MY BOYFRIEND IS GIVING ME THE PERFECT REASON TO LEAVE AND I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO IT.

I'm sorry if this list rambles but I'm shaking with rage.
  1. Since I met my boyfriend he was a smoker.
    I had a big problem with that and I was constantly asking him to stop smoking. He resisted for the longest time.
  2. As I progressed through medical school I became more insistent that he quit smoking.
    I didn't want to see him die an early death; I didn't want our kids to see their father dying an early death from smoking related complications. This is exactly the same way that I have been asking my Gran to stop smoking my whole life.
  3. My grandpa died of lung cancer; my boyfriend's grandfather died of lung cancer; he saw his grandmother dying of emphysema.
  4. Finally last year before the abortion when we were becoming very close, and talking about marriage in earnest, I told him that I would not marry him and not have kids with him if he did not stop smoking.
    And he said that was an acceptable demand. He understood why I wanted him to quit and he said that he would try his best.
  5. He had tried to quit smoking in various ways in the years before. I always got the impression he hadn't tried very hard. And he always gave up pretty quickly.
  6. But after our Big Discussion last year he really committed to smoking cessation.
    He got a prescription drug to help him quit and it was really hard because it made him really sick but he did it. I was so proud of him. And I thought it was a really big thing for him to have given up smoking for me.
  7. Before I carry on there is something else you should know about our relationship: The very first boundary we set was the boundary of trust. On our first date he told me about his previous girlfriends who had cheated on him or who had lied to him.
    We agreed that once trust was lost it couldn't be regained and we agreed to be open and honest with each other. I do realise that I haven't been open and honest with him recently. If you've read my previous lists you know this too. ON CONSIDERING A BREAK-UP
  8. Anyway, today was a good day. He brought me breakfast in bed. We went shopping. He was a good shopping buddy. We talked and laughed.
    I still didn't give him affection when he wanted it, but it did feel a little bit like old times.
  9. We had plans to watch a movie with one of our good friends. While I was getting ready he sat and spoke to me. A few times in two hours he went outside. I thought it was strange, but it didn't really bother me so I didn't ask.
  10. Except when he came back upstairs and into the room I got a whiff of smoke. He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and I asked him what that smell was. He looked at me quizzically and said what smell?
    This was not the first time that I had smelt smoke on him this year. Previous times when I confronted him about it he had said that I was imagining things. Or that he had been around people who had smoked.
  11. I told him to look at me and he wouldn't. I smelt his face and I smelt smoke. I smelt his smoking hand and I smelt nicotine.
    He told me I was imagining things but he wouldn't meet my eyes, and then he continued brushing his teeth.
  12. Earlier this year I had found cigarette butts in one of our pot plants. He had claimed they weren't his, and that they had been the cigarette butts of the people who were painting our apartment complex.
    I had believed him even though I knew that painters did not smoke the expensive brand of cigarette that he likes.
  13. So tonight I went back to the same pot plant and guess what I found?
    It had been raining so unfortunately I don't know if any of them warm.
  14. Then I looked in his satchel and I found a half empty box of cigarettes. His favourite brand had a facelift this year and the cigarette box was one of the new boxes.
    There was also an empty box in the satchel. He tried to convince me that the boxes were all from before he quit. But earlier this year I had cleaned out his satchel personally so I know they weren't there.
  15. By the way, I don't snoop in his things. This was the first time I looked in his satchel without permission because I needed to know.
    We have always respected each other's privacy, and not looked in each other's bags or cupboards or books without permission.
  16. He continued to deny smoking.
  17. I noticed that he had his fist clenched in his jeans. I told him to show me his hands and he wouldn't. I put my hand inside his jean pocket and found that he was clenching two cigarette lighters.
  18. And he kept telling me that he wasn't smoking but he could not refute any of the things that we had seen and found.
  19. I told him that I was certain I would find many small transactions in his bank statements indicating that he had been buying cigarettes.
    He wouldn't meet my eyes.
  20. Eventually he showed me his bank statements. And I was right. Multiple transactions of the same value: the value of his cigarettes.
  21. He was gaslighting me. He continued to make me feel like I was imagining things. Like I was being a crazy girlfriend.
  22. The smoking is a big thing because I told him I wouldn't have a future with him if he was smoking.
  23. But if his immediate response to me finding out had been to apologise, I could probably have dealt with it.
    Instead he lied to my face and continued to do so. He did not acknowledge that it was a big thing. He acted like I was being silly.
  24. Over the past while I've been looking for excuses to make it easier to leave him. You may remember that I've been unhappy.
    I remember thinking, if only he would cheat on me, then I would be justified.
  25. But this is a boundary he has crossed. And me overlooking this would mean compromising a value.
    It would not be the first time that I have compromised for him. There were many times when I was younger that he overstepped, and I remember thinking that I had always told myself I would leave a guy that did certain things. But I continued to be with him.
  26. But I can't keep compromising. I know he learns from his mistakes but I cannot keep being his stumbling block.
  27. This is it.
  28. This is the reason I've been looking for.
  29. And it is a valid reason.
    Even though I know that many people including my family and his family will say that it is a small thing and that seven years are bigger than this.
  30. Even my own brain wants to tell me that I am overreacting. Isn't that what society always does? It tells women that they are being silly about compromising. It tells us that we overreact when our boundaries are overstepped.
  31. And I can't. I can't compromise again. But I also don't know how to walk away from this.
  32. I realise that I don't have to make a decision right now. I'm probably going to ask him to go sleep somewhere else tonight. But at some point I'm going to have to face the music. And even though he has made me so angry and upset, I still care about him.
    Even if I don't love him romantically, I care for him very much and I don't want to see him hurt.
  33. Right now I am shaking with rage. I sent him away to see the movie with our friend.
  34. I spoke briefly to one of my good friends and she was lovely, very affirming.
    She also offered to fetch me so that we could go buy some unhealthy food and just binge a little bit, but I just want to be alone right now.
  35. I have been cleaning everything I can lay my hands on, which means I have officially turned into my mother.
  36. And I'm going to play my music really loudly and belt it out.
  37. And I don't know what I'm going to do. But I think I know what I want to do. And I think that's the same thing as what I need to do.
  38. I've written this whole list with voice to text, because I'm so angry that I can barely type.
  39. Anyway. Thanks for always listening.
  40. UPDATE: a lot has happened in the past few days but things are still a bit messy and unresolved. I'll post a new list after everything is concluded but just know that your advice has helped and given me a lot of perspective, and the responses here have been a very kind sanctuary for me.