“Is your husband vegan?”
I usually get asked this question just as many times as “Why!?” when people find out that I am vegan. People are always interested in how life works when one person is veggie and the other person isn’t. Luckily in 2011 my husband decided that he wanted to go vegan for the year and is currently maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle. I say luckily not only because he is now eating cruelty free, but also because we no longer have conflicting diets.
Being in a relationship with a non-veggie when you are veggie could be a difficult situation. If you are vegan/vegetarian for moral reasons (you feel that eating animals is morally wrong) then there can be some conflicts. So how do you deal with these potential conflicts?
Well first it depends on the type of relationship that you are in. If you are single and looking for a partner, then you will have to make the decision on whether or not you will date someone who is not a vegan/vegetarian. If you are married, then you need to decide what changes that you will want your household to make how you will deal with a spouse who may not want to make the change with you. If you have children with someone, then you also have to think about how you want to raise your children.
Once you explore your own reasons for begin vegan, you then have to sit down and talk to your partner regarding your change in diet and what you feel that means in your relationship. Be patient, respectful, and listen when having this talk. The worst thing that you can do for yourself and for your partner is to be judgmental, rude, and uncompromising. I have found that in my relationship, my hubby was more open to my “demands” (no animal products in the house, vegan foods/restaurants, limiting his animal consumption) when I did not try to force him into them.
If you are in a relationship with a thoughtful and respectful person (which I hope that you are) then they will support your decision and will at least make the effort to understand your decision. Do not take this to mean that they will automatically become vegan. It just means that they will try some foods with you and won’t eat a steak in front of you saying “this dead cow tastes so good."
Also remember that this is not a one shot talk. You must continue to have this dialogue as your relationship and veganism progress. If you’re a vegetarian you need to consider if you want to go vegan. If you are vegan you need to consider if you go raw vegan. If you are going to have children, if you want to also live a vegan lifestyle (not just a vegan diet) and the list goes on.
Dating an omnivore is no different than dating someone else of a different religion, race and/or socioeconomic class. Be respectful of each others differences and keep the lines of communication open. They may never choose to become vegan, but at least you can help them to try the veggie side of life and if you are lucky (like me ;-) than maybe one day you will hear the magic words, ““I’m going vegan!"
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Photo credit: Martin Boulanger