Some couples become vegan together. Some vegan singles meet and revel in their shared philosophy and lifestyle. Some vegans would never choose to date non-vegans, and some non-vegans would never choose to date vegans. Fairly often, however, there are cases where vegans and non-vegans fall in love. If you are a veghead-over-heels for an omnivore (aka omni), here are your essentials:
Hi, my name is Sally and I’m a vegan.
When meeting a potential love interest, tell him/her upfront that you are vegan and be prepared to answer a multitude of questions with patience and understanding. This is important because it is much easier to have this discussion when you initially meet someone rather than awkwardly outside a fancy steakhouse on the first date. Many people will understand and appreciate your philosophy and lifestyle choice, even if they do not share it themselves. If your possible mate does not, then he/she probably was not the right person for you anyway.
His and hers nom noms (or hers and hers and his and his)
Find your “go to” restaurants and home cooked meals that accommodate both of your diets. Suggestions: Thai, Mexican, and other ethnic restaurants have an array of delicious vegan and meat options. Pasta, pizza, soups, pancakes and baked goods can be good meat-optional or shared side dishes to cook together as well. Find where your taste buds overlap and work from there.
Wash your own dishes.
While you may be able to cope with the sight and smell of your significant other eating meat, clean up may be a different story. Two possible scenarios may occur: 1. The last thing you want to do is touch, much less drench your hands, in oily meaty dish water. So you and your significant other split dish duty. 2. You might want to be the one washing the dishes so you can ensure all of the meat juice is rigorously washed off your dishes and they are “safe” for reuse. Whichever way you prefer, remember the few minutes it takes to wash the dishes is nothing in the grand scheme of a committed, long-term relationship.
Don’t try to change each other.
If Yankees fans and Red Sox fans can date, and Republicans and Democrats can date, vegans and omnis can certainly navigate the delicate balance of love. Try not to offer unsolicited advice or animal welfare videos. You made this change for yourself; give your significant other the same opportunity. When people change because they are in a relationship, the change usually only lasts as long as the relationship does. Relationships make people grow and change together, but the desire needs to be internal. And remember, you fell in love for a reason (and it probably wasn’t each other’s diets).
Respect your mate’s beliefs and desires to eat meat (just as they respect yours not to eat meat) and do not give them a hard time about it. Making a disgusted face and gagging noises every time they bite into a steak may only result in your mate not wanting to be around you – or at least not eat around you. Instead of preaching or gagging, offer helpful advice and answer questions, but only when asked.
Be thankful and accommodating.
If you are going to a vegan restaurant or dinner party, be very thankful you have an open-minded and adventurous date and offer to help your omni mate decipher various items on the menu. Try making comparisons to other things they enjoy eating (e.g. “this gobi dish is fried cauliflower with orange sesame sauce, it is very similar to the sesame seed chicken you liked from that Chinese restaurant we went to last week”).
If heading to a vegan dinner party, offer to bring a more mainstream vegan dish that your mate enjoys, such as coleslaw, bread rolls or pasta salad. Throwing an omni into a quinoa loaf in the early days of the relationship might be too much too soon.
Enjoy your differences, learn from each other, keep calm and love on. See “What You Need to Know When Dating a Vegan” for other suggestions.