Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food and Dating

Being a long time vegetarian, I have often had to have some interesting conversations with women I am dating. Usually, it begins with "when did you stop eating meat?" and goes from there, digging into my reasons why, and what my beliefs are around meat eating in general.

As such, I found the issues brought up in the comments section of this post pretty interesting. Honestly, even as a vegetarian, I kind of wonder what it would be like to date someone who is a vegan. The vegans I have known were pretty intense, and seemed to struggle with relating to those who didn't share the bulk of their views. I don't at all imagine that they represent everyone who is vegan, but that's been my experience.

It's also been the case that I have known meat eaters who can't possibly, for whatever reason, imagine dating someone who doesn't eat meat. I have relatives who, when I first went vegetarian, swerved between defensiveness and feeling guilt-ridden about their meat eating. Some even made fun of my decisions. And to this day, I occasionally receive comments about "my weight," which are clearly tied to my dietary preferences. Point being that when it comes to dating, food can matter.

I have mostly dated women who ate meat, usually not as a main part of their diet, but still. And actually, it really hasn't been a major issue in my experience. What's more been an issue is the overall approach to food. For example, I have had a few girlfriends who ate mostly quickly prepared, processed food. They didn't really know how to cook, and didn't care to take the time to explore cooking.

Now, it doesn't much matter to me who is the better cook in the couple. What matters to me is a general sense that what you eat matters. Because it reflects a piece of your larger attitude towards health and wellness. In both cases, the women I dated who didn't cook and ate a lot of processed food were more unhealthy in general. They struggled with mood swings, sugar cravings, and got sick more often than I did.

The point there being that if things are too out of balance in one area of a person's life, it can impact everything else, including your relationship. Sometimes, I would find myself listening to some emotionally charged story, or being on the other end of an emotionally-charged comment that might have been as much a result of having eaten poorly as anything else. I know that's been true of myself. That when I eat more unhealthy food, or eat too much of one kind of food, that my reactions to things in life are more charged and messy.

So, what are your experiences with food and dating? Does it matter to you what your partner eats? Do you actively seek someone with similar eating patterns or not?


  1. I'm a huge fan of food. I eat meat. I love meat. I love seafood. This has never been an issue for me, but I can't foresee myself dating someone who does not eat meat and/or seafood. A lot of my favorite places to go are meat and/or seafood specialty places. If I can't share these experiences, then that's a pretty big turn-off for me...

  2. Makes sense. I think for anyone who is really into food, and has it as a central part of their lives, it's hard to date someone who thinks differently.

  3. I think the problem lies in trying to adapt to someone else's food preferences. Eating out can be limiting if a vegetarian does not find anything on a restaurant menu that appeals them. Sometimes the salads at restaurants that specialize in animal protein meals leave alot to be desired, and there may be little else to choose from. Likewise, vegetarian restaurants may not offer dishes that appeal to those with a more liberal pallet either.

    Then there's homecooking - it can become frustrating to prepare two separate meals, one you like, but your friend won't eat, and one for him/her that you may not find satisfying. Compromise may involve making dishes where meat can be added for the carnivore, or both people having a meal together where they each cooked their own portion.

    Willingness to work with another person's eating habits probably comes down to how "into" them you are on the whole.

    1. It's true, if you like a person, you need to respect his choices and life style even if this means no meat in the house.

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