Do Eating Habits Matter in a Relationship?

eating habits

Many first dates and special occasions revolve around food. Birthdays and anniversaries are typically celebrated with cakes. Dinner dates are common ways for a couple to get to know each other while taking the pressure off because eating helps to take the pressure off of any awkward pauses during conversations. Even though we are all free to make whatever eating choices we want to make, eating habits can hugely impact relationships.

Some people feel so strongly about food and dating, that there are even dating websites for single people who are vegetarians. It might seem silly to you that people are selecting mates based on their food choices, but over the years, I’ve come to completely understand why food is such a major factor when it comes to relationships. Here’s my take on what you need to know about how eating habits impact the way you’ll be matched with a partner.

Your personal ethics

Years ago while I was watching an episode of Divorce Court at home, I learned an important lesson about how eating habits can impact relationships. Judge Mablean Ephriam was judging a case between a married couple who was divorcing due to their differences with each other. A major issue standing in the way of the couple reconciling was the fact that the wife was a vegetarian and the husband was a meat eater. The wife told Judge Ephriam that she hated meat, refused to make it for her husband, and didn’t even want meat in the house. Judge Ephriam told the couple that they couldn’t even eat together, and because they were unable to comfortably share meals, there was a small chance of the couple being able to have a good marriage.

Even though I laughed at the situation unfolding on that particular episode of Divorce Court, Judge Ephriam’s words made an impact on me. Before then, dietary preferences had never really factored into my dating choices, but I realized from then on that eating habits impact lifestyle choices, and lifestyle affects relationships.

Adhering to your upbringing

I was raised eating foods that are allowed in the Old Testament. While I was growing up, I ate and continue to eat vegetables, fruits, grains, beef, chicken, turkey, and seafood such as salmon and tuna that are permitted according to the Old Testament dietary laws in the Bible. However, I was not allowed to eat foods that are forbidden in the Bible; pig meat, lobster, scallops, crab, and any other animals that are scavengers were off limits for me and my family.

I don’t at all feel as though I’m missing out on not eating these foods, and that’s why I felt very annoyed one day when I was on a date with someone years ago, and he expressed to me that he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t try some of the seafood on his plate. I told my date that while I like eating many types of fish, I wasn’t raised eating scavengers and I had no interest in trying seafood that he liked. He still pressed the issue, saying that he didn’t get why I wouldn’t at least try it. I politely declined his offer to sample his food, but in my mind, I realized that I didn’t want to be in other situations where I was pressured to eat food that I had no interest in. I didn’t see much of my date after that incident. If your religious or personal beliefs affect your meal choices, you’ll probably feel more comfortable dating someone who won’t pressure you to change your habits.

Have you been in uncomfortable situations where everyone around you is eating food that you can’t stand to look at, let alone, watch other people eat it? Well, that’s the situation for the mother of one of my friends. This particular friend of mine was raised in a vegetarian household. My friend’s mother used to eat meat, but she became a vegetarian when my friend was a young child. My friend’s father and sister still eat meat, but they take care not to eat meat in front of my friend’s mother because if they did, my friend’s mother would get very upset.

One of the families I have taught music to hails from India, and the mother of my student had invited me several times in the past to have lunch or dinner at their home. My student’s mom has a talent for creating delicious vegetarian meals, and she had asked me once if meat and alcohol taste good. I was actually quite surprised because I’d never been asked that question before. My student’s mother had never tasted meat or alcohol, and she was curious on my take on it. Of course, I told her that meat and alcohol taste delicious, but that’s because I actually enjoy consuming meat and alcohol. I don’t drink alcohol on a daily basis, but I do like the taste of it. My student’s mother feels the same way about meat as the woman I saw on the episode of Divorce Court that I wrote about; she doesn’t want any meat in her home at all.

Raising you children

My parents are pescatarians (people who eat fish but they don’t eat any other type of meat) but they used to eat meat before I was born, and they had no problems with preparing and serving meat to their 3 children. I don’t think I’d have a problem dating a man who didn’t eat meat, but I would have a problem if we were to raise children together and he insisted on a complete and total vegetarian household. I immensely enjoy eating fruits, vegetables, and grains, but I probably wouldn’t stay in a relationship with someone who was intolerant of meat eaters because I enjoy eating meat. I especially enjoy barbecues! While I wouldn’t force a child of mine to eat meat if they don’t want to eat it, I’m not making any plans to run an all vegetarian household. I respect vegetarians, but I won’t be bullied into becoming a vegan or vegetarian against my will.

I feel that too many people don’t seriously take into account how important food is in terms of building relationships. I’d had a conversation earlier this past summer with my friend who I’d mentioned earlier in this article. Because she was raised as a vegetarian, I asked her if it was important to her to build a romantic relationship with a man who was also a vegetarian. She told me that she hadn’t thought about it. I cautioned her that she needs to consider having conversations about dietary habits with the new man she was seeing, because although my friend was fine with her new boyfriend eating meat, she might feel differently if the relationship became more serious. My friend and I had this discussion while we were eating dinner (of course), and I asked her how she’d feel if she had children with this man and he wanted to feed their children meat. My friend hadn’t really thought about that possibility.

Are you thinking about the possibility that you and your mate won’t see eye to eye on food? Food and water keep us all alive, so, food isn’t a topic that you can avoid discussing for long. There might be some food issues that you can negotiate. For instance, if you drink tea and your partner drinks coffee, you might two not have any battles over keeping a kettle and keeping a coffee maker in the home that you share. You need to consider what will happen if you decide to live with your partner and have to share between 2 and 3 meals per day together. If the sights, smells, and tastes of your mate’s favourite meals disgust you, then you’re going to have some problems drawing closer to each other. Don’t delay in talking about your eating habits with your partner. Nutrition affects your health and your sex drive; two crucial reasons to strive towards building a relationship with someone whose food choices you can tolerate. You and your lover will both benefit in having frank discussions and realistic expectations about your eating habits.

Image: flickr

Akua is a Canadian born and raised girl with Caribbean roots. She is a journalist, actress, music teacher, performer, owner and marketer of 3 worldwide dating websites, as well as an independent Pure Romance business owner selling passion products for singles and couples.  Visit her website  AkuaHinds.com to learn more about her.


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