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DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend could not be bothered to meet my mother when she came to town to visit me, but now that I am visiting her, she wants me to meet her mother. I feel like it’s not fair, and that I would be sending the wrong mes- sage if I went to meet her mom when she didn’t want to meet mine. What should I do? — Visiting
DEAR VISITING: Pause the social engagements and sit down to talk with your girlfriend. Remind her of the time she visited you and refused to meet your mother. Tell her how hurt you were about that. Ask her why she chose not to make time to meet your mother then. Get her to talk about it. Then ask her what has changed. Could it be that you two have gotten closer since that visit? Is her mother more pushy than yours was about securing a meeting? Find out what’s going on.
You also need to think about what you want. Are you at the time in your relationship where it makes sense for you to meet her mother? Are you serious about her? If so, you should have the meet- ing. Being able to get a sense of her mother’s per- sonality and of her rapport with her daughter will pro- vide you with important information about the type of person your girlfriend is, and the type of family from which she comes. It doesn’t mean that you have to propose to her. You can keep things light. What you shouldn’t do is punish your girlfriend for not meeting your mother by refusing to meet hers. Get to the bottom of it instead, and then proceed.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband developed a soy allergy a few years back, and has a long-standing peanut allergy. For this reason, I prefer to make his meals for him. He’s going out of town soon for work, and I am so afraid that he will not be as vigi- lant about the food he’s eating while I’m not there. He was hospitalized while we were on our honey- moon for eating a dessert that had nuts in it. What can I do? — Chef Wife
DEAR CHEF WIFE: It is very thoughtful of you to want to protect your hus- band while he is on his business trip. You can pack dry snacks that are safe for him to eat, but it’s doubtful that you can pre- pare perishable items for him to store during his trip. Instead, remind him of the safe foods that he can order in restaurants. Make sure he travels with his EpiPen or whatever other preventative tools he has.
And remember that he is a grown man. He has to be able to fend for himself. As much as you want to care for him, ultimately, he is responsible for his own life. Ask him to get a list of safe menu items from a nutritionist or his doctor to keep with him. He should tell restaurant servers what he is allergic to upfront so that he reduces risk. He can do it. You can remind him.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an ini- tiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharri- [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.