Dear Thelma: I just can't stand his bad habits and cover-ups

I was in a relationship with my ex for 1.5 years plus. However, we broke up last week after I found out that he had lied to me for the second time.

I am very against vaping and shisha or whatever to do with smoking. In the beginning of the first year, we were very happy together but we often argued about this issue.

Fast-forward to our second year: he promised me that he would stop this completely. It was very difficult for me to trust him because of his friends who are smokers and drinkers. Whenever I questioned him about this, it seemed to bother him a lot because, he claimed, it was as though I did not trust him. But he assured me that he would not want to repeat the past and that he has stopped smoking completely. We argued a lot this year over minor things, somehow. However, I decided to trust that he is a man of his word and would not do things that would hurt me.

Recently, I found out that he was vaping and smoking shisha. I was extremely heartbroken. The conduct and the fact that he lied to me all these months is as though he did not respect/care about my feelings when I am not around. The first lying incident was when he told me he met two of his girl friends coincidentally in a café, but actually he had already made plans to meet up with them (I found out from my family member). When I questioned him, he confessed his actions, which made me cry in public (I am not the type who would easily break down), and his reason was so that I would not overthink about his dealings with his friends, given that he is a super “social butterfly” who has many guy and girl friends.

Now that we have broken up, he claims that he “hasn’t lost any feelings for me” but he needs some time. I too want to take a break as I realise that I have not been happy like before and I am not smiling as frequently.

Given all that has happened, even if we talk it out about getting back together or not, I do not really know what to do. I am confused – are these what people call “white lies”? Or is he just irresponsible and disrespectful? There are so many thoughts and opinions that I get, some saying he is just a jerk and I should not get back with him and others saying I should accept him the way he is if I truly love him.

We are very different in character and family background. I am more of an ambivert and a morning person but he is a super extrovert who would drink and hang out with his friends a lot, hence a night owl. I was brought up by a good family and with many cousins around me, but he is from a very broken family.

I understand his way of living and I have never stopped him from hanging out with his guy/girl friends or going to night clubs and pubs; I only hope that he will stop smoking. Likewise, he did not control my actions either. But now, his actions bother me a lot and I can’t trust him like before.

I am confused about what I should do now and about saving this relationship.

Stuck at the Moment

Breaking a habit is not a matter of just deciding not to do it. It's a process and it includes relapses. When people don't realise this, they think that a relapse equals failure as well as lack of character or mind. This simply is not true. However, if they believe it, they feel shame. Most people will give up. They may lie about their success as well.

Of course we don't know what prompted your boyfriend to take the path he did; this is simply a suggestion based on common experience. While you could dig into exactly what happened, I don't think there is much point because I believe the issue runs deeper.

Some people are attracted to partners who are like themselves and others prefer partners who are very different. Both can work well, as long as there is mutual respect. In your letter, there is a lot of judgement.

If you don't like to socialise, that's your choice. If you don't smoke and drink, you'll likely be healthier than those who do.

However, the world is full of perfectly decent, honest, kind people who smoke and drink. As for separation and divorce, ending an unhappy relationship is much more sensible than stubbornly living in misery.

Calling the first untrustworthy and defining your own background as "good" for not having the same experiences comes across as arrogant. This is a difficult thing to say but I suggest it because it is an attitude that will impact negatively on your relationships.

When the people we love look down on us, we are hurt. This leads to anger, and it takes a real saint not to hurt them back.

Is it possible that part of the conflict in the last year may have come from pain and resentment? Think it over honestly. If this has been an issue, then work on your personal development.

Either way, the essential point is that you had an affair with a person who has a different lifestyle from yours. You have learned that you don't enjoy this. It suggests this relationship has little potential for your happiness. I would let it go and look for a better match.

As you have a personal dealbreaker, I strongly suggest you opt to date only life-long non-smokers. Also, as you've discovered, entering a relationship where you expect the other person to change is fraught with tension. It rarely results in a happy outcome. So pick a better match next time around.

I appreciate that some of this will be uncomfortable reading, but I hope it will be helpful to you.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11,46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name, address and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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Couple relationships , bad habits , lies


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