Speak Up

Friday, July 25, 2008

6 Survival Tips for Dating a Chef

Ok, we all know dating/marrying a chef is hard. The late nights, missed anniversaries and the pressure of work that they bring home weighing down on their shoulers. But, what about the newbies who are trying to make it work? Or even the ladies who've been with a chef for a long time, but still need work. I know I do. But here are my top 6 survival tips for dating/marrying a chef.

  1. Pick Your Battles. This is true for all relationships, but especially those involving chefs. It seems they have a shorter fuse when it comes to arguments. They run the show at their restaurant so quickly, thinking on their feet. They don't always want to sit back and talk everything out at home.
  2. Talk! Although the last tip suggests picking certain battles, talking about everything is important. (just do it at the right time, and in the right tone) Communication is essential to dating a chef. I've been trying something new. I've been thinking in terms of my needs. For instance instead of saying to Erik, "What the hell? Why didn't you put these dishes away?" I've been saying: "Erik, I have a need to live in a clean house and when you don't do the dishes right away, that need is not met". It might sound a little hokey, but it works! It keeps my temper down and gives Erik and understanding-instead of a headache.
  3. Time is on your side. Both couple time and independent time is necessary. Even if it's breakfast everyday or a midnight snack when your chef comes home-it will make a difference. Also try emailing or texting. Sometimes even the shortest note can make up for lost love time.
  4. Visit this site. Yes, this may seem shameless but it helps. Talking with other women who go through the same types of struggles can be validating and rewarding. Knowing you're not alone make the uphill battle seem a little less steep.
  5. Love what he does. I credit some of my success with Erik to the fact that we both are interested in the careers of the other. Caring about what your spouse does makes it harder to hate the place when it seems like you're husband has been taken hostage there.
  6. Love him! You should really also like him. We say our mates have to be intelligent, funny, charming, attractive and successful, but the simplest thing: liking them should be on that list too.

You must have lists of your own, too so please share with us!

DCW_NYC

-Hilary-

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

This reply isn't in response to anything in particular, just a general out reaching.

I'm glad I found this blog...I've been dating a line cook for a year and a half and we just moved in together (we're both 25). He and I have great chemistry, but his working hours really kill me. I'm the type of person who cherishes her weekend getaways or small adventures in town, but with him working Friday/Saturday afternoon into the late night, it makes it next to impossible to spend any quality weekend time together, let alone go on a vacation together. Moving in has been a big step for me, one that makes me think about our future, which has lead me to become more and more frustrated with his choice of work...and we're only dating, it's hard to imagine raising a family with this schedule conflict (I work 8-5). He didn't go to culinary school and he's not making much money, so to me, his future in this career seems bleak, but if it's his "passion" then I guess I either learn to deal with it or run.

ChefWife said...

It sounds like you're very commited to your chef since you've moved in together and you're thinking about the future. That's great and congrats on moving in together! That's so exciting. Now that you live with each other you've got more of an opportunity to spend time together. Late nights and his Saturday early mornings. I'm sorry you won't have any day trips planned, but hopefully you've got g/fs you do those things with. But I know it's not the same. Do you live in NYC? You can always have with the chefswives!

psa ri said...

I've still been reading (love your blog :o) )but it's been a while since I've posted a comment...I have a lot to say about this one b/c let me tell you: Being a chefwife is challenging to say the least. That said, there are some things that make it a teeny bit easier: My #1 thing is to appreciate the the time that you do have together. There have been days where I'm feeling crabby, but it's his day off...So I pull myself together & say to myself, "P, You can be a crab tomorrow. Today, enjoy your time with your chef!" Also, you absolutely HAVE to accept that, as my chef says, "It is what it is." He WILL be working opposite/long hours and there is virtually nothing you can do about it. You can't wish it were different b/c it's not. So appreciate it as it is. We are so lucky to be married/with dedicated professionals who love what they do (you have to love it to work as hard as they do and as many hours as they do). When my chef is home I'm lucky that he really is HOME. If he does start thinking about work I very gently remind him that he's home with us so he has to be present for us...then he's back. Yes, sometimes I feel like a single parent & yes, sometimes I'm envious of friends who have Friday night "date nights" but I sometimes get Wednesday night "date nights" and my birthdays/mother's days last longer b/c I get to celebrate them on different days. Oh - one other thing, I have just recently (this one took me a while) come to accept that as much as we need our "us" time, he needs his "me" time. I didn't like that he took Sunday afternoons/evenings to play softball b/c that's one of his only days off & time to spend with the family...BUT, he needs that time to be with his buddies, unwind, do something physical (well, non-kitchen related physical) & enjoy himself as a guy! Okay, long post, but that's it! Thanks for letting me share...

Anonymous said...

I think that the most important thing is, when having a spat, to NOT raise your voice and try to out yell them. Chefs have big egos and tend to block out anyone raising their voice to them, because this is completely unacceptable to them at work. At work, where they spend majority of their waking time, they are used to 'my way or the highway', and being able to yell commands, criticisms, and directions in the heat of the moment. So when you're fighting, the worst way to go is try to make yourself be heard by being loud and angry. A much better approach is to tone it down, explain your disappointment/anger/what's wrong rationally - almost like a guilt trip. You want to remind your chef that he is OUT of the kitchen, and he is not talking to a cook or a waiter, but to his significant other! I constantly have to remind my chef the tones of voice that are inappropriate to use with me... sometimes when he sees something small that pisses him off, he tends to use the same tone of voice that I've heard him use in a kitchen. Unacceptable!!!

melia said...

Remember that the time you spend apart is probably good for you - it makes you appreciate your time together so much more, and makes it so much more special. I think if I spent the amount of time with my boyfriend that other couples who have regular working hours are able to, we will probably kill each other.

Also, I always keep in mind that my boyfriend is probably the coolest guy I've ever met. What other boyfriend would be able to whip up an amazing midnight dessert in 10 minutes, or can help you satisfy the exact food craving you have at the moment?

rbaby said...

I'm really glad I found this blog. I started dating this amazing guy nearly 5 months ago and hes a head chef at a really nice greek restaurant in Boston. I live over 3 hours away and sometimes its hard not just the distance but also how he works 13 hrs a day, 6 days a week with very few days off in between. I totally know the whole chef tone voice, which we have gotten into several arguements over (i think i just had to learn that its not that hes angry its just his job). Its nice to hear from other people about their experiences dating or being married to chefs. We've been talking about moving in together and I'm super excited. Whats not to love about a guy whos passionate and who is talented with food? :)

Anonymous said...

I was pleasantly surprised when I found this blog. I have enjoyed reading the tips for surviving life with a chef, I am going to attempt to utilize some of the tips about how to effectively communicate with a man in this profession.

We are currently trying to conceive... at the same time that my executive chef is trying to open a new restaurant. I googled this topic looking for ideas on how to deal with the frustrations of being with a chef. At a time that I am feeling very vulnerable and very concerned that I too will feel like a "single parent" I am trying my best to be empathetic and realize how much pressure he has on him, inside and outside of the kitchen. Reading the concerns and comments of others has kind of helped reassure me that I am not the only one out there dealing with the struggle of feeling like your relationship comes second to the kitchen. Still, overall I must say that I have a passionate... very loud man... that I am completely in love with.

Anonymous said...

Im glad i found this blog. My boyfriend just started culinary school. I love this blog, but its making me want to run now! Looking back, if you had the chance to run would you?

I do love him, but I do know myself. Im scared to go through this and support his dream if I know its not the kind of life i want. HELP! Im sorry if I sound selfish.

allie said...

I love this blog!! I started dating a head line cook about 3 months ago and the first 2 months were wonderful, despite having to drive 30 minutes to his house every other day at 11:30pm to see him only for a few hours, but it was worth it because he is such a great guy. After 2 months he decided to break up with me because he felt that not only did I distract him from his job, but he couldn't give me what I deserved because of his schedule. He believes that he will never be able to have a successful relationship because he will never have the time to put the effort into it. Fortunately, after about a week we got back together because we still had feelings for each other. We decided we had to drastically cut-down on the time that we spent together since the executive chef commented how his job performance had decreased since he had met me. I felt this was unfair, but I really do like him and was willing to do what it took to stay together. Overall, I am okay with the decreased time spent together because I am young (21 yrs. old) and in college, so plenty of things to occupy my time. I see him only on the weekends in the morning before his Saturday shift. Remembering that he passionately loves his job and is willing to work the tough schedule he has is hard for me sometimes. Does anyone have any advice for me when it comes to getting the attention I deserve in a relationship? I feel like I am asking for very little attention, but I want him to know that I still need some.

ChefWife said...

Welcome, Allie! I'm glad you're finding this blog useful. My advice is always the same: communication, communication, communication. Talk with your chef about everything. Let him know when you are feeling pushed aside, and be aware of his emotional needs as well.

Mary said...

I'm so glad to have found this site. One of the most important men in my life is a chef, and we've moved back and forth between friends and dating for several years. Recently I finally realized that I'm truly in love with this man, but when I put it all on the line, I heard the reply that seems to be a bit of a pattern on this blog: "I don't think I can give you what you need". None of my girlfriends can relate since they date other professionals (I'm in Marketing), so it's nice to see that there are other women out there who can relate. But reading things like "deals with concepts like Christmas and every other holiday alone" are starting to hit home. I love to travel and spend holidays with family, so it sounds like it might be a sad and lonely life if we were to end up together. I'm not sure I can be as strong as you all are :)

Marianna said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am dating a chef and feel like time is never on my side. I can handle he is so dedicated to his craft, but when it's Saturday night and you see couples all cute eating a NORMAL dinner together it's hard to know that he's the one cooking for them. The book "A Soul of a Chef" has been a huge help too to understand what kind of stress he's under. I know he is SUPER stressed right now with the holidays so I just try to be a HELP and not be the source of his stress. THANK YOU for this site.

Anita said...

Thank God i found this blog.

I'm really upset. I'm dating a guy who wants to be a chef. At first he was a baker working 2-9am...then he was telling me that he was thinking of scrapping the whole cooking/baking thing for a trady job...which would give him good hours. But now he spoke to his mum and asked her after he made a nice dinner..so you think i should become a chef and she said yeah. Now he's just landed a job 3pm-11pm tues-sat and going to school to do cooking classes. but i work 8-5pm mon-fri so I won't have time to see him only on sundays. This is killing me I've fallen in love with him and how can i marry someone with these crappy shifts? He told me he loves me...and if i have something hard and important to tell him then to let him know. What do I do? Should I tell him that how would we support our family on this?I'm falling apart, worrying sick.

I don't want him to be a chef...but if i tell him i risk getting my heart broken. But maybe that's something i'm willing to do.

Dating Mr Chef Apprentice

Lyricaldali said...

I just started dating an aspiring chef, he is very dedicated to his field. He currently is working as a line cook and plans on pursuing a career in cooking starting with attending culinary school. I am an aspiring housewife/mother who will get a job if necessary. I love him and we're working on communication but I feel he never has time for me and the little bits just sometimes don't do it especially because I live 2hrs away with no car. I'm not sure if this relationship is worth pursuing, but I love him so. I need help with coping with his absence in the beginning of the relationship when I've told him I only date to marry. Please help///any advice?

Lyricaldali said...

I am in love with an aspiring chef who currently works on a line. He plans to attend culinary school and become a chef someday. I'd like to help him pursue that dream but I already can't handle missing him, we're currently working on our communication. I only date to marry and hope to be housewife/mother and he knows this. We both graduate in december and both plan to move to chicago where I know no one, how can I handle this absence and having no friends nearby? I love him I'm afraid of embarking on this relationship long term. Please help with any advice

ChefWife said...

Lyricaldali, So sorry it took so long to get back to you, but you've got a tough situation on your hands. You seem to be at the sticky part in a relationship somewhere between the just dating puppy love and full on commitment of a wedding. I obviously cannot tell you whether to commit or not, but I can say that it seems as if your chef is on his personal track to success and you are going to be going along for the ride. If that works for you then go for it, but I wonder if you might be at all resentful for following him on his career path. Although you are interested in being a mother and homemaker, it would be hard to make friends and set roots in a new town. How is your relationship so far? Are you able to get to know each other with such distance between you? Maybe it would be better to keep things a bit more casual between you before you know if you really want to commit. Please continue to keep us updated. This isn't easy!

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments is overwhelming to me right now...

I've been with my boyfriend (currently a title is being questioned) for 4 years. The first two were amazing. Then he started culinary school and caught "the bug." in the past 2 years he's been at 4 different restaurants- with the same 5-6 work day schedule, 10-13 hour days. I haven't had a bday, holiday, vacation or weekend with him in the past 2 years- but it has become routine to me by now. We broke up about a year ago and I started to move on, but he came back and of course I went back slowly but surely.

The past year we've been "working on things", all those things listed above, over and over (communication, wanting attention, not putting stress on him ext.) The time we do have together is great, but it is completely obvious that for now, as he points out, his job is everything, and it's nearly impossible to have a relationship too. This most recent conversation on the subject just happened today- and it brought up the idea of us going our separate ways, since he "can't give me what I need." then he got called in to work tonight, on his day off, and we decided to finish the convo later... (grin)

Now I'm sitting here feeling pretty down, wondering what is best for me. Either we can continue working on us, and be completely ok with the matter at hand (someone said it best above- it is what it is) and just accept the fact his schedule is priority and to enjoy the time we do have together.. Or to go my own way and leave this all behind. Al I know is love shouldn't be this difficult :/

I am sitting here, reading all these comment

Anonymous said...

My chef boyfriend was a trainee at my hotel when we started dating. We loved each other a lot. Then he went back to Culinary School and said he couldn't love someone so far away. The relationship was fine till then. Anyway, I never got over him; after a year he returned. He has a more stable situation now, job-wise. He called me, and seems to have forgotten that he broke up with me months ago. Should I stay or move on? I always gave him his space and time, and even helped him with his assignments sometimes. I'm so torn I don't know what to do. Help! - T, Asia.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am chef, but I'm a girl, and I've just found out this blog, I've been reading your posts, and I didn't have no idea how hard this was for you, my boyfriend is always angry because I spent many time working, I think he really doesn't understand what this career is about, I love him, I understand that he has needs to.. But I don't know what to do..

Anonymous said...

Finding this website has been a god send. I have been dating a chef for 10 months.I am really struggling to come to terms with the hours and the fact I feel second best. I am a social butterfly and feel I'm missing out on my best years socialising at weekends, holidays etc All of my friends are committed with kids and I'm feeling envious of their family outings at weekends. I have a little girl aged 4 to my previous marriage so I am busy with her most days anyway. I just don't know how to move forward on this one. My chef and I argue and bicker alot but I really love him! I don't know why sometimes?? I am very proud of him and he is fantastic at what he does. He is working for a family run business who are financially struggling at the moment and he is working to help them on minimum wage. We struggle financially because of this and I feel I would love someone who can help support me and my daugther, I have fallen in love with him though! He has big plans for himself to have his own restaurant one day and I am behind him 100% supporting him. I just don't know whether to let him go and try and be friends or do I stay and try and come to terms with it all...

Anonymous said...

Just found the site thank god! I have been seeing a chef/product development director since January, he is an amazing person and we always have a fantastic time when we see each other, but recently he has become totaly absorbed in work and hasn't been in contact for a while, even though we were getting on great! He is divorced with kids so has that added preassure also, do I stay patient and give him his space while he's in this stressful period?? I'm a tad confused!! His friend (also a chef) says this is what dating a chef is like!! True? Anon uk

Anonymous said...

Hi, i'm 26 & have been living with a chef for nearly a year now. I find it really hard, knowing all my friends spend most evenings and weekends with their boyfriends and I spend none with mine, he spends 15hrs a day 6 days a week at work.

I know how hard he works and that is such a good attribute in a man, but the less time i spend with him the more I think I just couldn't do this forever. I didn't consider how difficult & lonely it would be when I first started dating him- it's just not for every girl! I wish I was as strong as some of you on this blog!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChefWife said...

Well, Anon (12/2) I don't think I'm strong at all. I just see my self as adaptable. If you want to be with a chef you have to be a lot of things: adventurous in food, able to live on a modest budget, trustworthy, and seriously flexible. One of the hardest parts is adapting to the changes-jobs, hours, days off, etc. I guess after all of that, you do become strong though...

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is Wow. I have a live-in boyfriend who is a chef, and I have no idea what I am going to do about it. I have already been married once, and ended up as a single mother, and I am not raising another child alone. I have to hand it to you women, you seem very dedicated. I don't think I am going to be able to hang in there. Already, he worked right through my birthday, shortened my Christmas vacation, (we had to go home because he had to work) and now I am looking forward to spending New Year's Eve ALONE. If this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life, well, I can be lonely by myself. I think it's wrong for chefs to be expected to work 12 to 16 hour days. I am giving this relationship a chance until our lease is up, and if I am not receiving the kind of attention that I like to give, I am outta here. Every woman deserves to have her needs met, and a mere date for important holidays and functions. Anything less just sucks and is selfish. If chefs wanted a rewarding career and a family, they could make it happen, I think. Somebody tell me there is more to being with a chef than having him take over my kitchen and making me feel like an idiot whenever I enter it. I honestly believe that if he were in any other profession, I would be the happiest woman on this planet. A little help, ladies?

ChefWife said...

Wow is right, girl. Seriously, I hate to sound jaded, but I am so here it goes. Get used to it. Those coveted "couple" holidays: anniversaries, Valentine's day, and New Year's Eve are are always a no go for chefs' wives and girlfriends. They will always be working. So you can either stay at home and crumble -I've done that several times, go out with your friends, or make the holiday for a time and day that works.

These relationships work if you work them. Sort of like AA.

Anonymous said...

So my issue comes from a different part of the spectrum. I am a 29 year old female chef trying to date!! Any suggestions with this? I am trying the online dating route and everyone seems to be working when I am off and off when I am working. I am going out of my mind! There is a high percentage of chefs dating other chefs but I am not interested in dating a co-worker to keep things professional. Any help out there?
Thanks!

Jillian said...

HI! I've been dating a Chef de Party for one year now. The 16 hours he works never usually bothered me, because when he went to work, I just went home and went back to sleep...But now we've decided to get married...Now we have issues. For instance, he works 16 hours a day! I can work a full-time job to fill my days but still have time to wait for him to get home. He doesnt make enough money to pay his taxes either! Currently, I work super part-time, and STILL make more than him. I just am not sure if this is the way I want to start off my marriage...alone. And he always seems to want to please his Chef, and put our needs on the back burner. I am a trained Pastry Chef, but I left that profession because I saw that theres no life there. Sure I love what I do a lot, but I want to enjoy life too. I dont want to live pay check to pay check, kill myself in the name of food, and risk getting caught up in it so much that I miss out on life. And I dont want that for him either. His Chef wont even give him a day off to get married for heavens stake! I'm just not sure of how I'm doing to deal with it. I love him beyond words! I love his passion, but I also hate his passion...

foodchocolatewine said...

I am sooo glad to find this blog. I am currently dating a chef for about 1 month but the time we spent together was too little or always at odd hours and i'm not sure how i feel about all this. to give a little bit of the background, i am a 25 year old full time health professional student, and a month ago i met a young 25 yr old executive chef from an event and we've been dating since. However, we have several issues: 1. he was just recently recruited from italy to work as an executive chef in a restaurant in the city we live in (sf). 2. he's been learning how to cook since he was 15, so for 10 years, he basically lived in the kitchen and never had a chance at a real relationship because he didn't have time. prior to his move, he was a line cook in a resort in italty and he told me there was no way he could handle a relationship back in europe because he really had no time, but here in america it's possible for him (that's what he said). 3. i am also a very busy individual, i have full time school (40 hrs a wk) and i often have to study a lot on my free time and catch up on school work that i couldn't finish during normal hours. and he has to work 5 days a week for about 13 hrs a day and his days off are every monday and tuesday. all in all, our schedule doesn't really match up that well, but we're both really attracted to each other and when i do see him, i always enjoy our time together even though that means him coming over around 11 or later when he finishes at the restaurant a few times a week. and each monday when he has a day off, he wants to explore california as he is still a foreigner and is curious. his friend, who is a pastry chef, also has every monday off, so they like to hang out and go to places on their day off. i don't mind that, but i fee like I'm not understanding why he doesn't seem to want to make plans in advance with me. it might just be a personality thing because maybe the nature of his work requires him to think on his feet so he's used to dealing with spontaneouty and people around him are just like that all the time. but it's difficult for me because I'm also incredibly busy, i would want to plan things with him so that i can know when i need to hustle and work hard and get things done asap so i can spend my free time with him when he has days off, but since he often doesn't have a solid plan as to what he wants to do on his days off, it's been difficult for me to find a balance between him, school work, and friends. i would love to see him and do "normal" things people do during day time when he has days off, even though i still appreciate him coming over to my place to see me after work, but often we just talk a little bit and both of us would be so tired and we would just fall asleep together. do any of you have this problem? dating a chef who doesn't seem to like to make plans or doesn't know a solid plan as to what he wants to do on his days off because he's used to dealing with situations on the spot?? or do you think this could just be a lack of experience in dating so he's not doing a good job at being a good date?? please help me! i really really like this guy a lot even though we have some communication problem in terms of language, but i enjoy teach him english and he is appreciative to me teaching him english and being patient with him. i just need some sort of guidance, and i would love to hear what some of you have to say about this! thank you so much in advance!!!!

Anonymous said...

I started dating an executive chef for a well noted LA restaurant and I just found out he has a girl friend who he's living with. I don't understand how someone who is apparently under the gun and running pushing out 300-400 plates has time to spend texting and calling me before, during and after service. I'm very confused and know I feel like nothing but a mistress who got played. I have already have taken the steps to end it but I really do care for this person. Some of the qualities noted are extremely controlling needs to know where I am all the time and with who. I guess its because he's a cheater and is extra sensitive. Anyways, huge ego, extremely cocky, needs to check his ego at the door. Is that a common trait? It doesn't help that he was on the Food Network. Any advise?? Thanks VS

Anonymous said...

I have been dating a twenty something chef for a year and a half. We moved in together fast and what bothered me most was not his long hours, I respect his drive and ambition, but his need to go out to a bar afterwards to "unwind" and discuss the day with his coworker/friends. We ended up separating for a while but got back together and live separately now. He had promised to come home after work 3-4 times a week but only does once a week because he's too "tired" to drive 20 minutes. (his new place is closer to work). He also doesn't like to talk on the phone, so a few texts a day is all we have. Him coming home after work and just cuddling at night would make a big difference for me, but he just doesn't do that. I don't know if I can do it like this. And there never seems to be time to discuss these things since the one day we have together doesn't seem appropriate to bring up sensitive issues. And I'm tired of thinking about it and not have a real partner u can talk to. Its so hard to always put aside my needs, for his hours. I love him very much but don't know what to do anymore if things don't change, and I don't know how they really can change.

Anonymous said...

I am in wine sales and have known my chef for 7 years. A month ago we started dating. I come from the restaurant industry and totally understand the hours, but it has been more challenging than I had thought! There is alot of waiting and missing, but I am hoping that we can work through. This site was super helpful- I at least don't feel so alone in my thoughts about the situation of the relationship!

Belinda said...

hey girls, well im a first timer on the blog and so glad i found it. some amazing stroies that ive read and tips i picked up. im a film student 20 and my chef just landed a big job. we see each other once a week, maybe! 2-3 weeks go by without seeing each other because of the distance. we have beem dating for 2 years and 5 months now and i seriously love him, im crazy about my hunky chef. But readng all these comments im getting the idea to start running... i love going out on weekends and driving around a lot. i really want to travel and go away and just do stuff with him but he is never around and reading all this he also will never be. I really need advice oh and his co-worker(boss) doesnt like me at all. He said my boy should get himself someone in the same industry. Any help or tips or anything? Would appreciate it.

DV said...

Really glad to see other people dating chefs/cooks and struggling as much as I am. I met my boyfriend in culinary school. I previously took a business certificate too so I'm actually working in the corporate office of a food company. He is working for a very fancy restaurant. I work 9-5 and he works 1:00 PM until 3-4 am. Before we were living together and things were fine because at least i'd see him every night even briefly before I went to work. Now that the lease was up we both moved back home to save money. I hardly see him, speak to him or anything. When he gets off work he is tired. Our hours conflict so we can never really talk on the phone and he can't dedicate every day off to me. It's been hard to feel the love or to feel he cares- he gets mad because he is so busy and doesn't get why I can't understand how he can't always message me or talk. I know he loves me but I need him to show it, especially when I'm not seeing him! I love him, so I want to make it work...but at the same time It's taking so much out of me emotionally to never have him in my life when I need him. Any suggestions on how to get him to see this without having the same conversation we always have and making him mad?

Anonymous said...

I'm 28. Married to a chef. And been living together for a year. Every day she comes home from work grumpy/stressed out and can not seem to switch off. I feel like we barely get any time together because we're on such opposite schedules and when we do see each other she can't relax. This of course frustrates me and we spend the little time we have - arguing!
I don't know how to communicate my frustration without starting a fight. I want to be supportive of her career but I find it SO HARD when I'm so frustrated and can see that she's unhappy too :(

Dana Popp said...

My boyfriend currently works as a General Manager as a restaurant, and you can't believe the type of hours he has (actually, I'm sure you do!). However, he wants to open his own business. Has a business/culinary background, and he PROMISES me that this is temporary and things will slow down for him once his business is up and running. Anyone have an idea if owning his own business (he has a partner who shares the responsibilites) will truly cut down on his hours vs being a line cook or chef?

I'm so happy I found this blog, especially after I JUST got finished yelling at my boyfriend for falling asleep on me the other night and not hearing from him until the next evening. We're calling this period a "rough patch", but he told me this is just how it's going to be...and that I did get the "short end of the stick".

He is such a wonderful man (damn him for making me fall in love with him), but it's hard to date someone you don't even see! Yes, I think he's worth it, but what do you do when you've been alone for 4-7 days straight and you haven't seen ANY of him? I see my friends, spend time with family, but no one can take the place of your significant other. Do you just fill your time with extra hobbies? I'm at a bit of a breaking point at the moment. And staying calm is hard, especially when I'm so emotional and think I deserve time with my man. Any advice would be so great.

Hilary Battes said...

Hi Dana, I hate to give you some news you don't want to hear, but if your bf starts his own business, he will not only be working more hours when it starts, but he will be working more hours for a VERY long time. New businesses don't even make a profit for sometimes the first few YEARS. And he will be working MORE than he is now just to make his business take off. Once it is successful he MAY have the option of puling back and letting other people do the work, but that's not always the case either.

I do think it's important to fill your time with other things. However, I feel that I am busy from sunup to sundown every single day, and I still miss my husband like crazy. I wish I had the answers to it all. All I can say is that balance is key. You need to see your bf and be able to be without him.

Rianna said...

Hi my name is Rianna. I am engaged to a chef and live in Australia. Just found this blog and reading it, I realised I am NOT alone! I am studying nursing and we have a young daughter but it is hard the hours he works! I am so glad to see that I am not the only one!

Anonymous said...

I have been dating a chef for 10 months now and it has most definitely been a roller coaster ride. We met at the restaurant where he was executive sous chef and I was a server. In the beginning everything was amazing. However, when things started to get serious he pushed me away big time. In addition to being a chef he has some baggage that he is holding on to. He is twice divorced with a 10 y/o daughter. He also is an only child with father issues. After about 4 months of dating and right after he told me he loved me while drunk he completely pulled away and we broke up for about 3 weeks. During this time we still worked together and I eventfully convinced him to talk and he told me he was a complete ass and he was sorry and we have been together since. However we have had a few more incidents in which he has pulled away and we have almost ended things. I have exercised a tremendous amount of patience, but it's been extremely difficult. He has shown he is trying, but every time we take steps forward I feel like we hit another roadblock. I know some of it is me because I feel extremely uncertain about our relationship and I create drama in my head, but it is also him as well. He was recently promoted to executive chef of a new restaurant that his company is opening and the pressure extremely high. It's a make or break career moment and I'm doing my best to be supportive and I'm his #1 cheerleader, but he has completely disengaged. I haven't heard from him in a week. He also told me he thought the friends/family night was going to be chaotic and that I should just wait till the opening to come in. Is that normal? Should I be upset that he didn't want me there? And that he isn't communicating or responding to me at all? Or is it normal for a head chef to cut himself off from personal relationships during a restaurant opening? I'm truly in the dark right now.

Anonymous said...

My name is Bridget and I live in New York City. I forgot to put my name in my previous post. I'm 31 and my boyfriend is 41 and currently executive chef for a new corporate restaurant opening.

Hilary Battes said...

Hi Bridget, it's always nice to meet a lady from NYC. I understand the disengaged thing, especially during opening, tastings for new jobs, restaurant week, etc. I think the best thing is to express that you feel pushed away (they may not know). But it's important to do it in a very careful way- learn from my mistakes!! Don't nag, yell, scream, or rant on and on. Chefs have hard exteriors, but very sensitive feelings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding Hilary. Unfortunately he has completely cut off all lines of communication. The restaurant has been open for 2 weeks and I haven't heard from him in 10 days. The last response I got from him is when I sent him a message on Facebook (I know, pathetic that I have to communicate with my boyfriend on Facebook) offering to run errands for him on my days off. His response basically said thanks and he was good, another 16 hour day and he was gonna pass out. I was extremely supportive and ok with this, but that was 10 days ago and I have sent a few texts and a message on Facebook just asking how everything was going. Nothing. So I finally called tonight and left a voicemail just saying that I completely understood if he was too busy to engage in a conversation but that I would love to hear a response and know that everything is ok. And that I was there for him as a listening ear and shoulder for support. I'm pretty sure I am not going to hear from him again which is so heartbreaking, but I have done nothing wrong to deserve this kind of disrespect. I just can't believe that after almost a year together that he would just stop contacting me and cut me out without a word because he is scared and stressed about work. I'm the collateral damage of something that was suppose to be a positive thing in his life. If I do get the chance to ever speak to him again I will certainly take your advice. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

RUN FAST! I dated a cook for a year, and from what I saw and learned of the lifestyle, I would advice any lady to run as fast as she can. There might be a few exceptions, but for the most part, cooks are chauvinistic, spend their day in the kitchen talking about women like another piece of steak, looking at and sharing porn between them, they are dirty, touching guts all day, with no boundaries, and on top of that, no time for you whatsoever... worst year of my life. MA, Oregon

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think I forgot to say alcoholism and drugs are also very common in Portland kitchens.

Hilary Battes said...

Bridget- 10 days!?! That's a very long time not to hear from someone you've been dating for as long as you have. I am usually not this bold in my advice, but I not make that an acceptable behavior in your relationship. I don't see any reason why he couldn't respond in one way or another even to say that he's too busy to respond. You're right, it's disrespectful and you certainly deserve more than that.


And there are drugs in MANY kitchens...all over the world I'm sure. UGH. Sorry about your bad experience, but I'm glad you're sharing it here! We need all the perspectives we can get.

Shirley Darleen said...

Shir, puerto rico- so i'm shir and im dating a chef. We've been going out for a month and a half, im still lucky he cooks for me from time to time but i cant' belive how much garbage he eats when he's alone haha. The time, the time... omg patiente im learning to have!cancellations, last minute someone a cook cut his finger off. Argh thanks for this blog! any advice to keep coping?

Hilary Battes said...

HI Shir, my best advice to cope, is to keep talking! It really helps to talk to other people, especially those who understand your situation. I also always encourage the ladies who read this blog to talk to their chefs and keep the communication open and clear.

Thanks for reading!

Shirley Darleen said...

Thanks Hilary!!! that's what my friends don't understand, that in this particular kind of relationship the communication is key! because i can interpret his lack of time as lack of interest and he can take mine urge to see him as not understanding his job. They all like 'dont' talk to him, it;s too soon, u'll scare him away." but i think is impertive to express the needs and feelings without comfrontation or judging, Thanks again

city_love said...

I have been dating a line supervisor for 4 months now. We used to go to great lengths to make time for each other, but now it is as though he has gotten too comfortable and no longer makes an effort. Everything is one-sided anymore, and I am bending over backward for him. It takes about 10 seconds to send a text message, but he wont reply for 7, 8, or 9 hours at a time. I know he takes bathroom and smoke breaks, so this lack of communication is not acceptable. I went into this relationship fully understanding that we would not see each other very much. I have always come up with creative work-arounds for this issue. Texting is a basic and necessary line of communication for us. I also know that he goes to the bar every night (if it isn't closed already) after work. I am okay with that, but why can't he text or call? We have had talks and communicate our thoughts and feelings well. He has told me that he will work on this. I have seen no evidence of positive change. And I am tired of trying to justify his actions or make "rational" excuses for his indifferent attitude. I think we are finished. Any thoughts or ideas from you guys?

Moiey said...

Hello Hilary and babes! I'm from Singapore and I'm a teacher too and have been returning to this blog and other related blogs whenever my relationship of 6 months with my chef seems rocky. I felt better when I see that "I don't have time to maintain a relationship now" is commonly mentioned by our significant others. And that my bf feels bad that he cant give me what I need. We almost broke up but it was so painful cos I love him sooo much and I told him that I would want to try things out again.

I'm trying to develop myself now. I also play the bf role more now (like going over to his house, planning dates and surprises). But it's a roller coaster ride because most of the time I end up thinking too much. Then, I start to think whether Im in a one -sided love. Like many, I need to feel loved, even the smallest of gestures, to give me the courage and strength to carry on.

Communication is important but I really have difficulty finding the "right" time to do it when he's not too tired or stressed.

But we will persist!

Keep going ladies! =)

Moiey
Singapore

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Here is a little bit of my back story...

My chef boyfriend and I recently graduated college and moved in together. When we were in college we spent and did everything together( i had a pretty terrible roommate situation). So I landed a typical 9-5 job while he started working shifts from around 2-11 p.m. which as i can see from previous comments is pretty typical.

However, as a woman who dated a military guy for 4 years I thought this would be much easier. I thought when my previous boyfriend and I broke up that I was free from that "forever missing my other half" part of my life. But not it just seems like I jumped right back into it..

to make matters worse we live in a state where we don't have family nearby and I feel super lonely. He is my best friend and the only person I feel I could say anything to and I really don't want to give up on this or him.

I just need to know if things will ever get better... will i just get used to this? i'm not sure i guess what i;m trying to say.. i'm just venting my frustration

4

Natasha said...

Hi I'm Natasha I've been dating my chef for 4 years now and it's hard cause we started dating when he was in culinary school so I didn't kno what to expect. I just find comfort in knowing I'm not alone and I constantly tell myself he is the man for me.

Anonymous said...

hey
I just started typing "dating a chef" into google and the auto complete gave me as a second choice "dating a chef is hard", which made me laugh...
I have started dating a chef about 4 months ago and I am indeed finding it hard as it is really difficult to get to know him as I seem him maybe once every couple of weeks and otherwise he is usually so tired that he is not great at keeping in touch either. It seem like the whole getting to know process is going in slow motion.
It was quite nice to read that I am not alone and dating a chef seems indeed hard...
Anyway, thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

M.E.S.
Hey there!
I've been dating this guy for a year and a half and he's been super lucky to get the opportunity to be a cook at a restaurant. It's hard to spend so much time apart especially since I'm in college, two hours away. I think the most important thing is communication. Letting each other know you're there even when it seems like you're not. My boyfriend sends me texts telling me he loves me and that he'll talk to me soon and its those things that keep us hopeful. The second thing that has gotten me through is respect. I respect his hard work and I'm so incredibly proud of him for all that he's striving for. It's this respect that keeps from getting angry that he's so busy or that his job takes up so much time. We have a plan to move in together next year and I'm incredibly excited just concerned we still wont be able to see each other because of clashing schedules.

Thank you for providing a place to vent.

Anonymous said...

Ive been with my chef boyfriend for 4 and a half years. We met at a restaraunt and after 10 months I left the restaraunt to go back to my normal work 9-5. For the last two years I have been miseable, always missing him, upset, crying myself to sleep and wishing we could spend more time together. I always tell him this, but he turns it straight around on me and usually goes with the quotes 'theres not much left of me after work' and 'i'm just so busy' and 'i am looking at the future give it a few years'.
Recently (3 mths ago) I woke up and just stopped caring about us. I stopped crying and stopped waiting for 'us' time. we purchased a house 12 months ago, I feel like we have made a mistake buying it, as now instead of being lonely at someones house, I now go home to a lonely 2 hectare property too far away to see my friends and I am completely alone. I suggested having someone move in so i feel less alone and not so scared, but he doesnt want to do that.
I am at my wits end. I stopped caring about US and our relationship without even realising and now I feel stuck. I am at my wits end and I cannot go on like this for another few years. I can't wait until we have children for him to 'change' (he tells me if we have children he will have to change) i am having anxiety attacks and I am ready to leave but I am scared as well because I do love him... but I hate US! I am 24 and he is 32... And I feel like I am too young to be a side platter for him that is expected to be happy about seeing him an hour every week.
He won't commit his days off to me because he wants to go hunting and fishing to 'clear his head' and I find myself waiting around for him, then when he finally comes home he ust gets drunk. HELP ME has anyone else made the break up move with financial tie downs I am losing my mind... Thanks for listenin.. Liz

Anonymous said...

Ive been with my chef boyfriend for 4 and a half years. We met at a restaraunt and after 10 months I left the restaraunt to go back to my normal work 9-5. For the last two years I have been miseable, always missing him, upset, crying myself to sleep and wishing we could spend more time together. I always tell him this, but he turns it straight around on me and usually goes with the quotes 'theres not much left of me after work' and 'i'm just so busy' and 'i am looking at the future give it a few years'.
Recently (3 mths ago) I woke up and just stopped caring about us. I stopped crying and stopped waiting for 'us' time. we purchased a house 12 months ago, I feel like we have made a mistake buying it, as now instead of being lonely at someones house, I now go home to a lonely 2 hectare property too far away to see my friends and I am completely alone. I suggested having someone move in so i feel less alone and not so scared, but he doesnt want to do that.
I am at my wits end. I stopped caring about US and our relationship without even realising and now I feel stuck. I am at my wits end and I cannot go on like this for another few years. I can't wait until we have children for him to 'change' (he tells me if we have children he will have to change) i am having anxiety attacks and I am ready to leave but I am scared as well because I do love him... but I hate US! I am 24 and he is 32... And I feel like I am too young to be a side platter for him that is expected to be happy about seeing him an hour every week.
He won't commit his days off to me because he wants to go hunting and fishing to 'clear his head' and I find myself waiting around for him, then when he finally comes home he ust gets drunk. HELP ME has anyone else made the break up move with financial tie downs I am losing my mind... Thanks for listenin.. Liz

Anonymous said...

It has made me feel soo much better to find this blog and hear that other people feel the same way! I met my chef while travelling and moved across the world to be with him. He works long hours and likes to stay after work for a drink with the boys, meaning he often comes in very late at night. Being away from my support network of family and friends in a new city makes things more challenging, and although we usually have one day off together per week I can't help feeling a bit neglected/lonely when he chooses to spend some of the little time he has off with his friends (although I totally understand that this is very important!) instead of with me, especially as get-togethers usually involve alcohol and run late into the night. I was in the habit of waiting up until 1 or 2am to talk to him when he gets in, but ended up exhausted, run down and performing badly in my job with only 4 or 5 hours sleep. I am trying to get to sleep earlier now without him, but I just miss that end of day chat/cuddle and hate falling asleep on my own. I feel really trapped as I feel that if I leave the relationship I am throwing away something really great and leaving behind a wonderful person, yet if I stay I am committing to a life that I might never find makes me truly happy. I had a strong family growing up and want the same for my children down the track, with a father who is there for them and a husband to spend my evenings with. Now after only a year together it can feel so hard to coordinate time together and I feel like it is sometimes a 'chore' for him when he would rather be at the pub with his mates. Thanks for creating such a supportive community here to share our stories xx

Lau love said...

I just left my chef and I already miss him. We spent a few hours together and he was sleeping pretty much the whole time. We've been together for 2 and a half years now. He was a cook for the first year and a half and now he's a chef. Something about that transition just made our lives harder. We have always find ways to make it work. We try to talk everyday but lately it has become harder and harder. He has talked about leaving his job to do something else so that we can have a family but it makes me feel guilty. I don't want him to leave a job that he loves and is really great at for me. What if we don't work out. I love him so much but sometimes I wonder if that is enough.

Lau love said...

I just left my chef and I already miss him. We spent a few hours together and he was sleeping pretty much the whole time. We've been together for 2 and a half years now. He was a cook for the first year and a half and now he's a chef. Something about that transition just made our lives harder. We have always find ways to make it work. We try to talk everyday but lately it has become harder and harder. He has talked about leaving his job to do something else so that we can have a family but it makes me feel guilty. I don't want him to leave a job that he loves and is really great at for me. What if we don't work out. I love him so much but sometimes I wonder if that is enough.

Swe said...

Hi do you still meet NYC ? I could use some support.! Appreciated reading these comments. It's not easy!

Hilary Battes said...

Hi SWE, It's pretty rare that we'd meet up anymore. I'm two kids deep which takes nearly all of my time. But it's never too late to try again. There are also loads of other chefs' wives on Facebook in the group "married to a chef".

bunce said...

Hi Swe, I'm in NYC and feeling the same, needing support. Let me know if you'd be interested in trying to get some of us together!

confused said...

Hi all- I'm writing here because I've come to a crossroads in my relationship and aren't sure which direction to go. 5 months ago I moved halfway across the country to live with my boyfriend of a year. He had moved 4 months prior for a Sous Chef position. The city is awful, neither of us have had any luck making friends. I've gone through more jobs in the last 5 months than in my entire work history combined before the move. Back home he worked long hours but I had friends and family to spend time with so it didn't seem that awful. Most nights he doesn't get home until 11:30 at the earliest and as late as 1:30. To make things worse a couple months ago he admitted to drunkenly kissing one of his co-workers at one of their usual 'after work drinking sessions.' We've moved on from this and thankfully the girl is no longer employed with the restaurant but that thought will always cross my mind.

Now he is saying that he wants to move to either Chicago or NYC or San Francisco to pursue his dream of working at a Michelin Star restaurant. The idea of living in those cities/very small,expensive apartment/him working 14+ hour shifts... scares the sh*t out of me. I love him and imagined us spending our lives together but when he talks about his future he keeps using language that just refers to what he'll be doing- not us. He's told me multiple times that he wants me to be there with him but I don't know if I'm cut out to be a "Chef's Wife." How do you guys keep your sanity and happiness when the only person you know is gone all the time? If I've had trouble making a single girlfriend in a city of less than 100K... I can't imagine the difficulty doing so in one with millions. Will the drinking and partying ever stop? Our lease is up in two months and I have to decide whether to go with him and support him or leave because I'm afraid of not being cut out to be his partner in crime.

Ashley, CO

Oree Koblentz said...

I understand the disengaged thing, especially during opening, tastings for new jobs, restaurant week, etc. I think the best thing is to express that you feel pushed away (they may not know). But it's important to do it in a very careful way- learn from my mistakes!! Don't nag, yell, scream, or rant on and on. Chefs have hard exteriors, but very sensitive feelings.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar position. I have been with my man for over a year. His schedule will probably be the end of our relationship. I find myself resenting him often and worry about our future. He is 34 and did not go to culinary school, so I think he has moved up as far as he can. It makes me very sad. I am supportive but inside, it kills me.

Juliana said...

So glad that I stumbled across this blog. It's exactly what I needed right now. Being a chef wife can be really lonely and frustrating. It's nice to see that I'm not alone here.

A little of my story: married for 6 months to a director of operations/corporate chef for a group with multiple restaurants in CA and NYC, Chicago, DC and soon to be openings in Houston and possibly Toronto (restaurant openings AHHHH!!! I've been through 3 openings with my dude and they are NOT FUN). Restaurants across the country = splitting time amongst them all = travel for weeks at a time. The hubs has been in this position for about 4 months and prior to this, worked as an executive/corporate chef for two other restaurant groups. Hours are long, time is so limited, and he was told he would be required to travel approximately 40-50% of the calendar year. It's hard enough when he is home in NYC for work with super long work days and then when you add travel...ugh!

I'm not sure if this is allowed...I find that it's hard to talk to family and friends that aren't in the same boat and can't relate. I would love to swap information with anyone willing that would like to chat/vent/cry together. Chef wives need supoort from one another! :)

Juliana - NYC

Iris said...

Juliana - you are from NYC? I just started dating a chef and am feeling a lot of the frustrations you are which is why I started looking online for support. A lot of my friends just simply don't understand.

Hopefully we can connect and commiserate!

Iris - NYC

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I just started dating a Chef about a month and a half ago and I'm beyond frustrated. He lives 35 miles away without D.C. traffic and if I want to see him most of the time it's me driving to him and sitting in his restaurant for three hours taking the 5 min he has here and there. He only has off Sunday and Monday and I work 9-5 during the week. When he is off he wants to sleep til noon. Aside from a movie, all we've ever done is eat out. He doesn't even have food in his house, he brings home food from his restaurant. I ask him to call, he never does. I sometimes don't hear from him until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. He never says anything sweet about missing me or liking me, I say it all. How on earth am I supposed to build a bond with him? He doesn't seem to care about how it hurts me. Maybe it shouldn't this early on but I'm trying so hard and it feels like his job will always be first. Please help.

Anonymous said...

Hello ladies -- I've been married for 25 years to my guy, who's been a restaurant manager for the last dozen or so. After many years of assuring me that he's looking for work outside the industry in order to have a better balance of life and work, he now says this is what he loves to do, is good at, and can't seem to find other work that will pay enough (which I know is true). While I appreciate all the hope and optimism and courage many of you profess, I also hear the pain and loneliness and sorrow that many of you experience ... and here's what I want to say, from my own years of living with this situation: DO NOT SACRIFICE YOUR OWN WELL-BEING. This man that you love is NOT the only man in the world. You will NOT die or shrivel up and be miserable if you decide to move on. Think about what you want from a relationship, from a marriage: a few hours here and there of companionship, but spending most nights and weekends and holidays alone? Your man might be a great guy, you might love him, but please think carefully about making a commitment to someone whose chosen career is one that makes a good marriage (especially with kids!)very, very difficult. Are you wondering why I'm still married? Me too, LOL ... but I am at the other end of my working life, and know that if I leave now, I will likely spend the rest of my life alone and struggling to make ends meet; staying is partly an economic decision for me. But honestly, if I were fifteen or twenty years younger, I would move on as kindly as possible, honoring both his desire to do the work he loves, and my desire to open myself up to the possibility of finding someone who shares my values for a more balanced life and a better quality relationship. Just my two cents; maybe this will help someone who's on the fence. Much love and strength to you all.