DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of four years has been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. We’re both only 51. Obviously, we face a grim reality. He has already tried once to end our relationship to spare me the inevitable, but I convinced him I’m in it to the bitter end.
Now he’s accusing his family (and me) of being interested only in interrogating him about his conversations with others regarding his condition. He has cut off contact for the last few days while he reevaluates all of his relationships. I’m respecting his wishes, which is so hard since we have never gone a day without speaking.
My problem is the relief I feel. There are no meltdowns, no angry outbursts, no having to tiptoe around our conversations. Until now, I didn’t realize the pressure I was under. My dilemma now is: If he wishes to continue our relationship, should I? His anger is scaring me, and he’s losing himself so quickly. He’s not the man I grew to love.
I haven’t taken vows, but I don’t feel right ducking out when he needs someone the most. I’m confused about what to do. — TORN IN TWO IN THE SOUTH
DEAR TORN: The relationship you shared with your boyfriend is essentially over. You stated that his illness is turning him into someone else. You are not his wife, and you are not responsible for his well-being. Talk with his family and suggest they create a long-term plan for his care. He is going to need one. Because the emotion you are feeling now is primarily one of relief, allow this man to end the relationship if that is what he wants to do.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter-in-law just became a vegetarian and she seems to think pasta, cheese and fruit are all that is needed. She and my son have a 1-year-old and insist she be a vegetarian too. I’m worried because I feel like the protein is missing. There’s no effort to calculate protein levels, and now she has decided to eliminate cow’s milk, although ice cream and whipped cream seem to be OK. I’ve encouraged my son to add soy and other beans to the baby’s diet. He does all the cooking and seems a bit overwhelmed.
I don’t live close, or I would happily prepare some meals for them. Is there anything I can do to encourage them to plan the meals more carefully and get the proper protein-to-carb ratio? I’m worried they may be cheating my grandbaby of the needed building blocks of health. I’ve kept my mouth shut so far, but I’m really worried. Help! — HEALTHY GRANDMA IN FLORIDA
DEAR GRANDMA: A vegetarian diet can be a healthy one for little ones. Because you have concerns, encourage your son and daughter-in-law to discuss this with their child’s pediatrician. Many books have been written about healthy vegetarian diets, and there is a world of information about it on the internet. Explore the subject for your own peace of mind, and encourage them to do the same.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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