Dear Abby: Fiance’s kisses can aggravate my celiac disease

A clean mouth reduces the risk, but man refuses to brush his teeth more than once every few days.

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DEAR ABBY: I struggled for years with vomiting and nausea, as well as other digestive issues I dismissed as having a “sensitive stomach.” When my fiance, “Marc,” and I started dating, he urged me to find out the cause of my issues. Six months ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is managed through a gluten-free diet.

Marc has been incredibly supportive, and our kitchen is mostly gluten-free. I can get fairly sick, so we are pretty careful. There’s just one issue: I can get cross-contaminated if he kisses me after eating gluten, and he does eat gluten quite often. It can be resolved if he brushes his teeth thoroughly, but he brushes his teeth only every two or three days.

Marc is a grown man, and while we’ve discussed it briefly from a health standpoint, I don’t want to be responsible for managing his oral hygiene. That needs to be his responsibility. I don’t know where to draw the line, though, without being controlling. Is it reasonable to expect my fiance to brush his teeth after eating gluten? Or every morning and evening? Or must I just accept that I won’t be able to kiss him except on rare occasions? — BAD KISS IN KANSAS

DEAR BAD KISS: If kissing your fiance causes you to have episodes of nausea and vomiting (as well as other digestive issues), out of respect for your welfare, your fiance should be willing, if not eager, to modify his snacking habits. Insisting that he do what dental health professionals have urged as far back as I can remember is not “controlling” — it is protecting your health and his. SPEAK UP!

DEAR ABBY: My cousin is refusing to allow me to see my aunt (“Betty”). After a horrible 2020, during which my cousin lost her husband to cancer and the lockdown kept most people isolated, my cousin still guards her mom beyond reason. I have asked repeatedly if we could meet in person at an outside location and offered to wear a mask, but she refuses.

My cousin said in a text that she’s in charge of her mom’s schedule. Her reasons when we speak are the loss of her husband, grief and fear. My aunt is visited often by her grandkids, who live regular lives exposed to the many elements out there, and my cousin works in an industry where she’s exposed to many people.

My aunt is in her late 80s, and I’m afraid the next time I see her will be in her casket. After losing several people close to me these past few years, it is obvious to me that life is short and we have no idea when our time will end. When my father died, Aunt Betty and her husband were very kind to me. I have always adored her.

It makes me sad and sometimes angry that my cousin is doing this. I think she’s being selfish. Should I say anything to her or just let it be? — MISSING MY AUNT OUT WEST

DEAR MISSING: By all means, have that conversation with your cousin. Because she has a career that exposes her to strangers who could transmit a contagious disease, and she allows the grandkids to visit, her reasons for not allowing you to see your aunt make no sense.

What does make sense is that she may have other reasons for preventing you from being involved with her mother. What they may be, only she can answer.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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