Dear Amy:

Because of a job layoff last year, our 32-year-old daughter has been living with my husband and me. She recently returned to work but receives a low salary and no health insurance.

She has a gluten intolerance, which requires meals without wheat and other additives. She refuses to eat the difficult-to-find and expensive gluten-free meals I purchase, accept any money or use the microwave. The food she purchases is scant.

She appears emaciated but is adamant (without medical advice) that her weight is normal. She became irate when I voiced my concern.

My husband feels that as an adult she can make her own decisions. I believe that she is rebelling against her need to return home at her age. What can we do before she is hospitalized for anorexia?

Terrified Mother

Before your daughter is hospitalized for anorexia, you and your husband should do everything possible to secure medical treatment (and mental health counseling) for her. If you can’t afford to pay for a checkup, research her options under Medicaid (or other programs for low-income people) and do everything possible to encourage her to take charge of her health.

Eating disorders can be complex and challenging to treat. Do not deny or diminish this issue. If she has an eating disorder, you need to work as a team to either find ways to urge her into treatment, or cope with the sadness and anxiety of watching this depressed adult damage her health.

The National Eating Disorders Association has information and referrals on its Web site:

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Dear Amy:

I am a soon-to-be divorced middle-age man.

My daughter has a boyfriend, and I have known his mother since we were both teenagers. She has been divorced for five years.

We’ve had this unspoken thing for each other for over 30 years. We met for drinks and hit it off, just talking about our kids. Is it wrong to take it to the next level?

Wondering Dad

If by “the next level” you mean waiting until your divorce is final and then pursuing a romantic relationship with this friend — then I say, go for it! Climb aboard life’s elevator, hit the “up” button, and see where it takes you.

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Dear Amy:

Congratulations on your time off. After 10 years, it was about time. I have to say I really enjoyed your “best of” columns and frequently found myself laughing out loud. There were some real gems in there.


I’m back, I’m rested, and I’m mining for more gems.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune