• Alia O'Brien

Food Allergies & First Kisses

This post is for anyone who's ever struggled with the idea of a first kiss with food allergies. Lots of food allergy websites for teens have the standard advice for dating: always have your autoinjector, make sure they haven't eaten anything you're allergic to in four hours, make sure they know of your allergies, etc. When I first started dating, I spent hours googling advice for teens with food allergies about dating. Most of what I found was consistent with what I wrote above. What I really wanted, though, was for someone to talk about how anxiety inducing a first kiss can be, because I was panicking about it and I wanted someone I could relate to. So to anyone who is panicking about first kisses with food allergies, or who has been through that: I've been where you are, and freaking out is normal. I'm an avid reader, and because many YA books are romance, I've read lots about first kisses, first dates, first loves, etc. The only issue is, because of my food allergies, my first kiss couldn't be a spur of the moment thing like it usually was in novels. I had to make sure my girlfriend hadn't eaten any of my allergens within the last four hours, and since I have so many, it required lots of advance planning when we wanted to hang out. That also put a lot of pressure on me, and us, because all the advance planning gave both of us (but especially me) plenty of time to overthink everything about kissing. Would it be instinctual? Would I be any good at it? What was I even supposed to do? What if I had an allergic reaction? As you can imagine, all of this thinking was not ideal. It led to me getting stressed out, which stressed my girlfriend out, and it became a really bad situation. First kisses are hard enough, but when you add food allergies to the mix, they are downright terrifying. Here's my advice to anyone reading this who relates to anything I'm saying: help your significant other come up with a meal (or multiple meals) that they can eat that are safe for you. Then, whenever you hang out, or go on a date, you know they've been safe, and your first kiss can happen more naturally, instead of feeling planned. When my girlfriend and I finally kissed, it was because I knew she had been safe that day. We had planned to hang out in advance, but we hadn't planned any food so there wasn't any pressure. When I got there, she let me know that she had been safe that day. Knowing she hadn't had anything I was allergic to for the entire day made me much less nervous about the possibility of a reaction (don't get me wrong‐ I was still worried about that, but it was no longer at the forefront). Whatever your situation may be, work out a plan with your significant other on how to plan food so that you aren't scared of a reaction the whole time. Also, remember that being anxious about this is normal. You aren't the only one experiencing it.

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