My wife doesn’t know my weight loss secret. And she can never find out.

Dear Prudence is Slate’s advice column. Submit questions here.

Dear Prudence,

I don’t know how to tell my wife that I’ve started taking Ozempic. I am diabetic. For several years, I have worn a continuous glucose monitor and taken metformin. Unfortunately, the metformin gives me awful “gastrointestinal distress,” so I can’t take the full dose I actually need. My blood sugar is OK, but it could be better. Recently, my doctor recommended trying Ozempic instead (it is covered by my insurance with a normal co-pay). After two months, the Ozempic is working great. It does have its own weird side effects, but I’m no longer afraid to venture more than 50 feet from a bathroom. I haven’t lost any weight, but my blood sugar numbers have already improved dramatically. I haven’t had a high blood sugar alert from my glucose monitor in weeks. My problem is telling my wife.

She is very firmly (and loudly) against Ozempic. She doesn’t really say she thinks Ozempic is “cheating” at weight loss—she is more upset about so many people taking drugs that may have serious side effects in order to conform to problematic ideas about weight and health. I think she has a point! But she has been so outspoken on the subject that I feel like she would see my prescription as a rebuke. I don’t want to fight about this. It’s not really up for discussion anyway. If I tell her, I can only see two outcomes: Either there would be pointless conflict over a medical decision I’ve already made or she would feel like I was criticizing her and keep her real opinion quiet. Neither of those is a fight I want to pick. So I guess my question is: Do I actually need to tell her?

—Stealth Semaglutide

Dear Stealth Semaglutide,

Try this: “Can we talk about something? My doctor switched me to Ozempic to help with diabetes and it’s been working, without all the gastrointestinal issues I had with my previous medication. But I’ve been afraid to tell you because I know how you feel about people taking drugs that may have serious side effects in order to conform to problematic ideas about weight and health. I’m obviously not taking it for that reason but I was still nervous about your judgment.” She’ll very likely say, “Of course I wouldn’t judge you for that!”

But if she gives you a hard time or appears to be silently seething, please remember that being on the wrong side of her opinion on this issue doesn’t mean you’ve done wrong. And in fact, I’d have some concerns about any partner who wouldn’t want me to do something that made me feel better—whether that feeling came from losing a few pounds, or finding a way to be more than 50 feet away from a bathroom without anxiety.

That said, your wife’s critique of Ozempic users has at its core a desire for people to be OK—to be at peace in their bodies and not feel pressure to risk side effects to obtain society’s approval. She wants people to take care of their health in ways that work for them and aren’t driven by outside pressure or judgment. I’m hopeful that she’ll apply that same lens to your situation and celebrate that you’re thriving rather than sacrificing your health to align with her opinions.

How to Get Advice

Submit your questions anonymously here. (Questions may be edited for publication.) And for questions on parenting, kids, or family life, try Care and Feeding!

Dear Prudence,

I have four children, two boys and two girls. My sons are married; my daughters are not. Since I have retired, I have frequently taken trips with my daughters. They are easy traveling companions; my sons’ wives are not. They are lovely women, but their temperaments are not comfortable to be around in small, shared spaces. One is unable to plan anything with anyone else in mind (she got airline tickets that were slightly cheaper but at an airport 50 miles away instead of the one right by my house—and expected me to drive at midnight to pick them up).

The other has zero filter. She dives right into subjects that she has been asked to avoid and gets offended when she offends someone (she and my daughters are completely opposite on the political spectrum so that is the topic she picks at most). I would rather have my fingernails ripped out than imagine being trapped in the car with all four of them on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. My sons have mentioned time and again that their wives want to be included and are hurt that I haven’t offered. I have tried to sidestep the issue by saying how much I want to see them on the annual family vacation but it is just easier to coordinate with their sisters since they live nearby. It isn’t working. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here. Help!

—Daughter Trips

Dear Daughter Trips,

If your daughters-in-law aren’t close enough to you to say to you directly, “I would love to come on one of the girls’ trips sometime,” they’re not close enough to be invited. Plus, the fact that the requests are coming through your sons makes me question whether there’s much truth to the story that these women are actually desperate to tag along. Until they say it to your face, I wouldn’t worry about it.

If they do confront you, you can say, “This is a special tradition I do with my daughters and it’s not meant to exclude anyone. Plus experience traveling has taught me that it’s best to keep groups very small and manageable.” Then add, “If you’d like to plan something with just the three of us, let me know!” and hope they don’t take you up on the offer (trust me, they won’t).

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Dear Prudence, 

Last year, my sister emailed me a $50 gift card attached to an e-card for my birthday. I haven’t participated in gift-giving for decades, and she knows this and hasn’t sent me anything in the past. Our parents recently passed away (I was an end-of-life caretaker for both) and I think she wants to stay close. I didn’t open it for a while but when I saw the e-card in my inbox I said, “Thanks.” She told me to enjoy the gift, to which I responded that I don’t do gifts. She said that she does. When I finally opened it and realized there was a cash gift card attached, I forwarded it to my daughter with an explanation (she knows my sister irritates me). For my sister’s birthday, I passive-aggressively sent her a $75 gift card.

If she sends me another gift card, would it be rude to forward it to her daughter? I don’t want to be mean but I don’t want a gift either. We have a fairly large family (I’m one of five and we all have kids) and receiving gifts gives me recipient anxiety. I know this is my problem, not hers. She said she enjoys bringing people joy through gifts. But it doesn’t bring me joy, it brings me stress.

—Happy Curmudgeonly

Dear Happy,

I’ve never heard of a passive-aggressively sent $75 gift card before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. That was the wrong move, though. You have to stay consistent with your message, and if the essence is, “I don’t do gifts,” you can’t start giving gifts! Even if you mean it in a “Take that!” way. I’m not in favor of forwarding the card to your niece either.

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Here’s what you should do: Google some combination of “sponsor a family” or “adopt a family” combined with your area and find an organization that helps people who are struggling to make it, whether they’re recent immigrants or have just transitioned from homelessness into their first place. Call or email the organization and find out who to contact if you have a gift card you’d like to pass on. And the next time your sister gives you one, forward it right on to them. Your message to her can be, “You know I don’t feel comfortable receiving gifts, and I wish you would respect that. From now on if you send me something, I’ll be handing it over to someone in need.”

The other, more important part of the conversation you need to have is, “I know you are doing this because we lost our parents and you want to stay close. I have some other ideas for how that can happen.” And then suggest something that doesn’t take place over email, and doesn’t involve the exchange of money or violating someone’s clearly stated preferences.

More Advice From Slate

My grandmother told my family that she is talking to and going to marry the country singer Toby Keith, but that it has to be a secret because his manager doesn’t want it getting out for “bad publicity.” Multiple family members and I have tried to tell her that this is a scam.

https://slate.com/advice/2024/05/weight-loss-secret-wife-ozempic-marriage-advice.html

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