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What do you do when communication hasn't worked?


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I try to count my blessings, my fiancé (who I've lived with for five years) is a genuinely good guy and does show that he cares about me, and we are very well-suited for each other in terms of personality, but I often feel he doesn't show me respect, with or without his knowing it. I've tried to make compromises, I've tried to communicate, I've tried yelling and screaming, I've tried the silent treatment, and in one really upsetting fight, I told him he takes me for granted and shouldn't find himself so comfortable just because we've been together for so long that it's a given I'll stick around. But I end up continually feeling like he isn't showing me the respect I deserve, he'll go on and apologize but a few weeks later will just go and do the same crap. I don't want to leave him, but I need another strategy, because nothing I'm doing is getting across to him.


Here's the most recent example that brought me to this forum: he recently began to vape. I think it's a stupid thing for him to do as an ex-smoker, but I try to pick my battles. He was vaping in the house for a while before it became so excessive that I'd come home to an immediate headache, red itchy eyes, and coughing every night. I asked him to stop doing it in the house, but we compromised and he began blowing it out the window. That didn't work, apparently I'm allergic to even trace amounts of it. So I asked nicely, no more in the house or out the window, please go outside. Well that erupts into a big argument about how it's all in my head, how I just don't want him doing it, blah blah blah, and my response was: even though it's not in my head and it definitely IS an allergy, it doesn't really matter what the reason is, I pay rent here and I don't want me or our cats to be forcibly exposed to those chemicals - you can walk ten steps outside for YOUR habit. Additionally, I was having a small procedure done and my doctor told me not to be around nicotine (vape or smoke) for a week, so he agreed at least temporarily to stop doing it in the house. Then after the procedure, I got the flu and was having severe coughing fits. Anyway, today was the first day I felt well enough to go back to work and when I come home, there he is vaping in the kitchen. But, without knowing I saw him, he lied to me about it and said he hasn't been vaping in the house anymore. I think this may be the first time in our relationship I've ever caught him in such a blatant lie. I called him out on it, he admitted to it, I tell him how upset it makes me that he not only vaped in the house after my procedure and he agreed not to, and when I had the flu, but also that he lies about it and chips away at our trust. He felt bad and said "I'm sorry," I said I'm tired of always hearing "sorry" when there's never any action behind it, then he shuts down and goes in the bedroom and I haven't seen him since. This is what always happens, we have an argument and try to talk things out but he just shuts down.


I don't know what I'm supposed to do. How can I possibly make myself any more clear? Am I being too nice, too mean? Do I have to go stay at my parents' house? Do I have to give him the silent treatment for 2 weeks? Gently communicating my wishes, asking how he feels about it, I mean all these standard "healthy" ways of communication have failed, I just can't seem to find a healthy (or unhealthy) way to get myself across to him. And it certainly doesn't help when he just shuts down. What can I do? I don't want to leave him, I just want him to be more respectful in our relationship!

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You can't make yourself any more clear. You're not being too nice nor mean. You are more than fair. No, you don't have to stay at your parents' house. No, you don't have to give him the silent treatment for 2 weeks because your strategy will fail.


There is no way to get yourself across to him. You can't do anything except accept the way he is and he refuses to change for you. You won't receive more respect from him because he is not willing to give you what you want which is what you need to accept.


Either live with his habits of refusing to vape outdoors or dissolve the relationship. In many cases, you can't have it both ways. There will always be a sacrifice with some people.

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The silent treatment is a poor motivator generally. But it sounds like you have communicated things very clearly before getting to that and he just bottom line hasn't respected you. And he needs to. You didn't get together with a person who vapes in the house and, when in a long term relationship and certainly when living together, what to him might feel like a personal individual decision is not that at all - it involves both of you and it's clearly affecting you. I agree with you that you shouldn't even need the allergy for him to respect your wish for him to stop doing this in the house. And is it really a big deal for him to step outside? I guess it would be if he really was doing it all the time, which is not something you're going to want to live with and you're right - it's not smart for an ex-smoker.


Trying to see it from the other side, maybe as an ex-smoker, he feels bad about getting hooked on this now and he's a bit salty about it all because he's let himself down? I don't know. But all you can do is urge him to stop. Help him to stop if he'll accept the help. If he doesn't want to stop, he has to respect your wishes to not do it in the house because that's clearly not working for you. And if he doesn't respect that? Well, that's a big red flag and there might be some hard decisions to make.

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I'm not sure he sees a future with you. I'm sorry. A partner who loves and cares about you is interested in your health and wellbeing. To me, it's as simple as this. Perhaps the relationship has been getting worse over time but this is the straw the breaks the camel's back, so to speak.


I wouldn't put up with someone compromising my health. Like you, I'm also sensitive to smoke and predisposed to asthma. I don't have great lungs and it was difficult for me to read your post because there was so much disrespect and lack of care there on his part. I just don't think he's on the same page as you. You should definitely take care of yourself.

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Talking is very weak, easy to ignore and tune out. That's all you are doing. Putting all the power in his hands to disrespect and ignore you by talking, silent treatment and other ineffectual ways to assert things. You need actions, not running to mom and dad for a while, etc. This means stop talking at him.


Stop playing house. Get out of the house much more. Start focusing on yourself much more. Stop doing the cooking, laundry, cleaning for him. Instead, go out, get in shape, get a new look, start taking courses and classes. Be involved in your own life and respect yourself more. Stop trying to fix and change him with talk and temper tantrums. The more you carry on with the same actions the more permission you are granting for him to just carry on.

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To me, most "fights" aren't about that subject at all...it's about deeper issues. Although smoking/vaping is a valid dealbreaker. I think you should accept this about him, or leave. I mean...express to him in a loving way why it bothers you. Why it really bothers you. I mean, what if instead of vaping he starting dipping? That wouldn't cause you to break out in hives, but I'm guessing you'd still find that vice disgusting.


Yelling...silent treatments - it's clear you guys are not on the same page.


It just gets worse from here - marriage always amplifies problems. I would take a step back and maybe go to counseling :-)

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It's interesting that you open up your post with he is such a caring guy and you are so blessed. Who are you trying to convince? The rest of your post illustrates in detail just how much he doesn't care.


You are communicating as clearly as a person can. You've tried everything, but so what? It doesn't work because he doesn't care. He doesn't care about your health, he doesn't care about your well being, he doesn't care how you feel, he doesn't care what you think, he doesn't care how it affects you.....he doesn't care about you. A person who cares, OP, hears you. It's not what you want to hear, but I think deep down you already know this. I wouldn't marry this guy.....

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Respect is a foundational necessity to a healthy relationship. Along with love, care, and trust, it is what you should expect of a long-term committed relationship at minimum.


It is only when those core values are consistently present that you can even begin to address moving forward with someone. Frankly, both of you are acting in ways that are unacceptable, in my opinion (I personally find methods like the silent treatment abhorrent and manipulative) and it's because you are fundamentally incompatible. If you feel like you've tried everything and nothing has worked, consider that this is not the right partner for you. It'll be a hell of a lot harder and more expensive to get a divorce in the future.

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I agree no silent treatment, and I agree you have not been more clear.


What really is disturbing is that you had a procedure and he still vapes around you --- i mean, when its a matter of life and death or your health is on the line he is saying "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn". Honestly, i would tell him one more time. "i don't want a power struggle between me and you. My health is actually on the line. I could not be around smoking or vaping during my recover when the doctor said i can't be around it. At this point, I cannot live in a home where there is vaping. So therefore, I am going to move out, or you are. "


I think if he wanted to compromise he would have vaped just on work breaks and would not do it at home. Afterall, he supposedly quit smoking but he traded one vice for another. It would not be the ideal, but it shows that he cares about you.


When my brother's gf found out that smoking was making his asthma worse, she stopped smoking around him cold turkey - she occasionally smoked when she wasn't going to see him that way and then wore the patch. But what helped was her motivation to want to see him. She struggled a little - but ABSOLUTELY never smoked around him, in his car when he wasn't there, and before she saw him, she took a shower, changed out of smokey clothing, etc.

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I've tried to make compromises, I've tried to communicate, I've tried yelling and screaming, I've tried the silent treatment,


Negotiation is the fine art of showing another what's in it for them to give you what you want. Take 'compromise' to a new level by offering partner something of value to him in exchange for something of value to you. Ask partner to come up with something he wants you to do (or not do anymore) in exchange for keeping the vaping outside.


If you come home to vape fumes in the home, skip accusations and policing. Those are useless strains on YOU. Have a backup plan in place for such an event--and decide how far you want to go with it--such as having an alternate place to stay for the night, or even an alternate place to stay for the period it takes to dump him and move out or get him out.


Someone who can justify disregarding impacts on your health in order to indulge in causing those impacts isn't just taking you for granted, he's rendering himself non-partner material. Whether he's doing that in an attempt to force you out, or he's just rebelling with a belief that you're not going anywhere, offering him a deal to change the behavior would be my last-ditch effort to learn whether he'll use the incentive to consider your value to him, or not. I'd have a backup plan in place should he demo 'not'.

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I'm sorry and I can't understand why someone would not compromise something that is bad for your health.


To me that is showing complete contempt and disregard and that is a real deal breaker and I would not settle for anything less than he is to change or he gets the boot.


He should apologize, see how it affects you and promise to not do it again.


Let us know how it goes.

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