Dear Abby: I have been dating my boyfriend, “Mike,” for about two years, and things are going great. During this time, I have become very close with his family. Both of his parents came to the United States from Europe, and with their culture comes his mother’s traditional cooking and the need to make sure everyone’s bellies are full.
I have always enjoyed her food; however, in the last six months, I have become a vegetarian. Out of courtesy for her, I have been making sure to eat at home before spending time at Mike’s house. I can see that his mother feels a bit put off because I have been eating less of her food, but I feel that it would be rude to ask her for a separate meal to accommodate my diet. What should I do?
– Nervous in New England
Dear Nervous: Your boyfriend’s mother may be put off because she doesn’t understand why you seem to be enjoying her cooking less. If you and Mike have been seeing each other for two years, you and his mother should be able to have an honest conversation with each other. Tell her that you enjoy her cooking but that you have changed your diet and no longer eat meat, etc. If she volunteers to prepare something else for you, it would be gracious of her. However, if she doesn’t, I agree that it would be rude to ask her to do so.
Moving away loosens ties
Dear Abby: My husband and I were close friends with another couple, seeing them once or twice a week. Then we had to move away from our hometown because of a job opportunity. We tried to stay in touch, but predictably were not as close as when we were neighbors.
A few months ago, we were able to move back home, and we have been trying to revive the friendship. We have invited them to dinner three times, only to be told: “We have commitments this week, and next week is crazy at work. Let’s try to get together next month when things calm down.” But there was no follow-up.
They do travel a lot, have small children and demanding jobs, so it’s hard to know if the delays are real or if they aren’t interested in being friends any longer.
How much do we try before feeling we’re annoying them and giving up?
– Back Home in Ohio
Dear Back Home: Do as your friends suggested and give them a call in a month or six weeks. If they are still unavailable, say, “OK, then the ball is on your court,” and see if they follow up. And if they don’t, then realize it’s time to give up. When you moved away, they moved on.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.