Being vegan and dating: Can one get in the way of the other?

Dating, at all stages, can be tricky. And with similarities and differences across the board, it can sometimes be challenging to see eye to eye for many reasons: is veganism one of them?

Veganism was first coined in 1944 and described as “the beginning and end of vegetarianism”. Since then, it has grown in interest in the early 2010s and immensely in the latter half. There are now over 80 million vegans worldwide. If all growth continues in the same direction, the global vegan meat market will be worth $8.3 billion by 2025

So what does this all have to do with dating? When seeking out our person, individual or partner, we can sometimes have preferences. Which morals and values do they abide by, how much kindness do they show, and what physical and emotional attributes do they possess? But what of a plant-based diet, a passion for animal rights and living a vegan lifestyle? 

Being a vegan and dating a non-vegan can be complicated and complex when looking at it side-on. But equipped with understanding, mutual respect and loving someone unconditionally, we can look at these circumstances open-mindedly and without judgement.  

So how does this combination of diets affect our relationship when dining out, sharing meals at home and thinking about long-term plans such as parenthood? There are many avenues where having a mixed diet as a couple can cause conflicts. We all want to be understood and respected by our partners, especially for our choices and values. Vegans show immense empathy, and compassion as well as independent, open-minded thinking. Often, vegans may prefer to date another vegan to share common ground and world views. However, ruling someone out just because of their diet can seem irrational. But is there a way to co-exist? 

Following a mixed diet or dating someone non-vegan can be tricky to set moral ground. As a couple, we should work through our conflicts using communication, negotiation and compromise. Long-term relationships which plan to have children raise questions like, what diet will the child follow? A balanced relationship should not feel divided, and it is unhealthy to put restrictions on someone's actions. Therefore we should not open confrontation or make passive-aggressive comments. 

In all relationships, we make sacrifices and compromises for our partners. Trying new things in small steps, such as oat milk instead of cow's milk in your morning tea, can seem minuscule but appreciated greatly by your partner. We should not work to force our partners to do anything they wouldn't like to. Instead, we should recognise the changes we are making are positive and put our best foot forward. Co-existing as vegans and non-vegans is entirely possible, and we can thrive together, trying new things and keeping an open mind that anything is possible. 

If you’re in a vegan - non-vegan relationship and have a baby on the way, what we feed our children’s minds and helpful tools for raising a vegan family could be useful articles to check out, filled with handy tips and advice.

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