Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Cheese! After a year of bad indigestion, my husband was recently diagnosed as lactose intolerant. After cutting all dairy out of his diet, he feels much better on a daily basis. But, as a lifelong Midwesterner who grew up putting cheese on everything, the lifestyle change has been hard for him. He recently asked if it would be possible for me to refrain from eating cheese when we share a meal or a snack at home together. I’ll usually sprinkle some goat cheese on a salad, or have gruyère with crackers during lunch, but seeing me enjoy something that he used to love has been hard for him. Prudie, I love my husband dearly and I’m glad that changing his diet has helped him feel a lot better. But is it reasonable for him to make me live a cheese-free life, just to minimize his temptations?
A: At the risk of ignoring your problem, there have been real strides in nondairy cheeses over the past 10 years: Miyoko’s, Kite Hill, and Treeline are all excellent and worth trying out. He may find it less maddening to watch you eat cheese on occasion if he has options available to him too. In your situation, I’d be sympathetic to a degree but would stop short of promising never to eat cheese in the house again; there are ways to model support (trying nondairy cheeses together, giving lactose pills a try, not eating cheese in the house more than once a day) that don’t involve adopting his dietary restrictions as your own 100 percent of the time.