How do you get past your partner changing the rules of your relationship? Maybe they quit smoking when you first got together but then started again two years in. Maybe they gained weight and no longer care about a healthier lifestyle. Maybe you’ve had kids, and now they don’t want to have sex as often, or they promised to be a stay-at-home mom and now want to go back to work? What do you do when your partner is doing something now that would have been a deal breaker before you moved in together or got married, so now you feel stuck? If this is you, you’re in the right place because we’re about to go deep about what this all really means.
Today we’re doing a “Ask Dr. Abby” where we’ll start with this question a listener emailed:
My question is, how do I overlook something that was a deal breaker (vaping) but fell in love before I found out this was a habit? Once I did, we did speak about it, made a pact, and gave our word. I stuck to my end of the bargain; he did not. I stayed. Well, he told me yesterday in passing he will continue to vape until the day he dies. Great, two years later.
I hear your voice asking me why I stayed, but at the same time, he is pretty awesome everywhere else, so then I hear your voice again asking me what my problem is with it. I’m the one with the problem, so it starts with me. I don’t know how to navigate…however, I do know I can’t move forward with moving in or marriage.
Here is my short answer response to this listener:
Oy – sorry to hear you’re going through this. It’s common, believe it or not. People show up in the relationship later with drinking issues or gain a lot of weight – it’s like the rules changed, and you’re already invested. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. Going forward, keep those boundaries about moving in or marriage, if there’s vaping, if that continues to be important. Remember that the real issue is the betrayal of trust, not the vaping, so talk about that and don’t focus on the vape.
I gave the much longer answer on the podcast, where I outlined three areas that needed to be addressed:
- My special way of problem-solving
- Keeping boundaries and
- Continuing to work on your trust triad.
For more information on each of these topics, check out these episodes:
How to Discuss Relationship Problems with Your Partner Without Turning into a Fight
The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Solve Any Problem
How to be Honest and Build Trust in a Relationship
How to Overcome Guilt and Regret When Setting Boundaries