I met Matt during my pre-vegan days. At the beginning of our relationship, I remember us indulging in salmon dinners, steak dipped in hummus, and chorizo pasta. Oh, such a different time that was. Looking back, even with his Celiac disease and us eating gluten-free together, things were so easy back then!

We had been dating for almost 10 months when I told him about my lifestyle choice to go vegan. For him, I think the world stopped turning in that instant. Once he realized that I was serious, it was devastating for him. It was as if he went through the 5 stages of grief, for Christ’s sake.

  • First, denial. “This isn’t going to last.” “You’re just upset.”
  • Then, anger. “We won’t be able to eat ANYTHING together!”
  • Next, bargaining. “Can’t you just be a vegetarian?” “Why don’t you eat grass-fed meat and cage-free eggs instead?”
  • Depression? Well, no, he wasn’t depressed. But he was genuinely concerned about my health, and upset that his diet was about to be even more strict as long as we were eating together.

But guess what? Acceptance came, and when it did, we became closer and happier than ever. We overcame it. Our house is full of love and support for each other.

So, how did we do it? How did we come to a compromise?

 

How to Live with an Omnivore (and still love each other)

1. Make kickass vegan food.

Most likely, no amount of words are going to show your loved one that vegan food is awesome. You’re going to need to prove it to them. Convince them with your food, not your words. Show them that vegan food isn’t only delicious, but filling, too!

This might not be feasible for everyone out there, but find a vegan-friendly restaurant in your area and take your beau with you. This is the fool-proof way of showing omnivores that vegan food rocks. Going to restaurants can also be inspiring for those who love to cook, so take your favorite dishes and try to make them at home.

What? You want my help? Why, of course my website has SO MANY great vegan options for you to sink your teeth into! …but seriously, stock up on recipes from Pinterest-renowned vegan food bloggers, too.

Trust me. They’ll learn sooner or later that eating vegan doesn’t have to suck.

 

2. Stand your ground.

Just like so many other people in the world, your loved one may have a major problem with you wanting to live a vegan lifestyle. S/he come up with every reason why you shouldn’t be vegan. S/he might try to convince you that you’re wrong or stupid for wanting to change.

Don’t let them. Don’t let anyone try to tell you who you can and cannot be. The only person you need to make happy is yourself. For me, after being exposed to modern-day animal cruelty, I wouldn’t be happy if I went on with my life pretending that what I saw didn’t affect me. I was NOT going to let the majority opinion tell me how I was going to live my life, or how to be “normal”. If this was what “normal” was, I wanted no part in it anymore.

Change is good, people. We grow and change and become better people for it. This is especially true when you’re in a relationship. Relationships are 2x harder because you must grow and change together. But here’s my opinion: If you’re not going to grow with me, then you’re going to grow without me. I don’t care how much I love someone. If you’re not going to accept me for who I am and who I want to be, then this is not going to work.

I made this abundantly clear to Matt, and he did what every good man would do. He accepted me for the person he fell in love with: someone who cares. Which leads me to my next step…

 

3. Accept each other’s differences.

That acceptance is a two-way street. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t try to convert (I hate using that word… so cultish) Matt to join my good cause. I tried to get him to watch the documentaries, but it wasn’t happening. Matt did not want to be a vegan.

It cut into me a little at first, knowing that he wasn’t going to try to save the world with me. My initial childlike impression was that he didn’t care.

But you know what? I quickly got over that. As mentioned in the previous step, he was standing his ground just like I was standing mine. I couldn’t blame him for what he wanted, and I can’t change him. I loved him very much, and as long as he was going to accept me, I was going to accept him, too. I was going to make this work.

I’m the main cook in the house, and I have a rule that I have had since the beginning: I will be cooking only vegan meals. If you don’t like that, then cook something for yourself. Seriously, who says that we need to eat the same thing all the time? Who says that I need to be the only one cooking in this house? It just so happens that Matt loves my vegan meals so much that he hardly ever cooks separately from me, which has made life a lot easier for us. (This is where Step 1 REALLY comes in handy!)

We also must compromise when it comes to going food shopping. We always go to the grocery store together. We’ll split the bill in half of things we both eat together. After that, we pay for our own things. He’ll add sausage, lunch meats, cheese, milk, and Ben & Jerry’s to his own bill. I’ll add some almond milk and coconut milk to my bill, as well as products with gluten in them, such as wraps (which I have yet to find a good vegan & gluten-free option of). This works for us.

When he adds cheese to the cart, I don’t whine or roll my eyes. We continue on like it’s no big deal. When we go to a restaurant and he wants steak, I don’t judge him. When we go to a restaurant and have a thousand questions about the ingredients of menu items, he doesn’t judge me, either. It’s what you do when you love someone.

 

4. Celebrate success, even the little things. 

Matt used to eat meat, eggs, and dairy products all day, every day, every meal. Ever since I went vegan, he has made major changes to reduce the amount of animal-based products in his life. Now, he probably has meat an average of 3 times per week, which is a huge change. He hardly ever buys eggs anymore. He drinks milk and eats cheese, but only on occasion.

For this, I have to be thankful. Even though he’s not a vegan, he is still making a difference in the world. I must celebrate the positive changes, not focus on the negatives. I am very proud of how far he’s come, and I know he’s proud of me, too.

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Happy co-habitating,

thisvegangirllogo

4 Comments

  1. Cara
    September 6, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this! Been with my omni boyfriend for almost a year now and he wants us to live together. Didn’t know how I would deal with his 2-3x daily meat habit. But you are right…it’s about mutual respect. And as long as he understands every meal I’ll make will be vegan, I think we can make this work. 🙂

    • This Vegan Girl
      September 6, 2014

      Leave a Reply

      I’m glad you see it my way, Cara! It sounds like you’ve lain the foundation for a strong relationship based on compromise. I wish you the best of luck with your future together!

  2. M
    August 29, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    Hi, my boyfriend and I, have been together almost 2 years. We’re in a long distance relationship, him being four hours away from me in another city. I’ve been considering being a raw vegan for a while now, mainly do to health problems and my love of animals but frankly I’m terrified of it having negative results on my relationship. When my boyfriend is in my city we love going out for lunch and dinner, which usually consists of chicken or beef. I think once before I tried mentioning to him the idea of being raw vegan and he said he would support me entirely but he himself would never become one, which is okay but at the same time I wonder how our relationship can actually work when we’ll eat so differently?? PLEASE HELP!

    • This Vegan Girl
      September 6, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      If you want to try being a raw vegan, go for it! Because you have been together for 2 years, this means that you will both need to compromise in order to make this work. The way I see it, the two of you do not need to be eating the same exact thing every time you’re together. Going raw vegan would require you two to have a discussion on what this change would mean: eating at restaurants that provide options for both you and him, cooking way more often than going out, possibly cooking separately OR him eating what you’re cooking, and him learning about your choice in order to fully understand why you’re making such a big change. Like I said in the post, do all you can to respect his choice to eat animal products and cooked foods. This will be a test on the strength of your relationship, but if you respect the choices of your loved one and have plenty of informed discussions, you two will be stronger for it. Good luck!

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