DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm going out with this guy who loves to smoke pot. I don't touch the stuff and I've told myself I'd never date anyone who did, but he's different. He doesn't push it on me, and he doesn't expect me to participate when he does so with his friends. But, one day recently, we were out and he asked me if I wouldn't mind stopping at his friend's place to pick some up. Because I was driving, this really bothered me. I had to make a choice and felt like I was enabling his habit. On top of it, he'd forgotten his wallet at home and asked me for $40, which he paid back when he got paid (and when I reminded him). Am I being too uptight or is there writing on the wall I'm ignoring? I really want to keep this one. -- Straight 'n' Narrow, Portage la Prairie
Dear Straight 'n' Narrow: When he smoked pot occasionally, picked it up on his own, and had never asked you for money, you could look the other way. But as soon as he started to involve you in the illegalities of his habits (getting it from a dealer), the elephant entered the room to stay. This guy was willing to risk his relationship with you to drive him there for his pot, which shows you what he values most. And yes, you are now aiding and abetting his habit. You want to keep him for other reasons? What reasons?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm secretly dating a guy 21 years younger than I am. I know it's ridiculous, but I know how he feels about me and I believe him. The thing is, it's going from casual to serious. Although I like him enough to date him, I don't want to be seen in public with him because of the age difference. It doesn't bother him in the least -- he's proud. I don't want to embarrass myself or my family. It feels inappropriate and I don't want to get caught by people I know. When we're alone, I can be myself. Can this possibly last? What do I do? -- Embarrassed "Cougar," Winnipeg
Dear Embarrassed: The word "like" sticks out in your letter. Clearly this younger man feels much more warmth and admiration for you. He's fine with the age difference while you secretly cringe. What you're doing is not fair to him. Nobody should be with anyone who pretends they aren't together in public, or wants to hide behind closed doors on every date. Would you like your son to be treated that way? Look, there's nothing wrong with being clandestine if you're single and that's what you both want, but you're just playing around with this younger guy's heart and enjoying the ego-stroking.
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