Can Vegans Date Non Vegans And Be Happy?

Can vegans date non vegans and have long lasting – if not forever – relationships? We asked real vegans for their thoughts

By Diane Small

Despite the rise of Tinder and other dating sites making it easier than ever to hook up, going out for dinner is still the default date option – plus, for most people, sharing meals is loads of fun. We all have different food preferences of course, and today, there seems to be a proliferation of allergies and intolerances too, making choosing a restaurant that everyone likes a bit tough at times.  

So what happens when you enter a relationship with someone who has not only a completely different diet to yours, but a different view on fundamental issues like definitions of kindness and compassion, health and wellbeing, spirituality and environmentalism?

Depending on what study you read, the proportion of US adults identifying as vegan has grown to incredible heights – some say up to 500% in the USA!  Given that Starbucks now has almond and coconut milk and many McDonald’s even have veggie burgers, it’s clear that there are more people eating plant based diets than ever before. But despite this, the vast majority of a vegan’s dating pool are going to be omnivores.

So, what impact does this have on a relationship?

Can Vegans Date Non Vegans?

Different kinds of vegans

Let’s be honest – there can be degrees of veganism. Some simply go plant based for health reasons only, and still wear leather, wool and even fur. So what someone else eats is of little importance to them. Others are ‘veggans‘ who will eat eggs and honey if they feel they’ve been responsibly sourced. For this group, compassion and kindness are of prime importance. Still others, like actor Joaquin Phoenix, are true vegans. Phoenix won’t even get into a car if the seats are made of leather. For this group, surely a vegan partner is a must.

Real life situations

Lydia McDonald, a lawyer based in London, has been vegan for two years. For her, the choice is a core value, just like choosing to have children or not. In romantic relationships, she thinks it’s essential to share those key values with a partner: “I struggle to seriously date non-vegans,” she states.

For Cara, an editor, “I find a lot of people who really love their daily meals to contain meat to be quite selfish. They don’t really give a toss about animal welfare or the environment, or they wouldn’t be eating meat. They put themselves and their desires above all else. I don’t want to be around those people.”

But we can’t always choose who we love. It just happens! So, what if you fall in love with someone who doesn’t share your vegan values? If vegans date non vegans, can their relationship last if their ethics are totally at odds?

vegan dating

Creating boundaries

Perhaps it’s easier to accept other people’s beliefs and habits at the start of a relationship, when deeper issues are not at stake. But when things get serious, boundaries may have to be set.

PhD student and animal lover Cheryl Jones is vegan, married to a meat eater. She has also worked as a veterinary assistant, and believes that this helps to inform her perspective. “I’ve spent time working with a vet, and I also grew up surrounded by farms. So have a fairly unique perspective when it comes to the majority of vegans,” she explains.

Cheryl has insisted that her husband reduce his meat consumption. So now he only eats meat when they go out, as Cheryl refuses to have meat in the house. Such adaptations are common in relationships like these; especially if the main cook in the household is a vegan. Cooking separate meals is a hassle, as so so many meat eaters do naturally decrease or convert completely.

One vegan man, Charlie, has a laissez-faire attitude about his partner: “I live with an omnivore, and I find that, with a little understanding it isn’t much of an issue,” he says. “I actually cooked bacon and eggs for her this morning. I’m a vegan to reduce the demand for products that I find unethical. If she wants to eat eggs and bacon, that’s her prerogative. But I know it’s going to get bought, cooked and eaten whether I cook it or she does. I try to be realistic. She’s an intelligent woman. She has all the data and makes her own decisions. It’s certainly not enough of a deal-breaker to mean that I’d give up on an otherwise good relationship.”

 

When it really counts

Not everyone is as easygoing as Charlie, though. Annie, who doesn’t even consider herself a ‘hardcore vegan’ says: “I cannot have meat or dairy in the house. It just grosses me out. The smell of meat and how it looks literally makes me retch.” When asked if she would date a meat eater, she says: “I would, just for fun. But if the relationship got serious, it would be an issue. I want kids, and those kids are going to be vegan. If the guy wasn’t into that, there’s no way I could have kids with him.”

Kylie Dolmar, a Trade Development manager, agrees: “I try to be tolerant in life with others who don’t follow the same path as me. My family aren’t vegetarian or vegan but I begrudgingly accept their choice. But a partner is different. If you don’t share such important fundamental values then I don’t see how it can last or even begin.”

Her partner is now vegan, although adapted slowly over the first six months of Katie being so.

“I was vegetarian for a long number of years and went vegan two years ago. Whilst I respect other people’s ways of life and believe they can eat what they like. I would never ever allow meat to be prepared or cooked in my house. Those are the rules I’ve set out. So if my partner wasn’t vegetarian or vegan they’d have to adapt pretty quickly!’

She became vegan for the same reasons most do: “Eating meat is morally and ethically wrong. I can’t see it any other way. Becoming vegan was a logical next step. If you love animals you don’t eat them or their by-products or allow the industry to survive. To me it’s so simple. I couldn’t be with someone who isn’t vegan. It’s just a minimum requirement.”

Can Vegans Date Non Vegans?

Where to look for love

So, where can a single vegan look for a mate? I used to hope I would find a partner in a vegan fair, festival, restaurant or cafe. But as I discovered, plenty of non-vegans hang out in those places, too!

The truth is, relationships are complicated. So reducing some complications can take you
one step closer to a successful partnership. And that’s why I think vegan dating sites are a great idea, since they specifically cater to people who would prefer the comfort of knowing they will be meeting someone who share the same ethical values.

 

This is an increasing number of vegan dating apps today, like Green Singles or Veggie Connection that are coming onto the market that help pair couples up. One, simply called Veg, is even known as ‘the cruelty-free Tinder’!

Not a fan of dating apps? No worries! Online platforms like Veggie Date and Vegan Passions also allow members to meet and chat online…which may lead to a real life encounter.  

So, whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or just some new friends, make sure to do some research and explore the best apps to help you connect with others who share your values and lifestyle.

But if you don’t find love with someone who shares your core beliefs totally – don’t despair. No two people in a relationship can share all the same values exactly. Especially since those tend to shift over the decades.

As Charlie puts it: ‘There are a million different ways to live a more sustainable and compassionate life. We all draw our own lines and make our own choices. And if you truly love someone, you’ll accept them for who they are, warts and all.”

So, what do you think? Can vegans date non vegans and live happily ever after? Let us know in the comments below! 

*Some names in this article have been changed to protect privacy

Diane Small

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top