Dear Abby: I have multiple chronic health conditions. Because my symptoms are worsened by a lot of foods, I’m on a highly restricted diet. If I stay on it, I feel as well as possible. (I never feel entirely well.)
When I go to friends’ homes for dinner or parties, would it be rude for me to bring along something for myself that I can eat that won’t make me sick? I can’t have grains, dairy, eggs, sugar, the list goes on and on, but I could always bring extra food to share if you think that would be appropriate.
I have been eating before I go and then claiming not to be hungry, but I feel it would be rude to do this at dinner parties. What do you suggest I do? I prefer that my health not be a topic of conversation. – Can’t Eat Jack
Dear Can’t: Your health won’t be a topic of conversation at these gatherings if you discuss this with your host(s) at the time you are invited to the party. Explain that you are on a severely restricted diet, picking at their food might be interpreted as rude and you don’t wish to come across that way. Ask if you can bring your own food with you. I’m sure your hosts will understand and tell you to enjoy their hospitality (if not their food) because they welcome your company.
Dear Abby: My husband and I received a worrisome email from our 20-something-year-old son, a graduate student some distance away. He wrote that he is recovering from wounds of his childhood. (We thought we were loving, supportive parents.) He indicated he will come home for visits only if we comply with his demands – about 10 were listed – and accused us of some things we never did.
On the advice of my counselor – I have a history of depression, which is in remission – I agreed to his demands in order to keep the lines of communication open. My husband refuses to do this. He is overwhelmingly hurt, angry and frustrated. He says he “will not walk on eggshells in his own home.” Our son is our only child. What can or should we do? – Heartbroken in Ohio
Dear Heartbroken: Nobody should have to walk on eggshells. If ever I heard of a family that could benefit from family counseling, you three are it. Your doctor or insurance company can refer you to someone who is licensed and competent. Please don’t wait.
Dear Abby: My biological mother gave me up at birth. Her reason for doing it changes every time I ask. I joined the Navy right out of high school and left the service at 25. Less than a month later, she contacted me. It turns out that I have three half-siblings, but I have no desire to connect with them.
She waited 25 years to contact me, and I was the only one of my siblings she gave up. Does it make me a bad person that I have no emotional connection to my biological family? – No Feelings in the East
Dear No Feelings: No, it does not. Whatever her reason for surrendering you, you have built a good life. Please stop feeling guilty for moving forward and living it. Doing so does not make you a bad person, only a healthy one.