Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
Before I can provide you with an answer, I need to ask some questions to clarify the issue.
Has your girlfriend stated why she feels the relationship has hit a brick wall? How much do you feel the alcohol use is affecting her feelings? And is her cigarette smoking an issue between you or is she not aware that it bothers you?
All she said is that she think's we don't put in as much effort into the relationship as we used to which I disagree with, and that something must be wrong if things are going bad in the first year!!
Drink affects her feelings alot, becasue she gets very Contradictory about how she feels about cigarettes when Drinking - when sober she dislikes them, maybe not as much as me but she still dislikes them non the less, she's thanked me on varouis occasions for stopping her from smoking on nites out and wakes up the next morning with a feeling of accomplisment for not doing it.
There is a certain point in the night after a few Drinks when I can tell she wants a cigarette. What really annoyed me at the weekend was that she was sneaking around smoking and she thought i didn't know - all her friends were there and it made me look like a right fool. I hadn't seen her in four weeks and I figured for the one night we did go out she wouldn't smoke. She knows how much it bothers me we've talked and argured about it before, when she's at the stage of wanting one its like talking to a wall, a farily bitchy wall at that!!
We only ever fall out becasue of the bloody Cigarette and when there is Drink involved.
Thank you for the additional information. It helps.
Alcohol tends to affect people in a bad way. They react instinctively and without the normal social niceties. So what your girlfriend says to you when she drinks is not filtered through thought but totally emotional. You are getting the full brunt of her feelings.
The cigarette issue seems to be a big focus of your relationship. My feeling is that it represents a battle between you both for status and power in the relationship. You want her to stop smoking, she wants to not feel obligated to give up the cigarettes. It has become a power struggle between you. And it has come to a point where your girlfriend feels that she cannot win and you may feel the same. So she has shut down and started to move away emotionally from the relationship.
A good option at this point is for you to back off the smoking issue. I understand that it bothers you a lot. Being a non smoker around a smoker is hard. But this is for the sake of your relationship. That does not mean you cannot address the issue, but you may want to address it only when she is sober. When she is drinking, she is not going to react well to your request to stop smoking.
When she is sober, talk to her about the smoking. But this time, make it a request. Suggest to her that she seek help from her doctor to stop smoking. She can also try a patch. But if she refuses, then back off. Try to reintroduce the idea at a later time. Also, let her know that your wish for her to stop and her reaction makes you feel less than important in the relationship. Let her know that you would feel important to her if she would consider trying to stop.
If her smoking bothers you when you are out, then try to find other ways to cope that do not involve asking her to stop. You can move away or even spend more time somewhere else (in a bar for example, leave to visit the restroom or to get another drink). Create more space between you. That way, she gets the message without you having to say anything.
The more you approach this gently and with compassion, she should respond.