who doesn't smoke, then he doesn't want a lazy girlfriend and that I should go to the gym when I say I should. I know he's right but that pissed me off too.


I hate feeling like this - how does one just let a bad feeling pass over?


Any advice is really appreciated.


thanks in advance

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You both need to come to an agreement. Something like he wont smoke when he's around you, or whatever. Be aware that you need to reciprocate. If the relationship is strong enough then you should both be willing to make some small sacrifices for each other.


If not then you might not be compatible with each other.

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Drinking and smoking are not "little things"...particularly if you are a non-smoker and an infrequent or non-drinker.


I'm a non-smoker. I dated (and even lived with) smokers in the past, but if I was still single, I wouldn't do it now. It's a bad habit...someone else's bad habit that I wouldn't want to put up with.


When I lived with a smoker, I had to tolerate burn holes in my furniture or on the rug (he was also a drinker and pot smoker...to the point that he was an alcoholic, so he wasn't exactly careful about not burning stuff) the mess from the ashtrays and butts and oh my God, the smell....never got used to that.


I also don't drink (I skip the "drunk" part and go right to "sick" so, there's really no point)....and someone who drinks more than every-once-in-a-blue-moon isn't really someone I want to be around a whole lot.


I don't have a problem with people who choose to indulge in those particular bad habits. God knows I have a few bad habits of my own. However, if you're talking about a person I'm going to be intimately involved with/live with and have a romantic relationship with, then those habits are things I'm going to avoid. They weren't dealbreakers for me in the past....but that was before I had to live with it. If I was single now, they would be dealbreakers.


Maybe you are finding out through this experience that those habits are dealbreakers for you. Sometimes we don't know what our dealbreakers are until we're confronted with them, try to live with them and find we cannot adapt to them.


You cannot control what another person does. He's cut back....so what? Sure sounds like his idea of "cutting back" isn't cutting back enough for you. He's still doing it and you can't make him stop. Just like he can't make you get off your ass and go to the gym. Only he can choose his actions, only you can choose yours. If someone tries to choose my actions for me, my first, knee-jerk reaction is generally, "Oh, yeah?" followed by a digging in of my heels and proving that I won't be told what to do. I don't think I'm all that different from most people.


Are you controlling? Maybe. Maybe not. What I do know is that there are some things I absolutely can't and won't live with, nor should I have to. What I also know is there are some things I absolutely can't control. If another person (who I cannot control) is repeatedly engaging in a behavior that I can't/won't live with, then one of the options I have (that I DO have control over) is removing myself from the situation. Any other option that involves the other person changing is bound to be fraught with frustration and usually very limited -- if any -- success. I also don't particularly like nor would I want to play "habit police." I have enough to work on managing my own bad habits.....I don't need to take on that job for someone else and monitor their alcohol intake or how much they smoke. And I know I will inevitably end up doing just that if I am involved with someone who is a habitual smoker or drinker.


When it comes to friends, acquaintences, co-workers, strangers, heck even family I don't live with -- I don't care what they choose to inhale or imbibe. That's their choice to make. When it comes to a romantic partner....it's still their choice...but the line's blurrier...because now it starts intruding into what is supposed to be MY living space as well, and because I'm likely to spend more time with them than friends, acquaintences, co-workers -- even if we're not living under the same roof.

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I dated a smoker, or rather a guy who started smoking in the middle of our relationship. It became a problem for us because he was doing it just to "be cool" for his buddies and also intentionally to tick me off. It was part of this whole "rebellious" thing he started on, which made me feel like his mom and I couldn't take it anymore. He was gone.


My current BF will have a cigar 2 or 3 times a year, but not when I'm around, and outside. I can deal with that, although I don't like it, and it's not really worth raising my health insurance rates in my opinion.

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i agree completely with Shes2smart. i think that drinking and smoking are pretty basic compatibility issues. Honestly - if you don't want to date a guy who drinks and smokes, you should just break up with him. This guy will do what he wants to do. The best you can do is tell him - "I don't feel comfortable dating a drinker and a smoker." if he wants to change, he can stop and keep dating you. if he doesn't want to change, don't try to control him. just accept that this is not the man for you, and then go and try to find a guy more in tune with your lifestyle.


good luck

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Speaking as a recovering control freak:


Step One is identification. That thing telling you that it has to be your way is called your Ego. It is not your friend, and it will fight shamelessly for control. There are dozens of books written about it, so I won't write another. Long story short is that everything ego related is afraid of death, so it can't give an inch.


Next is acceptance. Accept that the world and the people in it go on their own hook. It's going to keep spinning with or without you. For further proof, ask this: What *lasting* change have I made in my life, only because someone else wanted me to do it? If the answer is none, and others have this ego as well, what are the odds that someone else will change just because you want them to?


Finally, acceptance involves other people. If you love someone, you accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be. If you don't, well I suppose you don't love them. IMO, there's nothing wrong with that. Move on.



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