Dating With Allergies: Here’s What You Need to Know

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The dating world is hard enough as it is. It gets even harder when another barrier is put in front of you: food allergies. Not only does this require some planning when you’re figuring out where to eat, but it also means you need to be upfront with your date. Reactions to food allergies can cause everything from swelling and breaking out in hives to intestinal distress and anaphylaxis, which is the most severe and can be fatal.

At least you’re not alone in having food allergies. In 2007, the National Institutes for Health declared food allergies in the U.S. as an important public health concern. Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, with 90% of food allergy reactions caused by eight foods: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten, is the inability to digest food made with gluten and impacts 1 to 2% of the population globally.

Think of this as alternative dating: preparedness is paramount, and caution is essential. Most first dates, or dating in general, usually take place at a restaurant or over take out — let’s face it, eating and food are very important when it comes to a relationship. You bond over a shared meal. If other’s experiences are evident, you cannot be coy about your allergies and dietary restrictions, especially if they’re severe and potentially life threatening. You must take the lead and be charmingly upfront, right away. Maybe follow your revelation with a joke, but nothing too cringe-worthy, which you can do at your discretion. I love a good joke, it lightens the mood and makes me like you even more. Women cannot resist a man with confidence and a sense of humor — and that remains true even if you’re telling us you’re allergic to peanuts.

If something as mundane as kissing can make you break out in hives, your date must be aware that eating certain things could cause you to have a bad reaction. If you’re unsure of how to navigate both dating and allergies, never fear! The Cheat Sheet has you covered.

The actual date

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Luckily, most restaurants these days are well aware of food allergies and are sympathetic and understanding toward customers that have them. If you’re looking at a specific restaurant but have never been there before, always give the restaurant a call beforehand. There are even places that label their menus for those with dietary restrictions and allergies. It is important that you pick the restaurant, for the first date at least, so you can research allergy-friendly places. It is up to you as to whether you want to make your date aware of your allergies before you book a table or while actually on the date.

Either way, once the date starts, you should elaborate on what your food allergy is, what you can’t eat, and how serious it is. You can also show off your charming personality while mentioning your allergies; since she already agreed to a date with you, let her know that if she consumes any of the food that you’re allergic to, you won’t be able to kiss her later. It’ll lighten the mood, and should show you have a sense of humor.

The second date and beyond

Having allergies should have zero effect on whether there is a second or third date and so on. Just make sure you continue being cautious, so that none of your dates end in allergy disaster.

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