Lesbianing With AE! She Vapes, You Don’t, and It’s a Problem

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Dear Lindsey,

I’ve been seeing this girl for a couple of months. When we first got together, I told her she could vape in my apartment but now I don’t want her to. I don’t love the smell of her vape juice, and I’m also not a fan of kissing her after. What’s the best way to come at this so I don’t sound like I’m being too judgy about her habit? – Vaped Out 

Dear Vaped Out, 

In a survey, over 50 percent of nonsmokers said they would not date someone who vapes due to the vape cloud smell. Other top reasons for not dating women who vape include cost, general unattractiveness, embarrassment of being seen with a vaper, and a wariness of vaping due to the unknown potential side effects. All this to say, your point of view is totally valid.

It’s always trickier to walk back a boundary after you’ve given someone permission to do something. But you can’t go back in time and tell your new girl that you don’t like the smell of vape juice, and even if she can’t smell it you can smell it….and so she has to go outside, or on the porch, or lean out the window. 

So how to best communicate it to your date? Be clear about what you don’t like without using language that’s judgmental. 

Take her out of it, for one. Focus on how the vape juice smells bad (totally different from she smells/tastes gross after vaping), or you would hate for someone in the building to complain about the smell because your apartment lease technically says no smoking. She’s more likely to complain if you talk about how it makes her mouth taste gross or it distracts her attention from you or she pays more attention to her vape pen than you.  

Then ask for what you do want. If all you want is that she doesn’t vape in your apartment, tell her she needs to go outside whenever she’s at your house. 

If what you really want is for her to give up vaping and you’re trying to come at it sideways by getting her not to vape in the house….that’s another story. Sure you might be morally right that she’d have way more money if she didn’t vape, or that you worry about the long-term health effects of vaping, which is a thing no one can know. But you just started dating a couple months ago and she’s an independent person who gets to make her own life choices. If she wants to vape, she will vape—all you can really hope for is that she respects your boundary about not vaping in your home. 

If you two are going to remain together, short-term or long, you need to accept her vaping habit as part of the package.  

Rom coms have given us this view of women as sneaky change agents for immature guys, and the downside of this is that some women, even lesbians, think they can erase a partner’s bad habits through sheer force of will because Hollywood said so.

You can’t change her into a non-vaper.

You can request she do things like brush her teeth before you get intimate or vape outside, and set consequences. No teeth brushing, no kissing. No vaping outside, no more invites to your house. She can either comply because she gets more from being with you than she does from vaping at your place or decide that her autonomy over her vape habit is worth more than your relationship. 

I hope you two can find a balance.