The man I married was honest to a fault, neat, clean, energetic, and childlike in his enjoyment of life. I was the more mature one. I set rules for the children and did household accounts and such.
Two years ago he had a heart attack and bypass surgery. He is physically fine now, but the problem is he tells multiple small lies. He pretends to have quit smoking but sneaks cigarettes outside and at work. He is no longer tidy. The housework he used to do is now up to me.
The children are grown. We both work nights and earn about the same amount of money, but it no longer feels like we are a team. He sleeps all the hours he is at home. I have begged and pleaded for him to talk to someone about his depression, but he denies being depressed and refuses to see a doctor of any kind. He won't even go for cardiac follow-ups. He is also angry I talked him into bypass surgery.
I am angry at the change in our relationship. Our intimate relations went from what I consider a healthy 4-6 times a month to nine times in the last year. He has no physical difficulties, but if I suggest the prospect he withdraws more. I still do the same things for him I used to and keep the house running as before.
I have spoken to my pastor, a psychologist friend, and numerous girl pals of mine. I tried their suggestions but nothing helps. I cry a lot when I am alone and hope for the day when things will be better, but I cannot go on like this much longer.
Am I missing something? How do I get help for him if he will not accept it?
Gillian, sometimes we forget what a powerful addiction smoking is. People who try to stop often say, while they smoke, they can think of a dozen reasons to quit. Once they quit, they can't think of one.
Your letter is all about smoking. This problem is masking everything else that is going on. Although your actions are motivated by the best of intentions, they haven't been successful.
Your husband feels he can't smoke at home, and he can't tell you that he smokes at work. Every day he comes home, he has just quit smoking. He is a smoker on the first day, the worst day, of involuntary withdrawal. He copes by telling small lies and
sleeping his life away.
If you have talked to him about depression, he probably doesn't understand what you are talking about. What he feels is anger not depression. He is angry with you and his doctor. Both of you are standing between him and his cigarettes. That is just his physical addiction talking.
Lifting the home smoking restriction isn't going to kill your husband tomorrow. Once he is freed from the burden of having to succeed today, he can regroup and talk honestly with you. Maybe with help he can quit. Maybe not. But you can't make him quit. That has already been proven.
Wayne & Tamara
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