After reading Gluten Dude’s post about the importance of spousal support when you have Celiac’s, I started thinking about the similarities/differences when you are still in the dating stage with someone who had to eat gluten free. Since you haven’t pledged to be around “in sickness and in health” yet, how accommodating or supportive do you need to be?
So, here are a few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” on how to successfully date someone with Celiac’s – or at least not completely piss them off.
1. DON’T feel like you have to be an expert in gluten free food.
Especially when first dating someone, I wouldn’t expect them to know that I can’t eat say, malt extract.That’s for me to know.
2. DO know the basics.
It is pretty easy to remember that I can’t eat anything with flour in it, or the word “wheat”. Plus if you know the basics I won’t have to give you a blank stare when you pass me the bread basket at dinner.
3. DON’T mock me.
If you think it’s funny to make overly exaggerated “mmm” sounds, or wave a bagel in front of my face. It’s not. Really… it’s not. I get it, I can’t eat yummy food. You can feel free to enjoy it, and even tell me how much you’re enjoying it, but just don’t make fun of me that I can’t have it.
4. DO let me smell your food.
Yeah, I know it’s weird. But smell is seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste, so it’s the closest I can get to eating some foods. I might be fooling myself, but sometimes just taking a whiff of something is enough to give me an idea of how it tastes and allow me to enjoy whatever it is I’m eating.
5. DON’T speak for me.
There are some times I really don’t feel like answering questions or talking about Celiac’s. So if we’re at a party, don’t just randomly announce that I have it. “Oh, she can’t have that, she has this DISEASE.” Unless I’m starving to death, and give you some kind of signal that I’m going to pass out, I’m okay. I’ll bring it up if necessary or I feel like it.
6. DO be willing to try new things.
If I want to make you a gluten free pancake breakfast, or go out to a random vegan/gluten free bakery, don’t turn your nose up at it. Try it: if you hate it we’ll go get you an Egg McMuffin or something. I promise gluten free soy sauce tastes the same, and most of what I make will be so delicious you won’t care it isn’t the “normal” way you’re used to having it.
7. DON’T fawn over me.
This kind of goes along with #5. I can take care of myself, and I don’t need special considerations made for me at every turn. Sure, I won’t be overly ecstatic to go to a deep dish pizza place for dinner with your friends, but I’ll deal. I’ll feel worse if every one else has to go somewhere they’re not stoked about, and won’t enjoy myself anyway. Of course, if there’s a logical substitution (ie: there’s a place that’s equally as good that carries gluten free crust) then by all means, suggest it.
8. DO be understanding, and make an effort.
Sometimes having Celiac’s can be really frustrating. I can get grumpy if I can’t find anything to eat somewhere, or have to eat a salad when I really want something hearty. It’s not you, it’s the gluten.
Extra points if you make some kind of effort to be overly understanding – pick up a gluten free cookie you see at the store, take me to a restaurant I haven’t heard of that’s gfree-friendly, or make dinner. It’s not too difficult and I’ll love it way more than flowers.
Have you ever dated someone who did a really good job of supporting you, or a really bad job of it? What tips would you give to someone dating someone with Celiac’s?