DEAR AMY: As a smoker, I am waving my white flag of surrender.
I like to think that I am a "classy" smoker, the kind who sits on patio furniture with her cappuccino and lights a cigarette sitting in peace. And while most of the time I am, there are also times when I've had such a rough day that I go for a walk and light up on the sidewalk.
My boyfriend has expressed his disgust for the habit and while I completely agree with its foulness, I don't believe that it is a vice that I need to give up entirely. I only smoke three cigarettes a week, and while I am aware of the health risks, I would like to quit on my own and for my own reasons.
My question to you, Amy, is how do I gently tell him to be patient with me and quit the interrogations?
— The New Minority
DEAR MINORITY: You don't say what "interrogations" are taking place, but my (limited) knowledge of interrogations is that when the subject (you in this scenario) answers a question truthfully, the interrogation is supposed to stop. And — in the movies, anyway — the person being interrogated is sometimes offered a cigarette afterward.
So if your boyfriend says, "Have you been smoking?" You say, "Yes, honey." If he responds by telling you he wants you to quit this foul habit, you can reply, "I know you want me to quit."
The real lesson here is for your boyfriend. He cannot control what you do, even if he doesn't like it. If you being a smoker ("classy" or otherwise) is a relationship deal breaker for him, then he'll have to communicate that to you. Then you'll have a choice to make.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend recently broke up with me because he said we "want different things."
I asked to meet him two weeks later to discuss some medical issues I was having. When we met, he told me he made a huge mistake in breaking up with me.
While we were a couple, we had planned four different times to move in together and every time, he backed out.
My heart and my head are at war over the situation. He claims he's ready to have an adult relationship with me, but I'm afraid he will just let me down again.
Should I take another chance along with couples counseling, or should I leave the one I love?
— Torn and Confused
DEAR TORN: I see this as a science experiment. You take the same elements (You plus Him) and combine them and add a reactant (live-in commitment). You do this experiment four times and each time you get the same result: One of the elements (Him) vaporizes.
How many times do you need to experience this outcome in order to believe it?
So yes, you do want different things. You want a live-in commitment, and he wants to miss you from afar.
If your guy wants to change the outcome, he'll have to provide the proof. If he wants to be with you, he can find a counselor, set up an appointment and ask you to join him. Unless this happens, I suggest you adopt a skeptical outlook.
DEAR AMY: I am replying to "Disgusted" who disagreed when you said a 16-year-old who did not consent to sex with a 19-year-old (but didn't yell or fight) was raped.
People think if the female doesn't fight it isn't rape. If I go to someone's house and they take my purse and jewelry, isn't that theft, even if I am scared and don't fight back? If someone walks up to me in a parking lot and takes my purse, isn't it theft, even if I don't fight? If someone jumps into my car and takes off while I am loading groceries, isn't it still robbery?
DEAR MARSHA: You have very efficiently described the issue, and I appreciate it. This 16-year-old wanted to have a relationship with the 19-year-old, but she did not give her consent to have sex.
Send questions via e-mail to email@example.com. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.