I never thought that choosing to do something good for my health would end up ruining my relationship. However, when I quit smoking, it had a serious impact on how my boyfriend and I interact and function as a couple—and not in a good way.
Our mood swings are serious. My boyfriend and I gave up smoking at the same time. We thought it’d be too hard for one of us to go cold turkey if the other was still puffing away so we went for it together. Admittedly, I was a little bitter about this because he’s older and has been smoking longer and I felt like I wanted more time to smoke myself into oblivion before giving it up. A month into my smoke-free life, I’m even more bitter and kinda wish I’d let him go it alone. It’s pure torture and our mood swings are one of the worst parts of it. We can go from totally chill to full of rage in a split second. We’re driving each other crazy and neither of us has the patience to deal with each other’s cravings.
Smoking was how we met, so there’s sentimental value there. We actually met on a smoking deck because we were the only ones in our respective groups that smoked. I hadn’t considered that smoking would be a huge part of our lives and the glue to the connection we’d made with each other. For us, it’s very much a part of how we socialize and interact with one another and now that we don’t have that, I actually miss that form of connection even more than I miss smoking itself.
It was our way to unwind together and bond with each other. After a long day at work, he’d come home and I’d open a bottle of our favorite Valpolicella and pour us each a glass. Then we’d both light a cigarette. We’d sit at the kitchen table letting the stress of the day melt away and feeling thankful that we get to come home to each other. I really treasured this part of our day. It was time to spend together just talking without the distractions of the TV, texts, or emails. I know we could still do it without the cigarettes, but as all smokers or ex-smokers know, alcohol only makes cigarette cravings a million times worse. Sitting at the table with a glass of juice after work just doesn’t cut it.
It was how we made peace during an argument. Even during some of the worst arguments we’ve had over the years, extending an olive branch in the form of a cigarette during a deep freeze-out always helped us to move on. Having a cigarette together after a fight was our way of saying that we were ready to be calm and talk things through. Obviously the nicotine rush had a part to play in the calming down too and it really came in handy.
It was how we finished sex. We both love a cigarette after sex. For me, there’s no better way to celebrate an orgasm and now I don’t have that option. It’s like ordering your favorite dessert only to find out they changed the recipe. It’s still good but it’s not the same.
It always ensured that we got time to ourselves on a night out. When we go on a night out with friends, it’s easy to get distracted after a few drinks and spend a lot of time talking to other people. Taking a break from the bar to go outside and smoke together was our way of regrouping and checking in with each other. It sounds silly, but it gave us a nice bit of intimacy and privacy that we no longer have.
Quitting has made me obsessed with my teeth. Now that I’m not smoking and I’m drinking less red wine and black coffee (both of which I believe shouldn’t be served unless accompanied by a cigarette), I now have the opportunity to get the upper hand on teeth whitening. Surprisingly, my teeth aren’t as stained as they should be, but obtaining Hollywood-level white choppers has become my new obsession and it’s taking over my life.
I miss the way my boyfriend’s smoky mouth used to taste. This is kind of disgusting, I know, but I loved the way he used to taste when I kissed him after a cigarette. It probably harkens back to my teenage years when kissing a guy who smoked was an act of serious rebellion for me. There was always something very attractive about a bad boy, and underage smoking in the small town I grew up in automatically gave a guy that mysterious, sexy quality. I guess some of that has always stayed with me, even to the point of loving kissing an ashtray.
He hates the way I taste when I cheat and have a cigarette. It’s true, I cheat often. If I’m honest, I’m not fully committed to quitting smoking and I’m only doing it to try and support him because he does really want to give up. Because he’s gotten used to being a non-smoker again, he can tell a mile off if I’ve smoked and hates kissing my ashy lips. I get where he’s coming from but it’s still really annoying.
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