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Last night on the way home, I took Margieís advice and bought some ashtrays. I also bought a pack of cigarettes for her, the brand I saw in her purse.

I got home. She sees the stuff and asks what itís about. I tell her I know she smokes. She tells me she doesnít want to talk about it. I tell her that I do want to talk about it, and that Iím not mad, and its OK, but we still need to talk.

She just breaks down completely and is all tears and sobs and telling me how sorry she is and what an awful person she is and how she tried to quit but she couldnít do it. She told me that it was keeping her from eating too much and when she went too long without smoking, she wanted to eat every thing in sight.

I knew this was a big deal when I first posted about it. I could just tell from her reaction that something about it was really bothering her.

She has so much guilt over this. And it runs so deep. Itís about food and its about not purging but I swear it has a lot to do with the way she feels about her self.

She told me stories about when she was a little girl and about how she thought smoking was so feminine and sexy, sophisticated and attractive. But it was also a bad girl thing, so she didnít do it. She kept talking about all the actresses and models that look so thin and glamorous and how they all smoke and how beautiful they are.

She told me she always wanted to smoke when she was a little girl like the actresses and the models. She wanted to be glamorous like them but she didnít because she wanted to be a good girl, but the temptation and the desire were too much so she tried and she liked it.

This happened when she was 14. She was a little pudgy, but the weight started coming off with the smoking. She said she was feeling good about her self. She said she felt beautiful. But she hid it because her parents would have a fit. I guess her weight issues go back a long time.

Hey, her parents caught her. She was right. They had a fit and a whole lot more. They said things to her that no parent should ever say to their child. They made her feel like ****. But they saved her from smoking.

She started in shame and she quit in shame. She gained weight. She dieted. She purged. She hid it all, but by God she didnít smoke for her parents. And she didnít smoke for me.

She honestly doesnít believe sheís attractive to me. This is so messed up if Iím understanding her right and I know I am because I listened to her. Its like the double edged sword I was talking about where she feels damned if she does and damned if she doesnít.

She said sheís beautiful when she smokes but sheís ugly to me. And she doesnít want to smoke because she loves me and she doesnít want me to live in her ďstinkĒ. It doesnít stink to me and I told her that. Nothing she does could ever ďstinkĒ to me. Every thing she is looks beautiful to me.

She smoked in front of me last night but only because I insisted. Sheís convinced I think sheís ugly when she smokes and it turns me off. She thinks Iíll die from her second hand smoke (give me a break). She thinks all her family and friends will hate her if they find out.

Iím not a psychiatrist or an expert on ED, but I know my wife and I know me.

This to me is both a physical and a mental issue. Hey, my wife started smoking again because she honestly wants to quit overeating and purging. It helps her cope with the bulimia and apparently it works for her. Oh no. Sheís addicted to them. So what? Sheís addicted to something that may or may not kill her. But one thing is certain, bulimia will kill her if she canít control it.

Its mental because sheís carrying around messed up thinking from her youth. And oh yeah, her well meaning parents really contributed to that. But she loves them, and she doesnít want to break their hearts by letting them know she smokes. Sheíd rather them bury a ďgoodĒ non-smoking daughter than learn to accept her as bulimic that smokes and has her ED in check.

Itís mental because smoking was sexy in her youthful mind but evil and disgusting in her adult bulimic mind- even if it helps her.

She wants to be attractive to me (she is!). I canít convince her that smoking in no way makes her unattractive to me.

I canít say her body looks good because thatís not appropriate. So why canít I tell her what she wanted to hear in her youth. Hey Honey, you look great when you smoke. It turns me on. Wouldnít that help her self-esteem? Hey, sheís going to do it any way. I donít want her to feel guilty about it. That canít help things.

But how can I get her to believe me and feel good about her self. She has agreed to smoke in the house and in front of me because she admits sheís addicted and canít quit and because it helps her cope with food. But she wonít agree to feel good about it or believe I can be attracted to her if she smokes.

I havenít kissed her since yesterday morning and its not because I donít want to. She wonít let me. She thinks Iíll be disgusted by her smoky breath.

This is what I want and how I feel. I genuinely want her to smoke because it helps her physically. I want her to smoke because I love her and I accept her and I get a very strong feeling sheís not going to quit (and she doesnít have to- not for me). Yes, its weird seeing her smoke. Iím not used to it. She seems like a different person to me. But I donít think its bad. Heck, in some ways its kind of cool, because Iím seeing a part of what is probably her real self, the person she wanted to be before her parents made her ashamed of that person. Iíve never kissed a real smoker. I donít know what Iím going to think if she ever lets me kiss her again. But how bad can it be? Maybe Iíll even like it. Regardless, Iíll get used to it.

I canít help but think this is a huge opportunity to feel good about her self, the way she thinks about her self, and it will help her cope with ED at the same time. Iím not immune to romance. Iíve seen movies where a couple makes love and has a cigarette. Just because I donít smoke doesnít mean I canít see the romance in it. I just donít know how to how to convince her that I want this and its OK for her to want this too and that itís a good thing.

This is the one time Iíve ever felt I was in a position to do something positive for her instead of hanging on the sidelines and cheering her on. I donít want to waste this chance.


Iím very overwhelmed right now, with what has happened with my relationship with my wife and how its progressing and with many of the things you ladies have said.

Dance4 said I seemed frustrated. I am and its not with her or not with me. The ED, our life together with the ED, is like a huge stone. And I want to help her push against it and make it budge. Its very frustrating trying to make that stone move.

Thereís a lot of good news here and I should focus on it. That stone is big but its not falling on us. My wife is doing great with her program. She hasnít relapsed. Sheís very determined.

Margie, donít worry about my taking your advice and going forward on the smoking issue. Its been awkward for both of us, but itís the right thing to do. Its not bliss at this point, but its helping her cope physically, and itís a relief to her mentally that its not a secret. Its good for me to be able to do something proactive.

Dance4, you said:

ďYou don't want to end up smoothering your wife with your good intentions. Margie is right, don't rush her on the kissing issue, think about the things you did when the two of you were first dating that lead up to your kisses and realize in some ways you are kind of back there again. The two of you have a whole lot of rediscovering to do with one another as you begin to get to know the "whole" her with the ED and all and she begins to see that you really are as great as she was hoping for you to be.Ē

I understand what youíre saying Dance4, about not rushing things. This is about rediscovering each other. It scares both of us. I donít think its so much me that has changed. Itís all her. The ED, the smoking, her anxieties about it all. Sheís very different now. Iím adapting to her and sheís afraid I wonít love the new her and I obviously do.

Aurora, youíre post scared the heck out of me. Inviting her to read what I wrote? OK, so I love her unconditionally. I donít hold the ED against her. I support her need to smoke and it doesnít turn me off. All of this is true and not staged.

If she reads this thread then sheíll read this post. I canít help but wonder if it would make her paranoid and even angry because I wrote about her and us.

Iím not embarrassed about any thing I wrote or any thing I feel. Itís all sincere. Youíre right, I want her to know how I feel but I donít want her to be hurt by it.

Do you really think its OK to tell her about this?

I miss my wife. It was a lot different when I didnít know about the ED. Unrealistically speaking, I fell in love with her pre-ED (even though it existed unbeknownst to me) and it was the pre-ED woman that loved me.

I love her so much and Iím angry that ED exists and that it has the power to harm my wife and harm our marriage. But Iím also happy that sheís doing so much to get it under control.

I know she loves me. She just doesnít want to believe I can still love her. Thatís painful for both of us.

We talked some last night. Sheís smoking in front of me now and thatís what we talked about. Sheís so apologetic and I wish she wouldnít feel that way because even she admits it helps her. She doesnít need to apologize for something that is helping her. She should feel grateful that sheís getting relief. I know I would. But she thinks sheís doing me a disservice. She is so guilt-ridden over it. I thought bringing it out in the open would take away her guilt, but in some ways its worsened, because now she has to deal with me knowing.
Get this. She told me that she feels guilty because sheís starting to get pleasure from it. She thinks it should just to keep from over eating. It shouldnít feel good. Itís like medicine should taste bad. Its like people saying you shouldnít enjoy sex. You should just do it procreate. So what! Iím glad she enjoys it. I want her too. Whatís wrong with getting pleasure from something you have to do any way?

I said in the beginning that I didnít and couldnít UNDERSTAND any thing about ED. I can only ACCEPT it. That hasnít changed. Itís very frustrating for me to not be on the same wavelength as her and even with you people as I talk to. Its like two different languages with similar vowels and consonants.

Communication is key to understanding. The most simple things become complicated. I think theyíre simple. She thinks theyíre complicated. Because I donít have ED, I simplify it. Honey I love you. Iím proud of you for working your program. OK. Now lets get on with our lives. We know this thing is here. But it doesnít change how we feel about each other. But she complicates it. She brings in fears and doubts and paranoias that have no business in our relationship. But theyíre legitimate and real to her. She sees them and I donít and she doesnít understand why. Its like the Twilight Zone.

It was difficult last night. She was sitting on the couch and I was sitting in a chair. She wouldnít let me sit next to her because sheís convinced that her 2nd hand smoke will offend me or worse- kill me. Her thinking prohibits affection and intimacy. And of course there is no way in her mind that I can ever be attracted to a woman who has ďproblems (ED)Ē and smokes. She is damaged goods and thatís self-esteem and who knows what else. But I do love her and I am attracted and I miss her so much. I feel more like her roommate than her husband.

Iím the first one to admit I donít any thing because I lack understanding. But I still have feelings and thoughts. I think that in her mind, before I knew she had ED, we were so much alike. We had every thing in common and nothing that wasnít in common. Post ED has put a huge barrier in front of us that is separating us. For the first time in our lives there is something between us that we donít have in common. And this is tearing her up.

Donít get angry with me for saying this because its going to sound stupid to you but remember whoís saying it. If I could have ED, I would take it in a heart beat so that I could fight it with her. I would share it in common with her. And I would take that thought to other levels. If she had herpes, I would take the herpes too and I would share it with her. If her hair fell out, I would shave my head and share the baldness.

OK, with that said, here comes the real question of my post that Iím seeking advice about.

I canít make my self have ED. Iím just not wired that way. Iíll never be able to have this in common with her. But I can start smoking and I can share her addiction. She would be very angry with me if I did this, but it would pass because she loves me.

If I truly thought this issue would pass I would wait it out. And thatís what someone would suggest if they were on the outside looking in. But since Iím on the inside I can see that these issues are bigger than she is. I donít want her to come to terms with them years after weíre divorced. I really think it would help if I started smoking so I could take away a difference that is keeping us separated.


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