Here’s the situation: you meet someone you really like, you guys hit it off in big way, and then you discover she keeps kosher and you do not. In fact, you couldn’t be further from “un-kosher” – i.e. milk and meat are basically a part of every single meal of yours, and you live for bacon at brunch. So, how do you handle it? Is it an incompatibility that you can overcome?
Like with all components of a relationship, you have to respect your partner’s wishes, desires, beliefs, feelings and, in this case, dietary restrictions. Just because you eat shellfish doesn’t mean your kosher-keeping girlfriend will ever dive into a bowl of lobster tails and oysters, and you just need to be okay with that. If you’re not, maybe you aren’t as into her as you think.
There are ways to work with this. If you continue to date and your relationship gets more and more serious, you’ll need to figure out what works for you two when it comes to keeping kosher. One example would be to agree to keep kosher in the home, but while you’re out to eat, you eat whatever you’d like. Or maybe you keep kosher whenever you’re with her, but when out with your friends or on your own, you eat whatever you’d like. Maybe you give up pork and shellfish, or maybe she’s fine with you eating whatever you want as long as she’s not involved in the shopping, cooking or cleanup of non-kosher foods. Talk about it together and decide what will make you both comfortable. There are ways to make it work while remaining respectful of your partner and enjoying the foods you love.
A Little Respect
Personally, I feel that if you like (or love) each other that much, anything is possible. What she chooses to eat or not eat shouldn’t have much of an impact on your feelings for her. Because really, what’s the difference between being kosher and being gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo or anything else? It shouldn’t have all that much of an effect on one’s relationship; it’s just how one chooses to (or maybe has to) eat.
In the end, I think it comes down to respect: respect for your partner, for their beliefs and for your relationship. If she’s not going to make you stop eating something, you shouldn’t expect that of her either. It’s just food, and really, there’s a lot more to a relationship than what you eat.
I have a few friends who keep kosher, and they’ve never once had an issue out at a restaurant with others. One of my closest friends, for example, is married to someone who didn’t keep kosher, and now he keeps it when in the house, but when out to dinner together or out with friends, he eats whatever he wants. They have an understanding, and it works out perfectly because it’s an agreement they both feel comfortable with.
Make sure to communicate, be open and honest and never stop showing respect. If you do all of that, this is a no-big-deal situation in a relationship. And, with that, I’ll have the scrambled eggs with bacon – hold the bacon, please!
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