Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend switched from cigarettes to vaping a year ago. He loves it because he no longer has to inconvenience himself — he can vape inside the home, at work, at night in bed, etc.

I’m proud of him for quitting cigarettes, but he vapes at such a high frequency that he’s consuming the nicotine equivalent of a pack of cigarettes every two days. It really stresses me out to see him vaping 24/7.

Our current agreement is that he doesn't vape in my bedroom at my apartment, but otherwise he vapes where he wants. We're very happy and thinking about moving in together at the end of my lease, but one of my main sticking points is that I don't want him to be vaping constantly around me and the apartment. He doesn't like the thought of being restricted in his own home and has no motivation to quit.

Is there a compromise to be reached here — maybe no vaping in the bed so I don’t have to wake up to it, only vaping outside like regular cigarettes … something else? For context, we’re mid-20s and have been dating a couple of years.

I forgot to mention the vaping particularly freaks me out given a pandemic that targets the lungs — it’s not just that the habit is annoying, I also worry about his health!

— Negotiating a Compromise

Negotiating a Compromise: He has no interest in a compromise, so there is no compromise.

If you don't want to be with someone who vapes at each and every opportunity, then he is not the guy. If he is the guy, then you get the vaping — and the lung peril — as part of the deal. I'm sorry.

You're certainly entitled to ask for a no-vaping-in-the-bedroom arrangement, or apartment, and certainly he can say yea or nay to that. But fundamentally this is something he wants access to constantly, so even if he agrees to limit it, it will be a limit that he holds only to appease you and not because he thinks it's smart or safe or right.

And it will be a part of him, part of being with him, that you’re always looking at as unappealing and wishing would go away. This includes not only the vaping itself, but also his refusal to budge on it. That kind of stuff, on his side and on yours, gets heavier the longer you try to carry it.

Re: Compromise: Agreed that the current situation is unsustainable, but I find myself wondering what is at the root of it all. Does Boyfriend have any hobbies or activities? Do they do anything physical together, like walks or bike rides? If so, is he vaping then? Maybe he needs something to keep his hands, insecurities, addictions busy enough to help break the cycle.

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Again, he is not interested in breaking the cycle, so that remains the immovable obstacle — but you’re right to ask whether he is movable, literally. The “inside the home, at work, at night in bed” does point to a significant itch his vaping somehow scratches, so addressing the itch is something “Negotiating” can still try. Not because it’s a partner’s job to fix him, but because it promotes the lifestyle “Negotiating” wants. Try it, see what happens. Thanks.