Q: My husband quit smoking a few years ago. I just found out that he’s smoking again and has been hiding it for over a year. I want to support my husband, but I’m upset over this. What should I do?
A: Our guess is you’re feeling a lot of different emotions. Before doing anything else, we’d encourage you to sort them out. You’re probably frustrated that he’s back at square one with his struggle, and naturally, you’re upset that he’s kept it from you for so long. You have a right to expect honesty in your relationship, and instead, there’s been a lack of transparency. While the foundation of trust may not have collapsed, it’s suffered some erosion. Repairing that needs to be your focus.
Sit down with your husband for an honest conversation. Begin by expressing your disappointment for, not in him, and assure him of your love, respect, and confidence that he’ll win this battle. Convincing him of this may alleviate some of the shame, which may be what led him to conceal his relapse.
Once that’s been said, let him tell you his story. Has stress at work or home triggered the urge? What made him feel he couldn’t share his struggles and be honest with you? After you’ve got a clearer picture, move into why his actions hurt you. Don’t make smoking the issue. He’s probably more upset about that than you. Instead, let him know it’s a matter of trust, and for that to exist, you need to feel he can confide in you. Ask if there are obstacles to that, and what might be done to remove those. If the obstacles seem too big or you need guidance working through this challenge, please give our Family Support Services a call at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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