It’s not always easy to get into a relationship with someone who isn’t vegan like you are. Although people think of diets when they hear the word 'vegan', the truth is that it is more of a lifestyle choice.
When your lifestyle choices vary from your partner, it can cause some difficulty. For instance, maybe you don’t consume any animal products at all but they do. Or perhaps you don’t like the idea of wearing leather but they’re often bringing new leather jackets or accessories into the house. These choices can portray deeper value systems, too. You might be vegan because you care about making a positive difference in the world and you love animals, as well as looking after your health. If your partner doesn’t share all of these values, it might lead to conflict or you might feel that you are not facing in the same direction, which could prove difficult, especially if the relationship becomes more serious.
However, that doesn’t mean that non-vegans and vegans don’t have a shot at making a relationship work. If you are pursuing romance with someone who isn’t vegan, there are some points to bear in mind.
- 1. It’s About Respect
You don’t have to make it your mission to turn your partner vegan. Maybe they are happy with their life choices. The point is, are you okay with that? Listen to their points of view on why they are not vegan and see if you can at least respect where they are coming from. Maybe they are leaning towards veganism and just need to know more about it. Or perhaps they are completely anti what you stand for (in this case, the problems could be exacerbated!). The point is to hear them and let them hear what you have to say, too. Share your passion for the vegan lifestyle so that your partner can see where you are coming from. Sometimes non-vegans don’t understand what the lifestyle is really about.
- 2. How Much Should You Compromise?
Relationship is often about compromise. You might compromise on hobbies and interests once in a while, or what you do on Saturday afternoons, but when it comes to veganism should you compromise? It’s unfair if your partner wants you to change your lifestyle for them ('hey, just eat a bit of meat and see if you like it!'). You should never have to compromise on your deep values. Turning a blind eye to a possible non-vegan’s apathy towards environmental issues might also be a tough sacrifice, especially if you want a partner who will fight for the same causes.
- 3. Set Boundaries
Sometimes frustrations occur in relationships because we fear setting boundaries. Note: boundaries do not mean controlling the other person! They can actually make it easier to respect each other. With a vegan/non-vegan relationship, boundaries are important because they set certain rules. Do you not want your partner to eat meat in front of you? Do you not want them to bring animal products into the house (such as leather)? Set out your rules and listen to theirs (maybe they don’t want to eat vegan food). If you can establish boundaries you both agree on, it makes it easier for a relationship to work because you’re meeting each other on happy ground.
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