Dating can be a worrying time for those who have food allergies. Whether you are the one with a food allergy or the one dating someone with a food allergy, it may be a difficult but necessary discussion to have.
Natascia Simone, FAACT College/Young Adult Council Member, shares her perspective, experience and tips on dating with food allergies. You can also check out her full post on FAACT’s blog.
“I can still remember the butterflies I felt in my stomach the moment he asked me out on a date. I was excited but also terrified of how I would tell him about my food allergies. It really does affect the entire date-planning process. He couldn’t just pick any restaurant. I couldn’t just say, ‘I’ll have what he’s having’ like you see in the movies. And I most certainly could not end the date with a kiss not knowing what was in his meal! Some people with food allergies may think that this issue can wait until the second or third date or that you can just order a simple grilled chicken and veggies dish and be safe. The truth is, you can’t. Food allergies must be discussed on the first date so none of the above will occur, potentially causing an allergic reaction to take place when no one around you knows what is happening or what to do.
“I look at the positive aspect of this. A food-allergic person opening up about something so personal leaves the other individual feeling special because you were not afraid or embarrassed to discuss this matter with him or her. I have learned from experience that this IS the best option. With my current boyfriend, I decided I would build up the courage and try things a little differently. I actually called him the day before our first date and explained all the details of my allergies, the severity of food allergies, and what needs to be done in case a reaction occurs. The response I received was unexpected and endearing. We chose a restaurant together, and the next night he picked me up 15 minutes early so I could show him how to use an epinephrine auto-injector. Right away there was a bond that showed his respect for me. Our relationship began to build instantly. He then opened up to me about some personal aspects in his life, as well! I no longer view food allergies as a burden, but as a gift.”
Quick Tips on Dating and Food Allergies:
- Call the person the day before the date – don’t text!
- Explain in detail your food allergy, the severity of your allergy, and other important details.
- Choose a restaurant together.
- Demonstrate the epinephrine auto-injector in-person.
- Make sure what he or she is eating is safe, too (if you want a first date kiss!)
- Be serious, but also instill humor when appropriate to calm your date’s nerves!
- BE HONEST, and there will be a second date!