I’ve talked about my girlfriend a lot on Heart Attack. From her decision to become a vegan to the compromise we made on combining our holiday traditions, most of the posts were about me as a food-loving dude trying to reconcile life with somebody that thought about food completely differently (read: didn’t obsess over it like I did). The columns mostly ended with some sort of platitude about love overriding the differences between us. Unfortunately, though, love only goes so far. Last week, my girlfriend and I broke up.
When you first start dating anyone, it’s so easy to overlook the big differences. Big, glaring red flags look mildly pink in the glow of the first few months. In my case, the red flags weren’t even red flags. They were just fundamental differences that seemed like a fun challenge to overcome.
We were very different people, though. We thought about spirituality completely differently. Television held very dissimilar places in our lives. She couldn’t care less about sports and I can’t go ten minutes without checking the stats of my fantasy basketball team. It didn’t matter though, because we were in love.
When I look back on our relationship, as I am wont to do in the choppy waters of Lake Break-Up, all those differences add up to a couple that didn’t make it, couldn’t make it. Food wasn’t the only reason we weren’t meant to be, but it was certainly one of the reasons. I thought it wouldn’t bother me. I told myself time and time again that it didn’t matter what she ate or didn’t eat. All that mattered was the fact that I loved being around her. I wish that were enough. I wish I could have overlooked the fact that for her, eating was just a way to fuel her body and not a way to enrich her soul. For a guy like me, though, eating and food is the very substance of my happiness. How could I share my life with someone if we couldn’t connect on something that was so intrinsic to who I am as a person?
In the first year of our relationship, my girlfriend didn’t eat meat other than chicken. The day I got her to enjoy a steak was one of the proudest days of my life (you can tell where my priorities are). I felt like I scored one for the carnivores, but more importantly, I felt like we were going to embark on a new journey of food discovery together where I slowly opened up her palate until she was eating foie for breakfast. But it didn’t last. She gave up steak after a few months and she even gave up chicken, despite the fact that she ate it nearly every day of her life. When she gave up meat completely, it was an early sign that we were just two different people destined to eat at different restaurants for the rest of our lives.
I will always love my (now former) girlfriend. We were together for more than two years and we made so many incredible memories together. I won’t lie, however, and say I’m not excited for what the future holds. I can’t wait to meet someone who gets just as geeky as I do about perfect bacon and the finer points of Chicago-style pizza. I just hope this new someone is as wonderful as the someone I’m leaving behind.