My Mom Told Me To Never Marry a Smoker

My dad was a smoker for all of his life and it killed him.

Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash

My dad started smoking when he was only 18 because his mother was a smoker, and at that time, smoking was a sign of adulthood. My dad wasn’t very good at being an adult in other aspects of his life so I’m imagining he had this at least.

When he was 55 he had to go into surgery because the artery in his left leg was blocked. After this, he did multiple attempts to stop smoking, but not while trying to convince his family the blockage was not due to smoking, and his lungs were completely clean. I can’t recall if he ever really quit but when he was 65 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. I still see him wandering off to the garage to roll his cigarette, days before his death. Sometimes he would give me excuses, like a child with his face covered with dark stains saying he never saw any chocolate.

My dad started to cough up blood and one month after he got diagnosed with cancer, he died.

My first boyfriend was a smoker. After we broke up, I dated more guys who were smoking and even though I wish I did, I could never just walk away when I found out they were smokers. Despite hearing my mother’s advice in the back of my head, ‘never marry a smoker’.

On dating apps it can be hard to tell whether someone is a smoker or not. I always try to look for signs and I considered making it clear in my bio that I am severely against smoking. But I never did, and I don’t want to.

Excluding someone just by the things they do is not something I advocate. Wouldn’t that make me as bad as girls who refuse to date anyone shorter than them? Or is it more comparable to refusing to date a meat-eater, when you are a vegan?

What does a smoker do that would make me unwilling to date them? Besides surrounding yourself with a disgusting smell and basically arranging your own funeral way too soon, why do I hate smoking so much?

I remember the times I went out to dinner with my parents and my brother, and how often my dad would leave the table because he ‘needed a smoke’. Everywhere we went, there was always a moment where my dad, an extreme introvert, would withdraw himself from a social situation. And every time he left the table, I would feel disappointed. I realized I saw it as a sign of disrespect, as not being able to enjoy the moment without finding the need to get away from it. Was he really that addicted, or did he just use smoking as an excuse to take a breath?

Does it actually make a difference?

My dad wasn’t very good at being honest, neither was he able to express himself very clearly. Smoking was his way of distracting himself, getting away from intense situations, without having to explain anything. He could have told us he needed a moment for himself, instead, he gave us the feeling that he didn’t enjoy being with his family.

And here I am, trying not to judge a guy based on his addiction. Because I don’t know the severity of it, I don’t know the reason they started and I don’t know if they are willing to stop. I know I can’t judge someone based on their addictions, and who knows what I will miss out on if I do.

In these moments I hear my mother in the back of my head telling me I have to watch out.

But maybe she didn’t mean to say I shouldn’t marry a smoker, but that I should be conscious of the kind of man I do want to marry.

Writing about mental health, personal development & relationships. Love cats & birds.

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