So you are vegan and proud of it. You love the compassion and health in your life that comes from being vegan. There is only one problem – you are dating an omnivore. Here are 5 relationship saving tips for vegans dating omnivores.
Can vegans and meat eaters be in a happy, loving, long term relationship? It seems impossible when you think about it but I have many friends who are ‘mixed couples’ and they make it work.
The first thing to know is that it depends on what kind of vegan you are. There are zero tolerance vegans who won’t allow meat around them for any reason ever. If this is you then start looking for a new partner immediately. Don’t prolong the inevitable.
The most die hard ethical vegans don’t respect the killing of animals for any reason by anyone. That’s an admirable quality to have and you don’t have to ever change. You do need to accept your relationship with a meat eater will never work.
I have known a few friends who were in a long relationship before they went vegan. When they did go vegan they could not tolerate even the sight of meat. Even though they loved their partner and were trying to make it work, it took it’s toll on their relationship.
Does this describe you? If it does then the best advice I could ever give you is to break it off now. Do it in a peaceful loving way. If your partner isn’t going to change then they aren’t your life partner no matter how much you care about them.
For all the other vegans out there who are flexible to a certain extent I have have good news. If you set some ground rules and work really hard at it, you can have a long term relationship with a non-vegan.
How To Date A Meat Eater
- Have the tough conversation
The main reason many vegan/omnivore relationships fails is they never have the conversation. I don’t mean tossing out the passing “eww that is gross, please don’t get it near my plate” kind of conversation. I mean a real conversation.
Before you begin this conversation with your partner you need to know what you are willing to accept from them. Sitting them down with only the intentions of telling them what you won’t accept is a losing battle. It also isn’t fair.
They eat meat and you know this so be prepared to make some sacrifices for behavior you are willing to accept. Make sure the things you won’t accept are absolute deal breakers before you bring them up.
Now think very hard about what is completely unacceptable to you. Deal breakers. When you have the conversation be nice and loving about it but make sure it’s known that these things will end your relationship. It’s better to find out right now if there’s a chance it will work or not. If not, it’s better to end it now.
- Respect each other
This is true for everyone but it’s especially true for vegans who were omnivores their entire life and just made the switch. Just like you weren’t a horrible person your entire life before going vegan, neither are they.
You have reached a state of enlightenment that they have not reached yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever click for them it just means it hasn’t yet. You can’t lose respect for them for being the same thing you were until recently.
They also have to respect you. If they don’t understand and respect your vegan philosophy then the relationship will never work. You shouldn’t expect them to be vegan but you should expect to get their respect.
- Create a Food System
Take some time to map out a food storage and food cooking system. Divide up the pantry as well as the refrigerator. Have ‘no meat’ zones and make sure your partner is committed to respecting them.
One of my couple friends came up with the plan where the meats are kept in the drawers of the fridge so she can’t see them without opening the drawers. Only vegan food is kept on shelves. This works great for them and he respects her wishes.
- Have an entertainment and dining plan
If both of you are committed to making this relationship work then you will both be willing to spend time mapping out places to go for entertainment and meals. Eating out is one of the most basic ‘couples’ things to do. Plan for it.
Start with restaurants that have plenty of vegan options that also serve meat. These will be the places you go to the most. You will always know you can both enjoy your night out at these places so they should be your ‘go to’ restaurants.
You should also make lists of vegan only restaurants you really love and they should commit to eating there with you a few times per month or more. How often is something for you to negotiate. You should also go to his favorite restaurants too even if the only vegan items they serve are salad.
Having a solid plan and realistic expectations will prevent arguments and hurt feelings down the road. Putting in a few hours on this in advance will make your life easier and relationship better in the future.
- Plan for home cooked meals
My friends Mark and Stacy have a brilliant plan for cooking meals at home. They have created a long list of recipes they both love that are delicious vegan, as well as when you add meat to them. This makes cooking so much easier.
One simple example is spaghetti. She makes the pasta sauce vegan to begin with and he browns meat in another pan. When the sauce is done she removes what she wants to a separate container and he adds the meat to what’s left and let’s it cook a little longer.
There are a lot of meals that can be cooked this way and it makes cooking so much easier than cooking two completely separate meals. Stir fry is another example of a dish that can me made in two stages like this.
That isn’t to say there won’t be days you cook completely different meals, but you can reduce those days by a lot. The overall theme here is conversation and planning.The more time and effort you put in up front the less issues you will have in your relationship.
Always remember as the vegan in the relationship, you may or may not win them over to veganism. If the only reason you stay with them is because you think you will get them to go vegan one day, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Accept your partner for who they are and love them for who they are. If you don’t then your relationship is doomed from the start and you might as well end it now. Start looking for a vegan partner to share your life with.