Two quick Dude Notes before I get going.
Dude Note 1: Such an awesome response so far on the Faces of Celiac Disease. Many of you have asked me where you can view the wall (that’s what I’m calling it). Well…I’ve now got hundreds of images to edit and a gallery to put together. Patience Grasshopper. My hope is to get something up by Monday.
Dude Note 2: I think I got hit with the dreaded grain a bit. How can I tell? Just see here. That’s me right now.
Anyway…on to better things.
Here’s a question for you: Is it possible to care TOO MUCH about your partner’s celiac?
I get email after email from people whose partners/spouses/parents/pets downplay celiac. But what about the other side of this?
Read this email I got last week:
I have looked all over your site to see if maybe someone has had a similar issue, but so far I haven’t found anything! First I want to thank you for being an outlet for us with Celiac – it’s awesome that you have taken it upon yourself to lend an ear and help others like you!
I found out I had Celiac about five years ago. For 3-4 of those years, I suffered from extreme anxiety and depression from the disease that eventually turned into agoraphobia. I was afraid to go anywhere in case I had to eat and didn’t have food; I was afraid to eat anywhere (which I still kind of am), and I couldn’t leave my house unless I had a few meals packed with me.
In the last year and a half, I have been able to live with less fear and my relationship with food has become quite pleasant! I love to eat again and have less of a hard time in social situations.
Moving forward to the relationship issue: my partner and I have been together for the last year so it’s not like my disease is news or anything. He seems to take it very personally though. He is always worried that he will accidentally cross contaminate when cooking for me or that he’ll take me somewhere for dinner and forget to ask the waiter the right questions, resulting in me getting sick.
He gets angry when we go out to eat because he knows that even if they say it’s gluten free, it’s probably not. I am very flattered that he cares so much about me but he is making my disease his problem when it’s not. I can’t always be accommodated and that’s okay. I make a point to never make him feel bad for getting to eat gluten but it really hurts him that he can’t take me out to a nice restaurant or have me out with him and his friends.
This causes a lot of stress in our relationship – I just don’t understand why he is taking my disease so personally? This is my reality and there is nothing to be done about it. No point arguing or getting upset either.
How do I get my partner to worry less about my disease? I’m used to living this way, it’s not a big deal anymore. I want him to focus on the things we can do rather than getting all hung up on not being able to eat out!
I just love this email. Not only because she has overcome her fear (WE DO NOT NEED TO LIVE IN FEAR), but because she has such a healthy relationship with her disease.
But her partner’s relationship with her disease is NOT healthy. It’s great to be supportive, but there is no need for him to own this disease.
My advice to her was simple. Just forward this exact email to him. It really does say it all.
What about you folks? Any advice?