I (man, 30) have been smoking daily since 2012 (2 to 4 cigarettes/day). I do it only when there is no one I know around.
I started dating a non-smoker (woman, 5 years younger than me) 6 years ago. We have built a very happy and healthy relationship. I never told her I smoke and, for most of the time, I was able to conceal this fact from everyone, including from her. I choose specific days of the week, places and moments to smoke and make and effort to get rid of the smell by washing my hands well, taking a shower right after etc.
After ~2 years, she eventually noticed and asked me about it. I said to her that it was a rare behavior, triggered by anxiety (this part is true) and I promised I was going to stop. I tried to but eventually found myself in the old daily routine. She confronted me a couple more times and I lied again, saying it wasn't frequent.
Now we are living together and recently she told me she knew I was smoking again and that it was a habit for me. I decided I would admit it is a habit and I would not lie anymore because it is wrong and makes me feel ashamed, but I won't tell her I lied about it in the past.
Things I am aware of:
- I do not want to quit smoking right now; if I tell her that I will try to stop again, I will fail
- I know she cares about me: even if she wasn't affected in any way, the addiction would still be harmful to me
- I do not want to end the relationship
- I do not want to lie anymore
- Smoking is a bad habit that can cause serious illnesses
- Most people don't like the habit of smoking and smokers and there is an emotional dimension about this (disgust)
- It is better to keep my addiction as a private question, because I have the impression I would smoke more if everyone knew about it
What is the most effective and sensitive way to communicate my decision to my partner without coming across as uncompromising?