You learned about the crimes against defenseless animals and became vegan. It’s not just about the diet; it’s so much more than that. Your lifestyle changed. You changed. You became passionate about living an anti-cruelty life. After a while, you realized that the way you see omnivores is different, even the ones you have loved for a very long time.
Your spouse or committed partner isn’t where you are at this time and may never be. This can be a very difficult situation for both of you, and it’s up to both of you to find a resolution. It depends upon your love for your partner and how open you both are to being understanding, respectful and willing to lead with your hearts.
As time goes by, the passion for veganism often grows, and the boundaries and rules between you may change. You may become stricter and less tolerant of your love’s omnivorous ways. If you both feel that there is a constant battle, and respect for the other’s needs or wants is gone, it may be that your values are no longer aligned and an incompatibility has been exposed.
Since needs may differ depending upon each couple’s situation, I have tips on nurturing a strong relationship as well as danger signs that may help you decide if you are still right for each other.
5 Tips for Loving Couples to Remain Loving When Only One Partner Is Vegan
1. Remember that you became vegan. In other words, you were once in the same place that your partner is still in. He or she may just be lagging behind. Be understanding to this fact.
Remember that some people hold on to what they were taught as a child more than others. They may have difficulty giving up the conditioned idea that they need meat to live a healthy life. They may be holding on to traditions like typical holiday menus and social gatherings. Or they may just love what they’re eating so much that they are in denial.
2. Think of your partner as a potential vegan; however, instead of nagging or manipulating them into hopefully becoming vegan, just live your life and them observe how well you’re doing. Create wonderful vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Go out to eat at one of the great vegan restaurants in your area. When your partner realizes they will not be giving up taste or enjoyment, they may be more receptive to veganism. Perhaps when your partner sees you are becoming healthier as well as more vibrant and fit, they will want to join in. Your passion and excitement can be contagious.
3. Even though you desperately want to educate the omnivore in your life, it would be counterproductive to pound your partner over their head. You can ask nicely if your partner would be open to reading material or seeing videos on the subject. Or, if you prefer, you can leave material around the house for your partner to read at their leisure if feeling compelled to do so. Of course, you can also use Facebook as your soapbox for your partner to peruse.
4. Another way for you to educate without teaching is by leading. How you connect with animals and the way they are treated may rub off. Express your feelings that animals’ lives matter. Some people really have never stopped to consider that a nonhuman animal has feelings. For example, voice your sadness and horror when seeing a video of a defenseless animal abused, raped or murdered; relate to animals by talking to them, being concerned for their comfort; or visit an animal farm sanctuary together. Visiting one will help your partner meet all kinds of animals, hear their stories and learn to respect them. All this will help show your partner that all animals feel pain, fear and love—just like us.
5. Set up boundaries and rules so you both feel emotionally safe. It’s important that you both know the score. For example, you may establish that your home is vegan but that you will be accepting of your partner eating whatever they want at a restaurant. Think about what you will and will not feel comfortable with. Talk it out. If there are children involved, this probably will be a stickier situation. You both need to know your bottom line and express it clearly and respectfully.
3 Relationship Danger Signs That May Present Themselves
1. You want your partner to become vegan, and you are pressuring them to do so. If your desire for them be vegan is making your partner feel that they can’t be themselves, that you don’t love or respect your partner as they are, this is definitely a defining moment. Everyone needs to feel accepted and loved. If you cannot accept and respect your partner, your relationship may be at risk.
2. If you find yourself berating your partner about his or her diet, know that this will cause derision in your relationship. Lecturing your partner, not out of concern for their health but as a form of manipulation, will kill your relationship. Scolding your partner will only separate the two of you instead of bringing you closer. If you can’t stop yourself, it may be time to admit that your values are no longer aligned and that you have lost respect for your partner.
3. There may come a time when just the thought of kissing your omnivore partner sickens you. If you are asking or even demanding your partner to brush their teeth and use mouthwash before every kiss, that isn’t going to make them feel loved, accepted or sexy.
No one can tell you if it is worth working out your differences. Only you know that. You are the director of your life. It is important to remember that you became vegan because you don’t believe in cruelty. Therefore, it is important to live that concept. In other words, don’t be cruel. Be kind, respectful and loving no matter if you decide to stay in the relationship or leave.
Ellen Champion is a Doylestown, Pennsylvania-based life and relationship coach working with clients internationally. From a young age, Ellen has been interested in helping people. She developed systems and programs for herself to rise above personal issues and molded them for use by her clients, helping them grow in their personal and business lives. One client says: “Ellen is your advocate for healing, self-love, improved confidence. … A funny thing happens when you choose to work with Ellen: The ‘people around you’ suddenly change for the better.”