I’ve written several times on here about dating as a non-vegan sexual, and about the fact that my boyfriend eats meat. I would hate to be repetitive, but the reason I bring it up is because I hear over and over how hard it is for vegans to find each other, and I know many vegans dating omnivores. That means many of us are grappling with dating someone whose lifestyle may not always align with ours.
Here are some tips for being in a relationship with an omnivore.
1. Be proactive. While you don’t want to shove your veganism down their throat on a first date (this may be seen as hostile and probably won’t lead to a second date) feel free to mention it when it arises naturally, and if things become semi-serious, get into your reasoning. You don’t have to wait for them to ask you about it. Proactivity also works with things like vegan contraception. I like to get cruelty free condoms so I don’t have to cringe when my guy whips out a Trojan. I got it covered! Literally…
2. Talk it out. Don’t avoid talking about what you eat, and why. I know some vegans who would rather not get into it for fear of starting an argument (you know how some of us get REAL heated over our food politics. But not me. Nope. Never). Be up front with your significant other so they understand you. In my last relationship I overheard my very omnivorous guy defending my veganism to a mutual friend who didn’t get it. It was heart warming to hear my own words tumbling out of his mouth, and I felt really supported. I didn’t know how much my reasoning had been heard, and digested, until I heard him repeat it.
Now no one wants to preach or be preached at, so when discussing your veganism, gauge their interest by their participation in the conversation. Are they asking questions? Or are they scrolling through their Instagram feed while you babble on about the honey-bees. (“They’re disappearing all over and we’re doing NOTHING! How do you SLEEP?!”) An ex seemed interested enough in the reasons behind my veganism, so I offered him my copy of Eating Animals, and he made a switch all on his own to vegetarianism. High five!
3. Plan! My boyfriend lives in a different city, so when I visit, I need to plan or I end up eating spaghetti—which still happens often. I like to look up restaurants for us to eat at, and I bring food with me usually, since I am a pretty heavy snacker as it is. I often wander out of the bedroom with an apple or a bag of nuts, and he wonders where I am hoarding my emergency staples. If you forget to plan, there is always peanut butter and a spoon…
4. Don’t judge. This is a hard one. When something makes so much sense to you—like, you know, not harming animals—it can be really frustrating when someone you’re so crazy about just doesn’t get it. (Proceed with head banging…) But think about how hurt you would be if they judged your lifestyle choices, and grant them the same courtesy by abstaining from your own judgements. You made the decision to date an omnivore, so now you have to respect that decision.
5. Include them. While my boyfriend supports my veganism because it “makes me happy,” he certainly isn’t interested on a personal level, and I respect that. But that doesn’t mean I am not going to drag him to vegan restaurants (just like he drags me to meat-wielding ones) and babble about the things I am passionate about. In fact, this weekend I am taking him to the The Seed, a vegan expo in NYC.
6. Be compassionate. That’s what we’re all about, right? This goes along with non-judgement, but takes it a step further. As important as it is to me to not be judged, it is also important that I feel supported by my partner. It makes me so happy when he checks to see if I can eat somewhere before suggesting we go there, or when he makes the initiative to take me to that vegan ice-cream place I’ve been going on about for months. And so I try to shoot it right back at him.
The other day I sat and watched my guy eat an ice-cream cone. I had mixed feelings about it for several reasons. The first is that I don’t agree with eating dairy, so I felt sort of gross. And, since I was watching and not eating, and because watching my boyfriend tongue anything with that much interest is well, hot, I sort of felt like a Lolita-esque pervert. Everyone likes a dirty girl. Right? RIGHT?! What I’m saying is, I sort of had a lady boner, which made me feel guilty because I don’t do dairy. I sort of sat there going, pretend it’s soy, pretend it’s soy, pretend it’s soy…
Some stricter vegans might rip me apart in the comments section–a commenter once called me a “whore who stabs animals in the back” for dating an omnivore–but I would rather watch my boyfriend happily slurp an ice-cream cone than drop kick it to the ground with a PETA warrior cry. (I imagine this to be like a Xena Warrior Princess wail). I sit around as he eats ice-cream, and he doesn’t complain when I wake him up early to go get green juices from the organic co-op around the corner. It works.
So, any tips for dating an omnivore? Wanna call me a whore in the comments section? Wouldn’t be the first time!