21 Dec 2014

Should Vegans Date Non-Vegans?


I'm a member of several vegan-related groups on Facebook, so I come across a huge variety of differing opinions regarding what vegans should and shouldn't do. I was browsing through some posts the other day, and one particular comment struck me in particular. Apparently, some vegans are committed solely to dating other vegans, and refuse to give anybody who isn't the time of day. I'm not saying this is wrong - it's their choice who they date - but it is extremely restricting. It's difficult enough to come across vegan friends, let alone partners!

Some may say that if you date a non-vegan, you're compromising your morals. You're bringing somebody with an (assumed) completely different moral compass into your world. You might have to let them bring the bodies of dead animals into your own home. You'd have to watch them contribute to animal suffering. Would all of this make you "a lesser vegan"?

To answer this question purely based on personal opinion, I'd say it's perfectly fine for vegans to date non-vegans - just as it's acceptable for us to be friends with people who eat animal products. We can't restrict our relationships so strongly - if we did, many of us would be left all alone. A lot of people live in areas where they know no other vegans, so they don't have much choice in who they build relationships with.

"It can be very difficult to more-or-less dedicate your life to somebody whose core moral values are so out of line with your own."

I can, however, understand why vegans would want to avoid dating (and especially living with) non-vegans. It can be very difficult to more-or-less dedicate your life to somebody whose core moral values are so out of line with your own. I'm currently in a relationship with an omni, so I know how it is. On the occasions where my partner eats animal products I often look at him and wonder - how can you eat animals? Why don't you care?

When we are so dedicated to our own moral values, it can be extremely difficult to understand how otherwise loving and compassionate people could not be vegan. To us, it's the absolute moral baseline - but others don't see it that way. Unfortunately, since we're currently living in a world where vegans are relatively few and far between, we have to learn to live with this confusion. We must accept that some people simply haven't found the right path yet, and hope they eventually will. 


To balance out these downsides, at least in my opinion, partnering up with a non-vegan has just as many benefits. Perhaps the most obvious is the ability to introduce your partner to the vegan way of life. Since my partner and I have been together, he has learned a great deal about the vegan lifestyle. He's been exposed to delicious food and information that he would've otherwise known nothing about. Thanks to me, he now knows all about the cruelty in animal agriculture and often defends veganism when his friends try to discount the lifestyle. I definitely see vegan potential in him.


"We can't restrict our relationships so strongly - if we did, many of us would be left all alone."

Another excellent benefit of partnering up with a non-vegan is, if you live with them and prepare their meals, you can make sure everything they eat is vegan (or at least vegetarian). This is the case with my partner and I. He eats all vegan and vegetarian meals at home. If we go out to eat or get takeaway, he will occasionally have meat, but that's relatively rare. So, the more time he spends with me, the less animal products he consumes. That means less animals suffer overall.

For those who will only consider other vegans, I respect and understand your choice - but please don't try and shame people who choose to date omnis. Remember how restrictive it is. Remember that some people really don't have an option one way or another, especially if they live in a small town. Also remember that vegan plus non-vegan relationships are not all bad, and can result in something very positive - brand new members of the vegan family!

"Another excellent benefit of partnering up with a non-vegan is, if you live with them and prepare their meals, you can make sure everything they eat is vegan."

Don't feel guilty for being in a relationship with a non-vegan - it does not mean that you have compromised your morals. It's incredibly difficult simply to meet other people who are vegan in your daily life, especially vegans that you're totally compatible with! Just think of the positives - through associating yourself with non-vegans, you open yourself up to the opportunity to bring new people into our world - and you can stuff them full of delicious vegan food, which is always fun to watch!