Dear Mistress Maeve,
I've been seeing a girl for five months. She's fun, interesting and intelligent. The main problem is her cigarette vice. I dislike everything about smoking and always considered the habit to be a "deal breaker" for me; however, I find myself still dating her despite her lack of effort to quit. I have been very patient and have politely told her my concerns. She agreed and said she wanted to quit and decided on a timeline to do so. The timeline has come and gone by a few months; she has stopped wearing the nicotine patches and continues to smoke. I obviously don't mind waiting a little longer, but I don't know what to do or say at this point. It seems inappropriate to say, "Call me when you quit smoking."
Up in Smoke
Dear Up in Smoke,
Smoking is a funny thing - while it's not a big deal for some people, it's a deal breaker for others. While it wouldn't be out of the question for you to say, "Call me when you quit smoking," I'm glad you're willing to be patient with her. After all, you were aware of her smoking habit when you began dating her, right?
As noble as it would be for her to quit for you, she has to want to put out the cigarette for herself. It's time to have another talk with her. Ask her to tell you honestly if she has the desire to quit. You may find that her "lack of effort" is really a lack of will. Or she may reiterate that she wants to quit and needs more time.
If you decide to continue seeing her, you'll have to make that decision based on the person she is today, not the non-smoker you hope she'll become. She may try to quit many times and may fail at each attempt. To be a good boyfriend, you'll have to be ready to support her through as many timelines as it takes to quit. Until then, set up respectful smoking ground rules - no smoking indoors, and conscientious teeth brushing.