Hus­band gives up smok­ing, but his drink­ing per­sists

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.Dear­Abby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. AN­DREWS MCMEEL SYN­DI­CA­TION

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.

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