The kiss of death: how my romantic life suffered after being diagnosed with celiac disease

0 09/07/2021 – In this era of “Sex & the City”, more and more women are taking a stubborn, Samantha Jonesian approach to dating. I was one of them. I remember pushing a guy I barely knew into a room at a house party and slamming the door behind us. But that all changed a year and a half ago when I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

What should a Samantha Jones do? Whisper in someone’s ear, “Uh, listen, I’d love to push you into this room and kiss you, but the list of things I’m seriously allergic to is so long that I don’t risk harming my skin. Hey, I’m going to need you to go to the bathroom first and brush your teeth. ” In addition to the toothbrush hurdle, other dating dilemmas plague us celiacs. Most restaurants have a few dishes that we can be sure are gluten free. Even at home, we need to beware of the slippages of our friends and family. Constant vigilance is necessary, and this unfortunately takes the form of harassment.

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I spent several months mourning the sudden loss of my spontaneous and carefree self. With weak and clumsy hope, I kept what I called “the emergency makeup toothbrush” in my bag, but it remained buried with my confidence under my wallet and my ipod.

My dry dating period had more to do with my self-confidence than my strict diet. I was afraid to approach people. Whereas before I guided the evening through my conversation and body language, now I was afraid of venturing into openly flirtatious territory because the dreaded toothbrushing conversation hovered ominously over the bottle of beer in the room. hand of each prospect.

I dreamed that an attractive and confident person would lift this oppressed rag doll off the ground. I imagined him hugging me and remembering how special and desirable I always was.

One weekend, finally, I met someone. We connected instantly. I braved the toothbrushing talk and he responded with a warm little laugh. Finally, I thought, I am saved. Yet when it came to discussing the severity of my lifestyle restrictions, I held back. My health required frank and in-depth conversation. Instead, I euphemized, tiptoed, and walked through the problem to no avail, hoping it would bring the pieces together.

There was a constant procession of things I had to bring up with him: What kind of toothpaste was he using? I can’t drink that kind of instant coffee; Was the buckwheat flour in these cookies ground in the same mill as the wheat? … Etc. Embarrassing gastrointestinal reactions would occur because sometimes I was too ashamed to assert my needs. After a few weeks, my mind was so confused by the onslaught of insecurity and annoyance that our relationship deteriorated.

At the start of most relationships, it’s probably best to address our whims rather than delving into the awkward details. I don’t think, however, that this is the case for celiacs. We are a breed that needs to lead by example: if others see us taking a casual attitude towards our food, they will think it is okay for them to do so too.

I’ve been asking myself the same question ever since I was diagnosed: “Why should I be ashamed?” I am meticulous for medical reasons. I’m not just “picky” or “picky”. Insecurity is the result of two things: First, I sadly admit that my pre-diagnosed self probably wouldn’t be very empathetic towards a celiac. The second reason for this blockage is that I was not so sure of myself and confident at the start.

Looking back, I see that I was only playing roles that I had seen performed successfully by others. Intelligent remarks, flirtatious gestures, daring actions, these were facades that hid doubt. If I had been truly confident, I would have accepted my illness as a unique quirk. Instead, I felt flawed, unwanted, even weird.

Little by little I am reconciled with my new life. Things are going to be different, but that doesn’t mean they will be any worse. I can’t be the same carefree person I once was. It might be good. Personal growth came from no longer relying on spontaneous kisses to fill me up. I also learned to better understand disabled and seriously ill people. Finally, I accepted the fact that this Raggedy-Ann has to build her own muscle. I am now developing the strength to stand upright from the inside, without seeking it from the outside.

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