Auntie Jan,

I’ve got a serious problem. I’m in a relationship with a very selfless, handsome, intelligent and terribly loving boy for about two years. He loves me passionately but a little while ago he has started on drugs. It hurts me a lot. He now and then complains about headaches, insomnia and difficulty in breathing. All his medical reports are okay but his headaches won’t stop. He says smoking makes him feel better. All my pleadings have gone to waste, he won’t stop. His family doesn’t know about this thing because he lives in a hostel and I cannot afford to tell anyone about this either. We have decided to get married but his regular smoking cigarette and sheesha upsets me badly. He’s all I need. There’s no future for us without each other. Kindly tell me what I can do to make him stop. I cannot blackmail him or break his heart by saying that I won’t marry him (a lie off-course) because he’s a very emotional and sensitive person. My negative attitude will only worsen the situation. I just want to play cool and bring him back to his normal life. Sigh

Dear Friend, What can you do to make him stop smoking up? Nothing, unless the man himself wants to put an end to his addictions. Yes, your boyfriend is addicted and if you get married, (and Auntie suggests you keep a question mark around that for the time being) his drugs, drinking and sheesha look like they will continue as will your pleadings. It is obvious from your letter that your boyfriend’s problem is substantial and he requires professional help. But you know that old adage about taking a horse to the water but not being able to make him drink it? Addict or not, most people are like that. You can help the man get professional help, but you cannot assure that he will take the advice. And your dream of coaxing him back to a drug-free existence will remain a dream, till the man himself decides that his addiction is just not worth it.

When you say you don’t want to blackmail him or break his heart, you sound like an enabler. Someone who is — in your case inadvertently — encouraging him to continue on his self-destructive path by walking around his feelings and staying with him come what may. That kind of ‘support’ only feeds his habit, and certainly does nothing to help him or you. What your friend needs at this point is not an understanding girlfriend, but a wakeup call. Someone who respects herself enough to walk out, if he doesn’t stop. And that’s also being over optimistic, for even if your friend overcomes his addiction, the relapse rate of such things is so high that the whole thing is just ill-advised.

Being a slave to his habits, your friend probably smokes away a considerable amount of money. If you marry this man his financial issues will catch up with you and this should really bother you as it is likely to affect your future and that of your future family. Auntie is wondering why is this acceptable to you, when it should actually scare you.

I am not against your boyfriend. He probably has all the good qualities that you say he does, but there are enough good men in the world who are not addicted. Your boyfriend has shown you who he is and if you do not want to see it, it is because you are turning a blind eye and choosing to walk into an abyss. And please make no mistake, a drug/cigarette/ sheesha addiction is not a trivial problem. It will affect him and you.

Think and rethink please because your friend is really not in a place to have a healthy relationship, let alone marriage, at this point and because it is a question of your future.

Salam Pyari Auntie! I am a 19-year-old girl and have always been in love with a close friend. (By the way, for me he is my best guy friend but he has several other girls with whom he is just as friendly). We share a lot of memories and as a friend he is just perfect. I never confessed my ‘love’ for him but I’m sure he can see it. He has, in return, dropped several clear signals that he does not see me romantically.

I always knew that, but still I used to be on cloud nine being around him. His mere existence lighted up my dull life. However, now all of a sudden I feel a soft pain when I talk to him. It’s that feeling that perhaps I wasn’t good enough for him, that I tried so hard yet failed to make him fall in love with me, the feeling of being insulted in a way. Actually, he is still deeply in love with his ex who dumped him eight months ago. I truly care for him and get hurt seeing him still love struck by about someone who had cheated on him. But then I look at the bright side where he trusts me with these secret feelings of his.

It is said that distancing yourself from the person is the only way to get over the pain of unrequited love. College has ended and we both will be going to separate paths so there will be considerable geographical distance; but what about Facebook, Twitter and text messages? Should I start ignoring his texts? I realise that if he didn’t fall for me while we were together, he won’t while we are apart, so I don’t want to hold on to false hope any more. A part of me tells me that I gradually need to take the friendship down to acquaintance level, or I won’t be able to get over him.

The other part tells me that there is no good in ruining the beautiful bond of friendship and that these feelings will subside when universities will start. But till then am I supposed to talk to him like nothing is wrong? I wish I could interpret his smile as just a smile and not let it make me blush! I wish I could enjoy his friendship in its purest form without expecting anything else. Can I, Auntie?

Do you think I can lock away the lover in me while remaining his best friend? Best-friend-not-for-ever

Dear Friend, Ahhhh … the pain of unrequited love! It is true that we cannot always plan who we fall in love with. Your friend has dropped enough hints to tell you that he is not interested in you, and you sound like you have accepted it. Your gut tells you to take it down to the level of acquaintance, and Auntie here is a great believer in going by your gut. You don’t want to avoid him, but for your own sanity being around someone who you cannot have is just not good for you. Try to stay away. Don’t reply to his messages right away, don’t go to places where you know he will be and just generally keep your distance.

Also try not to feel deprived, because you cannot have him. In fact, you do not need his love or anyone else’s to be truly happy, for happiness is something that comes from within.

You could, of course, also be really strong and decide that you still truly love your friend, in which case you might try loving him unconditionally, where you are genuinely happy for him even if you are not a part of his happiness. However, most of us are only human and such a scenario is likely to bring on more pain than anything else. Sadly, unrequited love does truly test us and often asks us to be more than mere mortals.

I would suggest that you go by your gut. Good luck and lots of hugs.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to auntieagni@gmail.com

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