DEAR ABBY: I am married to a great guy. We've been together 27 years, so I know him well. He recently stopped smoking after 30 years of nicotine addiction. He did it cold turkey, and he's been smoke-free for three months now. I'm proud of him and tell him so.
The problem is, when he drinks he gets drunk -- which I'm used to -- but then he starts saying (sometimes belligerently) that he wants a cigarette badly. I don't know how to respond to this. I continue praising him for quitting and point out the health benefits that are already obvious -- his breathing, returned senses, etc. -- but it's getting old.
Should I continue to say helpful things or just ignore him when he's drunk? -- DUMBFOUNDED IN DALLAS
DEAR DUMBFOUNDED: Try this. Tell him calmly that his craving for a cigarette is normal, particularly if he used to smoke while consuming alcohol. Reassure him that with time the craving will lessen, and continue to reinforce that he did himself a huge favor by mustering up the willpower to quit. Tell him you know it wasn't easy and that the longer he resists the urge for a nicotine fix, the easier it will be for him to stay smoke-free.
The fact that he becomes "belligerent" when he drinks should be a sign to you that he probably shouldn't be drinking either. Instead of keeping him company when he's in his cups, consider leaving to attend an Al-Anon meeting. It's a supportive organization created for friends and family members who are affected by a loved one's alcohol consumption. It isn't difficult to find a meeting. Just go to al-anon.org.
DEAR ABBY: I was in a relationship with a man for a year and a half. We got along great. We never argued, and we had a healthy sexual relationship.
You know the saying, "Actions speak louder than words"? All the actions were there -- he took me on amazing vacations, introduced me to all of his friends and family. But during all our time together, he never once expressed how he felt about me. He never even called me "Honey," or "Babe."
About a month ago, I told him how I felt. I came right out and asked if he loved me or had any kind of romantic feelings for me. He ignored my question! I guess he didn't want to hurt me more by saying no. Two weeks later, he broke up with me.
I have been divorced for five years, while he has never been married or had a live-in girlfriend. He said his reason for breaking up was he felt our relationship was good but not great (!) and he didn't think it ever would be. This is painful, but I can't help holding onto hope. Should I just give up and move on? -- GOOD, BUT NOT GREAT
DEAR G.B.N.G.: Yes, for your own sake, you must. Give him credit for having been honest with you, but if after a year and a half he wasn't able to summon up any romantic feelings for you, you must accept that it isn't going to happen. Moving on may be painful for a while, but you will be doing yourself a big favor. Start now.