Dating With Food Allergies

         So many situations have become more difficult as a result of the pandemic— dating was one of them. For me, however, dating had a few challenges before the pandemic, because of my allergies. It may be a while before dating is safer since many places to go are still closed, but until then, here are some dating tips and experiences I have for anyone with allergies.

        The people I dated were very considerate about my allergies and always made sure to wash their hands whenever we did something together, especially if it involved eating. This would not have been the case if I hadn’t been clear and detailed when explaining my situation and what my allergies were. That brings us to tip #1: before you go on any date, make sure to tell your significant other exactly what your allergies are, and how severe they are! Personally, I think if someone is disrespectful about allergies that is a huge red flag. However, it’s hard to know if the person is going to be respectful or not, so I would recommend being gentle when explaining, since it can be hard for others to understand. Many people I have met in my lifetime always thought I was gluten free, and after learning that I always tried to explain to people I met as carefully as possible that I COULD have gluten. Also, tell the person you’re dating/ hope to date in the future that it’s ok to be confused! I think of allergies as an applied knowledge situation—rather than just memorizing my allergens which can be hard since I have so many, the people I dated learned what they were after context, including seeing what I had for lunch at school and what I asked to take off my burgers at a restaurant.

        Speaking of restaurants, here’s our second tip. If you’re planning on going to a restaurant for a date, go to one you’ve already been to and/or are comfortable with. I usually try out new restaurants with my parents, since they’re a lot better at talking to managers and chefs about allergens than I am, and definitely better at this than my significant other would be. Unless the person and I had known each other for years, which for me was not the case. For you, it may be! But going to a restaurant you know and love for a date can take the stress off worrying about your allergies and take away your significant other’s stress too. You can focus more on the person, and not frantically figuring out what options the menu has. A few times, I went to restaurants for the first time with friends, and I definitely feel like I was too focused on the menu and what I was going to eat rather than actually interacting with my friends. This can be easy to fix on dates, if you just go to a restaurant you like!

       My third and final tip is related to the second one, and for each person it really depends on level of comfort. For my third tip, I would recommend not going on any food-involved dates until there has been a large amount of trust built between you and your significant other, OR you are comfortable with where you are going and what you are eating, Of course it’s different in the pandemic and I’m honestly not sure what people have done for dates since March 2020 came around and we had to quarantine for a bit, but movie dates or carnival dates are always fun. Both of these places usually involve food unless you choose not to buy any (personally, I loved getting Twizzlers at the movie theatre back when I could go), but at least you know that this type of food is relatively simple, rather than complex meals created at restaurants. I would suggest doing a first date at one of these places, and it will be a great stress reliever!

Best of luck to everyone! I hope these tips come in handy.

-Lindsay Lopez