There are certain things that terrify me about the idea of “getting back out there“, or starting to date again. There is the obvious fact that my last boyfriend cheated on me, and broke my trust, and made me question everything I thought I knew. However, my fear of dating goes far beyond the damage that Andrew caused.
Here’s the thing–I’m High Maintenance. I really don’t mean to be, but I am. The diet I have, and will have for the rest of my life, is not an easy one to understand. Even my parents, who have been around since I went gluten-free 6 years ago (and dairy free 3 years ago) still have trouble understanding some days. So introducing my diet to someone brand new, especially someone I’m just getting to know, is a little bit scary, and definitely intimidating. I eat weird foods, which I love, but can sometimes throw people. And quite frequently my friends comment on how they just couldn’t live on a diet like mine.
Food has become a huge element of social interactions, and something to bond over. But for me, it’s not so easy to go out for beer and nachos on a date (I chose that, because it seems to be the popular first date meal around here.) Instead, going out for dinner involves menu planning (I get incredibly anxious if I haven’t had the chance to view the restaurant menu online), and is usually quite expensive. Not to mention sometimes I feel so silly having to go into how serious it is that absolutely no crumbs, not one, touches my food or my plate. And sometimes waiters or waitresses just look at you like you’re insane. It’s not that I want to be that high maintenance, but I have to be. And yes, sometimes I come up with weird food ideas (like requesting extra olives and hot peppers to sprinkle on an otherwise boring salad.)
I was lucky in my previous relationship, because we were already together when I was diagnosed, and therefore we learned together–sometimes the hard way–what I could and couldn’t eat. And a lot of the time he would eat gluten-free to make sure I didn’t get sick. But introducing my weird world to someone completely new and different, having to explain that even a tiny little crumb could make me sick for days and days… it scares me. And, really, it almost makes this whole dating thing not worth it. Unless I can find myself a cute, gluten and dairy free boy to call all my own.