Author Topic: S/O Smoky the Neighbor  (Read 7199 times)

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chigrrl1

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S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« on: November 21, 2012, 12:32:57 PM »
Greetings, long time lurker, first time advice seeker.   

B/G:
My husband was supposed to quit smoking cigarettes as his wedding present to me.  That was about 3 and a half years ago.  He's relapsed, lied about it and quit again several times--blaming stress or his mental illness or just plain old addiction as an excuse when caught.  I do not excuse or condone his behavior, but I try to be understanding about the severity of cigarette addiction for some people.  I discovered his most recent slip up about an hour before he was hospitalized and almost died from seizures resulting from a toxic med combo.  During his hospitalization, he was placed in a coma for several days on respiratory support while he fought off a respiratory infection and recovered from his seizure .  When he was well enough to be taken off life support, he spent days coughing up all sorts of disgusting things.  Of course, he's vowed never to smoke again--I'd love to believe him.  My quandary, however, is not about my husband's behavior which would thoroughly derail my question at hand. End B/G

My husband is buddies with our downstairs neighbor who is a smoker.  On several occasions, I have discussed with said neighbor (Smoky) that smoking was a big deal breaker in our relationship for a number of reasons.  Specifically, while my hubs was in the hospital, I asked if he had been bumming my husband cigs recently.  He denied doing so.  In summary, I made it clear that sneaking cig's was a huge point of contention in our marriage.

My husband has been home for over a week and is STILL coughing and recovering.  Yesterday, he went downstairs to hang out with Smoky.   My husband called to ask if Smoky could use our washer and dryer (again) and I said it was no problem if they could manage to stick my wet stuff in the dryer.  Never mind that I had several loads of my own to do, he needed clean clothes for work, so I figured it wouldn't kill me to help him out.

Later that evening, during a rousing argument about the subject of smoking and destroyed trust, my husband advised me that Smoky invited him over via a text that said "Wanna come down and have a cig?"  I need some perspective and advice.  I am furious that Smoky knew a) cigarettes are turning into a deal breaker in our marriage b) my husband literally just got out of the hospital and was still recovering.  My husband did not smoke the offered cigarette, but I feel it was very disrespectful of Smoky to specifically offer that as the reason for them to hang out knowing full well my feelings on the subject and the state of my husband's health.  I am aware that my husband is a grown man who should be capable of declining on his own, but I don't understand why Smoky would go out of his way to test the situation.

I am a very frank person and my impulse is to tell Smoky directly that I feel his actions were disrespectful.  I also *feel* like telling him that next time he needs a favor (e.g. lending him $10, letting him use my phone, washer etc.), he should look elsewhere because I am not feeling very charitable towards him at the moment.  It's tricky since we live in the same building and his requests are often surprise ones delivered by him just knocking on the door.  I don't want to create long term animosity or enemies with person and his wife, I just feel his actions were as such that I want nothing to do with him.  An apology might help, but at present, I feel I would doubt it's sincerity.

How to proceed?  I don't want to misdirect any of the anger I feel towards my husband at Smoky, but I feel that his actions were really out of line.  Even if I don't give him a big speech about the cigarette deal, I am disinclined to continue doing him any neighborly favors and presume that he'd want to know why that's changed.   I'd also like to ask him to quit using my lawn furniture for his smoke breaks where he leaves butts everywhere in our green space. Important to Note: these neighborly favors are completely one-sided (us helping him out), so I have no obligations in that regard.  I really want to avoid flipping out on this guy.  Help!

ilrag

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 12:40:55 PM »
I think it's fine to not want to do him any favors and it's fine to resent him for offering your husband a cigarette but if your husband wants to keep doing him favors that will be hard to stop.

NyaChan

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 12:42:27 PM »
I think you are misdirecting your anger towards Smoky rather than focusing on the fact that your husband has been lying and sneaking to smoke with someone.  That's not on Smoky, that's on your husband, and you can either choose to put up with it or call it a deal breaker for staying married.  Smoky is only acting this way because your husband has given him reason to believe that it is okay to ignore you and sneak around behind your back.  That is entirely on your husband unless he has been protesting or asking Smoky not to do this and has been ignored.  This is between Smoky and your husband, not you and Smoky.

Isisnin

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 12:58:00 PM »
You are under no obligation to give favors to Smoky.  You can just say no when Smoky asks for one or when your husband asks for him. 

As he is a neighbor, and a neighbor your husband spends time with, you should be polite to him.  But that only means a polite hello.  It doesn't mean you have to spend time with Smoky, have conversations with him, do him favors, etc. 

Of he or hubby does ask why you don't do favors for Smoky, you could just say that you are not required to do him favors.

Good Luck with your husbands addiction.  I had a relative who was addicted to cigs.  It's a really rough road.


Perfect Circle

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 01:05:34 PM »
You can say no to favours. His laundry needs are not your concern and I certainly would not forgo my own as a favour to someone else.

But you cannot blame your neighbour for your husband's smoking. Your husband is an adult and he is 100% responsible for his own actions.
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hobish

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 01:08:51 PM »
I think you are misdirecting your anger towards Smoky rather than focusing on the fact that your husband has been lying and sneaking to smoke with someone.  That's not on Smoky, that's on your husband, and you can either choose to put up with it or call it a deal breaker for staying married.  Smoky is only acting this way because your husband has given him reason to believe that it is okay to ignore you and sneak around behind your back.  That is entirely on your husband unless he has been protesting or asking Smoky not to do this and has been ignored.  This is between Smoky and your husband, not you and Smoky.

So much this. Stop inviting Smoky into your marriage. There is no reason your neighbor should know or have influence over what actions by your husband - who is a grown man and does not need to have his actions discussed with the neighbors - are having on your marriage. Honestly, that is so much worse than your husband sneaking a cigarette now and then. I never say this, but you guys need a marriage counselor, stat. And i know you didn't ask for them, but hugs to you, because that sounds like a powderkeg.

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O'Dell

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 01:11:44 PM »
So you do all these favors for this guy and his wife and he can't do you the favor of backing off on the cigs with your husband? I'd consider him texting that under the circumstances to be a big old middle finger to your face. He essentially said that he doesn't care what happens to you or your marriage, he's gonna do what he wants regardless what is good for your husband and you.

Sure it's up to your husband to resist any temptations from Smokey or anyone else, but it's not unreasonable to expect some support from a friend. You can't control Smokey or your husband, but you can control how you interact with someone that has shown he doesn't care about you.

I think you should give him the cold shoulder, while being nice to his wife. And cut out the favors. If he asks why not, tell him: I asked you for a favor and you couldn't be bothered. Why should I keep helping you out?

I'm mad on your behalf!
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chigrrl1

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 01:29:42 PM »
I think you are misdirecting your anger towards Smoky rather than focusing on the fact that your husband has been lying and sneaking to smoke with someone.  That's not on Smoky, that's on your husband, and you can either choose to put up with it or call it a deal breaker for staying married.  Smoky is only acting this way because your husband has given him reason to believe that it is okay to ignore you and sneak around behind your back.  That is entirely on your husband unless he has been protesting or asking Smoky not to do this and has been ignored.  This is between Smoky and your husband, not you and Smoky.

So much this. Stop inviting Smoky into your marriage. There is no reason your neighbor should know or have influence over what actions by your husband - who is a grown man and does not need to have his actions discussed with the neighbors - are having on your marriage. Honestly, that is so much worse than your husband sneaking a cigarette now and then. I never say this, but you guys need a marriage counselor, stat. And i know you didn't ask for them, but hugs to you, because that sounds like a powderkeg.
I agree that my marital issues should not be aired to the neighbors in great detail, but feel the need to clarify.  The subject of smoking has come up on several occasions with Smoky and most recently as it specifically relates to some of the complications of my husband's hospitalization.  Since they are friends and Smoky was asking how he was doing, I shared that information.  Marital issues aside, I'm looking for a way to cut this guy out of my circle of people I would do a favor for without causing too much drama.  Unfortunately, he often comes directly to me with his little requests, so they aren't vetted through my husband.  It puts me in an uncomfortable position as I don't know the best way to cut him off without telling him why....which, as you noted, would probably result in marital information over-sharing.  To me, what he did was like asking someone straight out of rehab if they'd like to pop down for a drink.  It's obviously up to the addict to say no, but it's not being a good friend or neighbor and it felt disrespectful to me personally as he knows my feelings on the matter.

Devix

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012, 01:34:37 PM »
Forgive me if I'm wrong but I'm assuming your husband is a grown man who is fully capable of making his own decisions on what he does and who he hangs out with as well as the consequences of those decisions.  Reading your OP, I can't help but see a huge feeling of aggression against a man who really shouldn't be held responsible for your husband's decisions.  Yes, it is incredibly thoughtless that Smoky would offer your husband a cigarette so soon after he was released from the hospital but you've only really heard your husband's side of the story and don't know if there was anything else going on.  After all, you said yourself that your husband has lied about the smoking subject before.

You are certainly free to deny him any favors and if he asks any of you you can simply say "I'm afraid I cannot accommodate that request" and be done with it though your husband is also free to continue doing favors for Smoky if he so chooses.

As far as an apology, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that he doesn't owe you one though I may be in the minority here.  He made an offer to your husband that your husband was absolutely free to (and did) refuse. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 01:51:31 PM by Devix »

chigrrl1

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2012, 01:37:06 PM »
So you do all these favors for this guy and his wife and he can't do you the favor of backing off on the cigs with your husband? I'd consider him texting that under the circumstances to be a big old middle finger to your face. He essentially said that he doesn't care what happens to you or your marriage, he's gonna do what he wants regardless what is good for your husband and you.

Sure it's up to your husband to resist any temptations from Smokey or anyone else, but it's not unreasonable to expect some support from a friend. You can't control Smokey or your husband, but you can control how you interact with someone that has shown he doesn't care about you.

I think you should give him the cold shoulder, while being nice to his wife. And cut out the favors. If he asks why not, tell him: I asked you for a favor and you couldn't be bothered. Why should I keep helping you out?

I'm mad on your behalf!
Thank you for your shared righteous indignation!  I'm truly not trying to make excuses for the hubs--whole separate topic.  It just feels super shady and sneaky considering the circumstances.  I don't want to snap on this guy, I just want him to understand that I personally am no longer an individual who is willing to help him out of his ongoing mini-issues.

Perfect Circle

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2012, 01:43:56 PM »
You can tell your neighbour you cannot do those favours to him when he asks, that is absolutely your right.

But no, I don't think he owes you an apology.
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Jones

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 01:47:28 PM »
I think he owes your husband an apology. Your husband is still hacking up nasty stuff and he offers him a cig? Not cool.

doodlemor

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2012, 01:55:17 PM »
So you do all these favors for this guy and his wife and he can't do you the favor of backing off on the cigs with your husband? I'd consider him texting that under the circumstances to be a big old middle finger to your face. He essentially said that he doesn't care what happens to you or your marriage, he's gonna do what he wants regardless what is good for your husband and you.

Sure it's up to your husband to resist any temptations from Smokey or anyone else, but it's not unreasonable to expect some support from a friend. You can't control Smokey or your husband, but you can control how you interact with someone that has shown he doesn't care about you.

I think you should give him the cold shoulder, while being nice to his wife. And cut out the favors. If he asks why not, tell him: I asked you for a favor and you couldn't be bothered. Why should I keep helping you out?

I'm mad on your behalf!

I agree with this.  Yeah, DH is a grown up and should have will power, but what kind of a person tempts someone who has been so seriously/gravely ill? 

My husband always says that there needs to be *consequences* for misbehavior.  In this case I think that OP should just out and out tell Smokey that he won't be getting any more favors from her, since the favors don't extend her way.

She should also tell him to quit smoking on their part of the lawn and sitting on their furniture.  It almost sounds like Smokey thinks that their stuff is his stuff. 

I also think that OP and DH should think about moving away from this situation.

And chigrrl1, I don't think that you would be entirely out of line to snap at the guy.  It sounds like he is a very difficult person, and a moocher besides.

chigrrl1

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2012, 02:01:43 PM »
Forgive me if I'm wrong but I'm assuming your husband is a grown man who is fully capable of making his own decisions on what he does and who he hangs out with as well as the consequences of those decisions.  Readying your OP, I can't help but see a huge feeling of aggression against a man who really shouldn't be held responsible for your husband's decisions.  Yes, it is incredibly thoughtless that Smoky would offer your husband a cigarette so soon after he was released from the hospital but you've only really heard your husband's side of the story and don't know if there was anything else going on.  After all, you said yourself that your husband has lied about the smoking subject before.

You are certainly free to deny him any favors and if he asks any of you you can simply say "I'm afraid I cannot accommodate that request" and be done with it though your husband is also free to continue doing favors for Smoky if he so chooses.

As far as an apology, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that he doesn't owe you one though I may be in the minority here.  He made an offer to your husband that your husband was absolutely free to (and did) refuse.
You are correct.  My husband is a grown man with an addiction and mental health issues; his friend, Smoky is aware of this.  That is not anyone else's problem to manage.  My husband told me about his text while we were arguing about smoking as an example of how it's really easy just to fall back into that habit.  Not an excuse, an example.  Quite frankly, I could have done without that little bit of honesty as it just makes me feel distrustful of Smoky. 

I'm not really seeking husband wrangling advice, but neighborly boundary advice.  I don't understand why it's "aggressive" to redefine boundaries with this guy.  The reason I am unwilling to do any more favors for Smoky is that his actions were not that of a good friend.  Without further engaging him in a what should be a private matter between my husband and myself, it's difficult to explain to him that he's no longer on my "nice" list.

hobish

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Re: S/O Smoky the Neighbor
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 02:05:18 PM »
This is a little bit off topic, but your clarification got me thinking. When someone is in rehab for an addiction one of the things they are taught very thoroughly is not to expect the rest of the world to cater to their addiction, and how to handle it when someone does offer them a drink, because it will happen. Itís kind of too bad there is no rehab for quitting smoking, or at least I have never heard of any. I wonder if those smokerís support programs Ė you know the kind where they have meetings, kind of like Weight Watchers or AA Ė would help in that regard. I donít know if your DH has tried that already, and honestly I donít know much about them; but like I said, your comparison got me thinking that maybe  rehab-esque support for smoking would be a help.


ETA: Sorry, just saw this, "I'm not really seeking husband wrangling advice..."   :-X
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 02:07:44 PM by hobish »
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