My boyfriend smokes. I won't leave him over it, but how do I get him to give up for the sake of his health? - Sick of Smoke, Christchurch
According to Healthline, 70 per cent of smokers want to quit. This means there's a good chance your boyfriend is already on the same page as you. However, let's assume he's in the other 30 per cent - those who love their dirty habit.
Don't give your boyfriend an ultimatum, nor a set date by which you want him to quit smoking. Using negativity or fear (of lung disease, for example), is not the right place to start. He has to quit by himself, for himself, otherwise he'll have a sense of self-deprivation and will blame you. This will have detrimental effects on your relationship.
Sit down with your boyfriend and ask, outright, how he feels about smoking and his health. Does he feel the constant coughing is a warning sign of bad things to come? Is he worried about the slow and degenerative illnesses that smokers are never able to avoid? Then, ask him if he'd like to try quitting. Say you've been thinking about his health for a while, and have begun to worry that you'll one day lose him to smoking. Then ask him what you can do to help support his quitting attempts.
If he agrees, that's your first of many hurdles. I say "hurdles" because there will be many. Provide him with alternatives to smoking - e.g. five-minute walks, tea-drinking, patch-application, gum-chewing - and ensure he always has access to these. Make it clear you're not a babysitter; you're a supporter, and you're proud of his efforts. Ask him every day how he's doing. Listen to him. Help him start again, without guilt, when he has a sneaky cigarette setback. Together, after many ups and downs, you will get there.
If he does not agree to even try quitting, start by encouraging a reduction of his habit. Say the smell of smoke on him is beginning to affect your relationship, and ask if he can shower and brush his teeth after every cigarette. Theoretically, that might see 10-a-day habit cut down to two. Ensure you have a smoke-free home and, without being obvious about it, make every cigarette trip an isolating experience so he begins to feel your discomfort. Positively reinforce every effort in smoking reduction, then re-address a full quitting trial.
My wife not only refuses sex if I'm late to bed, she takes care of herself instead. What do I do? - Bothered at Bedtime, Wellington.
In general terms, one partner's self-servicing isn't necessarily a cause for concern, but in your case, it is. Your wife's nightly undertaking is an act of passive-aggression and she's sending you a message: "I feel unloved". It's up to you to put your "busy" nights aside for the sake of her, and your overall marriage.
Work more efficiently during the day so nothing comes home with you, don't check your emails at night, stop binging on Game of Thrones, and be the first one in the bedroom at night.
Being late to bed is entirely in your control. Now you're conscious of it, you can let your wife know you're more than a husband-shaped figurine (and she can leave her other "figurines" in the bedside table).
What do parents pay for in a same sex wedding? - Money Mystery, Auckland.
Modern couples, including heterosexuals, are increasingly making more financial contribution to their wedding than historic convention has dictated. Marriage used to be something people did in their early 20s. Now, it's generally something that comes after establishing a career and paying your own way for some time.
However, many parents still want to help, and will make the same contribution to their straight kids' weddings as their gay kids'.
Nobody should plan a wedding they can't pay for themselves, and parental contribution should be based on a proactive offer from the parents, if and when financially viable for them. If both sets of parents offer to help out, don't tell them how much the other party is contributing, and ensure they are only paying what they can afford.