Thanks for all the feedback and perspective. As mentioned, my goal was not to belittle her in front of everyone it was just a knee-jerk reaction to the smoke and I was blinded by my own selfishness. This has been going on for years and at first it was a little “cute”. Although she didn’t have alcoholic parents, they were a little self-consumed in their own social status and were not exactly proud of her. Out of several siblings, she was the least intellectual but probably the most outgoing and social. She was a victim of CSA and it perpetuated into a lifetime of promiscuous behavior. Frankly it didn’t appear to be rooted in validation as much as sheer enjoyment but I doubt anyone will ever really know.
This thread was very important to me and I am very thankful for all the posts. One of the things that has really bothered me lately was confirmation that the nicer I am to her, the less desirable her behavior is to me. The inverse is that when my behavior is least desirable to me, the more desirable or tolerable her behavior is to me. I don’t want to be her behavioral manager. I want to be her husband and I cannot emotionally engage with her being a bs’er because it is so convoluted with wayward behavior.
I see that she alters her behavior long enough for me to put my guard down and behave in a manner fitting to her then she just goes back to being her old self. You can see how it threw me off course as on the outside it appeared she was doing all the hard work. She was. But only long enough for me to think that, not because she had any desire to change her behavior (or at least be successful at it).
I see where this is going. We need to get back to MC and identify our needs with an arbitrator. I need to make sure she knows this is something that will require her desire and work to fix. I am not an IC and I don’t need the stress of trying to manage her behavior. If she would want to quit lying and actually stopped lying while I put my guard down, I could live with that. I don’t want the threat of D to be her motivator so I guess we’ll see how she reacts to wanting to meet my needs. She has such great potential, but I need to let that go already. It is not easy.