Is It Possible For A Vegan To Be In A Healthy Relationship With An Omnivore?

Relationship | Aug. 07, 2017

This is a recurring debate in the vegan world: Can a vegan and an omnivore have a healthy relationship? I don't think that there is one answer to this question. Everybody has their own personal approach and their own rules, but I think that all vegans (and even vegetarians) have considered this question.

Personally, I've thought about it quite a bit. So, I will share my thoughts on this with you, even though I'm sure my ideas will definitely continue to evolve in the coming months and years. Just to be clear, you're about to get my own personal take on the issue. I decided to publish my ideas because I want to share my perspectives and start a conversation about the issue, even with people who don't share the same views. I was not born vegan. Like almost everyone, I started my life as an omnivore: I ate meat, cheese, eggs. I wore leather shoes and wool sweaters.

And for 28 years, that was my life. Since I have lived longer as an omnivore than as a vegan, and I know many more omnivores than vegans, would it be possible for me to spend my life with an omnivore? I can answer that without any hesitation: no. However, it's not a definitive no, because every situation is different. I know that things are not just black or white. But I'm still going with a clear and strong no.

I'll try to explain why. If you follow me here or on social media, I hope you will understand that being vegan isn't limited to your diet. A vegan approach is an all-encompassing one, and it impacts nearly every aspect of your life: the food you eat, the clothing and makeup you wear, the medication you take, how you spend your leisure time, the car you drive, the household products and furniture you choose, etc. These may sound like practical aspects, but they inform the daily life of a vegan. When you're with someone, you have to share all these little details. If you live your lives in completely different ways, the relationship may quickly turn into a nightmare. I'm a very committed person, and this quality can be seen in all aspects of my daily life. I'm not forcing my partner to be as committed as I am to veganism, but he has to respect my convictions.

Would it irritate a guy if I asked the manager at a home improvement store if the bristles of a paint brush are synthetic or from an animal? Would he roll his eyes whenever I ask a waiter about how the salad dressing was prepared? That relationship would definitely not last. Practically speaking, being a vegan and living with an omnivore could quickly turn into a big problem.

Being a couple means cooking for two. Some people might decide to cook two meals, with the meat cooking on one side and a vegetarian dish simmering on the other. But this solution would not work for me. Accepting a stockpile of dead animals in my fridge, watching them being cooked in my frying pans and smelling the odor of roasted flesh in my house would make me sick. Being a couple means shopping together and splitting the cost.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no way that I will financially support industries and sectors that exploit animals. I read all the labels and check the ingredients of food products, but I also look to see what clothes, furniture and toiletries are made of. Since I don't support vivisection, I always check to make sure that the products I buy have not been tested on animals.

And what if he had never wanted to turn vegetarian or vegan? That would've really upset me. It would have suggested that I didn't know him that well after all, and that I had made a mistake. I would have insisted, at the very least, that we follow a vegan lifestyle at home. An omnivore can easily eat a vegan diet by eating grains, fruit and vegetables, and eat whatever they want when they go out. Of course, I say this assuming that an omnivore doesn't need to impose meat or their attitude towards meat on vegans or vegetarians. Having my partner accept my lifestyle is a sine qua non condition that allows our relationship to last. But his openness and receptiveness was key.

With love and compassion, I believe that each person can develop an understanding of a fair, tolerant and respectful way of life. With a minimum of openness, goodwill and common values, I think that adapting to a lifestyle different from ours is very plausible. But there's no point in forcing the other person, because if there is no conviction, it won't result in action. What good is it to have a husband or wife who claims to be vegan but who would dig into the first Big Mac they see once their partner's back is turned? I've laid out my honest opinion of what it means to be in a relationship with a vegan (or a vegetarian). Now it's your turn to tell me what you think! This post first appeared on France . It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

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