Going vegan is a personal choice that people may take for multiple reasons. However, getting into this world (and staying in it) requires massive commitment and dedication.
But here’s something you may not like to hear: we vegans remain as the minority. This is why isn’t hard to have friends and family who respect our lifestyle but do not share it. They are just fine with their current diets and health choices. Truth be told: this is okay. Thinking otherwise will give us frustration.
But when we get into a romantic relationship with someone, the stakes are higher. We’re not going to occasionally see this person but to live with him or her. This means that we’ll share the kitchen on many occasions.
So, what happens if cooking habits differ extraordinarily? What if your partner loves meat and you are in full-vegan mode?
Being a vegan when your partner isn’t may be a big challenge, one that may come with frustration and irrational disputes. Therefore, today we are dedicating a few lines to the challenges in this situation and how to overcome them.
Understanding and Accepting
In a nutshell, being a vegan and having a partner who isn’t is all about understanding. We must embrace the situation just like it is. Trying to change people will often lead to an absolute disaster. Yes, we can make suggestions and propose to do things differently but if everything we find is resistance coming from the other side, we must stop the pressure tactics.
As we mentioned before, we vegans continue to be the minority. A growing minority but still, the minority indeed. Knowing this, we have the duty to accept the current state of affairs and avoid being too worried about our loved ones choosing meat over vegetables.
With the ones we share a life, being indifferent can be incredibly difficult. We want the best for them and we strongly believe that they will find many invaluable benefits in going vegan. This is absolutely true but we cannot force them. All we have is to understand and accept.
Autonomy in the Kitchen
When we live with someone, sharing the kitchen is a constant. If a couple has the same nutritional habits and preferences, using the kitchen is generally easy. Couples cooperate in order to be more practical and efficient.
But what happens when each person in the relationship has to cook extremely different meals? How to organize the fridge? How are the trips to the grocery store?
If you are vegan but your partner isn’t, you may know already how complicated these things can be. Different shopping lists, different recipes, different meals being cooked. A well-organized autonomy must be practiced in order to make the situation work on your behalf.
This autonomy must be discussed and embraced. Both individuals in the relationship must accept that there is nothing wrong with it, that it should not come with additional troubles. Basic rules must be established in order to keep the kitchen clean, organized, and available.
Every relationship is different. However, we have some tips for you that may do wonders. If you live with this vegan-exclusive struggle, the following tips can ease the tension and transform the challenge into rich, enjoyable diversity.
Avoid the Preach
Yes, everything we just have said above regarding understanding and comprehension concludes in this single piece of advice. No matter what, you must avoid the preaches about how “going vegan is the very best way”, “how meat is killing you”, or “this will do wonders for your weight”. The truth is this: no one like the preaching guy or girl.
Choosing to preach over understanding will label you as the intolerant person who isn’t willing to accept the ways of others. Therefore, it’s the perfect recipe for disaster in a relationship.
Yes, you can throw an unrequested fact here and there about how great being vegan is. However, don’t cross the line. Choose to embrace the other one’s decisions instead of publicly judging them.
Speak About the Challenge Ahead
If you are reading this, you know that there is a challenge regarding being vegan when your partner isn’t. On the other hand, your partner may have accepted it as well.
But, do you have talked about it yet?
People often choose to avoid uncomfortable conversations that affect directly their romantic relationships. These people believe that if they don’t address the problem, it will remain silent and ultimately will disappear, all by itself. This doesn’t happen in real life. The only way to solve issues like this one is by talking about them openly.
Share Non-Vegan-Friendly Meals
Instead of drawing a thick line between what you and your partner eat, try to find a common ground from time to time. There are many smoothies, salads, chips, fruit desserts, and other meals that can be shared among vegans and non-vegans.
Take a look around and make your list of non-vegan-friendly meals that you, as a committed vegan, can eat without a problem. Use these options as an opportunity to eat together and enjoy.
When Going Out, Research First
If you are going to eat together outside, don’t leave it to chance. As you may know already, vegan restaurant options continue to be limited. The same happens for those places where both vegans and non-vegans can happily eat together.
Just like the friendly meals above, take your time and research. Look for those places that fit your profile and try them over the all-in, hardcore vegan locations. Concessions can be made but for the sake of your relationship, try to maximize the number of opportunities where both enjoy what you are eating.
A Conflict in the Horizon?
Here’s another harsh truth: being vegan when your partner isn’t can create problems in the relationship. The serious type of problems. This is an unfortunate truth, one that we all want to prevent. Still, this will only become a significant, relationship-ending problem if the people involved don’t work towards a balanced, open-minded solution.
Skip the preach and embrace the diversity in the relationship. Everything else will come by itself.