Earlier this year, Vegans of Color asked their readers if they would be willing to date meat eaters:
Is veganism important to you in selecting a partner? Over the past eight years, I have had a strict vegan-only policy. I tried to date someone who was not vegan about 10 years ago and it just didn’t work because I kept wanting him to change.
The majority of commenters agreed that they would be unwilling to date flesh-eating monsters.
But vegans aren’t the only ones who see food preference as a deal-breaker.
An ex-vegan was surprised to learn about women who would have dated him had he not been vegan, and asked his now fellow meat eaters why they turn down the vegan option:
i was vegan for a few years and when i got back onto The Meat, i found out through the grapevine that So-and-So and Whats-her-Face would have asked me out if it weren’t for the fact that i had “such strict dietary restrictions.” i was kind of baffled because diet isn’t a deal-breaker for me when dating is concerned. i’m interested in the different reasons why being vegan can be a turn-off for the ladies.
First, the vegan take:
Lucas: I could never imagine being with someone who was not vegan. The thought of kissing a mouth that took in animal flesh and/or secretions disgusts me to no end. And that’s not to mention the many problems arising from ideological differences. Fortunately I’ve never had to deal with that kind of situation but my wife and I have many times pondered the many difficulties of raising children in mixed (vegan and non-vegan) households. I certainly do feel for those vegans that fall for omnis or vegetarians (consumers of bodily functions) and I’m sorry I don’t have any helpful advice for them.
Laurie: How could I ever date someone who eats meat? I am a vegan first and foremost. Dating and marrying a meat eater would make me physically ill. Just watching him eat meat and dairy would kill me. No. A definite deal breaker.
Jessica: I can love my family and friends who don’t share all my moral beliefs, but I need my partner to share these important values. Plus, I don’t want any products of cruelty in the house. I can’t kiss a meat-eater on the mouth without an unpleasant reaction.
Adwoa: I was miserable dating an omni (not only due to dietary issues, but it didn’t help) and as soon as I met a male vegan with vaguely similar interests and an agreeable personality, I dumped the omni and married the vegan. No regrets.
Holy Moly: I have a strict no dead animal policy in my home. … I have not been in a long-term relationship with someone who eats meat since I’ve gone vegan. I imagine it would be difficult, but my hope would be to influence!!
Wendy: I won’t even mention how long I’ve been celibate, much less without a date because of the trouble I’ve had finding other vegan lesbians in my age range. … I can’t date, much less get into a relationship with someone I don’t respect… And I can’t respect someone who views animals as products.
Serenity: You can’t cook meat in my house or eat it in my presence. So I’m thinking there is no point in cohabitating with a flesh eater.
Noemi: I can’t see myself being in a relationship with a meat eater. Or living with a meat eater. It’s not like being allergic to dogs & cats — I might put up with that (I’m really really allergic).
Elaine: When I finally met “the one,” I knew it was right because he agrees with me on animal issues. … We’re better people with each other. I don’t think that’d be possible with a nonvegan.
Joselle: It’s my belief that vegans should be with nonvegans if the chemistry is there. It might be the most powerful and intimate opportunity for activism ever. … If you only surround yourself with vegans, veganism is not activism–it’s just a support group.
Erica: I don’t think I could date someone who was not at least a vegetarian for moral reasons… My boyfriend was a meat-eater when were first started dating. After making the switch from vegetarian to vegan, I became more actively against using animals and told him, “I don’t want to kiss a meat mouth.” His response was, “You’re making me feel like a monster.” … My personal thoughts are that if someone really cares about you, they will make the switch (and hopefully not just for you).
Monkey: I have been with my partner for four years, and he was vegan when we had started out together. Eventually, he dropped the veganism to vegetarianism, and now he’ll eat meat on occasion depending on the situation. I love him very much and I don’t want to take away his autonomy, so it’s a constant internal struggle.
Stentor: I certainly couldn’t date someone who was a proud non-vegan or treated veganism as a burden.
Andreas: The willful denial of reality necessary for happy consumption of animal products is unattractive.
Vanessa: It’s a difficult situation, but there’s much opportunity in being with an omni- not only do you school them on veganism, but their family, friends and colleagues learn about it too.
Dersk: You know what’s pretty scary? Replace, say, Christian and Jew (or white and black) for omnivore vs. veg*an.
Monika: Dating only vegans is akin to racism? Being white = privileged. So does being a meat eater. A better analogy is refusing to date non-vegans is like refusing to date homophobes. Which I am okay with.
The above quotes might give you some idea why some omnivores are reluctant to date vegans. But here’s what the meat-eaters said in response to the baffled ex-vegan:
MyrnaMinkoff: There’s a perception that being vegan makes you inherently hostile toward people who happily and comfortably consume animal products. No one likes dating to start out on such politically-charged grounds, and for women especially, food can be sensitive. No girl wants to feel that you will analyze what’s on her plate and judge her for it. Ick. So, I imagine those ladies who declined to step forward did so because they imagined there would be a big headache - emotional and otherwise - in even arranging a single date. I know it would have stopped me.
Beelzebufo: Vegan is not a deal-breaker. Insufferable, annoying, preachy vegan is the deal-breaker.
Jeze: Personally, I have never dated a vegan, but I have dated a guy who was allergic to wheat, dairy, and shellfish and it was the biggest pain in my ass ever. He would insist we attempt to eat wherever I would normally eat and then 15 minutes of ordering time would be taken up analyzing the menu with the server to determine what exactly he could eat. It got to be very, very tiring. If you add limitations about where one can eat with tiresome proselytizing, I wouldn’t want to go there either.
Sara: Even a vegetarian might be a stretch for me, at least if it was for “save the animals” reasons because I generally just find that a little annoying.
Geni: In my case, it’d be because I love eating at restaurants and there are damned few vegan options at a lot of restaurants, and I don’t want to live on millet and wheatgrass myself. Been there, done that, tired of the carrot juice.
Mackro Mackro: While I could say more women tend to be carnivorous due to women usually needing more iron intake, etc., there’s a greater issue here. Saying “I’m vegan” is a brave statement in the context of dating someone, in the same way as saying “I like comic books” is, or stating anything that colloquially means “I really specialize in something you may not like.” You should be proud of being vegan, obviously, but don’t be surprised or feel betrayed if date candidates aren’t down with that.
Just Asking: I’ve had loads of vegan friends and dates. What’s hard, though, is the sneer on the face of your vegan date when you mention that you have a weakness for bacon. Or the increasingly shrill tone of your partner’s voice when he starts lecturing your parents on how their food choices are bad for the planet. Or the “it’s a way of life” announcements. But the sneer is the worst, and a 100% deal-breaker.
Allison: I am a vegetarian and dated a vegan for three years (he was an omnivore when we started dating). I didn’t have a problem with his diet and for the most part we didn’t have a problem finding alternative restaurants to go to; however, the problems came about when he started becoming very preachy about his diet and judgmental of mine. I am a strong believer in following what you believe in, but if you are looking to force your diet/ideas upon someone else, you should probably date someone who carries those same ideals.