Dating is a prevalent part of all our lives. Children seem to be fascinated with the idea of love and companionship from a very early age. Given this, whether we are dating ourselves, or parents of children that are dating, navigating new relationships with food allergies can be a big part of our lives. And with so much of dating and courtship surrounding around new foods and experiences, it is vital that we know how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe while we date new people.

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Be Open

For many singles with food allergies, there is an anxiety around telling their date about their allergies. Many fear that their date will think they are too much effort, not understand or be inconsiderate. However, the basis to every good relationship is trust and honesty. While it doesn’t have the be the center of the night’s conversation, or the first thing you bring up when you meet them, it is important that you be open about your food allergies. Give people a chance to be considerate and they just might surprise you.

Know Where to Go

If you know your food allergies, then you likely also know which restaurants are safe for you to eat at. Take initiative and invite your date to your favorite safe spot. Not only will this rid you of any unnecessary pre-date stress, but it could also be a great way to bring up your food allergies and get the conversation rolling.

Educate Your Partner

It may be hard to remember at times, but you could be the first person your partner has met that has food allergies. Allow your partner the time they need to understand the situation and don’t be embarrassed to jump in with some helpful tips and advice. Remember, oftentimes your partner will want to be considerate, but simply doesn’t know how.

Tell and Kiss

It may take some of the romance out of the moment, but when living with life threatening food allergies, kissing doesn’t get to be spontaneous. Before you lean in at the end of that first date, make sure you know exactly what your partner has eaten in the last few hours. Studies have found that people with food allergies have experienced allergic reactions from kissing a partner that had eaten their allergen hours earlier. For some, this means their partner cutting out their allergen completely, for others it simply means brushing their teeth. Make sure to discuss with your partner and doctor the best route for you.

Have a Plan

The last thing your partner wants to feel is useless – especially if you are experiencing an allergic reaction. Build a plan with your partner: teach them to use your Epi-Pen and show them where you keep the Benadryl. Your partner is going to be looking for ways to help you and having a plan in place for the worst case scenario, can help keep you safe.

Food Free Activities

While traditional dating incudes wining and dining, allergy free dating can include bowling and movies. Having a food free option can help you stay safe while still enjoying a fun night out. With so many exciting things to do, there’s no reason you need to make yourself worried to have a fun time.

Cook for Them

When trying to stay worry free while dating, a great option is to cook for your partner. Not only can this be an exciting experience for the two of you, but it can also introduce your partner to some of the foods that are safe for you while allowing you to know that your meal is completely safe.

Let Yourself Be Loved

For so many with food allergies, worrying is second nature. They have spent their years double checking every aspect of their lives, that it is only natural they apply the same feelings to their dating world. However, dating is a game of trust, and sometimes you need to trust that the person sitting opposite you isn’t looking for a way out. Force away those feelings of insufficiency and being a burden. It may be hard to hear, but if you are too worried people won’t love you, then you may be pushing them away.

Know Your Dating Options

The allergy community has come a long way and in the past few years has managed to build a very solid foundation. Today, there are full dating apps and websites completely geared towards people with food allergies. Hundreds of online forums and chat rooms exist just for this purpose. While dating someone with food allergies isn’t your only option, sometimes it’s easier to relate to someone who knows the stress involved with reading every label and double checking every recipe.

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Dating is a hard world to navigate no matter who you are. However, when adding the stress of life threatening allergies into the mix, it just gets that much more difficult. That said, your allergy doesn’t have to control your life. With some quick creativity, smart planning and the right person, your dating life can be just as exciting and adventurous as anyone else’s!