I Found The Man of My Dreams Except For One Thing — He Smokes. What Should I do?


Hi Evan, I’ve been reading your blogs and following all your advice. After several failed relationships, I finally found someone who is all the things you say that a real man should be. The only problem is that he smokes. I am a non-smoker and have never dated a smoker in the past, but I am in my mid 30’s and ready for marriage. He is too, but his smoking is the only issue we keep arguing about. He says he is trying to kick the habit for me, but he has failed to do so and it seems he smokes even more after each failed attempt. The other day he told me that he has already started looking for a house for us and that he plans to marry me next year and wants to start a family a year later. He has been working overtime at his job to make this happen and every month he shows me his bank statement. I’ve been ready for marriage for over a decade and over the past 5 years, I have been reading self-help dating books and blogs such as yours, actively making changes to better myself and attract better quality men. After doing all that, I finally found the man of my dreams who wants everything I want – except he’s a smoker. What should I do? By the way, he is 38 years and I’m 35. Your advice is much appreciated.


Glad to hear that your self-help has been self-helping you to attract better quality men. I’m sympathetic to your dilemma, as I’m sure most non-smokers are as well.

But as I’ve said hundreds of times before, whatever you call a dealbreaker is a dealbreaker. The more dealbreakers you have, the fewer relationship options you have.

Here are some common dealbreakers for my clients:

Makes $150K — 5%
Over 6 feet tall — 14%
Has a bachelors degree — 32%
Has advanced degree — 11%
Is Jewish — 1.7%
Doesn’t watch porn regularly — 33%

And so on, and so forth.

The more dealbreakers you have, the fewer relationship options you have.

This says nothing about looks or humor or kindness or generosity or emotional intelligence or communication or the desire to commit — you know, the things that actually determine whether you’ll have a happy marriage. Yet good luck asking a woman to compromise on any one of these things that she deems important. If you choose to deem them all important, your dating pool shrinks considerably.

That’s not my opinion. That’s math.

You want a guy who doesn’t smoke? That’s fine. Only about 20% of men smoke, leaving you 80% to choose from.

I know I’ve reduced an emotional decision to an exercise in statistics, but that’s largely because I’ve never seen a good way to issue an emotional argument to an emotional question. We can run down the reasons you object to him smoking — he’ll shorten his lifespan, he’ll taste like cigarettes, his clothes will smell, it’s disgusting, etc., but none of those things are subject to change as long as he smokes.

So this really comes down to something quite simple:

Presuming he smokes for the rest of his life, can you be happy with him? Or would you be happier without him — breaking up with him at this very moment to find a guy JUST like him… without that awful smoking habit?

You want a guy who doesn’t smoke? That’s fine. Only about 20% of men smoke, leaving you 80% to choose from.

I’m not telling you the answer; I’m outlining your two choices.

And lest you think I’m being glib about it, I went through very much the same calculus in 2008 when I was debating whether to propose to my wife. Best relationship I’d ever had by far, but part of me thought, “Weeellll…maybe I can find someone just like her, but five years younger and Jewish (instead of three years older and Catholic).” When I thought of how hard it was to find this awesome relationship, it became clear to me that I should stick with what I had instead of tempting the fates, spending three years looking for someone “more like me”, who will undoubtedly have ANOTHER set of flaws that I couldn’t calculate.

But again, someone will dump the smoker. Someone will dump the guy who makes 75K. Someone will not give a chance to the 5’9” guy. They’re all entitled to their preferences.

At the same time, I’d venture to guess that those are the women whose relationship advice you may not want to follow.

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  1. 1

    What a dilemma! To be ready for marriage, and find a guy who is perfect in every way except for that one thing…!

    I agree with Evan, though. A deal breaker is only a deal breaker if you say that it is. As such, the answer of what exactly constitutes a deal breaker will be different with every person you talk to.

    Speaking strictly for myself and for no one else, dating a smoker (or someone who uses tobacco products) IS a deal breaker for me.

    In saying this, I don’t look down on smokers. I have a tremendous amount of compassion for how addicting smoking really is, and how excruciating it is to stop. I don’t think smokers are less than anyone else, or that they’re inferior people in any way.

    Here’s why smoking is one of only two deal breakers that I have with regard to relationships:

    Both of my parents smoked. My Dad smoked one cigarette about once every four hours. My mother, however, chain-smoked for over thirty years. The first thing she did when she woke up in the morning was reach over and light a cigarette.

    Growing up, our house was constantly flooded with the thick, blue haze of tobacco smoke. It got into EVERYTHING. The walls and ceilings of our house were stained yellow. Our lunch boxes smelled of Marlboro lights. The smoke permeated our clothes, hair, and everything we owned. Our parents couldn’t smell it, but us kids could. Then when we went to school, the other kids made fun of us for smelling like ashtrays.   The other kids would ask the teachers to tell me to hang my coat outside so that it wouldn’t “contaminate” the other kids’ coats. The faculty would make snide comments about my parents, which as a child was hard to hear. Other kids didn’t want to play at our house because it always reeked of smoke.

    When I was in elementary school, the DARE program became mandatory for all of the students. Our DARE officer would show us graphic photos of the lungs of people who smoked and told us that smokers will die horrible deaths. It scared the shit out of me. I became convinced that I was going to lose my parents and be left an orphan. I would run home and beg my parents to quit, only to have my Mom yell at me for “making her feel bad.”

    Car trips were miserable. My Mom would chain smoke the entire time. In order to breathe clean air, my siblings and I would pull our shirts over our mouths and noses for the duration of the car trip. My Mom would see this in the rear view mirror and yell at us for “making her feel bad.” Whatever trip we were on would then be ruined.

    Even though we had a great childhood and our parents did love us deeply, I was still jealous of the kids whose parents didn’t smoke. Their parents would get up and run foot races with them, and play tag, and go swimming with them. Mine couldn’t do that because they would double over coughing.

    Even as a kid, I resented that it was more important for my parents to smoke than it was for them to have their kids breathe clean air. This was before I understood how addiction works.

    When I was in my 20s both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer. In addition to cancer, my Mom got diagnosed with severe COPD, which is directly caused by smoking.

    Was my parents’ cancer caused by smoking? That’ll never be certain. But the doctors agreed that both of them smoked far too much for far too long. Like too many of their generation, they smoked and didn’t think about the consequences. They would cite the person that they knew who smoked and yet lived until they were 100. And they always said they were cutting back, and that one day they would quit. One day.

    I then spent my 20s care giving for my ailing parents. Endless medical appointments, oxygen canisters, ER trips, horribly invasive procedures… it went on and on and on and on… for years.

    They were my parents; I loved them more than life itself, despite their imperfections, and I wanted to take care of them as they had cared for me. They tried their best to give us a wonderful childhood. I wasn’t angry at them. Quite the opposite – no one deserves to leave this Earth after having suffering so much. I just wish they had made better choices in regard to their health. When I think back, I’m sad. I wish they were still in my life today.

    But I’m also not being honest if I don’t admit that their addiction to cigarettes (especially in the case of my Mom) was part of what got us in the situation we were in (them dying of cancer and COPD, and me spending my 20s care giving for both of them). And for as bad as this makes me look, I’ll admit that part of me resented the hell out of that. I didn’t think it had to be that way.

    In my early 30s, both of my parents died of cancer. I lost part of me with their deaths that is gone forever. I don’t feel like I’ll ever be the same again. I would give anything to have them back. But that will never be.

    If I ever marry and have kids, they will never be there for that. There will be so much that they missed. That thought literally makes me ache inside.

    Even to this day, if I get a whiff of cigarette smoke, that old anger and resentment rises up in me. I try to be objective, but I can’t. I try really, really hard not to judge people. None of us are perfect, me included. And like I said, I personally know how addictive smoking is. But I’ll give it to you straight: I HATE smoking because it killed my parents and it left me with a lot of very difficult memories that, with the help of therapy, I’ve mostly managed to get good with. But there are some wounds that will never fully heal.

    The one thing I can’t get over, that I can’t change, is the idea of going down this road again with someone I love. I absolutely refuse; I don’t have it in me to do it again.

    That’s why smoking is a deal breaker with anyone that I date. I can’t deal with the smell of smoke. I can’t deal with the rattling smoker’s cough and the memories of the horrible sickness that smoking brought on to my parents (and me who cared for them). And most of all, I can’t watch someone die of smoking-related causes again.

    People who are addicted to anything don’t quit until THEY are ready. The idea that they’ll do it for someone else or for something else is a nice idea, but it’s also mostly false. THEY have to be ready to give it up and make a change. And although smoking is the ultimate bitch to quit, the thing is, quitting smoking never killed anyone, for as awful as quitting smoking really is. Continuing to smoke, though, can and does kill untold people every day. I’ve seen it and I’ve lived it and that’s why I say never again.

    So I have a lot of compassion for you, Gia. What a terrible position to be in. I’m not going to tell you what to do. I don’t have the right. I only know what I would do.  I hope that you can make the decision that is best for you.   And I’ll reiterate what Evan said about deal breakers – it’s only a deal breaker if it’s truly a deal breaker for you. Only you know what those deal breakers are, and why. You might be able to find a way to make it work so that you can have the life and the marriage you have always wanted with this guy, even if he’s a smoker.

    I’ve been called a bitch many times because I’ve had to break off relationships (I try my best to do it politely) more than once due to the guy’s use of tobacco products. What I can’t get people to understand – and I’ve given up trying to get people to understand – is that I’m not judging these people. I’m in no position to tell people how to live. All I’m saying is that tobacco is an incredibly destructive force that ruined my parents’ health, took them from me far too young, and that I want nothing to do with in my life ever again. Period.


    1. 1.1

      this is really long so i didnt read the whole thing but this part “I’ve been called a bitch many times because I’ve had to break off relationships (I try my best to do it politely) more than once due to the guy’s use of tobacco products.  “. smokers tend to be pretty obvious so why even date any of them to even dump them?   ask, do you smoke; if they say ‘yes,’ move on .     

      1. 1.1.1
        Morgan Hill

        Exactly. TL;DR. If she does not want to date a smoker, then don’t. Why all that drama.

        1. Andrew Bridges

          Why date a smoker to begin with, if it’s a dealbreaker?   In my case, I’ve been dating a smoker for about a month.   I’ve never smoked or looked much into the topic of smoking.   On our first date he told me that he’s “quitting”.   I assumed that meant within the next few days.   A week passed that we didn’t see each other. …Now, about a month later, we really like each other… except that I find myself holding my breath every time he kisses me.   I simply can’t enjoy his kisses because of this.   Also, after nearly a month, I don’t see him quitting or smoking less.   I see him smoking more.   This is why I did a Google search which brought me to this page.   …and this is at least my answer as to why I dated a smoker in the first place — because until tonight upon reading several articles on the topic, I was very ignorant as to how difficult it can be for some people to stop smoking, and I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to kiss a smoker.   I thought to myself, “well, he’ll just brush his teeth or chew gum before we kiss”, but I can often still smell the smoke through the taste/smell of the gum, and most of the time he isn’t able to brush his teeth before kissing me.   In short, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.   Lesson learned, and two hearts probably about to be broken 🙁

      2. 1.1.2

        Some are secret smokers. After awhile the secret comes out–and the heartache. My father quit after about 50 years of smoking. Shortly, he began apologizing every time we were around, for the stink of smoking. It probably added 10-15 years to his life. Oh, he had his nose amputated; half a lung removed; heart disease, and COPD as a result of his smoking.

      3. 1.1.3

        I had no idea my man smoked when I got with him, I even told him I won’t date someone who smokes. He lied to me, he hid it from me. I eventually found out and have anxiety over it now from all the times I have caught him and him lying right to my face. It’s not obvious if they don’t want it to be.

    2. 1.2

      Because when you list is on your profile as something you don’t like, there are some people who will hide that behavior, or claim ‘they only smoke sometimes’ when it is far more often than that.

      I say this because in all the years I did online dating, I regularly had men contact me that ignored what my profile said in black and white. I said I wanted no smoking: I still got smokers (because pot doesn’t count). I said I wanted a non drinker; I was told ‘drinking wine at dinner doesn’t count. I said I was not open to kids but I still heard things like “you don’t really mean that, right?”

      It’s not an issue  of where that person is on the spectrum. It’s the disregard for my choice that is off putting.


      1. 1.2.1

        I had someone who checked “Smoking, no way” to get past my filters, then changed it to “I’ll tell you later” and said he smoked cigars once a year on an annual camping trip with his buddies, so I let that slide. I told him no pot smoking and he agreed. After we were dating for about 5 weeks, he told me that he smoked pot a few times a month. I was more upset about his hiding and lying than the actual pot smoking. It’s mostly a matter of it being illegal. Anyway, our relationship ended over it. Now that it’s legal in my state for “medical” use (and that’s a piece of cake to get an RX for) occasional pot smoking might not be a deal breaker (if I were still single) if the person had a medical card and was legally allowed to smoke it. But dishonesty is a deal breaker for me !

    3. 1.3

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel so similarly and the way you expressed your reasons makes it so valid and so perfectly justifiable to not want to date a smoker despite “looking like a bitch.” The older I get the more I allow myself to own my preferences rather than feeling like I need to justify them.

      1. 1.3.1
        Corrine Maclean

        I found this looking up -‘he said he will quit smoking but hasn’t ‘ My own experience is… please don’t waste your time, even if he’s the perfect one – he’s not because it is a struggle everyday for me. Especially when your an ex-smoker.
        When you meet these so called perfect man that say they don’t smoke you will know (should know) just have one night out an they will crack an you will know they are a smoker. I was told he will quit an it’s been 6 years … no sign of even trying to quit, just all talk. I was a smoker an gave up meet him an started smoking again. Fell in love & fell pregnant (was over the moon-but the constant thinking about him quitting is a burden) so I quit as soon as I found out I was pregnant He said he was quitting as well. Nope . . I know how hard it is to quit – he obviously will never quit that’s what I have to deal with for the rest of his life – smoky kisses hugs an kissing a newborn with an ash tray mouth is disgusting. Don’t start dating even if they are the perfect match you will love them but hate them every day.

    4. 1.4

      Wonderfully said. I appreciate this.

    5. 1.5

      Totally agree about the smoking being a deal breaker.   I am NOT judging, it is just that the smell is so very unappealing to me, that I could not kiss or have sex with that stench coming from their mouth, their hair, their clothes, the bedding, etc.   And if I was of child bearing age, I would not want to raise children in a smoking home.   Also, when you are married to/live with a smoker, your life revolves around their smoking.   You will not make a single car trip without having to stop to buy cigarettes.   Every activity will be interupted by their constant smoke breaks.   Etc., etc.I have been judged on this board for having this as a deal breaker, but basically, some on this board think women should accept ANY man who wants her.   One even said criminal history should not be a deal breaker.   Ditto for my revulsion at long, Duck Dynasty Beards. Apparently, being repulsed by a mile long, gray, scratchy beard made me shallow.   (small neatly trimmed facial hair is OK, my husband has a moustache and goatee).   Also, smoking KILLED my mother, and disable my brother.   My son smoked, now says he quit, not sure if he really has, since he is grown and flown.   But as much as I love my son, every time I saw him with a cancer stick in his face, I just wanted to slap him upside the head.   (but of course I didn’t).   He watched his grandma die a slow, painful death over the course of 10 years.   He has seen his uncles caved in chest and side from having one lung removed.   And yet he smokes (or smoked).  And I have been LIED to about smoking in OLD.   I list that as a deal breaker, so men felt justified to lie about it, to get past my filters.   My hubby smoked, but quit over 40 years ago. He says it was the hardest thing he has ever done.   Smoking was a deal breaker for him as well, as he doesn’t want to have that former addiction waved in his face.  

    6. 1.6

      Excellent post!

    7. 1.7
      Nashitah Stephen

      Phrew.You need to write a book.Ive never experience smoking but I cant stand it.I dont even have friends who smoke.thats how much I despise smoking

  2. 2

    Ahhhh..this is a tough one and Evan is correct.

    I am a non-smoker and dated a man who smoked 2 packs a day.   I stayed in it for almost 2 years….for the price of love and companionship.   But,   one day I went home to see my Dad,   and he noticed the cigarette smell in my clothes.    He asked me if I had started smoking.    Right there, in that moment,   I realized that I was putting my own self at risk because of the second hand smoke of my boyfriend.    If the tar and nictotene smell was that ingrained in my clothes,   what was it doing to my lungs?!   I realized that I loved and respected myself more than compromising my health for a guy.

    1. 2.1

      Your response & final sentence are spot on, EXCEPT “Evan is correct.” It sounds to me like Evan is saying be careful of l losing her “perfect” guy over smoking. That’s just wrong! Most know themselves & all need to be careful when compromising; is it just putting off the inevitable? Keep SELF good & happy, all else will work out!

  3. 3

    I don’t quite understand why this is even a question, not to be rude. It’s important to know what one’s deal breakers are and then act accordingly ; and, hopefully, from the get-go, BEFORE a relationship develops. Otherwise, much angst follows, such as in this case.



    1. 3.1

      I’m guessing it wasn’t a deal breaker until she got into this relationship simply because she never considered it before and now she’s trying to decide if it’s a deal breaker or something she can live with. Like anything else you hadn’t given much thought. Maybe you get into a relationship with a guy who goes hunting every weekend and you really don’t like it but because you had never considered if it’s something you’d put up with or not, you’re suddenly trying to decide if it’s the kind of relationship you want. It is important to know what our deal breakers are, but you can’t possibly imagine every single scenario that you may encounter.

  4. 4
    Elly Klein

    Smoking was a so-called deal-breaker for me. Then I met someone who lied on his dating profile – saying he was a non-smoker, because he knew it’d get his foot in the door. It did. But I picked up on the fact that he was a smoker the first time we kissed – no amount of breath mints could hide it.

    He was an embarrassed smoker; a smoker who wanted to quit; a smoker who kept the smoke well away from me and refused to let me see him smoke, even though when we’d be out for the day, I’d say, ‘You know, you can have a cigarette if you want to. I understand it’s an addiction, and you’re probably craving one.’ He still wouldn’t let me see him smoke.

    He put more pressure on himself to quit than I did. However, in the 8 months we were together, he didn’t manage to quit. I cut him some slack, as he was going through a rough time, and quitting smoking isn’t an easy thing to do. But I really didn’t want to be in a relationship with a smoker for the rest of my life. If we were 2 years down the track and he was still a smoker, it would have really pissed me off. I’m not sure what I would have done. We would have had to have a discussion about it. If he had absolutely no intention of quitting, and was just bullsh!tting the whole time about wanting to quit, I would have had a tough decision to make.

    A girlfriend of mine, who quit smoking to be with her boyfriend (now husband of 10 years), has recently taken up smoking again – and he absolutely  hates it. It’s putting a strain on their relationship. So, I guess it depends on: a) what kind of a smoker they are (2  a day is different to a pack a day), and b) whether or not you can stand it. If I had an embarrassed smoker on my hands who gave me everything I ever wanted in a relationship, but was still struggling with his nicotine addiction, I’d probably choose to put up with it.



    1. 4.1
      Morgan Hill

      Haha. Someone with a deal breaker and then lied about it, yet got rewarded with getting his foot in the door. I guess bad behavior does pay.

      1. 4.1.1
        Elly Klein

        You really  don’t understand nuances, do you, Morgan. There’s a big difference between a pack-a-day smoker who has no intention of quitting and no consideration for his non-smoker partner (THAT’S a deal-breaker!),  and a smoker who  smokes a few cigarettes a day, is embarrassed about it, keeps it well away from his partner, and wants to quit, but is going through a rough patch and it’s not a great time for him to attempt to quit smoking. I wasn’t thrilled with the smoking. But I believed he wouldn’t be a smoker forever. And he was a great boyfriend – at the time. His smoking wasn’t the reason we split up.

        1. Sara

          If a person is an “embarrassed smoker” who lies about smoking in their profile to meet non-smokers and cannot quit after months of dating, then you have a hopeless addict.   Some people just cannot quit or can’t quit for good.

          If you date an active smoker, there is a very good chance they will increase their smoking as they feel more comfortable in the relationship.

          If you date someone who gave up smoking, there is a good chance they will start smoking again, maybe once you are trapped in a serious relationship or marriage.

          It best to leave smokers to date other smokers.   There are PLENTY of good dating material non-smokers out there.

        2. Elly Klein

          Sara, believe what you want, but I know smokers who have quit for their partners. I wanted to give my ex that chance.

          It doesn’t matter to me anymore, anyway. I’m now blissfully happy with a non-smoker, while my ex’s partner is probably licking a dirty ashtray every time she kisses him –  not to mention spending her life with someone who’s choosing to put his health at risk. Good luck to them – LOL!

  5. 5

    re:     But again, someone will dump the smoker. Someone will dump the guy who makes 75K. Someone will not give a chance to the 5’9” guy. They’re all entitled to their preferences.
    At the same time, I’d venture to guess that those are the women whose relationship advice you may not want to follow.
    Evan, I may have to respectfully disagree with something here, as it sounds like you’re saying that whether or not someone smokes is in the same category preference as a guy less than 5’9″.   I’m quite sure we all agree that smoking adversely affects health (as does passive smoking…children…) whereas I’m not aware that a guy less than 5’9″ adversely affects anyone’s health. I could be wrong.   😉
    (or else I inferred incorrectly, thanks).

    1. 5.1


      The only category that they share is that they’re both deal breakers for some women. If you decide not to continue to date someone you discover is an alcoholic and your best friend decides not to date someone because he wears too much plaid; aren’t you both equally entitled to your own decisions. We can all agree you had a good reason and that your friend is a twit, but why does it matter? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

      1. 5.1.1

        So, this made me think deeper for a bit – good point. I guess I feel if there is a HEALTH reason for a “deal breaker”, it is in a different category   and far more logical than a personal preference as in “wears too much plaid “. I agree that, at the end of the day, we date whom we chose. What if the smoking were replaced with a cocaine addiction, does that put it in the same category as “too short”? I guess I feel we’re not comparing apples to apples when we compare deal breakers involving addictions (that adversely affect health!) with what someone wears or height. Let’s face it, the latter is a bit shallow whereas, not wanting to date someone with a known behavior that adversely affects health (AND is extremely difficult to change, by the way) is not.

        To that end, I take issue with the statement, “those are the women whose relationship advice you may not want to follow”.

        So, I’ll conclude- don’t take my advice regarding relationships but DO take it regarding health matters.   (ha ha).


        1. KK

          Hi Sparkling,

          You said, “Actually not even close.   A “terrible” diet doesn’t stink up the house, and niether does not “working out” regularly.   No one ever had ill effects from second hand twinkies”.

          I wish you had read what I wrote regarding two types of smokers and (assuming she is dealing with the latter).

          Also, there are much more adverse consequences than weight gain when you have unhealthy habits. Smoking is one of those unhealthy habits, but poor diet and lack of exercise are others.

          You can’t control what anyone else does even if you cook dinner for them so if that person has a problem, that alone wouldn’t be a solution, assuming they’re not in your presence 8+ hours a day.

        2. KK

          Sparkling, An online article by Food Safety News:

          “Unwise  diets are killing more people than about anything else–including smoking, drinking and drug use. Those are among the findings of a new study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington”.

          Again, I’m not advocating smoking for a healthy lifestyle. Just saying there are other factors to consider as well, if that truly is the concern.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Hi KK

          Actually, POF has a fill in the blank section on “diet” so type of diet is probably a deal breaker or at least a preference for some.

          Luckily, I found someone with whom I share almost identical food habits, so that makes that aspect of life very easy for us.

          And I wouldn’t even think it was picky and superficial if a gluten free, non-drinking, faw food vegan didn’t want to get involved with a carnivourous beer guzzling hunter.       HUGE dietary differences can hamper a relationship. How are you going to dine together at home or at a restaurant if there is a HUGE descrepancy in your diets?

          The point I was trying to make, that you seem to be consciously avoiding is that “terrible diet” usually isn’t an addiction, but just a by product of being young and single.   Heck, when I was young and single, when I was out and about with my friends, I ate what was easily available.   How many people are addicted to bowling alley food , or ball park hot dogs, or food from the roach coach at an outdoor concert ?   They’re not, they are eating because it’s there and they are hungry.   How many people are really addicted to frozen pizza at home ?   They aren’t, it’s just easier to stock up on TV dinners, than cook just for one. This “Terrible diet” feature of singledom, is something that is pretty easily and often dropped as one transitions into coupledom.

          Now, if I was dating a guy with a “terrible diet” and I offered him a healthly home cooked meal and he said “Nah, I would just rather have beer and cheeto’s,”   that would probably be a deal breaker !   He probably would die an ugly death, and our lifestyles would not mesh well.   But most “terrible dieters” if young and single will outgrow that lifestyle, especially if they fall in love with someone who makes healthier choices easy and delicious for them.

          A typical smoker on the hand is usually an ADDICT, and even if they are careful and considerate and smoke outside, the smell still gets on them, their clothes, their hair, their mouth. (I’ve noticed you don’t even mention the offensive taste and odor in your responses)      No one else can make an addict break their habit, and this usually isn’t a habit one “outgrows” when they become a couple.

          All that being said, if smoking is a deal breaker, then don’t date a smoker.   If you are a smoker, understand, it is a very COMMON deal breaker for non-smokers, don’t LIE about and then admit to it, once the person has fallen for you.


        4. KK

          Hi again SE,

          “All that being said, if smoking is a deal breaker, then don’t date a smoker.   If you are a smoker, understand, it is a very COMMON deal breaker for non-smokers, don’t LIE about and then admit to it, once the person has fallen for you.”

          We are in complete agreement.

          I think there’s confusion as to what my point was even though I tried several times. Some commenters said they wouldn’t date a smoker simply because it’s a health issue. To which I said, if that’s the ONLY reason, you should take other things into consideration as well, such as someone’s diet. Studies have now shown that a poor diet is the # 1 cause of health issues and premature death. Not smoking. I’ve said it before but I’ll reiterate that I am not advocating anyone date a smoker or that anyone not date a smoker. I’ll also reiterate that we are all allowed our deal breakers, for whatever reason.

          To answer your other question, I didn’t mention all the negative aspects of smoking, such as smell, etc, because it goes without saying. Anyone knows that.

          Again, my only point is that it is not the only bad habit that causes health issues, to people who are making that claim.

          Young people are not the only ones with poor eating habits and there are lots of young people with good habits.

          “The point I was trying to make, that you seem to be consciously avoiding is that “terrible diet” usually isn’t an addiction, but just a by product of being young and single.”

          If that were true, then this would be false:   “Unwise  diets are killing more people than about anything else–including smoking, drinking and drug use. Those are among the findings of a new study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington”.

      2. 5.1.2

        @KK, I think the trigger here is “…those are the women whose relationship advice you may not want to follow.” which appears to lump the one who dumps the smoker with the other two and appears to accuse them all of the same level of (bad) judgement.   Of course, we are all entitled to our preferences, but  there’s a definite sliding scale here.   I wonder how people would react if say, an alcoholic was a part of that set of comments or a drug addict or an abuser or a..so on and so forth.

        But even though the trigger is there, I’m not taking the bait…no sirree, I’m not 😉

        1. KK

          The argument could also be made that someone with a terrible diet or who doesn’t work out regularly is no better than a smoker. So, it still comes down to whether the person is a good fit for you in a relationship. Of course, you still have the option to consider any of these things deal breakers. For many, they’re not. For many, they’re just seen as flaws, which we all have, that don’t affect the relationship either way.

        2. sophia

          Skaramouche, good for you not taking the bait! (lol).


          re:  The argument could also be made that someone with a terrible diet or who doesn’t work out regularly is no better than a smoker.

          No, sorry, that argument cannot be made, apples with apples, remember? Someone with a terrible diet and someone who doesn’t work out affect their OWN health adversely, and yes, of course, it may have repercussion on a mate who has to take care of them, but PLEASE let’s be reasonable.   Someone who smokes affects all those who live with him- well, I guess, perhaps, unless he takes great care to smoke OUTDOORS or where his passive smoking will not adversely affect someone’s health. AND whoever lives with him is also more likely to have to take care of him, as smokers have increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, etc.

          Really, sorry, it’s a major lifestyle choice and someone who doesn’t want to date a smoker isn’t being picky or difficult – likely being very smart. And I know a few smokers (very few, come to think of it) and they are wonderful people but I still wouldn’t date them.

          Ok, I’m done quibbling. I’ll agree to disagree even though I’m right. (insert emoji for tongue-in-cheek, cute grin).


        3. KK


          “I’ll agree to disagree even though I’m right. (insert emoji for tongue-in-cheek, cute grin).”

          Back at cha 😉

          Just so you know, I’m not advocating anyone date a smoker or ditch a smoker. It makes no difference to me.

          What I got out of Evan’s response is that she can do whatever she chooses, but to be cognizant of the fact that she is limiting her options. She may or may not find another great boyfriend that has all of his good qualities.

          Smokers (which are a rare breed nowadays) tend to fall in to one of two groups. Those that smoke in their house and in their cars and those that are super conscientious about it and will only smoke outside, away from non smokers. So, assuming she’s dealing with the latter, it wouldn’t be a personal health concern for her but a concern for his health. But I can’t agree that a poor diet isn’t really in the same boat. Have you ever known anyone that was a diabetic? If severe, it can lead to kidney failure. We’re talking about years of dialysis. Not fun for a caretaker. And that’s just one example.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          KK said “The argument could also be made that someone with a terrible diet or who doesn’t work out regularly is no better than a smoker.”


          Actually not even close.   A “terrible” diet doesn’t stink up the house, and niether does not “working out” regularly.   No one ever had ill effects from second hand twinkies.   It COULD impact the persons health negatively,   and contribute to obesity (and that is a near   universal deal breaker), but some people eat poorly and don’t gain weight.   (I know, I was one of those people, I was skin and bones until my early 20’s, and I had some poor eating habits )

          Poor eating habits are usually a phase of bachlerhood and not really a sign of an addiciton.   Young singles who hang out at bars, bowling alleys, friend’s parties, are going to eat bowling alley food, junk food, etc. because it is convenient.   Most people don’t want to just cook for one, so it is not uncommon for a single persons kitchen to only be stocked with convenience food, which is not to healthy.

          For a woman, it is an easy fix to get involved with a man with a “terrible diet”.   No nagging or arguing required.   Just make him a nice home cooked meal.   I don’t know too many men who would say “No” to a nice home cooked meal because they would rather have some junk food off of the roach coach.

          A sedentary life style could also be a by-product of singleness.   I exercise MORE since I’ve been with my BF because I would rather bike or hike with someone than alone.   We also joined a gym together, so there’s even more motivation for us.   I had a healthy lifestyle before I met my guy, but it is even BETTER now, because I have a partner to share home cooked meals with, and someone to hike and bike with and share a jacuzzi with after my exercise classes at the gym.

          My ex hubby had a “terrible diet” when we met, and I had an intermittent “terrible diet”.   Once I decided to become pregnant, I went into full on health mode, and stayed the course as I wanted to raise a son with good eating habits.   (And it paid off, my son has a pretty good diet, and is physcially active)   He rarely squawked at my home cooked meals, if I made something and he didn’t like it, I didn’t serve it again.   And this fast food junkie LOVED my lentil soup, and kale salad.

          Getting a man to eat better and even to be less sedentary is one of the easiest things a woman can inspire a man to do.   This is one way of “fixing” a man, that I don’t think most men would have a problem with.   (Just don’t lecture them when they eat a hot dog at a ball game)

          I know some women will take issue with this, and think it’s sexist, but you know, learning to cook a decent healthy meal has benefits far beyond a way of winning a man’s heart.   It’s cheaper and healthier and we all have to eat, so why not learn how to put together something that will be fun to make, good for your health, and save money ?   With package foods and fast foods, you never really know what you are getting.   Making meals from whole fresh ingredients (not thawing out frozen pizza in the microwave) give you control of the calories, carbs and sugars.

    2. 5.2
      Yet Another Guy


      I am constantly amazed at how height is a deal breaker for women. I am glad that Evan brought to light how few men are taller than 6’0″. I ran the numbers myself when I discovered how many women on Match were listing my height (5’11”) as the base height for a man. I knew from experience that I was taller than the average man (the average man is 5’9″). Yet, seeing my height listed as the base height for man made me feel short.

      What Evan failed to include in his statistical data is that educational attainment level reduces the size of the taller than average pools. For example 18% of the male population is at least 5’11” tall (if we increase the minimum height to 6’0″, the pool shrinks to 15%). I hold a graduate degree. As Evan mentioned above, 11% of the male population holds a graduate degree. Assuming a uniform distribution, that figure translates to 18 * 0.11 = 1.98% of the male population is at least 5’11” tall and holds a graduate degree. We can assume that half of the men in that pool are married, reducing its size to less than 1.0% of the male population. Now, if we factor in other intangibles like attractiveness and racial preference, the size of the pool drops to less than 0.5%. I love being a member of this proper subset of the male population, but the average women has a greater chance of being hit by a freight train than finding love in this pool.

      Women are always amazed when I show them this data. For the average women, height is the number one factor that limits the size of her date pool, which is why so many men lie about their height. Men who are of average height and shorter have no choice other than to lie about their height if they want to be noticed.

      1. 5.2.1
        Yet Another Guy

        * base height for a man

      2. 5.2.2
        Evan Marc Katz

        Thank you, YAG. This is a point I’ve made innumerable times in a decade here – to the point that I thought of making an infographic about it, but discovered it was too expensive and complicated. Yes, the numbers are pretty devastating when you stop and dive into them.

      3. 5.2.3

        What is a tall woman to do, though? I’m simply not physically attracted to men shorter than me. It sucks, because a lot of great men are shorter,   but physical attraction is important.

        1. Yet Another Guy


          I’m simply not physically attracted to men shorter than me.

          Here is a way to look at it.   While height is indeed a female primal trigger, bust size and hip-to-waist ratio are male primal triggers that most men have to overlook at some point in their lives.   While there are outliers, the majority of men are attracted to busty women with firm breasts who have a hip size that is at least 30% larger than their waist size.   If you look at the women who men universally find to be attractive, they almost all meet these primal triggers.   Do you know how many women over age thirty-five fail to meet these male primal triggers? I will give you a hint. It is the number one reason why men of all ages are attracted to twenty-something women.

          Being a tall woman does not need to be dating death sentence. It merely requires a woman to re-frame things in order to increase the size of her dating pool.   I am actually 5’11.5″ when measured in bare feet. I was hair under 6’0″ at my peak.   However, I have always listed my height as 5’11” because I never saw my height as being short until I joined a dating site.   It was not until after I been out on several dates that I became curious about male height.   The standard response was “You are taller than I expected.”   To me, that says that most women do not know what 5’11”, 5’11.5″, or 6’0″ actually looks like in person. They are just attaching value to a number.   Now, a tall woman will know, but your average American woman who is 5’4″ when measured in bare feet does not have clue until she has to stand on her tiptoes to kiss a man in this height range (or he has to bend over). Yet, I see so many average height and shorter women who list 5’11” or 6’0″ as the shortest man they will date and then wonder why their dating pool is so small.   What we are looking at is clear-cut case of one cannot fix stupid. In United States, 5’8″ is the 95th percentile for female height.   Half of the male population is at least 1″ taller, and 65% of the male population is at least the same height.

        2. Emily


          Yeah, trust me, as a woman who is five foot ten, I’m endlessly frustrated by short women trying to hog all the tall guys! Ha!

          For me he just needs to be taller. If I were five foot two, then a guy five foot five would be fine for example. I’m not sure why short women set such a ridiculous standard and cut off their options like that.

          Yeah I’m aware of men’s attraction preferences as well. I guess being a tall slender woman with nice ratios, I’m an extreme outlier being that I’m 37? I don’t find it all that difficult to eat decently and work out regularly. Speaking of that, men with big pregnant looking bellies also aren’t attractive to me. Sigh.

          But I’ve never minded if men say “I’m looking for x because I’m attracted to x”. Often that x fits me. Sometimes it doesn’t. But at the end of the day, I want to date someone I’m attracted to, who is also attracted to me. Otherwise we can be friends, but a romantic relationship would not be fun for either of us.

          Just as men say “I can’t help my height…” Well, neither can I. 🙁

          I would advise men to please never lie about their height though. I’ve had guys do this, and it’s just a waste of both our time and money. Some women go through a lot of trouble to free up their schedule, pay a babysitter, get excited and try to look nice… Only to find the guy totally lied about his appearance and no attraction will be possible. Awkward, and not a very considerate thing to do… To another person or yourself!

        3. Yet Another Guy


          Yeah, trust me, as a woman who is five foot ten, I’m endlessly frustrated by short women trying to hog all the tall guys! Ha!

          Your height is the 65th percentile for male height in the U.S.   If you live in the U.S., the pool of men gets shallow quickly after 5’10”.   The average American man is 5″ taller than the average American woman, and both height distributions are bell-shaped curves that fall off steeply on both sides of the mean.   A 5’3″ woman’s natural male partner is 5’8″, but most of the 5’3″ women I have encountered want nothing to do with a 5’8″ man. What women do not realize is that when they target guys who are at least my height to the exclusion of shorter men, they give us licenses to be borderline douche bags.   Why? Because 80% of men are shorter than us, which means that we do have to treat women well.   If a woman wants to limit her chance of falling in love to one out of five men based solely on height before any other desired attributes are added to the equation, be my guest.

          I routinely notice couples where the man is only an inch or two taller than the woman now that I am aware of this primal trigger.   They do not seem to be less happy as a couple.   A man and woman cannot dance cheek to cheek unless the woman is within three inches of the man’s height.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          *do NOT have to treat women well

      4. 5.2.4

        “Men who are of average height and shorter have no choice other than to lie about their height if they want to be noticed.”

        I assume by “noticed” you mean when women click on your profile and/or sending messages on online dating sites that include height. I disagree that men have to lie. I’m 6’2″ fit and supposedly attractive and rarely if ever got “noticed” in this way on okcupid or match. I did however get plenty of attention on Tinder and Bumble, they don’t include height. So much so I was overwhelmed with dating at times.

        1. Yet Anothe Guy


          It is not that you did not get noticed for your height.   It is more like you did not get ruled out for your height.   I can put my profile back online and be communicating with dozen women within a week, several of which will have reached out to me.   I have a well-written profile with good photos. I am also in great shape for my age, and have a full head of non-gray, non-colored hair (which is strange for a man my age).   However, the critical thing is that I am over 5’10”.   I have met a lot of women in person in the last two years, and most have said that 5’10” was their cutoff.   I recently started to round up instead of truncate the fraction of an inch like I have done my entire life.   Listing 6’0″ instead of 5’11” has made a small, but not unnoticeable difference.   It is actually being taller than 5’10”, broad shouldered, and muscular that makes the biggest difference.   It is that safety/security thing.   That is what male height is all about with women.

        2. ezamused

          @Yet Another Guy

          I agree with your assessment. I just don’t agree that shorter guys  have  to lie. They would be better off working on themselves to so that their personality and character make up for a lack of height.

  6. 6

    Yeah, I agree with Sophia…I’d even take a 5’7″ dude…that’s something he was born with and can’t change.

    Smoking is a choice. I was an alcoholic and kicked that, so I have very little compassion for smokers.   You can quit if you REALLY want to.   Plus, you tie yourself to a smoker financially? I would want to tear my own eyeballs out over  something like $15 a day going to cigarettes…holy ever loving God would I be pissed. Lol Even if I chose to stay in the relationship, the guy would more likely dump me for my boiling resentment and spite. Haha.

    I guess know your deal breakers before you get involved. This is tough stuff for the writer, yuck. Good luck!

  7. 7

    I also have smoking as a deal breaker for me, and it is a rule I will not break.   My father died of lung cancer at 60. It was a painful,horrible death to watch, and robbed me and my brother of time with him as well as   any potential grandchildren of their grandfather.   But it also allowed me to see what a horrible addiction smoking is.   He tried to quit so many times, he so wanted to.   It is stronger than heroin.    So for those that do not smoke, understand that if someone has smoked for a long time it highly likely that they will return to smoking at some point in your marriage or relationship.    If you are getting into a relationship with them, you need to accept that. If you can accept that, then date him, if not then don’t.   If you can accept him at his worst, then be okay with it.   But accept the reality I tell you about above.   Sure, he could die of a brain tumor and live the most healthy life ever.   BUT smoking is one of the very few things, that is almost certain to lead to COPD or lung cancer.   Sure we have the few stories we hear about those that live to be 100 but they are rare.    It is a very strong addiction, he may want to quit, he may love you more than life itself, but it is a physical addiction and it is very tough to beat.    I had one friend who was in this exact situation.   However, she married the man as a smoker.   She told him that she wanted him to quit but that it was up to him.   She told me that as she fell in love with him as they were dating, she saw how strong the addiction was and her heart hurt for him because he was in pain.    He would shake and become ill when he did not have nicotine.   He tried the drugs and they made him very sick and then one day he decided to do it on his own gradually cutting down.   For years he carried around a pack of them, not smoking them but almost as a security blanket just in case.   She stood back, she never commented, she never judged, she just let him do what he wanted and was there to listen.    It’s been 10 years since he quit.    She said he told her he slipped up once or twice, but other than that he has no desire.   But HE IS honest with her when he does or if he ever thinks of slipping up and that is because she was never judging of him, and never gave him an ultimatum.   She said in all honesty to her, the lying and hiding would have bothering her more than the smoking.   She made sure to let him know not to be ashamed and that she would love him no matter what.       You see I could not do this.    I applaud her for what she did.      If you as a woman cannot do this, then do not enter into a relationship with a smoker.   I think smoking is an okay deal breaker by the way.

  8. 8

    Definitely a deal-breaker. Not only do smokers smell bad , but I’d be foolish to put myself at risk with   secondhand smoking.   These issues should be discussed before getting serious with someone.

  9. 9
    no fumar

    Former smoker here. A smoker will never ever successfully quit unless they want to do it for themselves and unfortunately that decision is often made after a health scare.

  10. 10

    So he wants to start a family with you? Would he stop smoking if/when you would have children in the house? If so, he might as well stop now. If not, consider if you want to raise your children in a house filled with smoke. The excuse “cant stop smoking” is BS. Enough people CHOOSE  to quit. If he loves his cigs more than you, a future family and children, THATS the real dealbreaker.

    1. 10.1

      Well said! And I like your heigth! LOL! 😉

  11. 11

    Makes $150K — 5%
    Over 6 feet tall — 14%
    Has a bachelors degree — 32%
    Has advanced degree — 11%
    Is Jewish — 1.7%
    Doesn’t watch porn regularly — 33%

    I’ll date the guy who makes under 150k, is under 6′ tall, doesn’t have a college degree (as long as he’s tried to educate himself), is some other religion, even watches porn, over the man who smokes any day. Why? Because smoking is an unhealthy habit that not only adversely affects my partner, but affects my own well-being too. Height and a non-six-figure income are not potentially life-threatening. Smokers always seem to minimize the amount they smoke too. I have an ex who still smokes, over 20 years after we broke up, and I’m very glad I don’t have to live with that. It’s an incredibly strong addiction, but it can be kicked.

  12. 12
    Yeah right

    Doesn’t watch porn regularly — 33%

    I think that’s a typo. I think it was supposed to read 3%

  13. 13

    The letter writer made a typical mistake, she knew that smoking was a deal-breaker but got into the relationship anyway in hopes that the guy would change. Predictably, he hasn’t, so NOW it’s a problem?? How is this fair to the guy in question??

    I dated smokers in the past and lived with them. Even if they don’t smoke in the house, the smell is still everywhere and they can’t even sense it that’s how screwed up their sense of smell is from smoking, so when I complained I was “being difficult”. It was ruining my clothes, it was in my hair and I kept thinking about 2nd hand exposure.

    Not to mention financially, this habit is expensive and not only the cigarettes themselves but also additional health insurance penalty for smokers.

    So I would personally never date a smoker, but I would never move past the first date with them, assuming they even got the first date by lying. The OP laid her bed and now should lay in it.

  14. 14

    The few smokers I know are wonderful people. That being said, if you marry a smoker everything in your life will eventually smell like cigarettes;   your clothes, your home, your car, your hair….. your kids! Smoking is one of my few deal breakers. When I think about it, the smokers I know have partners who also smoke which might make more sense for a relationship.

  15. 15

    My boyfriend lied on his profile and said he doesn’t smoke, when he does. I hope he quits for his own well-being, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s his life and he’s a wonderful person. He can do what he wants. Also, why would smoking be off limits, but not drinking. They’re both bad for you. I don’t smoke or drink, but it doesn’t bother me that others do.

    1. 15.1

      I’m sure drinking would be off-limits too, especially if they are an alcoholic/abusive drunk. The big thing with smoking is that second hand smoke is impacting the rest of the family and it’s not like you can hide it, you know when someone comes from a family of smokers.

      The fact that a guy wants a family is important. A man’s drinking isn’t going to impact the mother or fetus’ health, unless he’s abusive or causing her stress.  There are still  health conditions correlated with maternal exposure to second hand smoke like, “miscarriage, low birth weight, early birth, learning or behavioral deficiencies in your child, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).” Second hand smoke doubles the risk of a baby dying from SIDS.

  16. 16

    I’m wondering exactly what it is about the smoking that you don’t like? Some of the issues can be solved by switching to an e-cig. When I met my boyfriend, he smoked a pack a day. It was costing him over $300/month (we live in Canada), he smelled like an ashtray and had asthma. He switched to vaping mostly because of cost ( only $10/month for e-juice – savings of $290!), but I noticed immediately that he no longer was wheezing at night and the horrible smell was gone. He usually goes for a minty variety, which is actually quite lovely! I have no idea if it is more or less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but I can tell you that his breathing has significantly improved. He no longer needs to use a puffer and the e-juice he uses has vegetable glycerol instead of polypropylene. Also, he has slowly lowered his nicotine content from 18% (like cigs) to 12%, then 6% with the goal that he’ll eventually stop completely. Just a thought!

  17. 17

    Put smoking up there, with height, age, weight and income on things that are commonly lied about in OLD.   I’ve had men list smoking as “no way” to get past my filter, then it mysteriously changes to “I’ll tell you later” or “Trying to quit”.   One came clean on our first meet and greet.   He said he put “no way” because he had “quit” about a month ago, and this time he really thought he kicked the habit, but then he admitted he broke down and had a cigarette in the past few days.   Other men claimed they didn’t smoke, but I could smell it.   I’ve also been lied to about marijuana use as well.   One man admitted after we were already dating exclusively that he occasionally toked, and I asked him, why am I just now hearing about his, since I had alreday told him pot smoking was a deal breaker.   (Only because of legal issues, not that I have a moral problem with it)   He said he didn’t tell me earlier, because he didn’t think it was important.

    Anyway, I don’t think smoking as a deal breaker is at all like things like height, income, or having a masters degree. (Unless we’re talking flat broke and never held a job in his life, )

    Just as men will ANGRILY cry that rejecting women for obesity is NOTHING at all like rejecting a man for being short, because it is a health issue, I say smoking is a health issue and a quality of life issue.   I agree that there is a difference between rejecting a man for being under 6 foot, and rejecting a woman who is morbidly obese.   I also think that there is a big difference between rejecting a man because he “only” make 75K a year, and rejecting a man who smokes.   Smoking is an unattractive habit, both in terms of smell and how a person looks.   It ages you.   Even if a young smoker manages to look attractive, that habit will age their face and yellow their teeth.   YUCK !

    For me, smoking kills attraction.   I do not want to kiss a mouth that tastes like cigarettes, I do not want to lie down in a bed that smell like an ashtray.   I myself don’t want to smell like smoke, and if you lie down with a smoker, well, you get up with the stinky smell of cigarettes.   When I was of childbearing age, I did NOT want to raise my child in a smokey home, and even if someone agreed to only smoke outside, I would NOT want my children to have a smoking parent for a role model.

    One thing I did not know until I got pregnant, that my aversion to the smell of smoke, increased greatly.   In my non-pregnant state, it was a mildly unpleasant odor.   In my pregnant state, it was EXTREMELY unpleasant to even be in the house of a smoker even if they were not smoking while I was there.   (My mom, and both my siblings smoked, so visits were very unpleasant while I was pregnant) I don’t know if the extreme aversion to unpleasant smells is a universal pregnancy thing, or just my own constitution, but boy am I glad I stuck to my guns on the smoking issue. And that hypersensitivity to smoke smell persisted for about 3 years after my son was born.

    Other quality of life issues if you marry a smoker.   You could end up watching them die a slow, agonizing painful death.   And so will your children.   I watch my mom die in agony over a period of ten years.   It was heartbreaking for me.   My brother is disabled due to cigarettes.   He can’t work, and he can’t talk for more than 30 seconds without having a violent coughing attack.   He had one lung removed, he beat the odds to survive over 5 years after his cancer surgery   (and his cancer treatment was a long agonizing process, as they tried to save part of the lung, and he underwent multiple surgeries) He doesn’t even feel “lucky” to have survived.

    I have known many inconsiderate smokers.   An ex-BF of mine had a roomate who smoke like a chimney and NEVER emptied an ashtray.   When every ash tray had a mountain of ashes in them, he would start putting his buts in empty beer bottles (which he never threw out either)   Or use a saucer.   His roommate would put the ashtrays in his room as a hint to empty them, but this guy acted like his never emptying the ashtrays was a big joke, and just a silly little quirk everyone should learn to live with. Before smoking was outlawed inside the work place, I would have co-workers stand and talk to me, while I was seated, cigarette dangling from their hand at my face-level, smoke going up my nose.   Yes, they moved that stinky thing when I asked them to, but why would they even come into my office blowing smoke up my nose, when they already know I hate it ?

    Even life with a considerate smoker is no picnic.   Smoking outside alleviates some of the issue, but the smell is still in their clothes, hair and mouth.   And believe me, almost EVERY car trip you’ll be asked “Can we stop and pick up some smokes on the way”.   And if you don’t allow smoking in your car, don’t go on long road trips with a smoker.   You’ll be having to stop for smoke breaks constantly.

    Oh, and try living with someone “trying to quit”.   (I know, my mom tried a few times).   They will be so irritable from nicotine withdrawal, that you’ll end up buying a carton and BEGGING them to start smoking again.

    Yes, yes, everyone is entitled to their preferences and deal breakers, but that doesn’t make all preferences and deal breakers equal.   Refusing to date someone who is financially stable but not filthy rich IS an unreasonable deal breaker and will GREATLY limit your dating pool.   Refusing to date a smoker is a healthy, reasonable choice, and seeing how most people don’t smoke anymore it isn’t even that limiting.


    I am curious about the OP.   Was this guy a “former” smoker when you met him, who took up the habit again after you met ?   Did you know it was a “deal breaker” for you when you met him, and did you know he smoked ?   If so, were you hoping to change him into a non-smoker ?   Is he a light smoker with really good hygiene ?   (I know a few smokers, and some smokers are less stinky than others)

    I couldn’t possibly get to that level of a relationship with a smoker, the smell just really repulses me, I could not get past it long enough to fall in love.   I would be REALLY pissed if I got involved with a “former” smoker, and they took the habit up again after I was already in love, and I HONESTLY don’t know what I would do in that case.

    Anyway, I know my rant sounds like I HATE smokers, I don’t.   I hate the habit though.   I know it’s a VERY difficult addiction to beat, and I am sympathetic to the addicted smoker who WANTS to quit, and has failed at quitting several times.   I just have no desire to be involved with a smoker.   I don’t allow it in my house or in my car.   I don’t think that is an unreasonable deal breaker.   Most of the other dealbreakers listed in the OP, are unreasonable.

  18. 18
    Mrs Happy

    When they got engaged, my mother promised my father that she would stop smoking by the time they married. Well they married in 1970 and she’s still smoking 46 years later, never stopped. She has had cancer, various organs are now failing, terrible health, etc, and she smokes 1-2 packs/day.

    Much like commentator #1, while growing up, I continually breathed smoke. I hated it. Car trips were a nightmare.

    I wouldn’t now stand: the taste of kissing   a smoker, the risk to my health, my children’s health, smell -it gets everywhere even on the curtains so the house stinks, the smoker’s eventual health outcomes with their emotional and financial costs, the selfishness of smoking, anything about smoking. Additionally in my country it’s a bit of a rough socio-economic marker, as people with lower levels of education, job status and income are more likely to smoke, so for me smoking often comes as part of a less attractive package overall.

    A friend of mine is married to a smoker who keeps quitting; every time their marriage is stressed or he is stressed, he takes it up again. Every time she travels for work and he has to mind the kids without her help, she knows she’ll return to him having re-started smoking.

    During my university years I worked in bars. After every shift, my hair and clothes would stink of smoke (and my fingernails of beer). If I was too tired to wash my hair on returning home 1-2am, my pillow and bedding would stink of smoke too. Vile.

    Immediate deal breaker for me.

    Good luck with your choice.

  19. 19

    If you have that much time and energy invested in the relationship, why not sit him down and have a heart to heart conversation, offer to support him in any way,   and ask him to stop smoking? There are a lot of support options out there. Our company has support for such programs, and offer incentives to do so.

    His response should tell you a lot about your future.

  20. 20

    I agree with previous commenters here that we are comparing apples to oranges. Unhealthy lifestyle choices are preventable physical attributes are not. The spouse or caretaker pays for their choices and it is not cheap. There is an incredible cost in emotional pain, time, money. Obviously the most perfect, healthy spouse on the planet could succumb to cancer or an accident tomorrow but those things have nothing to do with deliberate lifestyle choices over decades. Not only does second hand smoke expose ones spouse; smoking is especially harmful to young children and infants. Their body systems are still developing. Even residue on clothing can be absorbed through the skin, 3rd hand exposure. I am hypersensitive to cigarette smoke from  constant exposure as a child. My airway Starts to close when I can’t get away from  it; incredibly scary. What parent would want this for their child?

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