Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or have any dietary restriction under the sun, your eating preferences may influence who you wish to date and what you are willing to accept in a romantic partner. The most important qualities of successful relationships include mutual respect, understanding, support, and encouragement from our love interests, eating preferences included. Whether you are in a committed relationship or single and ready to mingle, here are a few essential tips all vegetarians should consider when navigating romantic relationships.
SINGLES: TAKE STOCK If you are single, start by evaluating how important shared eating habits are to you. Some vegetarians or vegans will only date other vegetarians or vegans, whereas others could care less about their partners' eating preferences. Where do you fall? Know yourself, and you'll be more likely to find somebody who possesses the qualities you seek.
VEG SEEKING VEG If dating another vegetarian or vegan is important to you, you deserve nothing less and should find somebody who feels the same way. We are a lucky generation because finding other single vegetarians has never been easier. Don’t be afraid to date online! Web sites such as veggiedate.org and singlevegetarians.com are great places to start.
Not into internet dating? Take the pressure off by attending casual, vegetarian social events where you can meet and greet with other veggies in a friendly atmosphere. We heart the professional mixer Vegan Drinks, which bills itself as "not a singles' event," but rather a "monthly social networking event for people interested in promoting veganism and advocating for animal rights." (Find a Vegan Drinks near you.) Or, you can find like-minded local veg-heads on Meetup.com, which offers over 800 Vegetarian Meetup Groups.
COMPASSION MATTERS If you are currently dating a non-vegetarian, does he or she respect and love you the way you are, eating preferences and all? If not, you may have a problem. You should always feel good around your partner, and he or she should never give you a hard time or make you feel guilty or bad about your eating preferences. If you find that your partner thinks that he or she can change your mind—or sneak meat into your meals— it may be time to sit down at the table for a heart-to-heart conversation. As with any other issue, communication and understanding are key.
Likewise, if you are constantly shoving your veg values down the throat of your non-veg partner, perhaps it's time you swallow a chill pill. Remember: the best way to promote vegetarianism is to show your loved ones just how delicious the lifestyle can be. Consider cooking up a romantic vegetarian Valentine's dinner laced with aphrodisiac foods. Dining out? Seek out restaurants that offer tasty options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Talia Fuhrman has a B.A. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University and is a freelance body image and nutrition writer and chef. She’s on a mission to help people understand that eating healthfully and feeling fantastic can be fun, delicious, and easy. She has written for numerous websites and magazines including Psychology Today, Positive Impact Magazine, VegNews, CrazySexyLife.com, GirlieGirlArmy.com, and DiseaseProof.com. You can find her at www.taliafuhrman.com.