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June 29, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

My boyfriend and I live together in bliss. We are wonderful together and we're both very happy. He makes me feel (your words) like the "fresh and tasty thing I am," and we are really good at working lil' problems out when they pop up. He's brought up marriage. Okay, I'm getting to the problem now. He has dangerously bad habits. He smokes. He puts sugar on pie. He goes through salt, like, I don't know what goes through a lot of salt, but you know what I'm saying. I cook for him, he doesn't eat it. He is 50 pounds overweight. I have NEVER seen him eat a vegetable. I talk to him about my concern often. He claims that he would rather die young than live a long life of boiled tofu and squash. I can't make him see an in between. Okay, my final point: I want to spend the rest of my life with this man, and I don't want to be a widow at 40. I've heard you can't change a person, but you can change their behavior. Is this a behavior problem, or a deeply ingrained personality flaw?

-- Worry Wart

Dear Worry Wart,

1. Sugar on pie? Ick/YUM.

2. Deer. Deer go through a lot of salt. Don't they have, like, salt licks? (And where can I get one?)

3. Your sweetie pie is a dear. That's why both Breakup Girl and Breakup.com's Grownup/Expert Belleruth caution you not to let this become an eternal power struggle. Belleruth says: "You can't push it, and nagging is feckless. It doesn't sound like it's worth getting rid of him over this, because it's a really good relationship. However, you can tell him, just once and dead seriously, how worried and upset you are. You can even do this in front of a couples counselor if you feel like you can't make your point about this any more. You can also cook for him in a way that is healthier than what he eats, but satisfies his sweet/salt tooth too, so it's not dramatically different. In this way you might be able to gradually wean him off his weird eating habits. Also: perhaps you should vacation at a place like Canyon Ranch, which would show him you can eat well and deliciously too. (And they let you have all you want there!) Finally, you should remember that as he gets older, he will less and less be able to get away with abusing his body thusly. He'll get some symptoms that will shape him up."

We say marry the dude.

BG and BR



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