I read this article yesterday in the New York Times about the impact of diatery differences on our relationship. This is becoming a real issue nowadays as we define ourselves more and more by what we eat. Food, or our diet, has transformed into a matter like religion or money. And intolerance can go really far: some vegans would never date a carnivore, nor anyone who has consumed something coming from the animals, including honey. Some carnivores would never date a vegetarian, or worse for them, a vegan. But again, it really depends on how we accept to compromise on this subject.
My sister, who is a carnivore, but not a true one (if she doesn’t eat meat for a week, it doesn’t matter that much for her) lives with her man who is a vegetarian, but again, not a true one. He eats fish, but not meat. She has adapted to his diet because it didn’t demand her too much effort: she has always preferred eating fish than meat. If they go to the restaurant, she can eat whatever she wants, he would be offended at all. This diatery difference only bothers my mom, who finds it difficult to prepare a meal for all of us without meat or poultry.
One of my friends is allergic to gluten. She told me she would find it difficult to date someone who can’t help eating bread, at least bread all the time. “It’s just that if I kiss him just after he finished eating pasta, or bread, it will make me sick. Otherwise, I can accept it” she said.
Another one was raised by her parents, true vegetarians, but she never accepted this diet. Each time we went out for dinner when we were younger, she would order meat at the restaurant. She was always the first to ask in our group to go eating pittas, hamburgers, … She always told me she could never date a vegetarian or a vegan because of that. “I was restricted from a lot of food when I lived with my parents, and I couldn’t imagine dating a vegetarian who would tell me not to eat meat because it just makes you tired all the time or makes you smell bizarrely” she said. She’s now married to a carnivore, and really happy. He has just to adapt his diet when they pay a visit to her parents, occasionally.
Sometimes, it’s not the diet or the food that cause the problem, it’s just the way we eat. I remember I was particularly disgusted to see D. eating, because 1) he would always eat the same thing: spaghetti carbonara 2) he would eat all the time. I don’t mind big eaters, but there’s a way to eat properly, and not just stuffing yourself. I consider that as debasing. One of my friends also told me she can be disgusted by the way a man can eat, and that she would have no remorse getting rid of him if he eats like a pig.
Also, some men will judge women by the way they eat. Some can’t stand picky women or those who just eat one salad and are happy with it. The reverse is also true for women. “My ex would always criticize what I cooked for him. I had a list of meals I could make and a list I certainly can’t cook and this one was really long compared to the other. Once, I had to leave him for a two weeks seminar abroad, and I left him with all kind of processed food I could find in the supermarket. When I came back from my trip, he told me he haven’t eaten so well for a long time. It turned into a huge fight, and we decided to call it quits. Now, my man doesn’t complain at all about my meals, and it could make me more happier” H., 35, said.
Like the article said, sharing meals is a metaphor of love. For some people, it really matters.
So, do you mind if your partner’s vegan/vegetarian/carnivore while you’re not? And do you mind if he/she’s picky with food or eats like a pig?