Dear Prudence: My father gave himself lung cancer by smoking. He deserves it.

Help! My Father Is Dying of Lung Cancer From Smoking. Didn’t He Get What He Deserves?

Help! My Father Is Dying of Lung Cancer From Smoking. Didn’t He Get What He Deserves?

Advice on manners and morals.
Aug. 22 2013 6:15 AM

Dying Light

Lung cancer is killing my father, but I’ll never forgive him for smoking.

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Dear Prudence,
I'm turning 30 this fall, and I have an incredibly wonderful boyfriend of seven years. The only problem is that at 31 he has never had a full-time job. He still lives at home. He earned a degree with honors from a prestigious university, so intellect is not the problem. I moved far away from home after graduating college and have been taking care of myself since. In the last decade I’ve established a good career and am earning over six figures. (I live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, so I would need two incomes to support a family.) I've given him an ultimatum that if he doesn't get a full-time job by the end of September, we are breaking up. But in reality I don't know if I can do it. I’m terrified of going back in the dating pool, and I also can't imagine another person so perfect for me. He wants to get married now and is ready to have kids yesterday, and I can see what a great father he’d be. But while he hasn't saved a penny I have amassed a little over $200,000. Should I call it quits, or just accept that I have no control over his earnings and marry for love alone, and possibly be the sole breadwinner?

—Confused in Love

Dear Confused,
Talk about the end of men. I know things are tough out there, but times are particularly hard for young people who collect their degrees and retreat to their old bedrooms, coaxed out only by the prospect of a free meal or sex. You look at your boyfriend and see a life partner and great father. I see a sponge. The whole time you have been together, you have been a shining example of working like a maniac and accumulating an impressive nest egg. Instead of being inspired, he’s spent his 20s playing computer games and staring at his Claudia Schiffer posters. Surely you have friends who have been trying to tell you that you can do better than this. If you love this guy, the kindest thing you can do for him is to tell him he needs to get his life together and make something of himself—without you. The deadline for this deadbeat has long passed. Make the break now, and spread the word that you’re on the market.


Dear Prudence,
My elderly parents have moved down south, my father is in declining health, and I offered to help get their house in New England ready to sell. My mom is a bit of a pack rat, so I wasn't surprised to find valuable items like wedding photos mixed in with junk. What I wasn't prepared for was stumbling across, hidden in a drawer in her office, her personal sex toy. If I pack up this particular drawer full of stuff, my mother will know I found it. If I don’t pack it, maybe she’ll forget about it or think that it got thrown away with the other junk. So what should I do? Pack it up and play dumb, or toss it?



Dear Stumped,
I’ve had to deal with a variety of roving vibrators recently, from the potentially recycled Jopen to the errant Clone-a-Willy. When you’re cleaning out the home of a pack-rat mother, you expect to find balls of rubber bands and collections of shopping bags. You just aren’t prepared to pick up her battery-powered wand of pleasure. But you have to hand it to mom that at least she recognized her needs and made sure they were met. It’s possible the vibrator is vintage and long-forgotten and if you toss it with the other effluvia, she’ll never notice. But you say your father is ailing, so maybe she could use a little relief. You took on the task of packing up her valuables. This is one, so just shove it in the bottom of the box and let her decide whether it still is useful.


More Dear Prudence Columns

The Story of Oh, No: My boss walked in on me touching myself, and now he won’t stop flirting. What do I do?” Posted May 24, 2012.
A Touch Too Long: My mom let me play with her breasts for years after I stopped breast-feeding, and now she’s doing it with my sister. How do I stop it?” Posted May 17, 2012.
A Dirty Debut: My 19-year-old niece just confessed to me she's made a porn film. Should I tell the family?” Posted May 3, 2012.
Honeymoon, Interrupted: My new wife postponed our tropical getaway to comfort her “best friend.” What gives?” Posted April 26, 2012.

More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts

Backup Plan: In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman who just found out her fiancé originally wanted to date her best friend.” Posted June 4, 2012.
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Don’t Feed the Baby: In a live chat, Dear Prudence offers advice on a vegan infant, a no-child prenup, and whether a brain tumor is a good excuse for adultery.” Posted May 21, 2012.
Guys and Dolls: In a live chat, Prudie offers advice regarding a boyfriend whose “other woman” is a mannequin.” Posted May 14, 2012.

Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.