I’ve been happily married to the one and only Mrs. Dude for 23 years now. We were already 15 years in when I got the dreaded celiac diagnosis. While obviously the diagnosis itself pretty much sucked, at least Mrs. Dude and I were able to learn the ropes together. Well…let’s be honest…Mrsa. Dude took command and I followed her lead.
But I know that most aren’t that lucky. This call for help is for all you folks out there who have navigated the “new relationship” thing with celiac disease. Here’s the email:
Just when I thought I had this whole Celiac thing figured out, I got hit with another life event that throws a wrench in my routines and ‘safety procedures’; I got divorced.
Now I’m still young, and childless, so this has simplified parts of this scenario (and it was for the best really). But time has passed and what I’m left with now is figuring out how to navigate the dating world as a Celiac. And I don’t mean going out for drinks with someone and playing mini-putt. I mean the stage of dating where you go over Friday, and then its Sunday, and you wonder how so much time passed… and then you wonder why you can’t concentrate, why your neuropathy is back, and why everything hurts. BAM. Glutened at new-potential-partner’s-house. No real surprise there; lets be honest.
Now he’s an understanding guy, and has dated the fad-gluten-free-types before. In fact, he’s vegan, so he understands restrictions. But not exactly cross-contamination. It’s early days, but as I spend more and more time with him, I will be required to eat. And I can’t live with being in a constant state of cross-contamination. He would come to my place, but he’s deathly allergic to my cat (and I’m not about to evict the cat just yet…). And the real kicker; while he has his own place, he’s an expert Couchsurfing host, meaning new people are always cooking in his kitchen.
Thoughts!? How do others navigate this part of dating? Do I pack lunches and dinners for myself? Do I eat processed foods? Do I eat foods that require less prep at his place? Do I get rid of my cat? Do I suffer in silence? Do I demand he stop hosting Couchsurfers (a hobby he loves)? I don’t want to be THAT girl!!
I really never thought I ‘d have this problem.
Smitten, but glutened.
Ok…I’ll give it my best shot, one question at a time.
Do I pack lunches and dinners for myself? Until you can feel safe at his place…yes. Or you offer to cook, getting the point across how important it is that you know exactly what is in every morsel you eat. (Isn’t celiac fun??!!)
Do I eat processed foods? Nooo.
Do I eat foods that require less prep at his place? Now you’re talking. No need to go all elaborate. Keep it simple. Best advice for all celiacs.
Do I get rid of my cat? Nope. Is there anything he can take on his end?
Do I suffer in silence? Definitely NOT.
Do I demand he stop hosting Couchsurfers (a hobby he loves)? Dang…so many things to consider. Demand? No. Discuss? Yes.
How do others navigate this part of dating? Ummm…folks…this is where you jump in.
And speaking of dating…take it away Vince.
19 thoughts on “New Boyfriend. New Celiac Problems. Help!!”
I was in a relationship when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. That was pretty easy. But then we broke up and went back to dating. It’s really tough at first because in the early stages – no obe ever wants to poop anywhere near their new “love” interest – much less having to spend 20-30 minutes in the bathroom!! That to me – is WAY worse than teaching someone the importance of being gluten free and how to NOT cross contaminate. If he’s into you – he’ll take the time and energy to learn what he needs to do and not do. And he’ll be more than nice about it. I met someone nearly two years ago and he has more than learned the ropes – because he loves me and he cares about my well-being. Before I met him – I dated a guy who didn’t give a rat’s arse about it and always made sure HE was fed – I made sure I was fed. That one didn’t last long. Just hang in there and take it day by day – if he’s truly invested in YOU and the relationship you share, he will be more than accommodating to help you be healthy and happy!
I’m young and divorced as well. Dating has been so hard with Celiac, that I simply stopped. I also have a wheat allergy, so simply being near glutenous foods causes me to have breathing problems, hives, and other reactions. I can’t really go to restaurants anymore 😕 I sympathize with you, but know something will work out eventually…I’m interested to see what other people have to add. Best of luck to you. It will be ok!
I’m older divorced my ex just didn’t get me getting sick after being inmate nor the don’t have gluten before we were together 10 years before my diagnosis and 7 after he choose the women on Craigslist ….I choose me my life I was more important as we all should it’s about communication and understanding this disease and living. If he makes you matter he will understand and make it work because you are important and never give up the cat !! Make foods to go and make them together @ his place and yours compromises are important but not getting Glutened. I hoping one day to be out there you give me hope there’s some good guys left !!!!
Being honest upfront is difficult but not impossible. I would rather be rejected for being “high maintenance” early on than have to get rid of ” he’s great except”.
You are already noticing deal breakers in my opinion. Losing my loyal pets for a guy just isn’t an option. Also sounds like the power dynamic is very one sided…his place, his floppers (you do realize this will continue as part of your relationship right?) & no real consideration for your needs. Im all for avoiding the high maintenance label, but if im bending & bending & bending some more to fit in their life, the counter is them bending to ensure im safe & happy.
I want someone that asks about safe restaurants, talks through compromise (which carries over to other couple stuff) & helps find new restaurants that are safe.
Took the words right out of my mouth Lady!
Went on date with “meh” guy (fun time but no spark) that was gf vegan…found a new restaurant that’s got menu with 80% naturally gluten free menu & staff that mostly knew the drill. Guy wasn’t a keeper but his efforts found me a new place to eat out…still a win-win.
Someone making an effort is half the battle
If he cares about you, then he will do just that. It is perfectly reasonable on your part to expect him to learn how to keep his kitchen safe for you. It doesn’t mean no one else can cook there, it does mean keeping some cookware completely separate so that you both can use dedicated gluten free bits and pieces when you are there. Usual story, avoid the wooden chopping boards, have a gluten free chopping board and silicon spatulas (I gave some to my lovely man on about date number three, he liked the suggestion that we would be eating together a lot and was a bit upset that i’d bought such a cheap chopping board) and if need be train him to rewash things like saucepans with your dedicated gf sponge just before use.
It can be done. Has to be done because getting glutened regularly at his place is certainly going to put you off him. Good luck!
My husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease as an adult after we had been married (just a year in!). While we have no problems at home keeping a strict gluten free household, he struggles to feel safe eating in other’s homes – specifically his parents on the holidays. We have finally come to a conclusion – 3 years later – to having the top shelf of the pantry dedicated to his food and he has several of his own dishes including a pot, pan, baking dish, and cooking utensils. Having these dishes set aside for his use while he’s there allows them to only be used for GF food. I also make a habit of regularly scrubbing dishes with a clean sink, towel and soap before using anything to help ingrain the idea that safe food is not cross contaminated food.
I don’t have the dating issue, as I’m lucky to have a Mrs. Dude type partner. But I do encounter this all the time at friends’ houses and in groups that I’m a part of and regularly attend…everything here in VT is pot luck! So after a couple bad incidents, I resolved to always bring my own food. I found a super cute insulated portable soft-sided cooler on Amazon (looks more like a fun purse than a cooler, so it’s subtler and doesn’t look like I’m bringing a picnic everywhere I go)…small enough to carry easily, but big enough to stash a few Tupperware containers and some fruit. And it has a front pocket where I keep my own silverware and napkins. It’s been a lifesaver. If anyone says anything, I just say I have multiple food allergies and they let it drop. It’s bit of a pain, but has really become second nature by now, so it’s not really an issue any more. Good luck!
1971, I’d be interested in the cooler you bought. I use a hard sided cooler and it is a pain, but it works! Less obvious would be nice, and maybe lighter. I use all glass containers, so it is heavy. I also have a tall thermos I put home made soups in. You are right, it does get easier once we accept that we have to live differently.
Totally agree that if he is in to you, he will want what is best for you. This fella sounds pretty selfish and narcissistic to me. There are nice, caring men in this world who would be compassionate. So, if this doesn’t last, there is a site for dating gluten free: glutenfreesingles.com and they have a facebook page, too. Celiac is for the rest of your life, so put yourself first and wait for the right one. I am very fortunate — husband #2 totally gets it and supports me. First one would never have.
This will weed out Mr. Serious vs. Mr. Right Now. My (then) boyfriend proposed right after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and we spent our engagement year with me sick, bald, missing a breast, smelling like chemo funk, and having the walking farts. Be honest with him, and if this guy (or any guy) is the real deal, he will support you and meet you where you are at. Best wishes and much love to you.
Exactly! Relationships are all about 2 way communication between 2 loving people. ……compromise works both ways. How often are you prepared to be gluttened? Is veaganism a lifestyle choice or a medically prescribed treatment?
If he is not going to acknowledge or learn, why are you crossing oceans for someone who wouldn’t cross a puddle for you?
Do not start making excuses……they will be the first of thousands in your life together!
life is too short not to live it!!!!
Do not give up your cat! He can always get allergy medicine and if he’s there for you in the long haul he can get shots for his allergy. I agree with Donna V totally!
If you’ve just gotten back into the dating scene don’t jump into a serious relationship immediately. Give yourself time.
Holly; this really stuck out for me, “this will weed out Mr. Serious vs. Mr. Right Now”. Dating is hard enough to navigate without a health issue, and this provided some clarity on the issue. Since this e-mail was submitted, we’ve done meals at my place a handful of times (and then I drug him with Benadryl when allergy symptoms set in) and this works well. Your comment really brings me some optimism about the whole situation even if I am in fact only with Mr. Right Now at the moment.
I just never really thought I’d be dating again. But as you seem to know, life happens. Much love to you, and I hope you’re finding yourself in good health these days.
Smitten – You are so sweet, thank you. Being Celiac is what makes you… you. It’s just as much of your fabulousness as your hair color or sense of humor or any of the other wonderful qualities you have. Great to hear that he is coming over to your place and it’s always a fun date when one party is drugged, eh? Best wishes to you!
Not sure I can offer much advice but the point about “he’s vegan, so he understands restrictions. But not exactly cross-contamination,” stood out to me. I’ve never met a vegan or vegetarian who didn’t exercise some degree of avoiding CC in their eating habits, the classic example being not to bbq their food on a grill, or at least the same area of a grill, on which someone had just grilled some sort of meat like a steak or beef burger.
And this is generally not a food safety or health issue but more tied to concerns of (most likely) an ethical nature they have for not consuming animal products. So if he does likewise it should help him understand why she has to take CC so seriously.
What? There’s a gluten free singles dating site? That almost makes me consider dating. Almost. I have great empathy for all those young single Celiacs out there. 58 years old, divorced last year after 31 years of marriage and being a Celiac the thought of dating seems overwhelming right now. I would recommend Smitten follow your heart, but sometimes circumstances can break Cupids arrows so be smart and don’t risk your health. If the person your dating isn’t not only willing to learn and accommodate your dietary needs, but wanting to accommodate them for you then it’s not love. Good Luck!
I am not trusting and am very cynical; the last person I dated made me sick on purpose, it took me a while before I discovered what was happening, hence, I won’t date anymore unless they also have CD and are serious about it. It leaves slim pickins, but after being sickened many times, I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’d rather be safe and single.
I go to a lot of potlucks and bring my own food EVERY time. No ifs, ands, of buts about it. Until the issue is resolved, be safe. When I visit friends, I have a cooler in my car with chicken and veggies and any food stuffs I eat. When I used the micro to warm it up, I bring my own cover so nothing will fall into it. I bring my own glass to drink from and never never never take a chance. It was hard at first, but I’ve gotten used to it and have educated many friends along the way.
best of health and luck,