Something I’ve noticed, during my time in the vegan community is how vegans aspire to have relationships with other vegans. However, just because someone follows the same lifestyle as you, doesn’t mean they are the right one. Dating can be easier than that. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 5 years this October. When we get a round of applause for the couple everyone expected to break up way back in the day? Back then in 2013, I was not a vegan, surprise! Not everyone is born into veganism. However, I changed my lifestyle 2 and half years ago, decided to ditch all animal products after watching the Cowspiracy documentary whilst he remained an omnivore who to this day afraid to eat anything that’s vegan. Well, I say that he does eat potatoes oh and tomato ketchup (that counts at a vegetable, right?)
Despite the fact we have completely different dietary requirements and opinions about eating animals. We both look pass that detail, and are still able to love each other. I know that a lot of you would be wondering how I, as an activist, can support someone killing animals for food. I’m not going to lie, it is really difficult at times. Sitting there beside him whilst he munches on a cheese string. Kind of makes me angry knowing how damaging the dairy industry is. Even the cheesy breath or meat breath kind of makes me feel sick. However we do have some ways in which we cope with those situations. He gets rid of the meaty breath before any kissing, haha.
When people find out about my relationship, they are always shocked at how we work. Simply because we are polar opposites in the lifestyle aspect. However, despite those differences, we are still going strong and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
Here’s a Survival Guide to a Vegan / Non-Vegan Relationship
1. Don’t take anything personally
This is a big one to follow. You both have completely different ideas on what is right regarding the animal agriculture industry and whether you must eat meat or not. It’s best that you don’t take things to personally, when discussing the matter or simply because your significant other has ordered a chicken curry whilst you have a quinoa salad. No matter how fervently you believe in your choices, projecting your feelings onto your partner isn’t the right way to go about things. Accept each other for who you are, at the end of the day if you truly love someone then you can learn to live with each others choices.
2. Don’t become an ‘at-home-activist’
Barking statistics or sharing disturbing information at your partner in hopes of swaying him or her to the light-side of veganism, shouldn’t be your goal in the relationship. Engaging this behaviour will do nothing more than create a rift between the two of you and it may end the relationship altogether. It’s not your job to change them, didn’t you fall for them because of who they are? Again it’s about acceptance and coexisting in a mindful matter.
3. Set your boundaries
Whether it’s about sharing space in a fridge (not having meat on your veggie shelf) or sharing a meal at a restaurant. Set your boundaries early on, that way you both know what you both can do. Split your fridge into sections; top 2 shelves for vegan food and bottom 2 shelves be for meat and dairy items. This way your foods are never touching. Ordering food at a restaurant, you may not be willing to pay for meat because you are directly funding the industry, or you may be fine with it. You must tell your partner what you are comfortable with, this way you won’t come into any issues.
4. Look at menus before ordering out
As a vegan, you’re no stranger to the limited options some restaurants provide. Therefore checking menus are not a new thing to you, however checking to ensure both of you can eat. There’s nothing worse than watching your date munch on their omnivore meal while you pick at a pitiful pile of wilted lettuce and some tomatoes if you’re lucky. Call ahead or look at a menu online to be sure that you’ll both have options that will satisfy—this will also eliminate potential guilt-traps for your partner. While the local steakhouse probably won’t be suitable for you, you’ll also find that vegan restaurants won’t have anything appetising to your partner so finding the perfect compromise is the best thing for both parties.
5. Be thankful that your partner is accepting of your lifestyle choice.
So you’re willing to make progress in accepting your partner’s omnivore lifestyle. But you may forget that if you are in a relationship with a non-vegan, this means that your partner has opened up and accepted your lifestyle choice. Therefore, it’s best that you should gratitude that your partner likes you more than what you eat or what products you don’t use. Just as you are trying to do with them.
6. Simply agree to disagree
When you are in relationship with someone who has chosen a different lifestyle is to agree to disagree. When differences of opinion arise when it comes to food or when purchasing cleaning products or furniture, etc laugh about your differences and choose something that you can both live with. Again compromising is how a relationship works, find something you both can agree on and go with it.
7. Do things together that you both like
Veganism doesn’t have to be the centre of your relationship, you should focus on the things you both love. As you are a couple, you must have things in common. You probably both like watching TV together, and working out at the gym. Look for activities that are neutral (neither vegan nor non-vegan) and do those more often than either vegan or non-vegan ones. Spending time together doing the things you both love is a good way to ensure the relationship lasts.