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My girl’s smoking is putting me off marriage

By Bunmi Sofola

Dear Bunmi,
My girlfriend of two years smokes like the proverbial chimney. She was a smoker when I met her, a habit she picked up abroad when she was a student. I hate her smoking as I’ve never touched the stuff. Not only does the smell put me off, she’s so addicted that it interferes with our relationship.

Immediately sex is over, she lights up instead of cuddling up to me. Even when we’re relaxing in front of the telly, she’s always getting up to go outside and smoke. As a result, we seldom smuggle up to each other on the sofa.

Apart from this irritation, I also worry about her health. She’s the type of girl I would like to get married to, but I don’t want to spend my life surrounded by smoke or marry someone who is likely to get sick from too much  smoking. I’ve asked her to stop but she won’t, reminding me she was a smoker when I met her. Anything else I could do?
By E-mail

Dear Goriola,
When you asked her to stop, how did you put it? There’s an enormous difference between being really concerned and being irritated. Telling her how much you hate smoking is just going to make her stressed, which in turn will make her want to smoke more. If, however, you sat down with her and said you want to spend the rest of your life with her but are desperately worried about her health, you might get through to her.

A lot of smokers are aware it’s bad for them and repulsive to those around them. They would really love to stop smoking but are caught up in a powerful addiction and feel powerless to stop it.

Let her be aware of the practical things she can do to make giving up less scarry than she thinks. Some reputable chemists have very effective drugs to suppress the urge to smoke amongst which are nicotine replacement aids like patches.

You need to work with your partner to beat this habit, giving her encouragement for cutting down or quitting rather than grief when or if she fails, you may get somewhere. Very few smokers are more committed to the cigarettes than someone they love dearly, so if you’re patient and work together to a quitting plan she’s comfortable with, she may give up smoking altogether.

My girl is sleeping with her ex-husband

Dear Bunmi,
I met my current girlfriend three years ago after she’d been let down by her ex-husband. She said he told her their marriage was a mistake and he just took off. For two years she didn’t even know where he was. Now he’s shown up again. Since then, she’d been distant and less keen on our relationship.

A few nights ago, she went out and came home at 3 am. She   told me she was with friends but I’m sure she was with him.  Does our relationship stand a chance? I’m really upset by this development.
By E-mail

Dear Michael,
It is often very difficult to get over your first love and right now, your girlfriend is confused. Her behaviour might look suspicious but you need to trust her. Give her space but let her know you’re willing to listen whenever she feels like talking. If she keeps on giving you the cold shoulder, try initiating the talk and let her know you understand why she’s confused.

Just bear in mind that no matter how much you hate this man, you should try to avoid being too critical or angry with him, or your girlfriend won’t feel she can open up to you. The man broke her heart once and left her in the lurch. Trusting that kind of man again takes a lot of courage. Be patient and with time, your girl might get over her confusion.

I can’t seem to keep my men

Dear Bunmi,
I am 26 years old and every time I meet a new man, I truly believe he’s the one for me. I gel so carried away with the moment, but things always end in tears for me. I get horribly hurt, swear I’ll be more careful next time, and then it all happens all over again.

When next I feel I want something so much, how can I make sure I takethings more slowly?
By E-mail

Dear Monica,
Being in love’ is all about how you feel. Making love work, choosing the right partner, forming a good relationship, creating long-term possibilities, is down to a combination of feeling and thinking. So, when you meet someone new, give yourself time to think. Set a schedule so you don’t rush into sex or communicate too soon.

Don’t spend every minute together. Take time out to think what’s actually happening. Ask yourself some soul searching questions such as: Do I like this man as well as love him? And don’t force him into a commitment when he’s not ready. With time you’ll recognize the type of man that’s really for you.

I hear voices at night

Dear Bunmi,
I am a middle aged mother of three. My problem is that, lately, I often hear voices in my head just when I’m drifting off to sleep. As a result, I stay awake some of the time and my husband is worried that I might be losing my mind. Is he right?
By E-mail

Dear Justina,
What you’re experiencing has nothing to do with mental illness. According to medical experts, you’re having hypnagogic hallucinations — which, you’ll be glad to know, are actually perfectly normal. They’re probably being caused by lack of oxygen in your brain and as your breathing becomes shallower.

People who experience hypnagogic hallucinations often think they’re hearing the doorbell or the phone ringing, but any noise is possible. Reassure yourself and your husband, you aren’t going mad.


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