Are our food habits indicators of how we conduct our relationships?

Earlier on in the week I asked a friend of mine if she thought relationships should have expiry dates. You know like food. Perhaps instead of entering into a “unto death do we part” arrangement, we should dive into a “unto a decade transpires” sort of thing, or maybe “unto a full rotation around the sun” bind. The couple gets to choose the length a binding partnership should last for based on their sense of the relationship - is it a “Bella and Edward” sort of combo? Or a “Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards” love fast and crash faster link? Once they’ve reached a time arrangement they can go fourth and commit, marry, or whatever floats your boat. Some might wonder, why marry at all? I guess in an age where everyone is defining their relationships in new ways it’s a completely valid resolution. It also means you might get to spend a decade with one fellow, and the next with another etc etc. The days of the “old ball and chain” would be erased.

What did my friend think? Well, she thought it was a pretty silly idea - and that you should commit for always or not at all. She then went onto add that she herself was a little lax on expiry dates anyway. If the odd yogurt was a few days expired, or even a few weeks, she might hazard to give it a sniff and the smallest of tastes … expiry dates were after all, just “indicators” she said.

This made me wonder - are our food habits a sign of how we conduct our relationships?

We all have wide and varied food habits - there are the grazers (that keep snacking all day), the strict diet types (that ingest boiled chicken and broccoli for seemingly the longest of times), the vegans (yikes … don’t get me started!), the carnivores (I once sat near a guy at work that went through roast chickens like there was a cruise ship buffet behind our pod), the bingers (we’ve all been there before) and even, the juice cleansers (who subsist on a series of green juiced thangs and the odd stick of hubba bubba).

Our food ingestion is habit, and primal at the same time. Is our attitude towards relationships kind of the same?

In some sort of wild turn of events I also spent the weekend reading “A Networked Self” by Zizi Papacharissi (the perks of a PhD on dating apps), and happened upon a chapter from Ezter Hargittai and Yu-Li Patrick Hsieh titled, “From dabblers to omnivores: A typology of social network site usage.” The piece broke down internet usage (and behaviours towards social networking sites) into a series of typologies - you could be either the dabbler, the sampler, the devotee or the omnivore (another nod to my food analogy!). Synchronicity! It’s a complex theory - but I’ll break it down for you.

You know the Facebook devotee type, that’s always on Facebook (addicted, the first person to comment on everything, you wonder if they’re ever NOT on Facebook), or the sampler, that sort of shifts between Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook, flitting between networks with the lightest of touches, butterfly like in their insouciance? Reflections of social network site typologies.

Indeed, the theory was corroborated by my friends dating app habits. Some of them were on them all the time, swiping, swiping, swiping, swiping while watching MAFS or even in work meetings, others quickly deleted the tool when they didn’t find a suitable match in 48 hours (you know the type that is a rigorous on their diet, but if they don’t see an impact within two days, starts fisting carbs like the world might end).

Yes, there was evidence to suggest that food habits and relationship habits (extended to the use of dating apps) were somehow interlinked.

So which are you?

  • Boiled chicken and greens (great figure, but as boring as bat shit);

  • Green juice cleanse (desperate, hoping to drop some kilos fast, in a bad mood, always, ready to crack);

  • A grazer (sampling, sampling, sampling all the time); or

  • Midnight pizza binge post pinot binge (lots of fun, but temperamental and slightly bloated - prone to morning regrets).

Relationship and food type - intimately linked methinks. Keep your eye on it this week.