There was no handbook on how to date and no tutorial on the “pain in the butt, I get super sick from eating gluten” curveball I was thrown when I found out I had celiac disease (CD) after I started college. When I first received the diagnosis, I had a boyfriend and he seemed more concerned than I was. He was worried that we wouldn’t be able to go out to eat anymore or know what to cook or what to say if we were eating at someone’s house. The more educated I became on eating gluten-free, the more I understood how to work each situation. I think my old boyfriend’s initial reaction was a clear indicator he needed the boot! He was more concerned about the eating restrictions on him, than learning about what we could do together.
Once I started dating again I realized this new “issue” I had was a great way to figure out whether guys got the yay or nay. It definitely took me a while to shift my mindset to a positive one, because I played the victim card for quite a while. Eating is the first and most common thing you do when you start dating and I felt like it was such a frustrating hurdle to try to explain to everyone “I can't eat wheat, rye and barely. No that doesn’t mean I can’t eat anything. No it’s not because I’m on a diet. Yada, yada yada.”
I personally don’t like talking about it very much so I take two approaches:
A. Before a date I figure out where we’re going to eat first and make sure I know what to order to avoid asking lots of questions at the restaurant and busting my glutardness out of the gates.
B. Figure out how to say “I get sick if I eat gluten and it’s really no big deal, I manage easily!” and then start the next subject.
The guy’s reaction says a LOT! They will either make it about themselves and say what a pain that’s going to be for them or they try and understand by asking lots of questions, acknowledge it and move on. The guys that make it to date two and remember or make some sort of gesture in consideration of my food needs (remind a waiter, or pick a place they tell you is “gluten-free friendly”) get major brownie points.
Dating is about figuring people out and deciding whether they’re compatible enough to keep around. I wouldn’t place an ad on Match.com that says: "5’5”, brown eyes, smile like the sunrise and pukes from eating gluten", but I feel like this is definitely a part of my every day life and guys can either accept all of me or move on. My best take-away from dating with CD is that projecting a positive attitude about the situation will return a positive response from others. (See Dating Tips)