In-laws are heavy smok­ers

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - Send ques­tions for Amy Dick­in­son to [email protected] amy­dick­in­son.com.

Dear Amy: My in-laws have re­cently re­lo­cated to a town ap­prox­i­mately seven hours away. They are very ex­cited about re­tire­ment and about their new home, and they are hop­ing that we will visit of­ten, in­clud­ing over hol­i­days.

They used to live closer to us, and when we vis­ited, we would stay just for the day.

How­ever, now with the travel dis­tance my hus­band wants us to stay with them for two (or more) nights. My is­sue is that my in-laws are both heavy smok­ers (they have been heavy smok­ers for many, many years).

I find the cig­a­rette smoke very of­fen­sive and toxic. I feel un­healthy be­ing around it. Get­ting a ho­tel room for these fu­ture vis­its is out of the ques­tion — my hus­band has said that they would be of­fended and very hurt.

I fear that this will be a wedge in my mar­riage and that it will pos­si­bly di­vide us dur­ing hol­i­days.

I need some ad­vice on how to ap­proach this with­out “call­ing in sick” each time we are in­vited to stay with them. Smoke-Sen­si­tive Wife Dear Smoke Sen­si­tive: You are pre­sent­ing your dilemma and then dis­miss­ing the most log­i­cal so­lu­tion to your prob­lem, which is for you to say to your in-laws: “I hope you un­der­stand my choice, but I re­ally strug­gle be­ing around cig­a­rette smoke. I’m ea­ger to see you and spend time with you, but I know it would be best if I stayed overnight in a ho­tel dur­ing our visit. I’m look­ing for­ward to our time to­gether.”

This sim­ple, po­lite state­ment of fact is noth­ing more than a sum­ma­tion of your own needs. Smok­ers know their habit is toxic to them­selves and other peo­ple.

De­spite the health risks, your hus­band might pre­fer to stay overnight with his folks in their house. And your re­sponse to that should be, “Of course, honey, I un­der­stand com­pletely.” Must mar­ried cou­ples be joined at the hip? I hope not.

Dear Amy: I met a girl in my TOEFL English course. We are a group of four stu­dents — me, a Korean dude, this girl and her friend.

We sit at a round ta­ble mainly to prac­tice con­ver­sa­tion. I no­ticed the girl look­ing at me a lot. But last class, she did not even pay at­ten­tion to the class con­tents. She kept on watch­ing me.

When I looked at her, some­times she looked away. But some other times we kept on look­ing at each other, as if she were wait­ing for one of us to laugh. She’s re­ally good at steady look­ing. She’s also very sexy.

She’s kind of chained to her friend. They are al­ways chat­ting to­gether and hang­ing to­gether. This pre­vents me from talk­ing to this girl.

We live in the same neigh­bor­hood. But I haven’t asked her where, ex­actly.

When we en­gage in a con­ver­sa­tion, we sud­denly start act­ing as if we are chat­ting in a bar (and she laughs about ev­ery com­ment I make, in a good way).

But after that role play, the bub­ble pops, and I go blank. So far, I haven’t dared to talk to her after classes. I end up go­ing back home, talk­ing to my­self and say­ing, “What am I gonna do?” Shy Guy

Dear Shy:Say to her (and her friend), “You want to con­tinue our English les­son over cof­fee (or bub­ble tea, or a drink)? I know a good place. Let’s keep prac­tic­ing!”

Don’t leave out the “Korean dude.” Per­haps he could make con­ver­sa­tion with the friend while you con­cen­trate on your crush.

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