Dating people with different values than you're used to, can be an interesting experience. These sorts of relationships can both confuse and inspire. In order to make the best of the situation, it’s important to approach it with the right mindset and perhaps even follow some simple guidelines. If you’re seeing a vegetarian, there are some general rules you might want to follow if you want the relationship to be successful. Here are a few things to consider.
- Don’t make assumptions about the person you are dating just because they are vegetarian. Some people have a tendency to label others without knowing the full story. Someone who is vegetarian won’t necessarily have the stereotypical characteristics you might imagine. Just like meat eaters, vegetarians come in all shapes and sizes.
- Don’t judge them for other decisions involving animals. It’s not because someone refuses to eat meat that they equally won’t wear leather shoes, for example. The modern world is full of products derived from animals and it can be hard for people, even with the best of intentions, to avoid buying or using these things from time to time.
- Don’t concern yourself with their protein intake. Often, people automatically ask vegetarians questions like “How do you get your protein?” This question can easily get annoying after a while. Protein comes in all plenty of forms, including dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, tofu-- even garlic! It's really a non-issue.
- Don’t assume they’ll be fine eating something with the meat simply removed after the fact. If you’re munching on a pepperoni pizza and think it’s not a big deal to pick the slices off and serve it to your sweetie, then you’re probably wrong. Vegetarians are likely to have an aversion of these tastes and just the notion of meat having covered something they'd otherwise considered edible, can be quite off-putting.
- Learn your definitions. Don’t say things like “You can still eat chicken and/or fish, right?” The strict definition of a vegetarian is someone who does not eat the flesh of any animal. Pescetarians will eat fish as well, but a traditional vegetarian will not, so remember the definition. Being in the know goes a long way.
- Respect your differences. Don’t try to change their mind about something so personal and important to them. If someone is a vegetarian, it often means they have a particular set of values about the eating of animals, and it isn’t your place to come in and question that. Such a huge decision has surely been carefully considered and you shouldn’t feel a need to change someone for something that does you no harm.
When dating a vegetarian, if you can follow these golden rules, then you’ll surely have a much easier, more enjoyable time, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. We all have a great deal to teach one another, after all.