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Slow Eater Can't Keep Up With Boyfriend's Family at Dinner

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Aiden," and I have been together for eight months. We're both in our 20s. We go to his parents' house every other week for dinner. I get along with them quite well.

The problem is, Aiden's family eats very quickly, and I'm always the last one done. My family, on the other hand, tends to spend about an hour around the dinner table when we gather. Even when I try to eat quickly, I'm still way behind Aiden's family.

How can I politely address this? I hate to keep people waiting, but I believe it's wrong to leave food on my plate when I'm still hungry. -- CHEWING AS FAST AS I CAN

DEAR CHEWING: I agree you shouldn't leave food on your plate if you are still hungry. Eating slowly, thoroughly chewing one's food and enjoying a meal in a relaxed manner is healthy. Wolfing down one's food really isn't. You are not going to change Aiden's family's lifestyle. If you bring this up, they may become defensive. Just enjoy your food as you have been, and let them enjoy theirs in the way they are used to.

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