If you're a vegan and dating or married to a non-vegan (also known as an omnivore, or omni), the balance can be tough. You may be frustrated about your partner’s choice to eat meat and use animal by-products. However, in order to have a successful relationship with them, both partners need to come to an understanding and learn to tolerate each other’s differences. Be open to your partner’s different lifestyle and ask them to be open in return.
Part 1Interacting with Your Partner
- 1Avoid being judgmental. The number one key to staying in a healthy relationship when you’re a vegan dating (or married to) a non-vegan, aka omnivore (or omni), is to avoid being judgmental of your partner. Most relationships can’t sustain the constant criticism of one partner toward another.
- Make your commitment to veganism about you, not them. Don’t give them the “stink eye” during meals, nag them to agree with your food choices, or criticize what they eat.
- 2Be understanding of your partner’s food choices. Along with not being judgmental, you should remain open-minded and understanding of your partner’s choice to remain omnivorous. Showing compassion instead of saying “I told you so” when your partner gets food poisoning from undercooked meat, or offering to cook meat for their meal, shows that you are willing to work with your partner.
- 3Be thankful that your partner is accepting of your lifestyle choice. If you are in a relationship with a non-vegan, this means that your partner is most likely open to your lifestyle choice. Be thankful that your partner likes you more than what you eat or what products you don’t use. Express this thankfulness so that they know you feel it.
- Do things like give them cards with heartfelt sentiments of thanks, cook them an omnivore meal, or offer to go to a restaurant they like but you don’t like.
- 4Avoid trying to pressure or change your partner. Just like in any relationship, pressuring your partner to change isn’t a great idea. It expresses your displeasure with who they are, which makes them want to get away from you rather than stick around. Don’t nag them to eat like you do.
- Some even suggest that the best way to recruit a romantic partner to becoming a vegan is to live by example only and not try to convert your partner at all.
- 5Agree to disagree. Enjoying your partner is an important part of any relationship. One way to do that when you are in relationship with someone who has chosen a different lifestyle is to agree to disagree. When differences of opinion arise at meal time or when purchasing cleaning products or furniture, laugh about your differences and choose something that you can both live with.
- 6Focus on the things you have in common. Another key to living happily with someone who doesn’t believe in the vegan philosophy is to focus on what you do have in common. You probably both like white potatoes, 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.
Part 2Explaining Your Lifestyle
- 1Explain how you are different from a vegetarian. At first, your partner, like many people, might mistake you for a vegetarian. Explain this difference so that they know what foods and products you don’t like so that there are no hurt feelings or miscommunications down the road. Tell them that vegetarians limit their diets to merely lack of meat (including fish and poultry), but vegans go beyond this.
- 2Outline the products you avoid. Explain how vegans are vegetarians but they have a lot of additions. Vegans avoid animal food by-products like eggs, honey, and dairy like butter, yogurt, ghee, and cheese. They also avoid material and cleaning products that have involved animals.
- Vegans avoid materials like leather, fur, silk, and wool, as well as cosmetics, soaps, and other cleaning products. They stick to buying cruelty-free products.
- 3Explain why you chose to become vegan. To help your non-vegan partner understand your lifestyle choice, you need to offer an explanation. It is much easier to accept the differences of others when you understand their reason behind it. You may have chosen to be vegan for environmental reasons, or to improve your health. Whatever your reason, make sure your partner clearly understands it.
- People also choose to become vegan because of ethical reasons. Vegans might choose to avoid dairy like cheese and butter because they feel it supports the meat industry.
- 4Stay humble. Keep a humble and open demeanor whenever you encounter a vegan choice, such as when eating or purchasing items for the home. Avoiding a pretentious attitude is important for staying in your relationship with a non-vegan.
- Also try to compromise on items when you can. Always maintaining your vegan standard can get exhausting for your non-vegan partner.
- 5Expect to encounter resistance. Even though both partners in a vegan and non-vegan relationship should try to be open to the other’s lifestyle, sometimes your partner may try to recruit you to become an omnivore. Your partner may also question your beliefs and even criticize you sometimes. Knowing that this might happen can keep you from getting bitter.
- Explain to your partner that this hurts you just as much as when you constantly nag them about their lifestyle.
Part 3Eating with Your Partner
- 1Explain your sources of protein. Many people question the vegan avoidance of meat because meat is such a common source of protein. Your partner may not understand how you can get enough protein in your diet, so explain to them that it’s actually easy to get enough protein if you eat a lot of different healthful food.
- Vegan sources of protein include legumes, tofu, soy milk, nuts, leaf greens, whole wheat, and much more.
- 2Explain your commitment to a varied diet. Your partner may also question your health because your diet limits you to foods without meat or meat by-products. Explain to them that vegans can actually get the full spectrum of nutrients through a varied diet. Explain your commitment to a varied diet that contains vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
- 3Be ok with eating different meals. When you live with or date an omnivore, you are going to eat very differently. This means that you will have to eat completely different meals both at home and when you go out. Since sharing meals provides emotional connection, you should be prepared to feel a little less of this connection since you can’t enjoy some meals together.
- 4Find restaurants that cater to both your diets. When you go out to eat, don’t make one person’s lifestyle dictate the choice of restaurant. Try to find restaurants that cater to both your lifestyles by considering what you could order from the menus at different places. Some cities actually have vegan restaurants, and omnivores can enjoy these restaurants just like you can enjoy omnivore restaurants.
- 5Find recipes that accommodate both of you. Look for recipes that can become a staple for both diets. You might often have to cook different meals, but having a list of recipes that you can quickly choose from prevents frustration at dinnertime.
- For example, you can make vegan versions of your partner’s meat-based meals, such as veggie burgers thrown on the grill alongside beef burgers.
- 6Find foods that you can enjoy together. At home, it is a good thing to find recipes that contain flavors and foods that you can both enjoy. Being able to cook a meal together means that you get to share it together, which promotes emotional connection.
- For example, many omnivores enjoy potatoes and whole grains such as whole wheat bread, as well as nuts and leafy green salads.
- 7Wash your own dishes. Vegans do not usually enjoy touching meat, so putting your hands into a sink full of greasy water from meat residue is repulsive. Keep the peace in your house by having each person wash their own dishes.
- Be prepared for a little light teasing about your lifestyle from your partner. Your partner should not insult or make fun of you, but light teasing is a way for your partner to diffuse the tension that differing food lifestyles can create.
- Be prepared to watch your partner eat meat in front of you. If you are going to be in a relationship with an omnivore, you have to be open to their choices just like you are asking them to be open to yours.
- If your partner continuously makes fun of you or insults you for being vegan, you may want to re-think the relationship. It is not healthy to remain in relationships that are constantly stressful like this.