Living with people... Possible or nightmare?

Hey I am a coeliac at university and I only got diagnosed when I came here (severe uptake in the intake of processed white wheat products!).

Anyway, I don't want to be a moaner, but how do I get my housemate and my boyfriend (and his housemates) to understand it is serious.

My housemate seems to think that I over react to it and take it too seriously. My boyfriend seems to think keeping food in I can eat is something to be done when he can be bothered or has the cash.

Neither understand the inability to eat takeaway (really, have you ever tried explaining to the girl on the phone what coeliacs disease is? Waste. Of. Time.

I don't know what to do. Any tactful ideas?

7 Replies

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  • As a non coeliac who has learnt a lot about the disease recently, i would perhaps advise getting an info sheet about what the affect gluten has on you and making them realise that it is not a fad but an auto immune disease. It shocked me! Getting them to realise that they could be poisoning you should help.

    If you understand about your condition just sit them down and say you need a chat - so that you can help each other.

    Takeaway's are a different thing, perhaps you need to do a personal visit and see what they might have on the menu which is safe and then just order it without having to explain. Best of luck :)

  • Tactful approach? Actually in your situation I'd be inclined to be a bit more blunt. Point them to the Coeliac Society site which explains what it is and the health issues, remind them that long-term usage increases your risk of bowel cancer, osteoporosis and deficiency diseases.

    If they still don't believe, invite them round when you have one of the inevitable gluten "attacks" to see what state you end up in.

    If they still don't believe you, frankly you need a new boyfriend!

    What's most important is you must look after your own health and not be bullied into eating gluten.

    Sadly I encounter this "I don't believe..." attitude all too often and have learned to just state the facts and ignore any grief they may give.

  • Hi Ellie, I think that your housemate your and your boy friend are being very insensitive to YOU and YOUR nneds. And I think that you feel bullied and intimidated by their lack of concern.

    You have to take responsibility for you being a coeliac and you have to be assertive over your needs, full stop. Being assertive is not easy because by being too assertive you come across as aggressive and worse still by not being assertive enough you are being passive aggressive.

    I think it's harder if you have been diagnosed since you starting dating your current boy friend and have had the same house mate before diagnosis. Because the status quo has changed and they want things as before so on one level they feel threatned by you being a coeliac.

    I would print off advice for coeliac for your housemate and then ask them if they are going to respect your dietary needs? And as for your boy friend I'd tell him that you've taken up tae kwon do and if he doesn't respect you and your needs you'll give him two big black b***'s. That should bring a tear to his eyes as he needs to KNOW that this is important to you and your health, it is not a fad.

    Seriously I know this is a tongue and cheek comment but you need to stand up for yourself here Ellie. And I've got a way with words...

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

    Jerry

    Ps it might be worth asking coeliac copper how he's getting on at Uni sharing with 3 others. Just look him up in the GFG directory and send him a private message.

  • Hey- I'm in the exact same situation as you! I'm a recently-diagnosed uni student living with my boyfriend and a housemate and I've had a completely different experience. They're always careful to not touch anything I've bought as specifically gluten free, will always make sure that there's stuff for me to eat when we go out and have even bought separate cutlery and washing up sponges for me!

    I think part of the reason for this is a) I'm a medical student and I know exactly what being half-arsed about a GF diet can do to you so when I was diagnosed, I sat them both down and explained it to them and b) I'm not afraid to tactfully call them up on it when they forget things. Although tactfully can occasionally drift into aggressively...

    I'd suggest that you do both of these things as best you can. Giving everyone an info sheet is a great idea.

    Secondly, if the BF is being a pain about food then perhaps you could suggest that you have entirely separate food budgets. He doesn't eat your food and you don't eat his. Annoying, I know, but at least if you're organised it guarantees you'll always have something to eat.

    Finally, with regards to takeaways... I haven't even attempted that yet but I agree that the safest way would be to visit in person and see what they can do. If you get to know the people there then you should be able to be confident about ordering from them in the future. Failing that, maybe try to persuade your housemates to eat at chains that definitely offer gluten-free options e.g. Bella Italia, Nandos. Not as cheap as take-away, maybe, but perhaps as an occasional alternative?

    Out of interest, whereabouts do you do go to uni? If you live in London, we could perhaps trade tips on places to buy/eat GF food. I've only been GF for a week properly so I need all the help I can get!

  • I feel very sympathetic towards you as its not easy at the best of times, but you have further complications in that you share food budgets etc. You need them to take this seriously...if he is any kind of boyfriend he will be supportive to you, even when you are at your worst in the middle of a gluten attack! That is a true test of any kind of relationship.....

    I would become responsible only for my own food and take it from there. I explain my Coeliac disease as a type of very serious allergy...it seems to make it easier for people to understand the problems with it. It usually leads to them asking how it will affect you and I think the best thing to do is give them all the gory details of a gluten attack..it will make them more aware of inflicting such a thing on you!

  • Northern Soul, I am in London.... I am also regionally from the north. Which I think you might be, meet up would be ace.

  • The boyfriend got dumped and I am moving in with other people!!

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