Here’s how to give your partner the emotional support they need

22 MAY 2015 by Psychologies

Quitting smoking can be an emotional time for your partner. Here are 10 ways you can provide the support they need to overcome their cigarette cravings.

The urge to smoke can be powerful – when people quit, they find themselves on an emotional roller coaster. If your partner is giving up, they need your support and encouragement, but helping them through the process can be tough on you as well.

We look at what you can expect, and what you can do to help both of you cope while quitting smoking.

Using nicotine replacement therapy products, like Nicotinell Support Icemint that releases a small amount of nicotine, may help them feel more in control by taking the place of the ‘habit’ of smoking – those critical points in the day when they may have usually reached for the cigarettes. More information on how it works can be found on the Nicotinell support page.

1 Irritability

When a smoker is troubled in any way, they reach for a cigarette and without that crutch, they fear they can’t cope. The highs and lows of withdrawal only add to this. But try to stay calm. Remember this is a temporary state and the first few weeks are the toughest.

2 Despondency

This feeling can arise if cravings are strong or if the smoker has a slip. It could affect their willpower and make them feel they will never be able to quit. That’s when they need words of encouragement and positivity. Remind them how well they have done and tell them to be kind to themselves, not be too hard on themselves.

3 Increased vulnerability

Chances are your partner will have buried their feelings of stress and anxiety beneath their smoking habit. If they seem reticent or even irritable, ask if talking might help. Tell them you understand they may feel fragile and teary and that you’re there to listen if they need you.

4 Anxiety

Smokers associate so many things with their habit and without it, they fear they will be unable to cope. If they always smoked before a meeting or making an important phonecall, breaking the habit can be hard and they will hanker for the ‘comfort’ of their old friend, the cigarette. Using Nicotinell Support Icemint gum could help take the edge off this urge, and help avoid gaining a new bad habit (such as overeating) when they have only just given up an old one (smoking).

5 Confusion

When your partner stops smoking they could feel a little lost and not like their usual self, so this is a time to reinforce how close you are emotionally. Tell them how proud you are of having a healthy partner who is making a huge positive step, not just for their future but yours too.

6 Anger

Feelings of frustration will be more intense without cigarettes to calm them down which can lead to ex-smokers lashing out. Try to remain calm yourself and remember this will pass. Don’t take to heart things said in the heat of the moment.

7 Restlessness

There will be numerous times in the day where they’d usually smoke, so encourage them to distract themselves – perhaps by playing a game on their phone instead. As they wind down during the evenings, there’s a good chance this is when your partner will miss smoking the most. Suggest something relaxing, maybe a trip to the gym to use the steam room or sauna, yoga or meditation, or run them a hot bath to unwind.

8 Tiredness

Disturbed sleep is one of the side effects of stopping smoking. Tiredness heightens emotions and many smokers have vivid dreams about their habit. They may feel stressed when they wake up but remind them it takes both the mind and the body a little while to adapt to life without cigarettes and this is all part of the process of quitting smoking.

9 Feeling overwhelmed

The prospect of life without cigarettes can be daunting, but if they are struggling, remind them it’s about taking one day at a time. It can help to put aside the money they will have saved by not smoking, then at the end of the week, they can treat themselves.

10 Pressure

While your partner might be succeeding in staying away from cigarettes, others who haven’t been so successful may try to sabotage their efforts. Remind your partner what they have achieved and how proud they should be.

For more information on how to quit smoking, visit the Nicotinell support page.

Nicotinell© Support Icemint 2mg and 4mg medicated chewing gums. Contain nicotine. Stop smoking aid. Always read the label. Requires willpower.

Job Number – 343460.2/MARCH 2015

Photograph: iStock