As many of you know, I am in a mixed relationship—that’s right, Andy is an omnivore. I know this is quite common these days, but it is still a hotly debated issue. Hell, I’m still sometimes torn over dating someone who can consume animal products. On the one hand, I haven’t always been veg, and not everyone progresses at the same rate. On the other, how is he okay with taking part in so much cruelty and exploitation?!
First, a bit of background on my situation. I met Andy nearly 3 years ago, when I was a mere vegetarian. We lived on college together (that’s Aussie for “in the dorms”), so what we ate was never really an issue—I got the veggie meal from the dining hall line, and he didn’t. When we went out to eat, we checked the menu before going to a restaurant to make sure there was at least one veggie option. Basically, it was not a big deal. Though I was vaguely aware of the ethical implications of not eating meat, it wasn’t something that had clicked for me yet (obviously, I was still eating dairy and eggs) and so I wasn’t bothered by his diet.
After a semester together, I went back to the
Fast-forward to last May—the first night I was back, when discussing what to have for dinner (and breakfast the next morning, and the rest of our meals), it really hit Andy that I am vegan. He realised how serious I was about animal rights and how committed I was to a cruelty-free lifestyle. It also really hit me that I was going to be living with an omnivore. I realised that, though Andy is compassionate and does care, he was not willing to commit to a vegan life.
Luckily, there was never much question of cooking separate meals or anything like that. No WAY was I going to be touching meat for him, and he didn’t expect that. He was willing to eat vegan meals so that we could eat together (isn’t he wonderful?). The only non-vegan items were milk in his tea and cereal, and sometimes poached eggs for brekky. And, whatever meaty dishes were offered when we went out to eat (which is practically never) or to a friend/family member’s house.
I must admit, it bothers me to no end that he is still not vegan. He’s read some of the books I have, he’s watched most of Earthlings, and he knows all of the reasons for a plant-based diet. He’s transitioned slowly to soy milk in his cereal, and now his tea as well, but he just “isn’t willing to give up his breakfast”. I try not to push—nothing is worse than a pushy vegan. I try to be patient and encourage him when he does make shifts. I try not to get pissy when he eats meat (imagine how hard this was at xmas, with meat at every meal). I try to convince myself that I am okay with his diet. I think that’s the best thing to do. He may never come around, but I will always hold out hope that, maybe, he’ll become vegan someday. And I always appreciate the changes that he’s made to accommodate me.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I hadn’t been partnered up when I went vegan. Would I limit myself to dating other veg*ns? Realistically, I don’t think it would even be possible. Plus, it would probably close doors on some very worthwhile relationships. Sure, dating a vegan would be easier, but then, what relationship is easy?