Love comes at a cost, we have all known it. Be it Noah and Allie from The Notebook or Jack and Ennis from Brokeback Mountain, or you who is facing difficulties because of, well, your partner’s diet. But dating a vegan will make you question a lot of things and you might just end up learning a lot from them.
First and foremost, what is veganism? The Vegan Society defines it as: “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
To put it simply, a vegan avoids anything that comes from animals, not just meat but also things like dairy and honey.
As the plant-based lifestyle continues to gain popularity, there are more meat-eaters dating vegans now. Even though dating a vegan is like dating anyone else, you can bump into people from both extremes – from “Veganism ruined my relationship” people to the “Our relationship is still going strong even after years” people. I was personally introduced to veganism when I was dating a vegan girl in high school. And trust me, there’s always room to learn new things.
How Hard Is It To Date A Vegan? – 15 Tips To Help You
So if you’re dating a vegan, be ready for small challenges along the way, such as choosing a restaurant or debating the morality of your favorite leather accessory . When asked about dating a vegan being a non-vegan, and if there’s a list of things to know when dating a vegan, according to this Reddit thread, a user said, “I’m not saying it will be impossible. But such a vast difference in diets will add a layer of difficulty to the relationship. If you exclusively eat at restaurants, you might have it easier, but cooking two meals at the same time is going to be a bothersome thing.
“Don’t let anyone tell you it will be impossible, though. Some alcoholics who have quit live with people who still drink, so if that isn’t an adversarial lifestyle, I don’t know what is. If both parties in the relationship can resist trying to aggressively convert the other to their lifestyle, it might just work out.” However, a few Reddit users said “Stop” and “Run away as fast as you can!”
No doubt dating a vegan is not easy and they may find it hard to date you too, but never forget Shakespeare’s words: “Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.” Here are 15 dating tips for my non-vegan fellows who are dating a vegan. Don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to blacklist your favorite ham and cheese.
1. Do impartial research on veganism
Make every effort to confirm that a restaurant is vegan-friendly before taking a vegan there or buying them something from a shop. There are a wide number of things available that are unexpectedly not vegan, from orange juice to condoms. Even if your vegan partner is probably good at reading labels, it’s wonderful to give them something knowing that it’s vegan-friendly. This shows your attention in your relationship and care to their lifestyle or their health or the values they hold dear.
Whether it be chocolates, snacks, or makeup, make sure that your gift is vegan-friendly. Showing vegan-friendly consideration in your romantic gestures would be like a love language in your relationship. And let us be honest, the internet is available at the tip of your fingers, and it will take less than five minutes to search for the best and safest options for your partner.
2. Vegan vs. vegetarian – the art of differentiation is a must
Many individuals mistakenly think that being a vegetarian and a vegan are the same thing. Now, vegetarians and vegans both refrain from eating meat, but the majority of vegetarians don’t give up on eggs and other dairy products.
For instance, a tofu scramble, which is prepared from soybeans rather than eggs, is vegan, while an omelet is considered vegetarian by many even though it is made from eggs. Pizzas with cheese are vegetarian, and as the society is getting more aware about veganism, vegan pizzas are now available at some restaurants.
3. Pick the right spot and activity for your date
You need to be very picky about where you take your favorite vegan on dates. Avoid going to the circus, farms, zoos, aquariums, rodeos, polo matches, bullfights, dog shows, county fairs, horseback riding, fishing, or any activity that is rooted in speciesism, the belief that animals are inferior to humans. There are numerous places that are notorious for their treatment of animals and that treat animals as if they are pieces of property with no agency and feelings of their own.
These activities may be enjoyable for some, but for many vegans, these places can cause a sense of moral discomfort, distress, and cognitive dissonance. When they observe how animals are treated, vegans may feel disgusted or hypocritical for participating in something that conflicts with their beliefs.
Vegans choose not to participate in exploitative activities involving animals. So look for date ideas where they can enjoy swimming and dancing, going to concerts, museums, live performances, and theater, eating at vegan restaurants, and more.
4. Like in every relationship, respect your vegan partner’s boundaries
Is dating a vegan hard? Only if your plant-based partner expects you to stop eating meat. However, dating a vegan does require a little more concession than usual. When you date a non-vegan, you won’t have to deal with the nuances of their lifestyle, which range from minor decisions like picking a restaurant for your date to more significant ones like whether or not they feel comfortable having meat in the house.
Find a comfortable middle ground you by keeping the lines of communication open. Balancing a vegan/non-vegan relationship can be done successfully with mutual respect for eating habits and a willingness to compromise. Your separate wishes come with separate dishes, and that’s okay. Respecting each other’s boundaries is an important part of the relationship.
Don’t assume all vegans are the same. For example, their boundaries regarding when it’s acceptable to kiss may differ. Some might be comfortable with anything from a quick peck to a full-on make-out session after a meal where you’ve consumed meat, while others might require you to brush your teeth first.
Aiden (he/him), who is a 21-year-old business student, said, “When Jamie (he/him) and I started dating, I thought things would go smoothly. We were, after all, childhood sweethearts. I knew about his love for animals and his veganism. But when we moved in together, our lives got a little gloomy.
“There were times when I wanted to eat my favorites and share them with him (which is where I went wrong) but couldn’t because he wouldn’t allow them in the house, and then other things like my shopping and jokes started bothering him. With time, all we did was argue. Veganism ruined my relationship and as much as I support it, I still feel I should have respected his boundaries and he should have made room for my needs.”
Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Mutual Respect In A Relationship
5. Be open-minded about your partner’s journey
Many non-vegans have a distorted perception of what being vegan entails, which may be attributable to the movement’s loud internet warriors. People frequently associate ‘vegan’ with irate, forum-trolling individuals, however, this isn’t always the case.
- Diverse types of vegans exist, including juice addicts, philosophers, teachers, foodies, athletes, yoga enthusiasts, friends, and neighbors
- Give up your preconceived ideas about what being vegan entails, and try to know your partner’s personal views
- Ask them why they became vegan; you might be surprised by their response
- Whether your partner has ethical, environmental, health, or philosophical reasons for going vegan, it is important to listen without judgment and be open to learning about it
Don’t go around saying “veganism ruined my relationship” before even trying to understand their end.
6. Don’t hesitate to experiment
Although no two people (and no two vegans) are the same, it is reasonable to assume that the majority of vegans are interested in eating great food. Always remember, relationship needs efforts!
- Look at any social media platform for #vegan, and you will find a table full of vegan dish ideas and cooking videos
- You will definitely be introduced to vegan food now that you’re dating a vegan
- Sometimes, plant-based foods may sound or appear a little strange, but good cooking can make all types of cuisines delicious and appetizing – whether it contains meat, is vegan, or is gluten-free
So, give your partner’s cooking a shot. It is a great way to show them your appreciation for their efforts and gives you a chance to enjoy something that has been prepared with skill, love, and care. After all, the proof is in the pudding!
7. Show them your support
I am not going to ask you to become a vegan; ideally, neither will your partner, so don’t worry. Offer to accompany them to a vegan food festival or have a vegan dinner once in a while. Yes, there are things you need to have in common with your partner, but it’s okay if you don’t too. This can be a great way to show your partner that you care about the lifestyle/philosophy they are passionate about without giving up your personal dietary choices.
Breta (they/them), a 27-year-old fashion designer, when asked if dating a vegan is hard, said, “Dating a vegan as a non-vegan is no piece of cake – pun intended. From picking a restaurant to picking a gift, you have to walk an extra mile. But love makes you do crazy things. A vegan boyfriend is different from a vegetarian or/and a non-vegetarian boyfriend. And making your significant other happy and comfortable is necessary when in a relationship. Show your support through words and actions.”
8. Flexibility is key
The social element of becoming vegan is often the most challenging. Don’t be shocked if your vegan partner always has a container of hummus in their bag since gatherings with friends and family may be awkward, and it can be challenging to eat on the go. If you are planning a future with them, want to get married– flexibility is a key. You will be affected by the lifestyle, even if only a little, now that you are a couple. Here are a few things you can do:
- Be adaptable as they peruse the menu selections and shopping aisles in quest of a vegan-friendly fix. Let them do their own shopping separately if they want to, but offer to support them in any way possible
- Accompanying your vegan partner on their food-related excursions may feel tedious at times. Still, it’s an important part of your relationship with them and part of the way you demonstrate your commitment
- Let them choose the places for your dates as they might know more places than you and they’ll keep your dietary choices in mind too
- If you are planning to buy gifts for them, ask them or any of your vegan friends to help you with the shopping
9. Do you want a pet? Discuss it with your partner first
Since pets aren’t being consumed as food, why would my significant other object to having a pet? At first, this reasoning might seem absurd but having pets is frowned upon by some in the vegan community. Simply put, a major distinction between many vegans and non-vegans is their views on speciesism.
Most non-vegans think that since humans are superior to all other species, it is okay to use non-humans for purposes such as food, clothing, entertainment, company, and so on and so forth. Since most vegans hold that all species are equal, they don’t feel that they should be treated as property or used for human advantages and entertainment.
Whether vegans should keep non-vegan pets or not is a hot topic of discussion in the vegan community. Due to the fact that they are naturally carnivores, the animal might follow a carnivorous diet. Since they are not intended to be herbivores, it is only sensible to not impose a vegan diet and lifestyle on them.
Related Reading: 50 Things To Discuss Before Marriage
10. He’s a catch? Then he’s not a match
Language, human! One of the biggest things that surprises me is how much our language emphasizes cruelty toward animals. The huge power of words is probably now more apparent than ever. People are working to identify and eliminate ableist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and racist words and phrases from our language. Unfortunately, a lot of us also learned words and phrases that support animal abuse and speciesism.
From “Be the guinea pig” to “Not my circus, not my monkeys” we use these idioms and phrases all day without realizing the gravity of how they support speciesism and animal cruelty. PETA has released a complete list of animal-friendly idioms, because no one really wants to ‘break a camel’.
11. Before introducing your partner to the family, introduce your family to veganism
You may want to present your significant other to everyone in your life, whether they are family members, friends, or even a landlord. Telling someone that your partner is vegan is a little vague and difficult to understand because the majority of individuals need to be, which is why this information should be shared in advance and detail.
Your family and friends would be less inclined to criticize your significant other’s veganism if you let them know how important it is to them and how you feel about it.
12. Learn how to cook vegan food
Do you think partners who can cook make a best pair? Knowing which foods are vegan and which are not is one thing, making vegan meals is a different matter altogether. You’re in luck because everything, from vegan recipes to ingredients, is available on the internet. There are hundreds of vegan dishes from bloggers and vloggers around the world. Choose one or more recipes from there, and get cooking.
There are also an infinite number of vegan cookbooks available. Three of them are:
- Raw by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein
- Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry
- Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free Easy and Delicious Recipes by Dana Shultz
This is especially important if you are serious about the relationship. When you’re living with your vegan girlfriend or boyfriend, disagreements over meals can become a regular issue if you haven’t found common food choices. Try out new recipes together to find meals that make both of you happy.
13. Do NOT ask them to “try non-vegetarian once”
The people close to you are undoubtedly aware of the big and small events that transpired in your life which altered your identity for all time. Similarly, your partner’s veganism is a part of who they are and has altered who they are. People become vegans for a variety of reasons, some of which are quite personal.
The key is to be conscious of their views and respect their choices in a relationship. Make sure you never ask them to participate in non-vegan cuisine or activities if you want to have a good romantic relationship with a vegan. Plus, you won’t be the first person (or the last) to try and change their mind about veganism. So, give it a rest.
14. Show your love through words and actions
If you want to buy your significant other a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day or for your anniversary, make sure you are buying vegan chocolates. See if they are okay with receiving stuffed animals. If you’re buying them any processed food, make sure it has an official cruelty-free logo on it, otherwise don’t buy it.
IF you want to adopt some of the vegan lifestyle, I suggest the following:
- Stop using leather – do all in your power to replace it with more ethical, vegan-friendly options for both your clothing and food
- For instance, choose items with vegan leather the next time you shop for clothing or furnishings
- Cut off anything made of wool, fur, or down
- Reduce your meat intake if you can’t cut it down completely
15. Plan your future together
Are you planning to take the next step? Are you planning to move in together? Are you wondering if a vegan and non vegan can marry? One of the most serious conversations you will inevitably have with your vegan partner is whether or not your children will be raised vegan. This issue might be a dealbreaker for a few. Let your children make the choice for themselves when the time comes. Until then, don’t force any of the dietary habits on them.
It’s not harder to date a vegan than anyone else. You need an open mind, an open heart, and perhaps a couple of Glyde boxes.
- Do your research and make sure you are aware about your partner’s beliefs or lifestyle around veganism
- You don’t have to be a vegan but don’t hesitate to experiment with their food and try their cooking
- Flexibility is key and so is compromising (at times)
- Communicate – less cruel language and more awareness
- Your supportive and considerate actions toward your vegan partner are important
- If you want to marry each other, discuss beforehand how you want to raise your kids
In conclusion, although dating a vegan may not be simple, it will be worthwhile if they turn out to be the ideal person for you.
It’s not harder to date a vegan than anyone else; you need an open mind, an open heart, and a will to accept their lifestyle. Dating a vegan girl and/or dating a vegan guy is like dating anyone who is non-vegan. Like every relationship, it has its own boundaries and uniqueness.
You being a meat eater could be a turn-off for many vegans as their dietary habits and lifestyle do not support animal cruelty. It goes against their values.
Make sure you go through the above list of things to know when dating a vegan. It will help you figure out the dos and don’ts of your relationship.