DEAR ABBY: How would you suggest I deal with people who continually want to sabotage my diet? I worked very hard to drop more than 30 pounds. I also have digestive health issues that are no one’s business. An example: During the coffee break at a meeting at work, someone offered me lovely homemade baked goods. I said, “No, thank you.” I then got a snide remark about being ungrateful for all the “effort that went into them” and was urged to “just try a little bit to be sociable.”
Another time someone plunked a huge chunk of frosting-laden something in front of me. Or, a friend brings me a large quantity of candy or wine or strange “gourmet” stuff I can’t eat, all of which wind up in the trash even after I have asked them to please don’t.
When I visit my mother, she continues to pile stuff on my plate even after I repeatedly say, “No more, thank you.” Then I get a lecture about wasting food. What do I need to be doing or saying differently? — SABOTAGED IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR SABOTAGED: Take your easily offended co-workers aside and tell them, individually, that you cannot eat their tempting pastries because your doctor has told you you mustn’t. I am sure it is the truth, and you should not feel guilty.
As to your mother, who really should know better, the next time she accuses you of wasting food, I don’t think you would be out of line to tell her in plain English that she, not you, is the one wasting food by piling more than you can comfortably eat on your plate.
DEAR ABBY: When I married my wife, “Celia,” I was still in college, and she was a well-paid professional with an advanced degree. She told me that while she supported my goals, she expected me to be an equal partner and contribute my fair share. I worked, took out student loans, and we evenly divided our expenses and maintained separate bank accounts.
Flash-forward 30 years: Celia’s finances are a disaster. While I saved, spent wisely and planned for retirement, she spent foolishly and is now mired in a mountain of debt with no savings at all. She ignored my commonsense financial advice over the years and chose to live beyond her means — new cars, long vacations, expensive jewelry, etc.
I am now comfortably retired, but Celia lives paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford even the smallest of unforeseen bills. I pay for all home repairs, vehicle maintenance, new appliances, etc.
Realistically, without financial help, Celia, now 60, will never be able to retire. Her “plan” is for me to die first, then collect my pension, savings, life insurance and Social Security. Whichever one of us goes first, she’s set, in her mind.
Question: Am I ethically or morally obligated to help her financially? Sometimes I want to, other times I don’t. — TORN IN THE WEST
DEAR TORN: You and Celia are long overdue for consulting a financial adviser who can help you get this problem under control. I suggest you find a credit counselor affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
I am not going to weigh in on the subjects of ethics and morals, but I will say this: As Celia’s husband, you are legally obligated. (If she is truly counting on your death to be her retirement plan, you may need to hire a food taster.)
TO MY READERS: Sundown marks the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Happy Passover, everyone!