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If you’re vegan, or thinking about going vegan, and you’re dating an omnivore, here are a few tips to make your life easier.
If you’re trying vegan recipes for the first time, you’ll want to go grocery shopping yourself, even if your partner also goes shopping. They will not want to look for your tofu or nutritional yeast, and these items may be hard to find in a grocery store. Don’t potentially aggravate your partner concerning your new lifestyle by asking them to pick up new-to-them items.
In the same vein as the above tip, do your own cooking. If you live with your partner, you may need to also cook for them or ask them to cook their own meat. The key here is to either develop cooking skills if you don’t have any or to continue to cook for your partner if you usually cook for them. Because you’re introducing potentially new dishes to the table, you don’t want to add that burden to your partner. After all, this is your journey, not theirs.
If your partner already loves chips and guacamole or salsa, then have these foods more often. Choosing foods you both already enjoy is a great introduction to veganism for both of you.
If you and your partner like to cook together, then make adaptable meals that can easily work for vegans and omnivores. Ask your partner to cook their meat as you prepare the plant-based portion of the meal. This way, you can connect and have fun together while eating similar dishes and be budget- and time-conscious.
If you combine finances with your partner, agree on a budget for vegan food, clothing, cosmetics, and other items. Purchasing more produce, especially if it’s local and organic, can be more expensive than what you’re both accustomed to, so agree on a budget and combine the more expensive food choices with cheaper choices, such as rice, beans, and potatoes.
If you feel uncomfortable purchasing meat and other animal-based products, talk to your partner. Perhaps you can establish a way where your earnings don’t buy those items. However, in relationships where you combine finances, this may be challenging. While not ideal, consider how your vegan purchases may affect your partner. You don’t want to purchase steak, but maybe they don’t want to purchase hemp shoes. Have a serious conversation and try to meet in the middle.
If your other half is unsure about trying vegan or vegetarian recipes, ask that they try one plate of each dish you create. If they don’t like it, thank them for trying something new and don’t push them to eat that dish again. This allows them to support you without being stuck with eating dishes they don’t like in the future. It’s a win-win.
Whether you’re able to eat out or order in, you likely enjoy getting food from local restaurants. Before you’re hungry, searching for a place to eat, do some research. Identify the restaurants in your area that serve both vegan and omnivore dishes so both of you can enjoy what you’re eating when you go out or order in.
When you travel, be sure to do more research. Look up restaurants on the way to your destination and in the areas you’ll be staying in. Then, don’t forget to pack snacks for those occasions when you’re stuck with no vegan options.
Think of food as phase one of this lifestyle change. Then, it’s time to move on to cosmetics, household items, clothing, activities, and more. Have a serious conversation with your partner about what types of gifts, activities, and date nights you are and are not comfortable with concerning your new lifestyle. Provide them with a written list of brand names and stores that sell cosmetics, clothing, and wares that are vegan. Explain why this matters to you without being judgy or condescending.
Then dive into the activities and date night excursions. These activities, and potential experiential gifts, include going to the zoo or aquarium. Explaining why you don’t want to participate in these activities may not fit with the above conversation and will likely occur organically. Whenever the conversation happens, it’s important to discuss your expectations concerning these types of activities with your partner.
When you learn about veganism and all that it entails, you may be tempted to tell everyone you know, but stop! Before you overwhelm your omnivore partner with a ton of information, focus on your actions first because they speak louder than your words. It can be easy for an omnivore to ignore what you say, but they’ll pay attention to what you do.
Plus, educating others can be construed as being preachy or judgemental, so try to focus on what you do around your partner and other omnivores, and then join a vegan community to support you and your newfound excitement.
While you don’t want to preach about veganism, you do want to be able to answer questions when they come up organically. So, read vegan news and publications, subscribe to vegan blogs, and regularly connect with other vegans.
The biggest challenge when it comes to dating or marrying an omnivore is agreeing on your values. Whenever you are in a long-term relationship, you need to have shared values. And you determine what values are non-negotiable.
What values you put first will vary from person to person. These also largely depend on your relationship (family values) and where you are at in your vegan journey.
If you are single, then set boundaries for who you will date and who you won’t. You’re allowed to only date vegans; you’re allowed to date omnivores. It’s up to you.
If you are in a new relationship and decide to go vegan or are already a vegan, have a serious conversation about the future. If your partner won’t budge, determine your priority values and move forward accordingly. Remember that relationships don’t just “work out,” so if you realize that you have misaligned values early on in a relationship, you may want to consider leaving.
If you are in a long-term relationship or married, you can equally value your relationship and your health, the environment, animals, and ethics. It is a tricky balance, especially if your other half refuses to support you, but you can join a community that is willing to walk with you. Remember that your actions will prove more than your words.
If you have children or are considering having children, then talk about and agree on how you will raise them.
If you developed a gluten allergy or diabetes, how would you handle it? Would you force your partner to avoid all bread or cupcakes forever? Or would you start cooking new foods and ask for their support? Your approach to communicating with and dating omnivores should be the same.
While you may not want to purchase or cook items that are animal-based, it’s important to remember that your partner also has the free will to make their own choices. If you both live together, your partner gets to live in the home, too. If you don’t live together, you can find common ground.