DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend, "Jasmine," has been seeing a therapist to deal with serious depression and anxiety issues, and I think she has done well for the most part.
I am just upset that she has taken to smoking with her co-workers to deal with stress. I don't like smoking. My mother smokes, and I find it disgusting.
I hate saying these things to Jasmine because when I do, she takes it personally. We have discussed this more than once, and she insists that my asking her to stop is "being controlling." I can't know what stress she is experiencing because of her emotional problems, but I do know that smoking isn't the solution.
I love Jasmine with all my heart, and it's devastating to me to say this, but I can't be with a smoker. Our relationship has been great, but I do not choose to spend my life in a haze of tobacco smoke. I am in college and every day I see kids my age outside freezing their butts off for a smoke because it isn't allowed inside.
Please help me, Abby. This is something I can't compromise on. It's enough that I already have one person close to me who smokes -- I don't need another. – ANTI-SMOKER IN MICHIGAN
DEAR ANTI-SMOKER: The fellow students you see freezing their butts off for a smoke aren't doing it because they like it. They are freezing their butts off because they're addicted to nicotine, need their fix and are willing to get it in sub-zero weather if they must.
People who reach for a cigarette when they are feeling stressed regard the cigarette as a "friend" they can hold onto. What they don't realize is the cigarette is holding onto THEM -- and occasional smokers become dependent not only on the ritual but also the "drug."
You have a hard choice to make, and so does Jasmine. Perhaps it will be easier if Jasmine does the choosing. Tell her that if you smell tobacco on her hair, skin, breath or clothing, you won't kiss her. If she hasn't quit smoking within 30 days, you'll have your answer.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, kids and I fly to the West Coast once a year for either summer vacation or the holidays. As soon as we arrive, my in-laws take me -- "the wife" -- to the grocery store to shop for food and expect me to pay half the bill.
Abby, my in-laws are not hurting for money, and I have never understood this bizarre custom. I don't appreciate getting off a long plane flight to go grocery shopping and incur yet another expense after paying for air travel, etc. I wouldn't dream of doing it to them. Everything is always taken care of before they come to visit us.
Would you consider this poor hospitality on their part, or a difference in cultures -- East Coast formal versus West Coast casual? I am trying to let it go, but it is getting old. -- DREADING NEXT TIME, HAMPTON, VA.
DEAR DREADING: What you have described is not a difference in cultures. Your in-laws may not be hurting for money, but they may be on a budget. Because being taken to the grocery store and asked to pay for half the groceries bothers you, on your next visit have them take their son along so he can have the pleasure. You can't change his parents, so don't let it ruin your visit.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)