Food & Drink

Dating a Picky Eater Ruined My Relationship

Published On 10/27/2016 Published On 10/27/2016
picky eater
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Anyone who's ever dated a picky eater knows the struggle is real. I once dated someone that ate like a 5-year-old. Every meal began to feel like an actual nightmare, moving robotically through a cycle of negotiation, frustration, and, finally, a defeatingly bland meal.

It might seem frivolous, but food matters. It's the cornerstone of life, for crying out loud. In a 4,000-person food and dating survey by Match.com, 66% of single folks said picky eaters were a serious turn-off, and 30% wouldn't even consider dating a vegetarian. The study also showed that, if given the ultimatum, two out of every five women surveyed would choose their favorite meal over sex. That's some real talk right there.

When I say picky, I mean somebody that flat out refuses to try anything new, and not because because they're physically or mentally unable to. They're just too damn stubborn to venture out of their mac 'n cheese comfort zone. But come on, man, life's just too short -- especially when pork belly's involved. So, if you suspect a food fusser in the early going, here are 11 reasons why you should cut and run before it's too late.

Rob Byron/Shutterstock

Date night is either doubly expensive...

Unless you happen to be a huge fan of unseasoned chicken breast, dining out often means getting two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts. There's no sharing side dishes, never any tapas, and, sadly, absolutely no splitting that juicy porterhouse. All those individual orders can ultimately add up to a much-higher-than-anticipated tab come bill time (not to mention four bags of leftovers to tote around for the rest of the night -- heaven forbid the foods touch!).

... or not a date at all

If going out to dinner is just too much for your picky person, you might start asking friends to accompany you on your culinary journeys. Buddies are great and all, but, let's be honest -- staring into Pete's baby blues over flickering candlelight just isn't as romantic as a night on the town with your girlfriend. And besides, once those friends figure out you're just using them as a pawn to stave off the loneliness, odds are they'll stop letting you drag them out for Korean BBQ or bánh mì four nights a week.

Takeout orders are harder to negotiate than the Iran nuclear deal

It's hard enough thumbing through Seamless options on an empty belly. Add a choosey Charlie to the mix and you're in for a roller coaster ride of emotion, fueled by an explosive mix of hangryness and stubbornness. Most nights, you'll just end up either giving in and ordering pizza from the least offensive (read: boring) spot in town or hitting up two entirely different restaurants, which is just ludicrous (not to mention way pricier).

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Your date consistently asks for the kids menu

You know who likes to order off the kids menu? Kids. But, as recent studies show, it's not even really their fault. Not only do lil' kids have twice the number of taste buds as adults, making them doubly sensitive to strong flavors, these UK-based scientists also prove that picky eating in toddlerhood is genetic. But it also says that people grow out of those predispositions, so it turns out there's no viable excuse for a grown adult to request a placemat, set of crayons, and, inevitably, a (plastic) plate of chicken fingers and fries.

If you do make it out to a restaurant, it takes approx. 1,000 years to order

"Do you know if that has butter in it? Is the fish of the day fishy at all? Can I get the club sandwich with no lettuce, no tomato, no mayo, untoasted bread, and the bacon on the side?" You know you've sunk pretty low when even the waiter, exhausted from the relentless line of questioning himself, gives you a look of pure pity.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

You are constantly bewildered by how they eat the same thing every damn day

If you live in any major city, it's possible to get your hands on just about any kind of cuisine at practically any hour of the day. We're talking gyros at midnight, crepes for breakfast, lamb vindaloo for lunch -- it's all right there at your fingertips, delivered with the utmost convenience and at relatively reasonable prices. And while I'm not one to play the "starving children in Africa" card, overbearing moms across America were actually on to something when it came to fussy eaters. Do you think poor Indonesian children want plain rice for every meal? Just be grateful for what you have and finish your damn asparagus.  

Traveling is either frustrating, lonely, or super boring

Everybody knows that the way to experience another culture is through your stomach. Indulging in new and unexpected dishes while abroad is a huge reason many people travel, myself included. But not the pickies. These dummies would rather lug a backpack full of Clif Bars around Costa Rica than touch a single plantain. If you want to sample the world's culinary wonders, your only real option is to travel alone, which, admittedly, is also a bummer.

Nobody wants to watch cooking shows with you

Making fun of a cheftestant's misguided enthusiasm for molecular gastronomy or Bourdain's cheesy attempts at being a cool dad (not a regular dad) just isn't as fun without a smack-talking, popcorn-passing companion. And don't even get me started on trying to bogart the remote during MasterChef Junior. Shit is not cool.

Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Family events are somehow even more stressful

As if the holidays weren't bad enough, bringing along the world's most demanding date has the potential to ruin it for everyone involved. Even if you take the time to call to tell mom that no, mashed potatoes cooked with butter and cream are not, in fact, vegan, you still have to deal with the day-of questions -- do the yams have marshmallows? Are the green beans cooked with garlic? Are there pecans in the stuffing? And once you finally sit down at the table, your plus-one is either nibbling trail mix from her purse, pushing around uneaten green beans, or turning her nose up at Aunt Cindy's famous cranberry sauce. It's a lose-lose.

You have to covertly slip ingredients into everything you cook

Sneaking around the kitchen in order to add that crucial pinch of nutmeg or a spoonful of Parmesan cheese to your grandma's meatball recipe is no way to live. It almost feels like cheating. And if this headache of a situation goes on for too long, it might even lead you to actually cheat.

You're always screwing up at the grocery store

Forget your dude's aversion to ham? Congratulations, you're now the proud owner of an extra pound of deli meat that will definitely expire before your 10th sandwich. And, as an added treat, he's probably going to chew you out about this inexcusable mistake as soon as you get home.

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Shea Bradford is a contributing writer at Thrillist. She probably wouldn't date you anyway, so don't worry about it. Also, don't follow her.

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