If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might have found that your diet creates a special pitfall all of its own when it comes to your dating life. Let’s face it; sometimes meeting people who share your values is hard, especially because only around 3 percent of the United States doesn’t eat meat. Of course, all veggies aren’t cut from the same cloth. There are plenty of reasons for people to go meat-free, and whether you’re open to dating someone who does eat meat will depend on your attitude and how much your diet is a part of your overall lifestyle. Based on numbers alone, it’s obvious your chances with an omnivore are better. But should you go there? There are several factors to consider.
1. Scrap The Gender Biases
Veggies are overwhelmingly female – it’s just a fact. In our culture, it’s more acceptable for women to make lifestyle choices out of compassion, and on a subconscious level, a lot of men see worrying about animal cruelty as unmanly. If you’re a male veggie, you deserve to be viewed with respect even if people don’t agree with you, and if you’re a female veggie, never let a man dismiss your beliefs because of it. Your reasons for going meat-free have nothing to do with your gender.
2. Don’t Judge
As much as you want your beliefs to be respected, you have to respect a partner who doesn’t share them. A Match.com study shows that 30 percent of meat-eaters won’t date a vegetarian, and why is this? Is it because they’re so concerned you might not eat ribs with them? Not necessarily. It’s because there is a stereotype of vegetarians and vegans as being pushy and judgmental, and omnivores don’t want to date someone who plans to guilt them at every meal. It’s great that you feel passionate about your choices, but you should adopt a live and let live philosophy.
3. Don’t Convert
It’s great to educate somebody you’re dating on the veggie lifestyle and your reasons for sticking to it, and hopefully, if you’re in a relationship they will ask questions and be interested. But convincing your boyfriend or girlfriend to stop eating meat for you is never a good idea. If it’s not something they really want to do, they will resent you for it, and if the relationship ends, they’ll just go back to eating meat anyway. Let them know your experience, and if they want to try cutting at least some meat out of their diet, that’s great. But it should be their idea.
4. Think Long Term
If you plan to take your relationship with a meat-eater to the next level, there will inevitably be more planning and compromising. If you live together, who is going to cook? Should you do your own cooking? If you’re a veggie woman and you marry an omnivore male, you might face the choice between cooking meat or making him fend for himself. And if you have children, will they eat meat? Diet can be a much bigger point of contention in a long-term relationship than it is when you’re casually dating.
If you’re really passionate about animal rights and vegetarianism and veganism mean a lot to you, it’s difficult to adjust to dating a meat-eater. Dating someone opposed to you on any political issue that you feel strongly about is hard, but this is one that directly affects your day-to-day life. You might find it easier to look online for ways to meet other veggies – you might be small in number, but they’re out there. Otherwise, you take your chances with the meat-eaters. And you need a high tolerance for compromise, right from the very first dinner.