Whether it's an allergy or lifestyle choice, special dietary requirements can make dating a little tricky. Whether you're dating a fussy eater or you're the one with some intolerances, it's worth ensuring you avoid the common pitfalls of having different needs so that food doesn't take over your relationship.
Rachel MacLynn, relationship expert and Founder of Matchmaking Consultancy Vida (www.thevidaconsultancy.com) shares her top tips for harmonious dating, no matter what you're eating.
If you’re the one with the food allergies/preferences and you’re feeling awkward about being difficult, relax a little. Know that you’re entirely within your rights to look after your health and as long as you show consideration to others you’re doing nothing wrong. When we’re unsure in ourselves other people can sometimes pick up on this and press the point. Be confident that you’re doing the right thing for you.
That said, going out with someone who continually talks about and makes a fuss about food can be a bore. If you’re guilty of being a drama queen stop and think, ask yourself if you have a habit of making everything about you and if you’re using your food allergies as a way to dominate the conversation again. Let your partner have their share of the limelight too.
If your problem is being overly negative about your food allergies, rather than complain about all the things you can’t eat, emphasise the types of food you really do enjoy. You’ll be amazed at how much better people respond to positive sentiments over negative; people tend to respond in kind – put out negativity and you’re likely to get it back.
Watch out for becoming entrenched in your position. If this is a continual battle between you and your partner you may find yourselves anticipating problems every time you go out for food, creating tension right from the start. Watch out for flying off the handle and over-reacting at the merest comment. Is this argument one you should be letting go of?
See it as an opportunity – there’s nothing sexier than someone who broadens our horizons. Differences in relationships often give us the opportunity to experience new things. A partner’s food allergies could make the other person aware of some un-healthy habits in their own diet or open them up to unusual foods they’ve never tried. Make it an adventure!
Be practical! If you want to minimise disruption around your allergies when you go out, call ahead. Check what foods are and aren’t on the menu, explain your situation and ensure its one the restaurant can cater for. Go and have a quiet word with the waiter about your needs instead of interrupting the conversation at the table in front of everyone.
Use your partner’s food allergies as a way to show you care. Research recipes you can cook from scratch from home or food places you can take them to. Having a food allergy may not be fun for you but it’s sure to be even less fun for them! Feeling looked after and showing them that you accept them just as they are will go along way to placing you in their affections.
If it all goes well and the initial stages of dating blossom into something more, one rule successful couples live by is to put the other person first whenever you can – if you both do it you’ll each feel loved and rewarded. Think of yourself as learning good habits for a lifetime together.
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