The Truth About Dating A Non-Vegan
If you are going vegan on your own, it can be quite an intimidating process. If you’re going vegan with your significant other, it’s typically a challenge made a bit easier by shared experience and coordinated grocery shopping. Switching to a plant-based diet without your partner may come with a few frustrations on top of the already expected tumultuous transition of removing animal products from your diet.
At the moment, my boyfriend is not vegan. He eats mostly vegan at home, but he hasn’t made the switch entirely. He has seen many of the documentaries I have seen and had tons of conversations about meat eating versus veganism. He understands completely why I’ve gone vegan. As a former meat-eater, I completely get where he’s at, but the truth is, dating a non-vegan has been a challenge of many different phases.
First, I can relate to his current mindset even if I disagree with it. I used to eat meat with every single meal and not only did I love it, I was proud of it. From eggs with breakfast to turkey sandwiches at lunch to chicken with pasta at dinner, I was a meat eater. Going vegan was initially one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
I had to wrap my head around ordering different food when eating out, shopping differently, being different than everyone else around me, speaking to people about food differently, and having a totally differently outlook on life. I appreciate wholeheartedly the intimidating endeavor of taking on all of those changes, but the challenge for me now lies with why his mindset hasn’t changed along with mine.
Second, I worry about his health. Study after study after study discuss why consuming meat (especially in the quantities humans do these days) is one of the leading causes of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes**. Though he eats pretty healthily with me, consuming meat isn’t doing him any favors. My challenge here remains with remembering he can do with his body what he would like to do with it. I can only encourage so much and leave his choices up to him.
Third, I get frustrated with the blatant contribution to global warming and animal cruelty through animal product consumption. Though we have many conversations about these topics, it’s hard not seeing eye-to-eye. Without a doubt, Nick understands the caliber of passion I feel for animal rights, and he’s no monster to not get that an innocent animal needs to die for his meal, but it’s such a distant concept when you’re up against beautiful advertisements, juicy menus, and readily available options. Vegan food isn’t always easy to come by nor is it the common choice in our society today, but it is becoming a more accepted and understood lifestyle, which Nick is slowly but surely taking on board, and I appreciate that.
The positive sides about dating a non-vegan are mostly related to how I speak to meat-eaters nowadays. Nick reminds me that no one likes a preachy vegan, even if we are passionate about saving lives, preserving our planet, sustaining good health, and wanting to tell everyone about it.
He keeps me humble, but encourages me to follow a life that I believe is right. I try to live by example rather than judge people around me (but also drop hints at how great veganism is).
At the end of the day, I see everyone as pre-vegan. All vegans, unless born into a vegan family, were once pre-vegan. I find importance and value in playing the “long game” with friends and family when it comes to talking about veganism. I try to remember that their mentality is one I previously had myself and that people are inherently good.
Nick supports me in all things I do, especially when it comes to my veganism. We are each on our own journey, but we are affected by the decisions of the other. Taking veganism seriously is one of the most important things Nick is doing for me in this relationship. Of course I wish he would go vegan, but when he makes the connection in his own time, it will be a stronger foundation than doing it for me.
Are you vegan and in a relationship with a non-vegan? If so, tell me what it’s like for you. What are your frustrations? If you’re not vegan and you’re with a vegan, share your experience, too! I’d really love to know.