What Do You Do When Your Husband is Pretty Much an A**wipe?

husband does not believe in celiac
is there a test for gluten sensitivityDude note: The holidays are all about giving. So I thought I’d take the 14 days after Thanksgiving and answer 14 emails I’ve received from my fellow celiacs asking for guidance. And I’d like this to be a communal effort. My advice, shocking as this may be to hear (sarcasm), may not always be the best advice. So please chime in and lend your voice. Maybe I can clear my inbox at some point in 2016.

Day 3 of 14

Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. This one is just plain, old ugly. We’ve all heard the stories about family members not taking gluten-free seriously. Even spouses. Makes my thank my lucky stars (again and again and again) for Mrs. Dude.

But this guy goes above and beyond in his assholishness and our gluten-free friend is asking for advice. It’s time for some tough love…for both of them.

Here’s the email I received:

Hey Gluten Dude. When I was first diagnosed as gluten intolerant through a genetic blood test, my husband refused to believe it meant anything would be different. Now here we are, 5 years later. And he STILL says, “You are overreacting. You are not celiac and a little gluten won’t hurt you.

Of all people, the one who has watched me be sick after contamination; the one who knows how terrified I am to eat at any restaurant (I have been glutened by a restaurant with a gluten free menu); he still doesn’t get it.

I have color-coded everything in my kitchen with RED being my “don’t use this for gluten” code. Still, he eats pizza, from the kitchen counter, wiping his bearded and mustached mouth with my RED dish towels. Served off of my granite counter top. Reheated in my toaster oven or on the turntable in the microwave.

I finally blew my top when I pointed out that he was using a red towel or utensil or wire mesh strainer marked RED to strain his bow-tie pasta and he dismissed my complaint with his usual “It won’t hurt you. You are overreacting. You are not celiac.

His carelessness makes me afraid to use my own kitchen without first washing everything and drying with a fresh out of the dryer red towel. Every meal. If I get contaminated, the distress begins between 20 and 40 minutes and continues for 4 to 6 hours. This makes me afraid to eat. Even in my own home because of the chance of cross-contamination.

When even the people closest to you don’t understand and don’t respect this disease, I lose heart of ever healing. Since my blow up, my husband has made an effort to keep my red coded items separate in the kitchen, but still treats me as if I am “nagging” when I find him using them with gluten products. I need a kosher kitchen. Not to separate dairy and meat. But to isolate gluten from gluten-free by zones!

Ok…like I said. Tough love time.

First…to the woman who wrote the email. Have you been tested for celiac? The reason I ask is that there is no valid blood test to diagnose gluten intolerance, as far as I know. Have you been to a legit doctor and been tested for celiac with blood work and an endoscopy? Not that I am remotely excusing your husband’s boor-like behavior, but since it seems you are going to stick it out with him and his lame point seems only to be “you don’t have celiac disease”, perhaps a diagnosis will turn him back into a human being again.

5 years? That’s a long time. You’re more patient than I would be.

Now…to the husband. You seriously wipe your beard and mustache using a dish towel?? Forget if it’s red, blue, paisley or plaid? Ever hear of a napkin? Look, whether you “believe” in gluten intolerance or not, didn’t you take some vows some years back? Remember the sentence “for better of for worse, in sickness and in health”? Ring a bell at all? Dude, she already feels like shit that she has to go through the ringer to try to keep her home safe and stay healthy. Don’t make her feel even worse about it. She’s not asking you to eat gluten-free in the house. Just to respect her space, respect her wishes and respect her as a person.

If you can’t do that…gluten is the least of your marriage’s problems.

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21 thoughts on “What Do You Do When Your Husband is Pretty Much an A**wipe?”

    1. Totally agree! The Dude said it all and very well, but there are deeper issues here, so says my inner Dear Abby as well as my gut. He needs to do some forced research, read The Dude, and get to counseling!!! I do not know how this marriage has lasted this long. Please put yourself first, and do whatever is necessary to either get out or get this guy on your page. I doubt he ever will be, though, as he is very selfish and a narcissist!! Been there, done that. Life is way too short!

    2. 100% agree.

      I suggest that you explain that you will leave before you pass away from slow starvation due to Celiac.
      -OR-
      Get your doctor to explain
      -OR-
      put some laxatives in his food for a few days – perhaps a taste of the issues might help – Although you have to realize that this is considered assault. Why it is NOT assault to expose someone with Celiac to gluten is beyond my understanding

  1. Wouldn’t change my Wheaties for the world! (A certain step-parent, maybe, but never my amazing husband or our son.)
    Even though they both eat “normal” bread in our house, we’ve managed to designate “crumby” and “clean” areas in the kitchen; many food items we choose to buy only gluten free; if it’s a “mixed” meal, mine is served first; we use a dishwasher to ensure utensils are washed very thoroughly; contaminated cloths go straight in the wash.
    It was a big change, especially in the beginning, and we made mistakes. But we’ve learned as we have gone along.
    If my husband ever reads this, I would like him to know I am incredibly privileged to love and be loved by such a caring individual.

  2. Wow…. That man has some serious issues! The thing that keeps running through my head is, if he loves her why in the world doesn’t he respect her diet weather or not he agrees. He sees the pain it causes. Why in the world would he subject her to it?!?!

  3. Wow! The husband is an arrogant ass and quite possibly has psychological problems. How anyone can claim to love someone and then mock them for being ill, is beyond me. He is deliberately baiting her and it sounds like he is trying to make her sick. How she stood him this long, I don’t know. She might want to consider leaving him before the problem escalates, and it will. The man is abusive and will not stop his behavior without a wake up call and/ or counseling. She needs to run, not walk away before he hurts her worse.

  4. Yes, we all agree that the man is a jerk. And as the first comment said, it is totally passive aggressive. So does that make me a bad person when my brain went right to: soak a red dishcloth (that he will use on his beard and face), in ammonia and let it dry. One swipe near his face and she may have to tell him that HE is over reacting. She just has to make sure she knows which cloth is the ammonia one. Or she can switch to paper towels only. In a kitchen where there is gluten around, I put a paper towel down under ALL food I prepare – to protect the food from anything that might be on the counter. Which brings me to the last point. Why is there gluten coming into this house? Stop buying it. If he is making his own gluten-full meals, then HE needs to be banished to a makeshift kitchen, ummm, maybe in the garage or the basement. Dorm fridge, hot plate, microwave, dishcloths….the whole set up – AWAY from the GF kitchen. He is NOT more important than her! What a jerk.

  5. That is my step-dad to a T. My brother is getting better. They both have no clue and don’t ant to know or understand. It is very difficult, especially the holidays.

  6. GD-

    Great post. This lady needs some serious advice. Five Years???? I’m not Stephen Hawkings but that is 1,825 days……wtf?!?

    Unless this poor chick cannot leave her house for physical and or financial reasons then I would not be shopping/cooking/cleaning for this assf*ck.

    Not sorry for being so blunt.

    Jersey Girl

  7. My husband not only gave up gluten in our house, but gave up gluten FOR GOOD when I was diagnosed with celiac. I can’t imagine dealing with the terror of eating out in my own home. I don’t know what advice I have for this couple, but I have experienced firsthand what sacrifices may need to be made “in sickness and in health.”

  8. hhhhhhmmmm sad state of affairs for sure … I know it is hard for many of us to believe that so many have a hard time with the people who are closest to them. I know when I started on the gluten free path after my diagnosis my family took some time to come around and there were some tearful frustrating moments, followed by being in pain. Things have improved. Also I started a new relationship within the last 6 years … and not sure how to deal with my having to eat gluten free I did not push much at first … but I have an amazingly supportive partner … the first time he realized that he was making me sick drinking beer and then kissing me … HE STOPPED drinking beer – because you know what – kissing me was a lot more important and there are A LOT of other liquors in the world that we could both enjoy safely. It became the same with eating, once I started sharing meals with him we just naturally started to eat gluten free – because ONE meal is sometimes hard enough to fix with two full time working people. And when we started to share a home together – our home is gluten free, there is a hell of a lot of food in this world, a lot of it GLUTEN FREE naturally and the things that may not be the amazing alternatives are getting better all the time. We don’t miss out and we eat well, and now both our families make a 100% effort when we are together to have meals that are 85% if not the entire meal gluten free. All can be done if there is just some effort and a whole lot of LOVE.

    In saying all this … bottom line is that as others have said I believe this writer has more problems than just not being able to keep her home safe, I think there is a real sad lack of simple caring and consideration in this marriage.

  9. This person has my sympathies. I’ve known I have celiac for 13 years, and, even with a doctor using the c-word, my husband declared it was nonsense and that being completely gluten-free was “fanaticism.” He’s gotten a little better over the years, but to this day, I still don’t feel safe in my own kitchen.

    A practical note about the towels — I always assume the towels are cross-contaminated. I keep a large supply of washed ones on hand and out of sight, and use a fresh one every time I need one for cooking or wiping dishes. If I’m drying my hands, I use a paper towel. Yes, it’s a bit wasteful and requires more laundry, but it’s worth it. I have also taken to hiding the mesh drainer somewhere I know my husband won’t look, ever since he used our last one to rinse some gluten-containing garbage in my absence and didn’t think to mention it before I used it again… Sometimes you have to live like a paranoid person to survive.

    My own diagnosis did not come with an endoscopy, but I did have antibodies on a blood test. At the time the inflammation in my mouth and down my throat was so great, the doctor was reluctant to do the biopsy for fear of creating even more inflammation. It was suggested that I could simply try the diet and see what happened. The difference was so dramatic, and I get so sick from so much as a crumb, that there’s no question I have a serious gluten issue. I personally think that a lot of people continue to suffer needlessly because their diagnoses — whether it be celiac, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, etc — get dismissed if there was no endoscopy, or if celiac in its most classic presentation can’t be proven. Yet the symptoms persist and the person obviously reacts strongly to gluten. If this person gets that sick from gluten, there’s an issue, no matter what her abusive and smug husband thinks. Personally, I would think she’d have to be crazy to do a gluten challenge for the sake of an endoscopy when gluten makes her that sick. She knows what she needs to do to take care of herself. She knows that, at the very least, she is genetically susceptible and gets very sick from gluten. If that’s enough for her, it should be enough.

  10. jrosekonungrinn

    She should just leave the abusive bastard.

    He absolutely does not give a shit about her, even if he claims to care, and that is absolutely just manipulative and abusive.

    I had the same kind of relationship, about 7 years, and you do not see it until they really turn on you, they just manipulate & keep you hooked. The best thing is to just get out. Get out as soon as possible.

  11. No excuse for him at all. You should not have to go through that. You are worth more than that. Get rid of him. His issue is a total lack of respect for you. He only cares about himself.

  12. Wow. All I can say is “people are mean.”

    And I don’t mean just the two from this e-mail.

    She sounds like she’s causing half her stress, and he’s causing the other half. The vows are “for better or worse” and “in sickness and in health.” Sounds like each of them needs to remember there’s two parts to those vows, and it runs both ways.

  13. I kinda go along with the laxative in his food….for weeks on end. Maybe some Ipecac as well. I bet we could get enough folks to pay your bail. Make sure your husband reads these posts.

  14. So, this one made me cry. I totally get her situation. I am 63, disabled because of undiagnosed Celiac of 45 years, and cannot possibly start over after 31 years of marriage to a man who makes me feel my requests for bread crumbs not to be dropped all over the house are simply my way of controlling him. Treated as if I am a nag about it, I have begun feeling that it is no longer worth fighting about my trying to be safe in my own home. So, I get it. And telling someone like me that the marriage has deeper issues is totally a “duh” moment. It certainly doesn’t help with the situation, though. Sometimes, people just want to know that they are not really asking for too much from those they live with when they ask for a safe zone in their home. I will say to the writer of the email, you are not asking for too much. Get professional help asap for your marriage. If you can’t do that, get some counseling for yourself so you can learn to cope with what you cannot change.

  15. Sorry for her husbands total lack of compassion. I would expect a “settling-in” period but 5 years? I was diagnosed with Celiac exactly 7 days ago. My hubs supported me while I got all of the gluten out of the kitchen and separated that which the kids cannot live without, only for him to bring home more gluten. This will be easy for me because I know how much better I feel without gluten. I only HOPE my husband can wrap his head around this and understand the severity of it. He has laughed at me already a few times and is not careful at all, nor does he “remember” that I have Celiac so he brings me home all sorts of goodies I can’t have. Thank you for this blog, I have sent him multiple posts, hopefully he will take the time to read them.

  16. Actually you can be tested for gluten allergy as I was five years ago. They test for four antibodies when they test for celiac and the results determine the allergy. Two of my four were active meaning I am sensitive but not celiac. Celiac would have all four activated. Also, abdominal surgery such as csections can trigger the allergy due to putting stress on the abdominal functions and Area.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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