Dear Hyapatia,
I have a bad back and smoking helps me a lot. My girlfriend and I have been together for four years and she is really cool about my smoking, even though she doesn't smoke. My problem is that sometimes I just like to get stoned out of my mind to relax and have fun. She doesn't like it when I smoke a bunch at once. I’ve tried to tell her that my back was really bothering me, but she seems to know that I just want to relax and kick back, you know? What can I do or say to make her understand that it’s okay to smoke for fun now and then? She calls me a pothead, so if I forget something, she blames it on getting too stoned. I feel like she’s monitoring my use like my mother or something. I’m a grown man; I should not have to explain myself when I want to get high! Other than this one thing, we get along pretty well.

Dear Randy,
I can understand your frustration. How horrible to feel like you have to justify every joint you smoke! Everyone needs to relax and kick back now and then; it’s necessary for mental health. Does your girlfriend ever drink a glass of wine to relax? How does she handle stress? Doing things we like is our way of recharging our batteries, so we can deal with all the shit the world throws at us. She should understand this. If she doesn't, there are countless resources that will back you up. There are so many other things you could be doing that are harmful to your health and that of others. I hope she can get over it and learn to relax with you.

How ya doin'? I got a problem with my lady. I work hard. Most weeks, I put in close to 60 hours. When I’m home, I naturally want to get high and enjoy life. My lady gets high with me and we sit for hours getting stoned. She always wants to talk and that’s okay with me – to a point. After awhile, she always brings up money. There’s never enough. As hard as I work, I don't know what more she expects me to do. She has a job, too, but our incomes are just never enough to do all the things that we need and want to do. We have four kids and that takes a lot of energy and time, too. So we don't get much time to kick back. After bitching about money for a while, my buzz is shot and it takes more weed to get it back. I am sick and tired of talking about money. I would rather get high and make love to each other. I don't understand why she can't just relax and get it on instead of complaining and freaking out about our money situation.

Dear Reeves,
That sounds like a real drag. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. With the economy in shambles, there are certainly a lot of people just like you. Making love instead of complaining about it seems logical to me. There are times where you need to budget and plan for bills, etc. But sex is a normal, natural part of life and the best way to relieve stress. There are amazing hormones – oxytocins – released during sex that provide happiness and aid the body's immune system by allowing us to relax muscles that might be in the way of our optimal functioning power. The more you put your stressors aside and find fun things to do –not just sex – the more you both will be able to cope with your financial challenges. By growing closer to each other, you strengthen your bond, so neither of you feel so alone anymore in the world.
Let her talk with you about money for a set amount of time. Focus on solutions, not worrying or complaining. Tell her that you’ll discuss money matters at a certain time, for a certain length of time – then quit. It’s your designated time for money matters. You can do this everyday at the same time, if you want. If it’s not "Money Time,” then save the thought for when it is. The rest of the time is for getting high, relaxing, having fun and, of course, sex. I think you’ll both be happier this way and less stressed out.

Dear Hyapatia,
I have a fabulous lady. She is so sweet and understanding. She supports me in everything I do and we love each other very much. She likes romance and I try to give her everything she wants. Her birthday is coming up and I want to do something special for her. We’re not rich by any means, but this is a day I want her to remember forever. Any suggestions?

Dear Duane,
I love hearing about couples in love! It’s so encouraging. I have a few ideas. I don't know if her birthday is on the weekend, or if either of you will have to work. But assuming you don't, I’d begin with preparing her favorite breakfast in bed – after waking with a kiss and perhaps some nice lovemaking. After a wake’n’bake – an absolute necessity – spend the day doing something she’s wanted to do for a long time, but hasn't gotten the chance. If there’s a local attraction to see – a favorite hiking spot or a movie she’d enjoy – that’s the kind of thing I’d suggest. Let her pick the destination and maybe lunch. After that, a nap can be nice. Or just some down time to smoke, watch TV, relax, etc. In the evening, try a concert or a dinner at a favorite restaurant, followed by flowers. If you can pull it off, scatter rose petals at the door when she comes home that lead to the bedroom where a bottle of wine or champagne is chilling next to a beautiful bouquet of buds sit by the bed. A lovely massage with warm oils will loosen her muscles and put her in the mood to give you all the lovin' you can handle.
By the way, I have a birthday coming up. Can I get someone to do this for me? Just kidding. (No I'm not!)

Dear Hyapatia
I have a dilemma. My boyfriend and I go to college and have been together for about a year. When I first met him, he did not get high. I introduced him to pot and now we get high together all the time. Before I corrupted him, he got straight A’s. Now he’s having a hard time keeping his grades up and it's all my fault. I should never have been such a bad influence and got him smoking pot. Not that pot is bad, but when we first get up, we start smoking and he goes to school in the morning totally stoned. I’ve been smoking for years, so I’m used to going to class with a good buzz and managing to remember everything. He’s not. How can I rewind the clock and fix the mess I have made? Can the cat be put back in the bag?

Dear Melinda,
First off, don't blame yourself. We all have free will. If your boyfriend really didn’t want to, he wouldn’t get high with you. He made that choice, not you. Secondly, getting high is not the problem as much as it is when to get high. If your boyfriend, or perhaps both of you – so he can follow your lead – can refrain from smoking until your classes are over, I think the problem with the grades may fix itself. You might not even have to stop your wake’n’bake completely. Try cutting back to half of what you normally smoke in the morning and see if that helps at all. Keep in mind that smoking less won’t diminish your pleasure. One of the great things about pot is that, if you cut back, you need less to get high. You can make smoking more of a reward, rather than a run-of-the-mill occurrence.  You might even find that you save yourselves some money this way.
Incidentally, my son is getting his doctorate in physics and smokes every day. He gets great grades, so I’m sure your boyfriend can, too. Because he’s relatively new to smoking, it may take a little time for his body and mind to adjust. He’s lucky to have such a good, responsible teacher. You go, girl!