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Eli2003

Am I Asking Too Much Of My Boyfriend?

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I've been gluten-free for almost a year now and originally started the diet in a weird way. I live in South Korea as a teacher, and started seeing a traditional doctor because of my all-around poor health and fatigue. He recommended losing wheat from my diet, and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I know I eventually need to go to a proper doctor and get tested, but it's difficult to find one and know what I should be testing for.

I feel a million times better now that I'm gluten-free, but it's really demanding to stay gluten-free while living in South Korea (finding food can be a pain, and reading labels in hangul takes forever, etc etc). I find that my boyfriend isn't very helpful, and sometimes I'm sure that he thinks I'm crazy- I feel incredibly high-maintenance because of the diet. How much support should I expect from him at this point?

I could really use any advice as I feel a bit adrift out here in SK, with absolutely no friends with food allergies...

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I've been gluten-free for almost a year now and originally started the diet in a weird way. I live in South Korea as a teacher, and started seeing a traditional doctor because of my all-around poor health and fatigue. He recommended losing wheat from my diet, and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I know I eventually need to go to a proper doctor and get tested, but it's difficult to find one and know what I should be testing for.

I feel a million times better now that I'm gluten-free, but it's really demanding to stay gluten-free while living in South Korea (finding food can be a pain, and reading labels in hangul takes forever, etc etc). I find that my boyfriend isn't very helpful, and sometimes I'm sure that he thinks I'm crazy- I feel incredibly high-maintenance because of the diet. How much support should I expect from him at this point?

I could really use any advice as I feel a bit adrift out here in SK, with absolutely no friends with food allergies...

Would you feel less "high maintenance" if you had a peanut allergy or were a vegan? You've chosen to eat food that nourishes you and makes you feel healthy. Expecting your boyfriend to be supportive of you seems like a no-brainer to me. He'd surely be supportive of a possibly deadly allergy... and one would hope one's boyfriend would be supportive of a lifestyle like veganism.

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Two things:

1) what does "isn't very helpful" mean? is he sabotaging your food, trying to talk you into eating gluten, eating gluten around you, what?

2) within reasonable bounds, "how much support you should expect" depends on your needs - some people need more, some people need less. And it's ok to ask for what you need, within those reasonable bounds, of course. :)

I would encourage you to consider the part you play in this: if you are not STRONG in your decision, he has less (apparent) reason to respect it. If you call him out when he's being counterproductive, he'll at least learn where the line is. For example, let's say you're at a restaurant, and he orders something that has (or just might have) soy sauce:

Him: "This is really good."

You: "Smells tasty. I'm glad you're enjoying it."

Him: "Wanna try some?"

You: "No, I don't know what's in it."

Him: "Oh, I'm sure it's fine. Just give a little taste, you won't get sick. And it's sooo good."

-this is your make or break point, you have to let him know that his pressuring is unacceptable-

You: "I said no. I don't know that it won't make me sick, and so I choose not to eat it. Please respect my choice and stop pestering me to do something that I do not want to do. I'm quite fine with my own meal [even if it's just plain white rice, I'd say this, because, relative to being sick, you are fine with just plain white rice] and I'd prefer to enjoy a pleasant meal without bickering."

(I'm not necessarily suggesting this to a friend, but to someone you're around a lot, who you have a more significant relationship with... yeah.

As for what *I* think is reasonable to expect, and this is just my opinion:

1) Bare minimum - basically, you go it alone without assistance from him, but without interference either: He doesn't offer you foods he KNOWS have gluten, though he may make mistakes on foods he doesn't know. He immediately respects your decisions on what food you will and won't eat, no questions asked. He does not try to contaminate your food. He does not harp on you about foods you can't eat.

2) Moderately supportive - Ditto all the above, plus he cleans up after himself in any kitchen you two might share, lets you know about foods he knows are not safe so you avoid them, eats gluten free meals with you on occasion.

3) Very supportive - Everything listed above, plus he will maintain a entirely or mostly gluten free kitchen (either just yours or both of yours if you live separately), reads labels right along with you, will cook gluten free for you, and reminds you to bring your own food when you go places you can't get safe food. (I'm sure I missed a few here, but you get the idea.)

I would not EXPECT anyone to goes entirely gluten free with me. If they opt to, great, but I would never expect it.

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I've been gluten-free for almost a year now and originally started the diet in a weird way. I live in South Korea as a teacher, and started seeing a traditional doctor because of my all-around poor health and fatigue. He recommended losing wheat from my diet, and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I know I eventually need to go to a proper doctor and get tested, but it's difficult to find one and know what I should be testing for.

I feel a million times better now that I'm gluten-free, but it's really demanding to stay gluten-free while living in South Korea (finding food can be a pain, and reading labels in hangul takes forever, etc etc). I find that my boyfriend isn't very helpful, and sometimes I'm sure that he thinks I'm crazy- I feel incredibly high-maintenance because of the diet. How much support should I expect from him at this point?

I could really use any advice as I feel a bit adrift out here in SK, with absolutely no friends with food allergies...

How much support should you expect? Total and complete support. And nothing less than that. Just because you have no been diagnosed with some deadly disease does not mean your significant others shouldn't support your decisions for your health 100%. If there's anything less than 100% support for your decisions in a relationship......then that relationship is doomed anyway. This would just be the beginning. What if he didn't support how you felt about how to raise children, or what if he didn't want kids but you did? How about if he didn't like your religion? Two people who expect to share their lives, HAVE to support each other 100%, no ifs, no ands, and no buts. So, I don't think you're expecting too much, on the contrary. You are not high maintenance, but I wonder how he'd feel if it were deadly for your to consume a particular food....would he still think you were "crazy"?? Might be a red flag, might not be.

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He needs to support you. Now that doesn't mean it isn't irritating or difficult at times. It's hard for us and it's hard for our significant others too at times. But he should be supportive and be there for you for sure.

About testing, you will get false negatives if you are already gluten free. If it were me, there's no way I would go back on gluten to make myself sick to get a positive on a test. If the doc diagnosed you by symptoms and dietary response that is in itself a diagnostic tool. If you are willing to do the diet with that alone then do it.

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It would help if you could share how he's not being supportive before we all crucify him. :D Part of it may be the learning curve we and the people who love us have to go through for awhile.

This isn't directed at you Renee, but I have to respectfully disagree with about the 100% thing. I'm looking forward to 20 years next month and there have been plenty of times we've absolutely been (and are!) on opposite sides of an issue. Agreeing 100% of the time and the 50/50 thing are two myths of a "good marriage" to me.

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I've been gluten-free for almost a year now and originally started the diet in a weird way. I live in South Korea as a teacher, and started seeing a traditional doctor because of my all-around poor health and fatigue. He recommended losing wheat from my diet, and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I know I eventually need to go to a proper doctor and get tested, but it's difficult to find one and know what I should be testing for.

I feel a million times better now that I'm gluten-free, but it's really demanding to stay gluten-free while living in South Korea (finding food can be a pain, and reading labels in hangul takes forever, etc etc). I find that my boyfriend isn't very helpful, and sometimes I'm sure that he thinks I'm crazy- I feel incredibly high-maintenance because of the diet. How much support should I expect from him at this point?

I could really use any advice as I feel a bit adrift out here in SK, with absolutely no friends with food allergies...

It all depends on how long you've been in this relationship. If it's only been a few months or just a casual relationship, then he's just learning the gluten-free "ropes". Is he "just passing" through your life? If not and you're thinking of long-term or marriage with him, then I look at it this way: Dating is sort of like am extended "job interview". He has to meet your requirements and expectations; if he fails to meet them, then he's not for you in the long run. If he's balking about your health issues and gluten-free diet from now, then perhaps he's not all there for you. Even as a "close friend" he should be very helpful - more so as the boyfriend in a relationship there is an extra level of trust and relationship responsiblity he must meet.

Please understand that my credentials in this is that I am in a 31-year marriage to a former misdiagnosed celiac. While my husband does read his own food labels, and cooks his own meals (and I get from your post that the ingredients are in Korean and perhaps a "second eye" would help immensely) I am the person he trusts the most to help him when he asks for help and he trusts me to respect his dietary limitations. I guess I take the hard-line of "if you're not for me, you're against me."

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I know how you feel about trying to read all the labels in a foreign language. I just spent a few months in South Korea myself and had a hard time eating anything. Basically, avoid eating out because pretty much every sauce has gluten in it. And when grocery shopping, stick to basic foods like fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, rice.

Or if you're really desperate to find new foods, maybe look stuff up online and translate the labels before you even go to the store.

As for the support from your boyfriend, I wouldn't expect him to change his diet as well, but he should be understanding of you doing this for health reasons and not pressure you to eat things. I know I get really frustrated when my boyfriend is eating something I want and I can't have it, which in turn makes him frustrated with me. Just keep reminding him that this is a life long diet change and sometimes it can be emotionally draining. There's a learning curve for both of you, so just try to stay strong and work together.

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To say how supportive someone should be is tough...I started dating someone "post" diagnosis and he has been GREAT about my diet. He wants me to either choose where we eat, or makes sure that there is something there that I can eat. He has also done research on his own so that he knows what to look for when he wants to make dinner. We have only been seeing one another for 1 month, and he asked me to Easter Dinner with his family. At first I TOTALLY freaked out, first time meeting the family and having to have food involved, YIKES! Then yesterday we were making dinner and his mom called to run over the dinner menu because he had mentioned my issues and she wanted to make sure that I could eat. I am still pretty scared about eating at someone's house where I know they eat gluten regularly...and CC can be a big issue, but was in shock that he had made sure to go over this with his mom that would be cooking. He also told her that we would bring something that I knew I could eat and drink.

Anyway, I know that not everyone may be this GREAT about what I am dealing with, as it is still so new to me too. However as others have suggested just decide what you are able to accept as his support level and leave it at that.

Good Luck on the diet and I hope that it makes some great changes in your health!!

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I could really use any advice as I feel a bit adrift out here in SK, with absolutely no friends with food allergies...

I have been gluten free for two years, and my boyfriend is the most supportive person when it comes to my diet. I think it is very important for there to be support. Maybe he does not fully understand how much gluten effects you.

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I've been a Celiac for over 6 years, I've been dating my current boyfriend for about a year of that. Him and my last 2 boyfriends have never given me anything but complete support. Has it been difficult at some times? Absolutely. But if a person cares about you and is a large part of your life, they shouldn't have any problems accepting and supporting you for who you are. Celiac Disease is a part of who we are. I don't expect my boyfriend to always eat my diet and never eat anything with gluten and I make sure he knows that when he eats that, even if I'm around, that it doesn't bother me and for him not to feel badly. In all actuality, my boyfriend loves that I'm a celiac because it's made me a good cook!! If someone isn't going to show you love, compassion and support...do you really want them in your life? It's a life altering disease...but you can tolerate it with minimum life interruptions once you get a handle on it.

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