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Need Some Advice


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#1 apislaeta

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:10 PM

My boyfriend and I had a heart to heart last night. He is gluten free; I, technically, am not.

 

Here are some of the details:

We talked about how I eat gluten-free when I don't need to. He mentioned that I actually enjoy it, which I do, because I feel like I'm "closer" to him that way. My main reason for that, I think, is because I can enjoy meals with him when otherwise I can't. I even gave him an example of sharing a dessert, which I loved doing. (He doesn't share food very often, even dessert.) He says that he doesn't like bringing attention to the fact that he's gluten-free when he's almost always the only one around who needs it! I feel like that is attention in and of itself. But then when I start actively trying to eat gluten-free, somehow that is worse. I guess I need to stop bringing verbal attention to it, stop calling it by name. Maybe that's the problem? He definitely never mentions gluten-free unless a situation comes up when he has to.

We've been reading this book by Deborah Tannen called You Just Don't Understand, and it details how women tend to think in communities, which is probably why I feel eating gluten-free together would be a better thing. Men tend to think in hierarchies; one is one-up, one-down, or equal to another. It's not that he has a choice whether or not to eat it or to like it, so perhaps he feels "one-down." He said that he feels "weak" and "vulnerable" when I purposely eat gluten-free. But in the future, when we have our own house, I want to be able to make the same meals. It would be stupid, to me, to make two separate meals that we would eat at the same time. Not to mention, slightly dangerous due to cross-contamination. Yes, there would be ways to prevent that. But I don't want to take those steps. I want those steps completely removed from the picture because wheat and gluten would be removed. I can't explain why I feel so strongly over this. But it is something that is very important to me. Yes, the groceries are more expensive. But why can't we just get certain things we need and then get a little more of that instead of getting two of the same item, one gluten-free and the other not? And it's not like we have to get solely breads, crusts, flours, etc. We could get meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. that are naturally gluten-free. That is what I don't get.

I love him. I want him to be healthy. But all he sees in this "act of love" is that I'm making him weak and vulnerable, more so than he apparently already feels.

 

I just don't know what to do... Does anybody have any advice? Am I right? Wrong? Is there even a right/wrong to this?

 

Please help!!

 

(I really hope that mess of a paragraph makes sense.)


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                  Apis Laeta:
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#2 kareng

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:16 PM

Wow...Maybe don't get married until he comes can accept his Celiac Disease? Obviously, you have to wonder about someone who wants to date/marry a person they think makes them feel bad about themselves.

 

My hub and my kids usually eat gluten-free meals with me.  Why should I spend the extra time and effort to make 2 different meals?  Why does he want to make it harder on you? 

 

Honestly, this seems to be his issue, not you.  Until he can accept what he has to do to stay healthy, he's not ready for any partner commitments.


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#3 apislaeta

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:58 PM

Thank you for replying to me! I never saw it that way.

 

I don't think he sees it as "making more work for me." I don't cook much, or really at all. (No kitchen of my own.) I wish I knew how he does view this, but all I know is that he gets kind of defensive about it on "sushi night" when we go out with friends. I try to separate the ones he can eat with the ones he can't by requesting that they put them on separate plates but that doesn't stop all the problems, only a small one. The face he makes when I do that though, I just have to sarcastically apologize for loving him. One of our friends even said, "It must be tough having someone care about you."

 

You're right though... He does have a huge insecurity with this. But I definitely can't break up with him over something like that, especially after 3 years. Maybe there's something else to it besides him feeling "weak" and "vulnerable" because I eat gluten-free too. I just don't know how to get him to discuss all of this with me. I kinda wish I could just start that conversation last night back up again.

 

Any other insights?


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                  Apis Laeta:
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              My name is Erin, if you'd like to reply to me directly. :)


#4 kareng

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:34 PM

He's a grown-up. he is capable of ordering his own food.  He is capable of deciding if he wants to order his food gluten-free or not.  If he chooses not to, see my first sentence.  You can't make him eat gluten-free by ordering his food, etc. 

 

Maybe this is a control issue for him?.  Maybe he is immature?  Maybe its something else?  You could look at it like "At least I didn't waste 4 years on him".  Not that I'm saying you need to break up.

 

I'm betting its a control issue.  Maybe you are taking too much control of his food?  Maybe other parts of his life, too?  Let him order his own food.  You order yours.  If he gets sick, "Sorry you didn't order your food gluten-free.  Call me tomorrow when you feel better".  Let him grow up and suffer the consequences and learn from it.

 

Something to think about.


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Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare.  They are consumed in 12 minutes.  Half-times take 12 minutes.  This is not a coincidence.  - Emma Bombeck
 
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#5 notme!

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:58 PM

how long has he been gluten-free?  it's a huge lifestyle change, you are right:  women handle things in communities - here you/we are talking about it ;)  i think if he is pretty new to the diet, maybe he needs time to come to terms with the changes.  until he can 'own' it.  if he is celiac/ncgi it's a lifetime commitment - always gluten-free, never any gluten again.  it's an absolute, and i think men have more trouble accepting absolutes?  does that make any sense?  three years - you must like him a little lolz :)

 

edited to add:  maybe send him here so he can meet others of his 'species' lolz


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#6 bartfull

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:14 PM

I dated a guy once who had lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. If I opened a door for him he would get mad and say, "I'm not helpless!" But if I didn't get the door for him he would say, "I've only got one leg you know, why don't you help me?" I think that sums it up pretty well. Your boyfriend wants your help and attention, but when you give it to him it makes him angry because he doesn't want to appear weak in your eyes OR in his own.

 

I suggest you just continue being yourself and if he confronts you about it again, explain that YOU need as much consideration as anyone else, and that for him to ask you to NOT be "nurturing" would be like asking you to stop being WHO YOU ARE.


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gluten-free since June, 2011

Can't eat soy, corn, or foods high in salicylates.

Nightshades now seem to bother me too.

 

BUT I CAN STILL PLAY MY GUITAR AND THAT"S ALL THAT MATTERS!

 


#7 apislaeta

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:37 PM

I don't think I've ever ordered for him. I have reminded him at the beginning of our relationship once in a while cause he'd forget to say it. But I don't do that anymore. I just try to separate the sushi as much as I can. If you think that might be part of why, I'll definitely work to stop doing that. If he eats gluten, I guess I'll just be supportive and let him live ad he will. Maybe I am the one who is trying to control it! I wonder if I'm the one who feels left out...

He was diagnosed with celiac disease I think when he was 21, before I met him. He's almost 26 now. I know when we first got together, he was more insecure, and I kinda thought he felt better about it now since I hadn't heard about it for a while. I guess I need to stop trying to control it for him. But would it be considered controlling it when I want him to be safe in his own kitchen? Is that an unattainable dream for me to have, maybe even something he will resent? He doesn't seem like he cares about the kitchen because his aunt has shared a kitchen for years and was gluten free before people really knew about celiac disease.
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                              \   \   /   /
                               \ (o ^ o) /
                      __________(%%%%%%%)__________
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                       (__/___/ (%%%%%%%) \___\__)
                               /(       )\
                              /   (%%%)   \
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                  Apis Laeta:
  Bee Happy

              My name is Erin, if you'd like to reply to me directly. :)


#8 apislaeta

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:47 PM

@bartfull Thank you for the example! That does make sense. I'll keep being me, but I'll try to give him his freedom too. :)

Oh, and I can try to get him to join, but I'm not sure how big he is with forums. I'll see what he thinks though!

Thanks for all the help, everyone! Any more help will always be appreciated!
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#9 Mdhriggin

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:25 PM

I am the wife and mother of three with celiac, and we have a gluten free home (I only eat gluten at restaurants). So I have a sense of your dilemma. Sometime my husband orders things fried with gluten, and he ends up payin the price later. The part that might be helpful in terms of a reframe was that If you wanted him to be weak you would have him eat gluten, as that is what it would do. You love him. You want him to be healthy so you can be together for a long time. Easiest way is to be gluten free too when you are together. If he can't see that it is a sign of love on your part, maybe he needs to speak to someone who can help him come to terms with his celiac.
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#10 bartfull

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:29 PM

You could also mention that if you eat gluten he could get sick from just kissing you unless you brush your teeth really well first, and that you want to be able to kiss him spontaniously.


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gluten-free since June, 2011

Can't eat soy, corn, or foods high in salicylates.

Nightshades now seem to bother me too.

 

BUT I CAN STILL PLAY MY GUITAR AND THAT"S ALL THAT MATTERS!

 


#11 tarnalberry

 
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Posted 26 July 2013 - 07:08 PM

 I've been trying to figure out how to politely respond during the majority of my daughter's bedtime.

I'm sort of at a loss.

 

Your boyfriend is acting like an immature child.  If he can't accept that something that makes him different is going to make him different, well... he needs to grow up.  Don't get me wrong - I realize that isn't easy.  But five years?!  He's had to deal with this for five years and he still can't find composure and confidence in stating his basic needs clearly and without embarrassment?  Yeah, I do call that a hold-off-on-the-wedding sort of red flag.  (Maybe not a dump-the-guy-already red flag, but still a red-flag.)  If he can't graciously handle someone doing something small for him - and for themselves ('cause having a gluten free kitchen makes YOUR life easier too) - then he is acting like an immature child.  And if he was new to celiac, or much younger, I'd cut him more slack.  But he's not, and he's not.

 

You made this statement: "He said that he feels "weak" and "vulnerable" when I purposely eat gluten-free." And while it may be true, it is not your fault that he feels these things over a valid choice of yours.  Your choosing a particular food does not actually make him anything.  It's your own choice.  Would he feel weak and vulnerable if you ate ice cream?  If you ate a salad?  If you ate a grilled steak, with roasted potatoes and veggies?  All of those things are gluten free.  It's ridiculous for him to blame YOU for his own personal response.

 

You write: "The face he makes when I do that though, I just have to sarcastically apologize for loving him. One of our friends even said, "It must be tough having someone care about you."" Apparently, he's passive aggressive too.  (But hey, you're being passive aggressive in this situation as well, as are your friends, so it all rounds out, right? :P)  He sounds *deeply* insecure about a basic part of himself.  And, I don't think that conversations between the two of you are going to magically snap him out of it.  So, and I realize this sounds like a leap, and I could be reading between the lines, but if this really has been going on for three years, I'd encourage you guys to go to couples counseling so you can get tools for productive discussions and problem solving as a couple.

 

And, speaking as a woman married for 11.5 years, I don't think it's really entirely "controlling", to be doing something other than just letting him gluten himself and letting him be.  Maybe it's because we have a kid now too, but if you're in a committed relationship, you aren't *just* an individual, you are *also* part of a dyad (a single thing made of two).  His choice to get glutened and feel like crap DOES affect you - it affects your emotional life (especially if he gets moody when glutened), it affects your relationship (especially if he's going to pull the "don't tell me what to eat - why didn't you stop me from eating that" crap), and it affects your social/active life (if, for instance, you have to cancel plans because he's not feeling well enough).  It's not that you each get to control each other (one end of the spectrum), or that you can't offer any guidance to each other either (the other end of the spectrum), but there is a middle ground where you both have influence over each other, and you both have the responsibility to support each other.

 

Anywho... that was long winded.  You guys have stuff to work through.  He has stuff of his own to work through.  Be patient and gentle with him, but don't do yourself disservice either!


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#12 howlnmad

 
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Posted 27 July 2013 - 08:07 AM

My boyfriend and I had a heart to heart last night. He is gluten free; I, technically, am not.
 
Here are some of the details:
We talked about how I eat gluten-free when I don't need to. He mentioned that I actually enjoy it, which I do, because I feel like I'm "closer" to him that way. My main reason for that, I think, is because I can enjoy meals with him when otherwise I can't.
But all he sees in this "act of love" is that I'm making him weak and vulnerable, more so than he apparently already feels.
 
I just don't know what to do... Does anybody have any advice? Am I right? Wrong? Is there even a right/wrong to this?
 
Please help!!
 
(I really hope that mess of a paragraph makes sense.)

 
I don't think that you're the one making him feel weak and volnerable, I think he's the one doing it to himself.
 
I think it's nice of you to eat gluten free with him when you don't have to. We both generally eat gluten free except on pasta nights. My darling wifey will make me my own seperate pasta after she makes hers. We use the same sauces. It not a big deal.
 
If you want to eat gluten in front of him, then eat the gluten. If you're good with going free, that's even better and it's his bad if he has a problem with it. Tell him to shut up and eat his dinner.
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#13 apislaeta

 
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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

Wow! So much to reply to! :)

 

You love him. You want him to be healthy so you can be together for a long time.

 

This is awesome. I never could figure out exactly how I wanted to word that, but that's exactly how I feel!

 

I am wondering (and this is directed at anyone who wants to answer), if one or more of your kids were not celiac/gluten intolerant but possibly had the genes, would you introduce them to gluten or have them be gluten free from birth? This is something I've talked to my boyfriend about before, and he's even brought it up on his own, and when I tell him they can be gluten free, he almost seems to feel guilty about it, perhaps as if he shouldn't be making that call when 1) they're not born yet and 2) they might not even get affected by it. But when we do end up having kids, it will be the same issue all over again--should I prepare multiple meals even though our kids could be celiac? I'd prefer to just feed them in a way that won't have a chance (supposedly) of hurting them, AND my kitchen could stay completely gluten free.

 

You could also mention that if you eat gluten he could get sick from just kissing you unless you brush your teeth really well first, and that you want to be able to kiss him spontaniously.

 

Is this actually true??? I thought about this early on in my relationship, but I don't remember whether I ever found any evidence of this being the case. Do [some] people eating gluten free due to health reasons feel sick after kissing their significant other who eats gluten? I'd love to know! It seems my boyfriend either doesn't respond to small amounts of gluten or he just doesn't tell me.


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                              \   \   /   /
                               \ (o ^ o) /
                      __________(%%%%%%%)__________
                     (   /   /  )       (  \   \   )
                       (__/___/ (%%%%%%%) \___\__)
                               /(       )\
                              /   (%%%)   \
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                  Apis Laeta:
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              My name is Erin, if you'd like to reply to me directly. :)


#14 apislaeta

 
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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:11 PM

 I've been trying to figure out how to politely respond during the majority of my daughter's bedtime.

I'm sort of at a loss.

 

Tiffany, right? (Your signature.) It's totally fine! Honestly, I've been trying my best to make sure my responses haven't been insulting or anything. And actually, your post made me laugh! So I'm glad you replied as you did. :)

 

You made this statement: "He said that he feels "weak" and "vulnerable" when I purposely eat gluten-free." And while it may be true, it is not your fault that he feels these things over a valid choice of yours.

 

I'm so glad to hear that this makes valid sense to others who eat the same way he does!! That's the entire reason I came here to share my experiences. I hope he will come to understand it too, whether through therapy or just seeing how awesome I am. ;)

 

He sounds *deeply* insecure about a basic part of himself.  And, I don't think that conversations between the two of you are going to magically snap him out of it.  So, and I realize this sounds like a leap, and I could be reading between the lines, but if this really has been going on for three years, I'd encourage you guys to go to couples counseling so you can get tools for productive discussions and problem solving as a couple.

 

I have thought about doing couples counseling as well. The only trouble is, I'm not sure how to bring it up. He'll probably do it with me though, if I ask.

 

if you're in a committed relationship, you aren't *just* an individual, you are *also* part of a dyad (a single thing made of two).

 

My boyfriend brought up this point as well, when talking about whether I should go back to get my Master's now rather than wait a year, as I was planning. What decisions I make affects him now, as do the decisions he makes affect me. If only I had thought to mention the bit about how things could affect our relationship, etc. during that conversation about my Master's!


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                              \   \   /   /
                               \ (o ^ o) /
                      __________(%%%%%%%)__________
                     (   /   /  )       (  \   \   )
                       (__/___/ (%%%%%%%) \___\__)
                               /(       )\
                              /   (%%%)   \
                                    !
                  Apis Laeta:
  Bee Happy

              My name is Erin, if you'd like to reply to me directly. :)


#15 bartfull

 
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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:51 AM

If you type "kissing" into the search box you will find plenty of threads, such as this one: http://www.celiac.co...ing#entry855186


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gluten-free since June, 2011

Can't eat soy, corn, or foods high in salicylates.

Nightshades now seem to bother me too.

 

BUT I CAN STILL PLAY MY GUITAR AND THAT"S ALL THAT MATTERS!

 





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