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Going To Dinner With My Boyfriend's Family.. I Have No Idea What To Do..

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I really need some help here. I've been extremely stressed all week because tomorrow, I'm going out to dinner with my boyfriend and his family for his birthday. We're both 18 and have been dating for a little over a month. I've met his parents but I'm being introduced to a million other people tomorrow and if that's not stressful enough... there's the MAJOR stress surrounding food and eating out.

 

I haven't eaten out since my diagnosis. I am not a confirmed celiac because I never had the biopsy.. my doctor isn't the greatest doctor in the world. My current diagnoses from my doctor is just gluten intolerance but it's most likely more than that. I was "diagnosed" around late January. I haven't been out to eat since then. On top of the gluten thing I am also severely allergic to nuts, celery, various beans, oats, cherries, and the list goes on. It was already stressful enough to eat out before. I've been gluten free since my diagnosis and I've been feeling a lot better.. but I've also discovered that I'm extremely sensitive to gluten.. I've been glutened multiple times from people using wooden spoons or cutting boards.. and I don't want to explain this to people THAT in depth because it's just annoying at that point.

 

My boyfriend is very understanding about this whole thing. We have dates at Whole Foods where I can actually eat things. He was the the one to actually ask me if he should brush before kissing me and he's totally fine with it. I was surprised that he was so easy going about it and willing to leap through these hoops for me. His mother is very sweet about it too and buys me gluten free things. 

 

So... tomorrow... we're going to a restaurant.. which is something I don't do anymore. It just isn't part of my life because it isn't fun anymore.. the risk outweighs any of the fun and whole experience from start to finish and extending after that just kind of sucks. He wanted me to go to his birthday diner and I told them that I didn't want them to pick a restaurant based on me because it's his birthday. To be honest.. I've been trying to get out of going all week.. but I couldn't come up with any valid excuse. At this point it's just too late to back out, reservations have been made.. and it's happening tomorrow. We're going to a flatbread place.. his mother even went out of her way to call the place up and ask if they have gluten free options and even went as far as to ask where the dough comes from. I appreciate that so much but I still don't feel comfortable eating this food. Not only is most gluten free food unsafe for me because of nuts and oats being involved, this is a flatbread place, they use a clay oven, the pizza stones that they use are covered in flour, the oven is covered in flour.. it doesn't even matter if they clean it or not.. it isn't safe for me. I would get  a salad but they probably use wooden cutting boards... if not.. again, it's a flatbread place.. there's flour flying everywhere.

 

I'm SO stressed about this because I'm meeting a ton of people for the first time tomorrow and I want to make a good first impression. That alone is enough to scare the pants off of anyone but the food thing.. I'm just dreading this more and more as every second goes by. I literally cannot eat anything at this place. I don't want to look stuck up and snobby if I get a salad.. or nothing at all. If I don't get anything I'll just look dumb and there's really no reason for me to be there. I already have to ask about all the allergens and explain that to the waiter and then in a lot of situations the chef and/or manager comes over and talks to me and the idea of that is very unpleasant since I'll be around new people. I don't want to make a scene. I also don't want to have to EXPLAIN EVERYTHING because it's SUCH a long story and it's ridiculous and I don't want to tell people that I'm "sick". I'll also have to tell them that I have a gluten allergy because otherwise they won't take the issue seriously.. so they're going to question that and I'm going to look like a liar. I'm honestly considering just sacrificing my own health and eating something there and being sick for the next few days simply to avoid looking like an ass%$@#.. but I have a lot of things to do this upcoming week and I can't do that to myself. I can't wind up not eating anything because his mom went to all that trouble to look everything up for me. 

 

I hate this situation. I hate that my food allergies and intolerances make me come across as snobby and stuck up. I'm always VERY polite about it and even since my diagnosis.. I've given up and eaten things I shouldn't have (and payed for it dearly the following day) simply to please other people and to avoid drawing too much attention to myself.

 

I'm sorry this is so long. I don't want to go. At this point I'll also look really bad if I back out at the last second. My boyfriend has made plans with me to do something that I actually really want to do and I'd have to back out of that as well. I'm almost on the verge of tears. What am I even supposed to do?

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Tell the boyfriend you will eat first and have a soda at the restaurant. Have him explain to his mom that, with your allergies, you don't feel like you can eat there. It's about the BF and he would want his gluten-free there. Your not eating doesn't have to be a big deal if you don't make it one. Act as if this is normal. If someone asks, say you aren't hungry or have food allergies so you ate first. I do it.

Edited: the site changed g f to gluten free! I meant girl friend lol

Edited by kareng

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I understand! We all do!

Karen's advice is perfect!

I went on a mini-vacation with my friend and our daughters. They wanted Japanese food and the restaurant was not gluten free. I ate before I left the hotel room and ordered a drink at the restaurant. We still had a great time. I was not hungry and I saved $30. Later, we walked around and I had some safe snacks that were stashed in my purse while they got ice cream 'cause I am allergic to milk!

I know that his mom went out of her way to find a restaurant, but it seems that she will understand. Smile and hold your boyfriend's hand as much as possible! He sounds nice!

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 Ohh I so feel your pain! I went to a Reception last weekend could not eat a thing! I feel so bad because everyone asked me.I told them why! Don't hesitate to tell everyone! Teach  them!  I did eat before hand and hubbs did also. Lucky for me hubbs has got my back! I think you should eat beforehand and just grab a drink what ever or have a salad. CC could be and issue. I have a birthday party on Sunday :( I don't want to go. I cannot eat any thing! Not a thing! So Its mothers day I will stay home. I want hubbs to go. It's his uncles 90th birthday party. I'm at odds! Ughh I feel your pain! Ugh! Hate it sometimes! Good luck let us know what you decide! 

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I too completely agree with Karen, eat ahead of time and order yourself nice drinks. I would think that if you told the family that you have food restrictions so you can not eat there, but you wanted to come and meet everybody anyways, that they would all be flattered. I would be if it was my son's girlfriend.

You could always bring some food and ask for a plate so you can eat with everyone, and then there is always salad....

Best wishes!

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Ohhh poor you :( I know the feeling - the stress of meeting new (and important) people added to by food! Not cool.

 

Karen's right - eat first and just have a drink at the restaurant. Whether you eat or not, people will notice that you are approaching food differently to them so you may as well *not* approach it and then at least you don't have to worry about gluten, just other people. Maybe your boyfriend can help you decide what 'line' to give people if they ask about it, as he knows them? I am 'only' diagnosed by blood tests, I didn't wait around for a biopsy, and I find that people accept that without question. I don't really want to spend a dinner discussing the ins and outs of it so I usually move right on to how much better I'm feeling now. 

 

It really isn't worth knowingly putting yourself at risk to avoid causing a problem. As well as the health problems it causes, if you go for another meal with them in a few months you'll have to do it again or cause a bigger deal by explaining at that point that you can't eat things (I avoided laying the law down about CC to my flatmates at first and it was much harder to go back a few months in, when I felt better able to cope with things, and start over). 

Good luck. Chat to your boyfriend and his mum and let them know beforehand whatever you decide to do to avoid discussing it in front of everybody. If it helps, you sound like a lovely and mature 18 year old so I'm sure they'll like you! Let us know how it goes.

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One thing I have done is find out the restaurant and check ahead of  time to see what options they may have.
Website for info, or even call them.

 

If they can't accommodate you, then eat ahead of time, and have some drinks.

Take some snacky things in your purse, and if you have hunger, sneak of and nibble some things if you don't want them to see you pull it out of your purse.

 

It's about spending time together and getting to know each other, not about what or how much you eat.

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I'd really like to know how this went for the OP, I totally feel your pain. 
 

I am 23 and have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance (that is likely celiacs I just haven't done the testing yet) and eating out esp with new people is a huge ass pain. Its much easier though to start out with new people knowing whats going on as you'll see them agian later and its harder to back track than just start out on the right foot! 

 

i agree with everyone else, eat before hand and just have a soda at the resturant. If anyone asks just explain you are ate beforehand because you have many food allergies but wanted to meet everyone. If you act relaxed and calm about it everyone else will be too. I totally get where you are coming from feeling snobby about the entire ordeal though. 

 

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 2.5 years now and I haven't been to eat with his parents since being diagnosed (they live 4 hours away) and I am absolutely dreading that happening. 

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