I suppose, like many things, this question is going to vary person to person. But the general question is quite simple. Is it realistic for vegans to date non-vegans?
When we think about being in a relationship and what traits to look for in a potential partner we, most likely, look for some pretty genuine characteristics. Are they kind? Are they respectful? Are they supportive? There are many beliefs in life that will bring about different opinions, thoughts, and choices from one person to the next. The key, as a decent human being, is to recognize and respect these beliefs and opinions, even if they vary greatly from our own, and most importantly; always keep an open mind.
I have been with my non-vegan husband for almost 8 years now. We have different opinions when it comes to politics, religion, and obviously now on the food that we eat. This has never stopped him from being respectful, and supportive of my choices. He also has a very open mind. He listens to what I have to say and then continues on to explain why he feels the way he feels about these topics, which I, in return, respect. At home, we are a vegan household and I only cook vegan food. I did not put my foot down and disrespect him and demand that's how it needed to be. In fact, for awhile we cooked separate meals. I simply started offering to cook vegan meals for him, and he liked them and we mutually agreed that we should only purchase vegan foods for our home. When we go out to eat, he does not eat vegan but he always supports my decision and makes sure that the places we choose to eat at have vegan options. He has never bad mouthed my choice to be vegan, and has never argued with me about it. He sees why I feel the way that I do and he respects that. These characteristics that he has (kind, respectful, supportive) are some of the main reasons that I married him.
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When you date someone or form a relationship with someone, I think it goes without saying that you will not agree on everything. Whether it be current events going on in the world, or how the way they were raised to fold towels makes you cringe. What matters is how as partners you will continue to love and respect one another despite these differences. If you were to go out and try to find a person who had all of the same beliefs as you (whether it be religion, politics, core values etc.) I think it would be really difficult and we may be sitting around waiting for awhile. I think the beauty of being human is embracing these differences and loving past them.
The best thing about forming relationships with people, friendships included, is learning about one another and learning from the relationship in itself. To grow and to expand your mind and beliefs, and to inspire one another. There are certain things about my husband that inspire me to be a better version of myself, and I would hope that he feels the same. I know he personally struggles with letting go of certain foods but he appreciates my encouragement and inspiration of health that being a vegan entails. Much like how his forgiving heart and easy going personality inspires me to be a more merciful, relaxed person. Do I think that this type of relationship is going to work for all types of people? No, probably not. If the sight of a certain political party disgusts you, or if the sight of a non-vegan is repulsive to you, then you probably won't be able to date one. But if things like personality and character are what is most important to you in a partner, then I believe it's realistic to overcome any different beliefs that you both may have.
So, maybe the question of the hour is do we date people based on their beliefs or do we date them for the type of person they are? I suppose the more accurate question would be, can respectful, supportive, open minded people realistically date respectful, supportive, open minded people? Absolutely. Can respectful, supportive, open minded people realistically date disrespectful, selfish, close minded people? Probably not. Being vegan or non-vegan doesn't necessarily make you one way or the other. Who you are as an individual and the personality and characteristics you possess do not come from the type of food you eat, but more from the type of person you choose to be. I hope we all choose to be kind, compassionate people. We are the ones who spread the light and love in the world and if you ask me, the world could always use more of us.
Elisha Burns is a mother of two and wife to her high school sweetheart. She has a passion for veganism, health and natural parenting.
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