An Eloquent Take on a Previous Letter

By Dr. Robert Wallace

April 17, 2020 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: You have given past advice to a 19-year-old girl whose fiance gave her the "ultimatum" of three weeks to stop smoking or he'd leave her and end their relationship. Your advice seemed a bit zealous when you told her she'd be choosing smoking over her relationship if she didn't meet his demands, but in your haste to condemn smoking, you seemed insensitive to the fact that it may take her longer than three weeks to quit. You also only seemed to be looking at an answer from her point of view.

I'd like to posit another point of view when we look at this couple from the outside in. I'd like to point out that this fiance has chosen his aversion to a bad habit over his love for his future wife, and this seems incredibly shallow to me!

If two people in a relationship really care for each other, they should be able to find common ground on this issue, or any similar issue, and find a way to work together to save the relationship. I feel each party needs to step up and compromise or find a plan to work together. We should not only be looking at the young lady who is the smoker. — Another Point of View, via email

ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: I like your response to this young fiance's situation, and I'm pleased to tell you that you've opened my mind to a potentially better solution. I hope she and her fiance are still together these days and that they are able to read your eloquent take on their particular situation.

I truly enjoy a well-thought-out suggestion from a reader who has taken interest in this column and taken the time to write to us with an opinion or suggestion. I thank you for sharing yours with our readers, and me as well.


DR. WALLACE: I'm a high school sophomore who has gotten very good grades ever since I started high school. My parents told me back when I first started high school as a freshman that I had to study from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday nights and three hours on the weekend. I was told not to text my friends or call them during those hours. However, my parents would often go out to visit other friends socially during the week for dinners or events, so they did not enforce these specific study times so much. This was fine since I've had excellent grades each semester.

Now, however, my parents have seen their social life stunted since all restaurants in our city are closed due to the COVID-19 virus. Now they are home all the time, and they are breathing down my back about when I do or do not study! I cannot receive calls or watch television during times they don't like, even if I finish all my homework during the day, since I have nothing to do in the afternoons after my online classes end!

I liked how things were before. I did very well, and my parents didn't hassle me about the times. Now I miss a group video chat with my friends every night at 7:30 p.m. (that's when most of my friends are done with dinner and can meet virtually). Don't you think my parents could cut me some slack over when I must study? — Good Student, Rough Schedule, via email

GOOD STUDENT, ROUGH SCHEDULE: Providing a set study time is a good idea, but your parents are excessive with their demands at this time. Almost every high school in our nation is finding ways for students to learn from home, and assignments and homework requirements have been greatly impacted.

You've established a good track record with your excellent grades and demonstrated you can budget your time well.

You have my blessing to show your parents this column and point out to them that I agree with you on this issue. Staying in touch with your high school friends is important, so a 30- or 45-minute video chat at 7:30 p.m. should be allowed. I feel you would benefit from this opportunity to interact with your peers.

Perhaps you can suggest a compromise: While your high school is physically closed, your parents might give you more flexibility. Then, when it reopens — either later this school year or in the fall — you'll agree to revert back to the previous arrangement your parents had set regarding your study hours at home.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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