Would You Dump Someone If They Gave You An Ultimatum?

Name: Rootiewomen-smoking

Question: I’ve met a man who I believe is my “soul mate” as well as he believes I’m his.  We have so much chemistry and connection, have a great time together, enjoy the same interests and have been dating for 8 weeks now. I am a smoker and he’s a non-smoker (he knew this when we met).  I NEVER smoke around him or WHILE I am with him. I do have a PLAN to quit and am working on this, he’s knows I have a PLAN, but however, out of the blue, he gave me an ULTIMATUM that it is either HIM or my cigarettes. He said that if I LOVED him enough, I would quit. I walked away and I am NOT quitting over an ULTIMATUM, but I am going to continue to work with my plan to quit. Why do you believe he gave me an Ultimatum instead of talking it out with me? Confused and frustrated.
Age: 57
State: MD

Every smoker has a “plan” to quit smoking. Been there, done that. He dumped you because he knows you’ll never quit and he doesn’t wish to date a smoker because he doesn’t wish to be with someone who will likely develop cancer or some other illness and die or at least have their quality of life greatly reduced. Crazy, right?

He’s right. If you loved him enough, you’d at least try to quit. Just like he tried to date you even though you smoked and he clearly HATED IT.

You go on with your righteous indignation and continue with your plan to eventually quit someday maybe.




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21 Responses to “Would You Dump Someone If They Gave You An Ultimatum?”

  1. BTownGirl Says:

    The only thing I couldn’t get down with was the “If you loved me enough”…errrrr, at the point she’s only been dating him for 2 months. Dude could have just said, “I thought I could live with the smoking, but I can’t.” I used to smoke and one of the many negatives is you just have to accept, as long as you do it, that it will really cut you off from some things and people in life. Just quit, girl – it will suck at first, but it’s worth it.

  2. mindstar Says:

    Well the OP is 57 so she could have been smoking for 30-40+ years. Her PLAN (love the capitalization) to quit is just that. Merely a plan and valueless in and of itself. Likely if you had continued the relationship you would have demanded that he accept your toxic habit to prove his love for you.

  3. Tinker Says:

    When he met her she was a smoker. Doesn’t sound like she made him any empty promises ‘I’ll quit tomorrow! Last cigarette ever right now!’. Seems like she always had a long term plan. Sounds like he changed his mind about what he cold deal with and instead of just saying that and waiting for her reaction, he tried to guilt her into quitting. Never a good idea if what you want is lasting change.

    • C Says:

      I agree. As BTownGirl said, I think better to have said, “I cant live with this” then making it about her not “loving” him enough.

      As to the question, would you dump someone if they gave you an ultimatum? Depends on the ultimatum and the reason for the ultimatum. If it was something health related, I’d probably play along. If it was a lifestyle choice that strictly benefited him (i.e. his entire family moving in, moving to a different country just for fun, moving to a remote farm in Ohio, etc…), then no thanks.

      • PGH Gal Says:

        I know that a dating relationship is different than what I’m about to share, but when I was in my early 20s I did basically give a family member this ultimatum and it caused them to quit.

        As far as a relationship goes…I’m sorry but the person isn’t asking you to get a nose job or dye your hair. They are asking you to stop doing something that can shorten the time the two of you have together AND negatively impact the quality of life for you both. Smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker. If the OP were addicted to alcohol instead of cigarettes, I don’t think anyone would question it if their partner wanted to host an intervention. This is basically the same thing.

  4. LostSailor Says:

    Would You Dump Someone If They Gave You An Ultimatum?

    In a long-term relationship? Depending on the ultimatum, but probably. In a short-term relationship? Absolutely.

    But on to Rootie. Moxie’s right on this. If she’s still smoking at 57, she has a vague aspiration to quit, she definitely does not have a PLAN nor is she “working” on it. I was a smoker and I know all about “plans” and “working” on it. Uh, no. Either you’re going to quit or you’re not going to quit, and Rootie isn’t going to quit. And for all the talk about it being really, really hard to quit, it’s really not. The worst is over in a couple of weeks; the real danger is a year or two out as I and a number of people I know relapsed around that time because you think you’re safe and can have “just one.” No, you can’t

    Why do you believe he gave me an Ultimatum instead of talking it out with me?

    Why are you so indignant, Rootie, that he forced a choice on you? Because you know he called you on your bullshit, bullshit that you can’t face. You tried to skate around the issue by not smoking “around” him or when you’re “with” him. But he knew you smoked, and the constant reminder of the reek of it on your clothes was a turn off. Plus he probably knew your PLAN was what it is: just talk.

    Yeah, the “if you loved me” line is a bit over the top, but it contains truth. If this man is your “soul mate” you have shown him that you value cigarettes over true love.

    Priorities, sweetheart, priorities…

  5. Crotch Rocket Says:

    “He said that if I LOVED him enough, I would quit.”

    His only real mistake here was making it about him. If you loved YOURSELF enough, you would quit. And how can anyone love someone who doesn’t love themselves?

  6. AnnieNonymous Says:

    I find the histrionics over ultimatums to be a bit ridiculous. In reality, most relationships that end do so because of ultimatums; the couple encounters a problem and cannot reach a compromise. One person sets terms that the other cannot or will not fulfill. Then the word “ultimatum” gets thrown around to make them sound like an asshole.

    Sounds like both people in the letter are immature and overly dramatic. He knew she was a lifelong smoker and expected her to quit immediately. She still totally believes that she’ll be able to quit one day. They’re both delusional.

  7. Howard Says:

    Ultimatums are a problem, but when it come to life and limb, it’s not an ultimatum. It’s self-prservation. Rootie, have you looked at any of the research on second-hand smoke, and third-hand smoke? Deadly, just deadly, almost as deadly as smoking.

  8. Valery North Says:

    I’m a person who won’t date a smoker. Smokers often don’t realise how obvious it is that they smoke, even when they aren’t actually smoking “in front of” others. And it isn’t pleasant.

    If I met someone online whose profile said “trying to quit”, and we started dating, and 8 weeks on there’s no evidence of them actually doing anything towards quitting (“I’m working on a PLAN”, yeah, right, whatever) then I would definitely state clearly that I cannot date someone who smokes and makes no real attempt to quit. I say “if” – as it happens, I was set up on a blind date once with someone who smokes, and this issue came up.

    I would not say, “If you loved me…” because that’s just emotional blackmail. But I would say, “I cannot go on dating you because smoking is a dealbreaker for me.” That’s a statement of my emotional position, and my principles. It would also be an issue that would come up very early on, because even on a first date it would be a practical and physical issue that needs to be mentioned. Tobacco smoke makes me physically unwell, and wanting to vomit doesn’t make for a sexy or enjoyable date.

    At that point, I need to believe this person is already in the process of quitting (and after reading this post and the comments, I’ll know to be sceptical of a “plan” in future!) otherwise there’s no second date and we never get to the “ultimatum”. But if I do believe that to be the case, then I am a sucker for the role of “I’ll be the rock you can cling to” – so I’ll promise to give all the emotional support I can/am asked for, to help her through the process of quitting.

    All of which goes to say, if “He knows I have a PLAN to quit,” then when that plan didn’t go into action and actually happen, he felt, “The conditions on which I was willing to date you have not been met.” Maybe Tinker is correct and there were no promises, but in that case, this was still set up to fail because there was no way a “long term plan” was ever going to satisfy the needs of the situation.

  9. LaRubia Says:

    I used to be a casual smoker, i.e., having a smoke occasionally out with friends at a bar/club/after dinner. I hit 40, the smoking bans in bars, restaurants, clubs went into effect, and I just . . . quit. Period. Been 8 years now, don’t miss it a bit. For me, nothing is uglier than an over 40 woman, still smoking. Blecchhh. I can’t STAND the stench at ALL now. Funny how things change – I could NEVER date a smoker.

  10. BostonRobin Says:

    You two had a fun eight weeks as “soul mates,” then he was done. The smoking was probably just an excuse, or maybe his “emergency exit” from the beginning. These super intense beginnings usually burn out just as quickly.

    “Soul mates” are not born, they are made–and it takes longer than eight weeks to determine that level of compatibility! Quit smoking for your own sake, not his. Then go find someone you can build something real with.

  11. Goldie Says:

    I smoked for 20 years, as did most of my friends. It is one of the most addictive substances that I know of. For all of us that managed to finally quit, it took years and multiple tries before we did. So I’d say OP’s guy should’ve known what he was getting into, and not count on OP quitting. She won’t be able to stop smoking tomorrow just because he gave her an ultimatum today. My guess is, he thought he could live with her smoking as long as it wasn’t happening in front of him, and then realized he still couldn’t. “If you loved me” was a pretty bizarre thing to say, though. It’s not as easy as that when it comes to quitting smoking. Plus, like someone already said, what kind of love are we talking about exactly after only eight weeks of dating?

    I recently met an otherwise good guy online, whose profile said he still smokes occasionally, and is working on quitting. During our dates, he’d take a smoking break about every hour. His car reeks. I went over to his place and was shocked to find out that he smokes inside his apartment – who does that? None of my friends did it even when they were going through two packs a day. I think I’m going to bail on this guy. That’s too much, and nowhere close to “occasional smoking, trying to quit”. Second-hand smoke gives me evil migraines now, which I actually mention in one of my answers to those OKC questions. He knows about it.

    Last but not least. My last ex, at one point in our relationship, gave me an ultimatum. I’d recently tried doing something that I liked, that he didn’t approve of and wanted me not to do it again, or else he was walking out. I weighed all pros and cons, decided that I liked and valued the guy and his companionship more than I liked and valued that thing I was (very occasionally) doing, and agreed to give it up. It wasn’t hard. I see this as part of getting to know each other, getting the relationship to progress (or end, depending on how both sides feel). Yes sometimes our partners say and do things we cannot tolerate, and IMO it is okay to let them know – they are not mind readers and cannot always tell whether something they’re doing is a deal-breaker for us or not. It’s on us to let them know if it is.

  12. BTownGirl Says:

    Goldie, it took me FIVE tries to quit, so I get exactly what you’re saying. I couldn’t date a smoker personally because I’d wind up starting again. I totally agree that being honest and respectful about these things is the way to go!

  13. G. Says:

    In fairness, they’re both as bad as each other but it’s a classic sign of an insecure guy with no dating options. Instead of dating the women he wants, he just goes for whatever comes his way and tries to change them into what he wants. I don’t agree with doing this.

    so first off. 8 weeks ddoesn’t make a lasting relationship. If I was given an ultimatum after 8 9weeks about something which long predates meeting that person I’d walk too. Now if I was dating them for 2 years and suddenly developed a smoking habit. Sure, their input is relevant but not after 8 weeks. If he doesn’t like smokers it’s irresponsible to date a smoker and change them. Same goes for anything. If you don’tlike your partner sky diving. DDon’t date a sky diver.

    on her side though.. same. At least she was honestand ddidn’t try to hide it or anything that’s a plus. The flip side is that every smoker does have a plan.. I know. I’ve had a plan for 4 years.. lol. So she can’t really be upset with people who don’t like smoking who are unwilling to date her unless thisplan comes to fruition .

  14. Yvonne Says:

    Actually, I’m very hesitant to date someone whose dating profile says they are “trying to quit”. Why? Because that simply means that they smoke regularly, but no one wants to say that anymore. Even “occasional” smokers smoke pretty regularly, I’ve found. Very few people are going to admit that they are smokers these days.

    I once went to a movie with a man I was recently dating who had said he was “trying to quit.” As soon as we walked out of the theater, he lit up. I said, “I thought you were trying to quit smoking?” He answered, “I did quit, for the 2 hours that we were in the movie theater.” Enough said.

    OTOH, I wouldn’t give someone I’d been dating for 2 months an ultimatum, and talk about “If you loved me…” I might say that the smoking was a big health concern, and that I wasn’t sure I could continue dating them unless I could see that they were making a genuine effort to quit. Not only would I not want them to develop a smoking-related illness, I don’t want to develop one either.

    Ultimatum or not, what are you hanging on to by continuing to smoke? Your sense of independence, as in “he’s not the boss of me”? Face it, Rootie, NICOTINE is the boss of you.

    • BostonRobin Says:

      How about “social smoker,” or “I only smoke when I drink.” Then you learn that they drink ALL THE TIME, which is just as bad as the smoking!

      I don’t even bother calling it a dealbreaker. It’s “prescreening,” since I know I can’t be around cigarettes.

      To paraphrase Yoda: smoke or don’t smoke. There is no try!

  15. Ben Iyyar Says:

    I see people who smoke the same way I see people with serious life threatening chronic illnesses. And I would be very reluctant to become romantically involved with someone who had a serious life threatening illness. The worry, the medical problems, the potential financial difficulties, would for me overshadow the romantic and intimacy parts of the relationship. It is hard enough to develop a serious relationship without health issues so I can easily understand why a non smoker would not wish to become involved with a smoker.

  16. Lisa Says:

    I think the PLAN is BS. I smoked from age 12 to age 29. (Really smoked, not just socially.) I quit a few after I met the man I would eventually marry. He didn’t have to ask me or threaten me. He never said a word. I quit the first time I tried and I never looked back. I didn’t want to kill the man I loved or the family we would have.

    I think the bf was well w/in his rights to ask for her to stop, if she had previously expressed an interest in stopping. His execution was melodramatic, OK. But the point is he wanted her to stop. And apparently so does she. Seems a realistic thing to ask for when both agree it’s a good idea.

    But the OP made her choice to walk away. It is what it is. She ended the relationship; he didn’t. She could have tried to quit or continued to string him along, hoping he didn’t make good on the ultimatum. But she chose to walk away. The end.

  17. Jim Says:

    Here’s a sad revelation: I eventually got married because of an ultimatum. I had been seeing (and eventually living with) this woman for 5 years and was told it’s the ring or the highway. I never felt she was the “love of my life” or my “soul mate”, but I did love her, we got along great, and I wanted children so it made sense at the time.

    Fast-forward 8 years and I’m in the middle of a divorce. Was it wrong to marry someone I wasn’t “100% certain” was the one for me? I don’t know, I ended up with 2 awesome children and although divorce is horrific I feel that I (and my kids) will be much better when it’s over.

    With respect to the smoking argument, my wife agreed to quit smoking when we had our first child. After the second child, 4 years later, she decided to start again because “I was stressing her out and making her crazy”. I hated it and pleaded with her to stop, for the sake of the kids, for her own health, for our intimacy, because of the added financial strain. I was accused of “trying to bring the kids into it”.

    In the end she refused to quit, saying that “I knew she smoked” when we got married. It definitely isn’t THE reason we’re getting divorced, but finding ashes strewn around the car she uses to drive our children around was definitely one big nail in the coffin. Kill yourself if you need to, I may have to suck it up because of my choices, but when you put my kids at risk you’ve put yourself on shaky, and ultimately un-sound, ground.

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