Food allergies don’t only affect the person with them, but the entire family. Their closest friends and family all need to be educated and sensitive in order to ensure their safety. However, when coming into a relationship with a person with food allergies, there can be a lot of confusion. It can be difficult to navigate the beginnings of a romance or even a committed marriage when dealing with food allergies for the first time. So, what does it take to be a good partner to someone with food allergies?
As with any other aspect of relationships, communication is key. We don’t expect you to be a mind reader. We want you to want to learn about us and love that you’re making an effort to understand our lives. Asking questions is a really great way to open up the floor and start an honest conversation. All we ask is that you do so sensitively. Asking questions is especially important in the beginning of a relationship. In the start, while the relationship is still uncertain, we want to make sure that nothing gets misunderstood. So, just ask before you buy that box of chocolates and we’ll make sure to let you know which treats are our favorites!
We know how upsetting it is to force the group to get pizza instead of sushi because of our fish allergy. We also know how isolating it can feel when we choose to sit events out instead of asking our friends to change their plans. We have struggled with fitting in all our lives and are now looking for a partner that can be understanding. We’re not asking that you stop liking peanut butter sandwiches, we’re just asking that you don’t bring them to our picnic. Relationships are based off trust, and for us, trusting you will put our safety first is fundamental.
We are here for any questions you may have, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love a partner that takes the time to educate themselves. There are so many blogs and websites floating around, it shouldn’t be too hard to find some content you can relate too. Food allergies aren’t just a part of our lives, they are a terrifying aspect of our reality. Having a partner take the time to educate themselves so they know they’re being safe is the biggest gift we can ask for.
Know Their Plan
Every person with food allergies has a game plan. They have a bag where they keep their EpiPen, a strategy for remembering not to leave it at home and a doctor that they trust going to. If you are going to take up permanent residence in this person’s life, it is important that you know their plan. Familiarize yourself with an EpiPen and how to use it, have the name and number of their doctor, and learn about the signs to identifying an anaphylactic reaction. If you play a role in their life, then know the role you play in their allergy plan too.
There are more people than you realize that minimize the severity of food allergies. It may seem outlandish to you that people would ask your partner to “give a peanut a try” or “just have one small bite” but trust us when we say that it happens. Worst of all, it sometimes happens with people were close with. As our partner, we need you to be on our side. If your mother doesn’t get it, take the time to explain it to her. If our friend isn’t being sensitive, show us that you’re on our side. Food allergies are silent, and we always appreciate a partner who uses their voice.
Be Our Partner
Many people with food allergies, especially those who have had allergies since they were young children, feel defined by their allergies. It has played such a large role in their lives and has dictated so many relationships that it’s hard not to let it define them. But we want you to be our partner, not our allergies partner. We are so much more than our food allergies. Being cautious doesn’t mean having it control our lives. Just like anyone else, we are looking for a loving, supportive and empathetic partner to be by our side.
Food allergies are a major part of life for many people. Millions of people around the world live with food allergies and still it is one of the things most misunderstood. Having a partner with food allergies doesn’t mean working any harder or learning any more, it just means being a supportive partner the same way you would with anyone else. We aren’t looking for someone to come in and take away our problems, just someone who will come in and help us carry the burden.