Sunday, January 27, 2008
Much of the crappiness and distance involved in my relationship is down to my husband's smoking habit. Right now I'm blogging instead of watching the beginning of the film we were about to watch together, as he had to go have a smoke first. I walked back in to the sitting room from yet another trip upstairs to try and force my daughter to sleep, to be greeted by the usual wave of smoke growing stale emanating from the man I love, so I have to go away for five minutes while it dies down.
He finds it offensive that I ask him to wash his hands and face before holding his babies, or preparing food, or coming to bed. I picked up my baby son today, and his little pure, pudgy face smelled of stale smoke. It makes me want to cry, every time.
I hope the effect of breathing stale smoke is far less than the effect of passive smoking, but it seems to me that if you can breathe in a smell, you're still inhaling a substance, surely.
I can't really ask for a hug or a kiss anymore, as the smell of smoke just sickens me, and the nausea is worse because it seems to stand for everything that's wrong - how my husband has been choosing smoking over his health, my health and comfort, our children, for years and years now.
He can stop if he wants to but doesn't. The last time he stopped, or maybe the time before that, he just resented me for it the whole time. The last time he had an unfortunate acupuncture session that seemed to rid his body of the last of the nicotine, but brought back all the cravings, and he merrily chose to start smoking again, just before we conceived our second child. So I went through a second session of morning sickness being sickened by his cigarettes. When I was pregnant, I could smell them through the front door.
His clothes and his car reek the whole time - but at any mention of this, I get the sighs and eye rolls, I'm the inconsiderate, nagging, irrational one with the problem, he's the considerate smoker.
He has a host of reasons for continuing to smoke, the majority of which are shite. I think, if I didn't have children I would leave because of it - he didn't smoke when we met, by the time he started, I was in too deep :) I was younger, and my tolerance for smoke was higher, though I rapidly stopped being able to hold hands.
He smokes 'to relax' and to manage stress - which is a misnomer, smoking increases stress levels - I can see his desperation any time he has to deal with a difficult family situation - as his stress levels rise, so does the nicotine withdrawal, and all ability to problem solve or stay calm is overridden by the need to suppress the emotions with a cigarette.
I wish he could appreciate the problem from my point of view, I wish he'd feel enough responsibility for his children to stay as healthy as he can, and to keep their air free. We bit hahve parents who died from cancer.
I remember the reek of pipe smoke off my father, how unpleasant it was to hug him when I was child. Perhaps that's why I dislike it so much now, I don't know, I just wish my daughter didn't have the same experience.
I really don't know how any person of our generation can preach in favour of smokers' rights, or defend the habit. I wish I could really articulate the misery his habit causes me, what I feel I have to sacrifice in terms of happiness and comfort in order that he can carry on with this carcinogenic practice he's been indulging in for the larger part of fifteen years, while I go on having to deal with it. I think it's my turn to get a break for a while.
Posted by Jo at Sunday, January 27, 2008