Dear Abby: Husband gives up smoking, but his drinking persists

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 but then he starts saying 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.

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.

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.

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. Two weeks later, he broke up with me.

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. Should I just give up and move on? – Good, But Not Great

Dear G.B.N.G.: Yes, for your own sake, you must. Moving on may be painful for a while, but you will be doing yourself a big favor.