What are your dating non-negotiables? For Hyla Sabesin Finn, it was smoking — or so she thought.
Hyla met Larry in college. She was 17; he was a 21-year-old law student, puffing away outside the library. Hyla had been “indoctrinated by parents whose cocktail parties were littered with ‘no smoking’ signs back when smokers still mingled freely in society,” she wrote in her 2005 Modern Love essay. In spite of this, she was smitten.
Today’s episode explores how our standards can evolve (if at all) when it comes to love. Our host, Anna Martin, calls up her friends to ask about their deal breakers. Plus, we get to hear from Hyla and Larry, who’ve now been married for 35 years.
Modern Love is hosting its sixth college essay contest this year! If you’re an undergraduate at an American college or university, tell us what love is like for you. Visit nytimes.com/essaycontest for submission details. The deadline is March 27.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Okay. If any of you are in college, this is a message for you. Modern love is hosting another college essay contest this year. Model of editors want to know what is love like for college students right now check out. The show notes for more details.
Okay, here we go. I want to call some people
where right you? I am in line to get on a ferry to go pick up my new cat, that's exactly highway.
To catch you actually. So this is perfect funding.
times. This is the modern love pot cast I'm in
Martin- and these are my friends, Angeles, California, I'm at the hospital I'm.
however. The extra cash you got back now, studio yeah you painted today, you know when
the question for you. He asked I am talking to her friends about deal breakers. Do you have a deal? Rigour when it comes to dealing with Jill rigour. Is that I need to get someone asked Europe's questions about my way for my thoughts and like cheers. Turkey is a thing. We're always comes a problem genuinely wants to hear my answers like that, such a big part of treating it's like getting to know someone else's world and also like experiencing new things together and someone who is an interested in any of that.
I just know it's not gonna work out, I'm gonna call some other people, not some fancy said
Deal breakers are things that you personally don't want in a partner like it's not me
in per se, it's just it's personal, that's true
that's true as someone who really loves tax collect entrees and like your apps, and when that doesn't happen, I'm just like I know she'll get me
because I don't know if you understand this part is inherent to my culture, so it's like if they don't split the nachos case, so close so close, very often like people are like trying to make good music or like film or something creative, and if it's like, really bad
I mean like if the thing that they're trying to do like it's their song is bad, exactly like their new single is like really not for me like. On the one hand I root for you from afar, but, like I don't care if your girlfriend likes
get em I got here shall be like island, the song and also like as much as I read for them. I think it is a deal breaker
chase your dreams, but do it with someone else
Well, with that, I'm going to let you catch your fairy, send me a picture of the cat when you get it. Okay, I'll do
I love you love. You bye
Now in now, strong,
I love love you more than anything a deal. Breaker is a tipping point: it's not about attraction
or desire? Raven love it saying if we can't work this
One thing out: we just can't be together
today show comes from a woman doing that work who fell in love despite
her very big deal, breaker, it's called
and by your Marlboro man
by Hylas sabbaths in fin and read
by January Lavoy. That's your husband. The woman asked
I nodded together. We watched Larry alone on a snow covered, porch puffing away.
Party went on inside. I didn't.
if our data smoker she said
much less marry one I didn't marry one. I said Larry quit before the wedding by declined to mention that before meant the day of and that quit actually meant
refrained from until he had so sullied our honeymoon with his grumpy behavior that I almost wished he'd start again. Still he smokes now. She said for me, it's a deal. Breaker did she think
It never occurred to me that I should have a rule against smoking. I was indoctrinated by parents whose cocktail parties were littered with no smoking sign
back when smokers still mingled freely in society. I hated smoking. I wanted to ask her: how can you
So casually dismiss someone you might love just because.
one annoying habit was it Larry's fault. He started smoking at sixteen and couldn't seem to stop despite a record setting number of attempts desperate to escape. I excuse myself make him quit. She called after me
I first met Larry in our college library, where smoking was not permitted by the time our path.
crossed again outside the library I was already smitten he pulled out.
pack of cigarettes
It was a miracle I was able to croak out at disbelieving.
I imagine my parents reaction to the news that their seventeen year old daughter was involved, not just
than older man. Larry was twenty one, a law student
but one who smoked yes, but I'm quitting answered in.
living deeply on his Marlborough? How long would it take? I wondered two weeks a month,
A year later we were still together me Larry and the cigarettes
the Larry and me part, was great the cigarettes not so good.
I found myself alone in restaurants, while Larry stepped out, I got cold when he put down the top of his cheap because we needed the heirs circulation and it was afraid for my life is here
cigarettes dangled precariously near flammable materials yet
I was so in love that I was unable that first year to protest anything he did, but when he forgot my birthday and
I remembered to buy a new lighter. I gathered my nerve and blurted out. Do you remember what you said when we first met nope that you'd quit smoking? I did yes, so will you sure?
when how about when we drive to Florida next week, goodbye cigarettes but hello withdrawal symptoms on our twenty hour road trip
to my Emmi and in Miami after making the excruciating rounds of his disjointed family, I had new insight into Larry Psyche
and a new desire to shove a cigarette.
who is mouth nothin
needed. Any encouragement back at school with torts to study video games to play and socks
pair turning over a new leaf was not a priority, but once law school ended, Larry was determined to quit and he did
picking him up from his new job as a law clerk for a federal judge. I was proud of my smoke free young professional boyfriend.
Then, one day something seem
skew Larry, you smell so minty, I said, leaning over for a kiss. The dentist told me to clean my teeth more often, so I'm keeping a toothbrush in my briefcase. Many.
Winter green kisses later I found a cigarette but floating in the toilet. Dont you care about yourself. I cried or me he claimed he D.
And signed up for a smoking cessation class how to go. I am,
when he returned in my breezy Brizius voice the people.
Class or a mess they elected me they're, unofficial group leader, trust me. Smoking is the least of their problems. So much
for the class or any cessation, but I kept on it. I researched hypnosis,
and acupuncture I bought books, tapes and videos all failed, then Larry proposed and he promised to quit. Before we were married and again he quit
back from our honeymoon. He was industrious on other fronts to embrace
more than his share of daily errands.
Was too small, large or inconvenient for Larry to procure a low on nap.
During a season, finale Larry was out the door
craving ice cream at two am no problem.
It's shampoo during a snowstorm be right. Back soon.
I smelled trouble or more precise
smoke upon Larry's return from Aaron's the devastated.
I couldn't fathom that I'd legally entangled myself with a man who would run
the store under false pretenses. What would it take to motivate him? What
as my parents regularly asked, was wrong with him. The truth is that Larry was completely supportive. When I wanted to move closer to my parents, he agreed when I wanted to start a business. He said, go for it. Why couldn't I accept him? As he accepted me, flaws and all.
Well, I tried, but the smoking always got in the way. I don't think he's ever going to quit. I wailed to my sister. No one thinks he's ever going to quit, but he started taking a prescription drug that helps smokers, kick the habit
Despite nightmares profuse sweating and an inability to think clearly, he stuck with the medication. Several months later, we went out to dinner with another couple.
I'm sorry Larry's smoking again. My friend John said David to oh, no, I said Larry Court months ago
I thought I saw him smoking on his way to the train the other day. Could it be true
later I confronted Larry, tell me the truth. I won't be mad. Did you start again? No Hyla
said looking me straight in the eye, a week later, I found cigarettes hidden in his dusty gym bag. That evening, for the first
time I slept in another room, smoking was one
thing but lying right to my face was another. This
No longer only about an annoying and unhealthy habit, it was about trust if he could lie so easily about smoking. What
stop him from lying again about something else. I actually
considered leaving, but where would I go move in with my parents? It seemed absurd.
Later that night, Larry crawled in beside me and whispered,
I am so sorry I did.
want to disappoint you. I kissed him trying
to notice the smell of smoke on his breath or calculate the years we had left together.
I knew I would never leave instead
I decided I would quit my nagging, I mean
and so I was shocked but silent when without any urging Larry on a rotating cocktail of prescription drugs.
Patch and nicotine gum. Finally did it a month went by
and three. I was cautiously optimistic. The patch disappeared, then the pills I felt hopeful but gum lingered, for
Eternity constantly being chomped, chewed or parked in his mouth then one day it was gone.
Larry was officially a non smoker.
socially acceptable mate it had only taken.
seventeen years, Hyla wrote this essay in two thousand and five. So a lot has changed since then, after the break, I catch up with her and Larry.
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individual
not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed
It may have happened again today.
One friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words, then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something
me and my dad, we likes this Sunday together and I wish Heather out it.
J C K, p o t jack
Yeah right, nice,
I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, hello, hi, there hi there
b to meet both of you but Larry. I'm particularly excited to talk to you, so I love to start with you
You still smoke free I've been smoke free since, whatever that last paragraph was
Tyler wrote about me using all available nuclear options to stop I'd love to go back to that moment, though, when you quit, because this essay I mean it's written from Hylas point of view, and it does end with that sort of surprise.
the final paragraph where you, seemingly out of the blue, decided to quit and it sticks- and I want to go back to that time and ask you: why do you think that time worked when all the others didn't and just doing one thing to me was not
went to enable me to stop doing what my normal habits were. So for me it was a matter of kind of
Changing all of my habits and so
I combined essentially
eating well exercise,
every day, and so,
It ended up being something that I really took to heart. So it sounds like you did this for your son.
I mean, did you do this for highlight two, or did you need to come?
with purely on your own,
purely on my own,
pregnant? What's behind all? Well, all the all the
joling all of the guilt all of the pleadings. All of that, it's just it's! It's just doesn't move me,
How does it feel to hear Mary say that it's so
through and to this day I just it so hard to like, except because people always say you know, you can't change other people, and I was just thought: will that's so pessimistic? That's like
negative thought like it. Will all these people have immense me without hope. What is right, because the tendency is to say well
if they loved me enough, then they would do this for me and I didn't understand that it truly was at an diction that it wasn't just like a choice. Oh I can just stop doing it. It took a long time to really understand that it was at that level. It's it's! You know
a lot of this essay takes place in the first couple years of a relationship, at least in the early stage of a relationship right and you ve not been been married for how long I think it's.
going on thirty five wherein the thirty fifth year.
Well, I guess,
do y'all now have different ways
of handling tension between the
two of you or is it did this dynamic of you know you
who could jolting, as Larry said, are and Larry suggesting has that has the dynamic changed over the years it, sir
probably lessened some
You know I can tell you that if I've years with another person, I've never spent that much time and she with anyone else either and I were probably similar to who we were then
not identical, but similar and probably with respect to interacting with
on another. We probably have lessened some of the behaviors, less often less emotion, maybe because we ve been through, we ve been through all of the the experience
fizz in communicating with each other. So you fine that communication over time is really what it is.
This has been such a treat to talk to both of you. Thank you so much. Thank you appreciate it
our show is produced by Julia Botero and HANS Hans. It's edited by Sarah Sarah Saracens. This episode was mixed by Elisa Egypt.
Dan Powell created our modern love theme basic their regional music in this episode is by Marian Lozano Digital production by making much of Lonnie and as if it were an especial thanks to Ryan Wagner at bottom, and thanks to my wonderful friends, Aaron Edwards Clare, Bartholomew, mirrored allow Annabel, Newport and Z sang DORA Grossman. We're Branda Cicalas Harry Prince, gave Zimmermann Abbe sessions, recall it does my hate critic, ajar and we'll Sano and his new cat MIA. Modern love was founded by Dan Jones. Mealy is the editor of modern love projects. I man of art and thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-19.