So what’s the score, can a vegan date a meat eater or do they need to find love only from within the vegan community?
The short answer is yes, a vegan can date a non-vegan. But there are so many things to consider and it’s a hugely personal choice.
In this article we share some of the pros and cons as well as pointers for making a mixed diet relationship work. When we talk about ‘vegan’ in this article, we refer to people who are (among other reasons) vegan for the animals.
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Short Answer: Can a Vegan Date a Meat Eater?
Yes, a vegan can date a non-vegan. It’s a personal choice and many vegans would prefer to date another vegan rather than someone with completely different values. A survey by Veggly, found that just over half (52%) of all vegans would only date another vegan, and 36% of vegetarians would only seek out vegetarian partners. But it’s a modern luxury to be able to choose to only date another vegan, and many relationships work despite the two partners having different lifestyles. For sure, life would be easier if you date a vegan, but if you fall in love with a non-vegan, then as long as you have some shared values, you can make it work. At the end of the day, it’s about recognising what’s right for you and about respecting one another.
Is it Hard for a Vegan Dating a Non-Vegan?
It can be hard for a vegan dating a non-vegan, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t work.
Just as there are different types of vegans, there are so many different attitudes from non-vegans towards veganism. And obviously both sides will need to respect the other’s point of view if there’s to be harmony.
I think it would be extremely hard (read: impossible) for a vegan to date somebody who ate almost only a meat-based diet and didn’t care about animal welfare or protecting the environment at all, because the two people wouldn’t resonate together.
But assuming there’s enough similarities to begin a relationship, there are some particular things which can make it harder for the vegan person (and vice versa).
Some questions to ask yourself you’re about to embark on a mixed diet relationship as a vegan:
- Are you prepared to have meat (or fish and dairy) in the house, or is your partner happy to only eat meat when you’re eating out?
- If you agree to have meat in the house, are you prepared to cook it for your partner?
- Would your partner be prepared to compromise and eat vegan fake meat at home and is that something you would like to eat yourself.
- If you have meat in the house, are you prepared to buy it for your partner or share the cost of it in the case of shared finances?
- If you were to throw a dinner party / wedding, would the guests be offered meat as well as vegan food?
- What about if you have children, do you and your partner agree on how they will be raised?
It’s the main issues like these which, once agreed upon can save the relationship from extra stress and misunderstandings. In reality, I’m sure a lot of couples have evolved over time and didn’t sit down to set out an agreement. Maybe one person in the partnership even became vegan after the relationship started.
So it isn’t always possible to create a set of rules to abide by, but it helps if you can know the answer to these difficult questions in advance.
And if the relationship’s to survive, it’s essential that you can at least agree on the basic foundations of your mixed relationship ground rules (which may then hopefully never be spoken about again!).
Incidentally, this is a great reason why vegans like to imitate meat in their meals, because it’s easier to assimilate and can make the switch over easier.
Is it Hard for a Non-Vegan Dating a Vegan?
It’s hard for a non-vegan dating a vegan if the vegan person doesn’t accept that the non-vegan chooses to eat meat.
For some vegans eating meat isn’t a matter of choosing something they prefer the taste of but a change for moral reasons (read these 5 compelling reasons to become vegan).
Therefore, for this person, it would be extremely difficult (or impossible) if their partner were to eat meat unless the non-vegan were open to changing their way of life.
But that isn’t always the case. There are many people involved in wonderful relationships where one of the partners is vegan and the other one isn’t.
If you’re starting out and want to make a vegan kitchen for your partner, you may find these 12 tips for a vegan kitchen helpful and if you’re interested in becoming vegan, there’s this simple guide to becoming vegan.
The other thing that can be helpful is eating imitation meat products like vegan burgers and such.
Assuming the vegan is okay with dating a non-vegan, then communication is essential so that you can both understand each other’s choices.
It will also be difficult for a non-vegan if they don’t share the basic concept of the vegan movement. Some of the main issues facing you will be . . .
- Are you interested in learning more about the vegan movement?
- Are you prepared to eat vegan at home and only eat meat when you eat out?
- Would it be an issue for you to raise your child with a vegan philosophy?
For someone who’s vegan for the animals, it isn’t just about what they eat, it’s about respecting LIFE and not wanting to inflict unnecessary cruelty.
But they could also be vegan for the environment as well as for the animals.
So if you find yourself unable to share any of those ethics, it’s going to be extremely tough dating a vegan.
If you’re open minded and prepared to jump into a learning curve as to the reasons why your partner chose to be vegan then there’s no reason why it should be too hard.
Of course there will be times when things get tricky, or when one of the partners wants the other one to do things differently, but it can work, especially if the non-vegan is open to eating vegan at home.
I think this is what makes a difference in a mixed diet relationship, although there are probably also plenty of successful relationships who do eat meat in the home. But it makes it that one step more difficult.
Of course, as a non-vegan in a mixed diet relationship, you don’t have to label yourself vegan or even follow the vegan lifestyle, but if you’re open to eating predominantly plant based, then you’ll be giving the relationship a great head start.
And if you both share a love for meditation, you may benefit by exploring the relationship between mindfulness and a vegan diet.
Every person’s an individual and each relationship is unique so these are huge generalisations but living in a mixed diet relationship myself, these are the things which my partner has brought to the relationship which I feel has made the difference.
Can a Mixed Diet Relationship Last?
So how can you know whether you’ll be capable of sharing a long term future together? Unfortunately you can’t know of course. But that goes for everybody, not just vegan and non-vegans.
It’s also important to recognise that at the beginning stages of a relationship, you won’t necessarily see the problems related to the vegan-non-vegan partnership because people behave differently when they first fall in love!
For example, someone will often mirror their new partner’s behaviour, or even be attracted by the very things which are the opposite to their own natural character.
So an introverted, shy person may be attracted to a more outgoing person for their ability to be extraverted and rebellious for example. But ironically, as the first stage of love and infatuation wears off, these can be the very things that annoy or irritate. Because they are things which the person had rejected in their own behaviour in the first place.
Because of this, it may not be easy to be sure of your partner’s deeper response to veganism and it’s important to be sure that you share some common values about life.
Much like the shy person analogy above, your partner may fall in love with you and your vegan ethics initially, only to gradually revert back to their normal habits and become irritated by what they perceive as your ‘difficult’ lifestyle, for example.
In conclusion, a vegan can fall in love with a non-vegan (and vice versa) and share a great relationship, but they should share some basic life values in order to resonate together.
A mutual respect is the most important quality you’ll need in order to successfully navigate a mixed diet relationship successfully.
How to Make a Vegan & Non-Vegan Relationship Work
There are a few tips which can help you to flourish in a mixed diet relationship, form both sides, the vegan and the non-vegan.
Tips For the Non-Vegan in a Mixed Diet Relationship
- Discuss how to approach the kitchen topic so there’s no misunderstanding. This might mean eating only vegan at home or coming to your own agreement about how to handle the cooking side of things. It’s very individual but essential to be clear so as to not upset one another.
- Don’t ask or expect a vegan person to cook meat for you (please no!).
- Have separate cooking pans for meat, if there’s going to be meat in the home.
- Be open minded about trying new foods. You may just find that you love eating plant based vegan food even if you aren’t vegan yourself.
- Ask your partner questions about their motivation and listen to the answer. If you aren’t interested in this, it really could get tough.
- Read up on the vegan lifestyle and watch the movies to understand it better.
- Be open and ready to feel healthier and even maybe lose weight on your new way of eating. Even if you just increase how much plant food you eat, it will still be beneficial for you if you’re open to it.
- Don’t feel defensive. Be open to your partner’s point of view without feeling judged.
Tips for the Vegan in a Mixed Diet Relationship
- Live by example rather than by trying to change your partner.
- Don’t judge your partner for eating meat.
- Accept that everybody has their own path to walk and you are on your own journey. You aren’t at the same point of your journey as your partner. He/She needs to do things their own way.
- Recognise your ‘non negotiable points’ and be clear about them early on (okay not on your first date lol). For example, be clear from the start that you don’t want to cook meat. Don’t start out making chicken sandwiches and then later complain that you won’t do it anymore, as this only leads to misunderstandings.
- Research restaurants menus before you go out to eat. Make sure there’s something for both of you.
- Share your beliefs with your partner without expecting him/her to follow you.
- Make delicious meals from whole foods so that you and your partner have the most health benefits possible.
Video of a from a Vegan and a Non-Vegan Couple
Every relationship’s unique and depends on your own criteria and circumstances. In this video a couple talks openly about how they bridge the gap between a vegan partner and non-vegan partner.
Video from a Vegan Who Wouldn’t Date a Meat Eater
Of course there are loads of different opinions on this topic, but one thing is clear. Times are changing and where once upon a time it was difficult, if not impossible, to find somebody else who was vegan, now it’s becoming more mainstream so may have the luxury to be more picky.
As time progresses, so we get more options to date people with a similar mindset as ourselves, a luxury of the times we live in. Ultimately, it depends on who you fall in love with!
Final Thoughts on Can a Vegan Date a Meat Eater?
I am happily married and in love with my husband who is not vegan. Would I love it if he shared my passion for this lifestyle? Yes, absolutely. Of course, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to share their dreams with their partner?
But we met at a time when I was vegetarian and even then, I was the only vegetarian I knew, let alone vegan. I didn’t meet other people who thought like I did and I accepted that.
I fell in love with him as a person and I’m not about to add conditional tags to that. It works mainly because at home we don’t have meat, unless he’s cooking chicken in his own pan or on the BBQ, both of which happen very infrequently.
For me, this is the only way it could work. I wouldn’t resonate with somebody who was a huge meat eater and I wouldn’t respect that person’s choices as a partner, which would lead to problems in the relationship.
Basically, I could share my life with somebody as long as our home is (almost completely) vegan and they are happy about that. If they feel like they’re missing out or sacrificing something, then it wouldn’t be a healthy basis for a relationship.
If you fall for somebody who’s vegan for the animals, know that this isn’t about diet. It’s about much deeper convictions than that.
And if you’re vegan and you fall for somebody who isn’t, make sure that they’re ok with your deep convictions and that they can live harmoniously with you. And that you can respect them too.
Only if both partners feel happy to do that will you be able to create a relationship that lasts.