Dear Annie: I am a woman who follows a strict diet. It has nothing to do with weight or any medical condition. I don’t care about calories. It’s about eating organic, and there are a lot of things I do not tolerate, such as corn syrup, food coloring, table sugar, unfiltered water, etc.
If I do not approve of a treat someone has made, is it appropriate to politely decline to accept it? On occasions where I’m given something I don’t have to eat in front of them, I graciously accept it and then give it away later. What if I’m on a date and the guy wants to take me where I wouldn’t ordinarily eat? Should I insist on sticking to my diet?
I can handle a few splurges here and there, but how do I avoid constantly eating junk without being rude or weird? I live in a rural area, so there are not many restaurant choices. — Upstate Dieter
Dear Dieter: If someone offers you food that you prefer not to eat, don’t feel obligated to stick it in your mouth. Say “thank you” and put it aside, or if you are feeling expansive, explain that you have difficulty tolerating certain foods. When out on a date, you will need to be flexible if your choices are limited. Most restaurants have options that, while not ideal, are tolerable on occasion – plain baked chicken or fish, for example. On subsequent dates, when you know each other better, let the guy know that you only eat organic. Then offer to cook him dinner.
Dear Annie: My mom is in her 60s and has been both divorced and widowed. She would love to find someone to spend time with, and we want her to be happy.
The problem is, Mom has devoted herself to this “man search” to the point that nothing else is important. When she meets a man, she becomes totally absorbed in him. When we ask her to do things with her grandchildren, she replies, “I don’t know. I might get a better offer.” When we invite her to the kids’ events, she says, “I’m not sure. I am hoping someone will ask me out.”
Now we don’t call as much because it hurts to know we’re second best to any guy she just met. Mom is often lonely because she waits by the phone for “him” instead of doing things with other people. We wish she would also remember to make time for the family who loves her and the friends who want to spend time with her. Instead, she neglects us for any man who pops into her life. What can we do? — Never the Better Offer
Dear Never: There’s not much you can do if your mother insists on behaving like an adolescent girl. Try to accept this behavior as best you can. It isn’t intended to hurt you. Mom’s self-worth is tied to having a man in her life, and without one, she doesn’t feel she has value.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Just Wondering,” whose daughter-in-law has an overly close relationship with her 20-year-old son.
My son was 4 years old when his father and I divorced. A few years later, his dad left his life for good. My son has struggled throughout his years with social anxiety and many other mental issues, and we have been to counseling. He is also abnormally close to me and doesn’t like to leave my side.
Now that he is a teenager, people comment that it is not normal and he should be out with his friends. It is very easy for people to judge without knowing what it’s like to have a child who struggles with life. I do agree with your answer, though, that the family needs ongoing counseling. — SFIP
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.