Forest Love Couple

Vegetarian Dating: Yay or Nay to Meaty Mouths?

I have never dated a fellow vegetarian.

Asking a guy his dietary habits when he asks for my phone number is not exactly how I roll.

Besides, I have always maintained the belief that I am a vegetarian for me and as much as it would be wonderful if the rest of the world followed suit, it’s not up to me to force my beliefs on anyone else, be they family, friend or ‘special friend’.

Image: Kevin Sherry

I understand that sharing beliefs with a partner is an important factor in a relationship but is it important to share all beliefs? I guess it depends on how extreme either of your views are, your reasons behind these views and where you personally draw the line. For instance, I could never date a beef farmer or butcher, nor could I date someone who hunted, or raced horses or dogs for ‘sport’. Being personally and intimately involved in what I perceive as cruelty is my line.

When it comes to omnivorous boyfriends, I do have a few rules:

  1. Don’t try to make me eat meat (I won’t try to turn you vegetarian)
  2. No kissing me with your meat mouth – If you’ve just eaten, keep your meaty mouth away from me
  3. If you want it, you cook it… away from me – I will never cook meat for you

Speaking of cooking, this can be a bit of a touchy subject at times. I used to hate that an ex of mine would almost refuse to eat a meal without meat. If I was cooking stir-fry for dinner, he would cook chicken on the side and add it to his dish as if it wasn’t a ‘proper’ meal without the meat. I never tried to turn him vegetarian but it offended me that when I cooked, a vegetable-only dish was not good enough.

In his defence, I was 19 at the time and not a very good adventurous cook; vegetables with sweet & sour sauce from a jar probably wasn’t substantial enough for a 20-something guy.

These days I know my way around a wok a little better and I’ve had many a meat-eating male compliment my vegetarian nachos and lasagne. I think as long as a dish is ‘hearty’, most guys will like it.

Not everyone feels the same way I do about letting those with different eating habits into their lives. One guy I read about in BBC’s story Vegan dating: Finding love without meat or dairy, once broke up with a girl “over cheese”. As a strict vegan, he also states that he “cannot condone non-veggies any more than (he) can condone people who beat their children.” He is currently single.

If you prefer to date those who know the difference between tofu and tempeh, then there are plenty of vegetarian dating websites out there to get you connected. But be warned, it doesn’t guarantee you a meat-free date. Veggiedates.co.uk, has a disclosure at the bottom of their homepage that reads, “Although we here at VeggieDates.co.uk try to ensure that we give you the best possible service, we cannot guarantee that non-vegetarians won’t join the site.”

Apparently there was a backlash when it was discovered that many of the veggie-loving singles on the site also loved a bit of meat on the side.

But seriously, what kind of meat-eater would skip match.com and MySingleFriend to sign up for such a niche site where they themselves don’t even walk the talk? Are they just tricksters or hardcore meat-eaters who want to infiltrate the vegetarian community and try to convert vegos back to a carnivorous diet?

Or is it perhaps all the rumours that vegetarians have tastier love juices..? (Sorry, Mum.)

Such a shame this dating site appears to have shut down…
Image: veggiekisses.com

For me, the fact that looking for veg-only partners would turn the proverbial sea into much more of a pond would really worry me. Particularly seeing as there are far fewer male fish than female ones swimming around in it.

But for some people, perhaps they would see this as weeding out the bad lot. The same way a metal-head may rule out a Britney fan, a self-proclaimed couch potato may rule out a yoga fanatic, or a Mormon may rule out an Atheist. No point throwing your line out when you know the fish in the water aren’t even regulation size.

Okay, enough with the fish analogies.

This whole dating a meat-eater thing goes the other way too. I once overheard a guy tell his mate, “I would never date a vegetarian; they’re too preachy and I like steak too much.”

I don’t know how many vegetarians this guy had met but I’m going to make an educated guess that it was not many. I suspect that he associated all of us with the PETA protesters throwing paint at runway shows.

Now, I don’t go around introducing myself as “Sarah the Vegetarian”, so if our first date was not at a restaurant, how long would it be before this guy realised he needed to ditch me?

This meathead was not alone. According to newsbyte website Newser, a survey run by match.com and Today showed that almost 30% of omnivores wouldn’t date a vegetarian or vegan (though only 4% of vegos would rule meat-eaters out).

At first, I thought that 30% seemed a little unbelievable and that the survey pool could not have been too large (turns out 4000 singles were surveyed). But after reading the comments on the article, well, perhaps not…  Here are some of my favourite responses to the article:

“It’s not because they don’t eat meat, it’s because in general, vegetarians are just weird people.”

“It’s not the diet so much as it is the sanctimony.”

And my favourite from the Today website:

“It has nothing to do with the food, for me, and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that most vegemites I have met are the PREACHIEST people on the face of the earth.

“It is a VERY rare thing to find one who doesnt bring it up at every opportunity.”

So apparently we’re all preachy, sanctimonious weirdos. Hmm. Could it not be that perhaps these people don’t realise how many vegetarians they actually know because the non-weird, non-sanctimonious ones are just quietly going about their meat-free lives without shouting about their diet from the rooftops?

It’s like when I am surprised to learn that someone I have known for ages is in fact very religious. Just because they don’t shove their beliefs in my face, doesn’t mean they’re not at church every Sunday.

For me, it all comes down to balance, acceptance and respect for your partner’s beliefs and choices.

So although it would be great to be able to pick at my partner’s meal in a restaurant, cook together without compromise, and share the same views on Ugg boots… when it comes down to it, I just want an understanding partner, not necessarily a vegetarian one.

In the end, I would rather date an open-minded omnivore than a preachy vegetarian.

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Vegetarian Dating - Yay or nay to meaty mouths?

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, where do you stand? Yay or nay to dating meat-eaters?

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21 thoughts on “Vegetarian Dating: Yay or Nay to Meaty Mouths?

  1. My husband has lived with me through several different types/styles of eating, and he’s one of the open-minded omnivores. If you find the right guy, the vegetarianism won’t matter. You might need to move to California with me, though. ;)

  2. Great topic! For me, I date a meat eaters and I have similar rules as for the post eating meat-mouth: brush those teeth! I also wont use any utensils for my food if it has touched meat and I have a meat free house when I live alone. However, I would date an ethical hunter any day. From my experience, they show more respect to animals than any supermarket shopper ever has. My problem is with the uneducated purchasers of the supermarkets. They are the ones that are fueling animal cruelty. A hunter can feed several families for the entire year on just one season’s license. If I were an animal I would rather be killed by a hunter than by a slaughter farm. With that said, there are family farms that produce ethical meats that are sold to markets and not grocery stores. I would have to say I cannot follow a generalization that covers all meat-eaters and purchasers, but I do know what I am comfortable with, based on the research I have access to. Interesting stats on dating, I am curious to read those studies now!

    1. Thanks! I would love to have a meat-free house. Thankfully, at the moment I live with one other vegetarian, one girl who doesn’t really eat meat when at home and one who barely cooks. ;-) No more freak-outs when a thoughtless (ex)housemate puts half a chicken carcass on my fridge shelf!

      I did mean more hunting for sport but I still don’t think I could live with someone who hunted for any reason, just because I would have to be around freshly killed animals, not necessarily because I would be against it as a whole. I do completely agree with your point about supermarket meat. There is a massive difference between hunting to feed your family or running an ethical family farm, and supporting the factory farming industry.

      The studies were very interesting! The Today website had a poll on that article asking if readers would date a vegetarian/vegan and 55% (of over 2000 people) said no, proving their point! Crazy.

      1. Haha, living with hunters does take some serious commitment on both parties to not offend. I had some great roomies, they would call me at work if they were making meat meals to give me a heads up so I could make other plans, and on the weekends they hunted they took the deer to another buddies garage. They were really considerate about it all with me.

        I am happy to find out that the “studies” are just polls. This means the results are skewed data and not representative of the actual population. There is a particular type of person that would visit specific websites and complete polls- perhaps “Today’s” is a conservative readership? This gives the vegans on the dating scene hope! Stay strong out there girls ;)

  3. My husband and both of our families eat meat. It’s not a big deal. They’re all willing to try to accommodate my eating habits so everything works out great! I’ve gotten used to them trying to get me to eat meat and some comments that used to bother me. No one really says anything anymore because they know where I stand.

    1. Haha, glad they’ve stopped trying to get you to eat meat! I think since I learnt to cook properly for myself, eating big family meals became a lot easier.

      I find it interesting that true to the study mentioned in my article, most vegetarians commenting here are fine with partners/families eating meat. Maybe we ‘weirdos’ are just more accepting. ;-)

  4. My fella is an open-minded meat-er, he is happy to eat a veggie diet at home, enjoys vegetarian food but does eat meat when out or at other people houses (he does order veggie at restaurants sometimes) it annoys the hell out of me when people want to ply him with meat because they think he is missing out though.
    He is a conciencious meat eater. It has never been an issue in our 12 year relationship.
    His cousin is a vegan and she has just married a meat loving Frenchman, prooving that when you get to know the person first you deal with their eating habits later!

    1. I’m glad you have such an open-minded man. =) That’s hilarious people try and feed him meat though, as if you’re ‘forcing’ him to eat the way he does.

      I think the problem with a lot of ‘anti-vegetarians’ is that they think we live off lettuce and tofu. Perhaps they just need to be exposed to more ‘proper’ food in the vegetarian diet so they will enjoy it like your man.

      Like his cousin, for me it is definitely about the person first, then the eating habits! =P

  5. Have to say after 20+ years of living with another vegetarian I would struggle to live with a non-veg partner. Easy for me to say though, we met when we both ate and enjoyed meat (shellfish, chicken etc) and changed together.

    I couldn’t hack the idea of dead animals in my fridge or the smell of seared flesh in my kitchen. Bleugh!

    1. I can definitely understand that if you’ve lived together so long without meat! And seeing as you ‘transitioned’ together, it’s a bit different to forcing your eating habits/beliefs on someone else.

      I do hope to one day have a meat-free house! Fingers crossed. ;-)

  6. i was thinking about vegetarianism for a while before i met my boyfriend who was a veggie. he never tried to change me, but it did help that when i started to cut out meat he knew what to cook :) great post!

    1. Haha, love a boy that can cook! Especially a vego one. ;-)

      My friend Matt (who you will see pop up in my posts every so often) was similar but in reverse. I never tried to ‘turn him’ and never ranted or raved about vegetarianism, I think I just made him think about it and realise that meat-free food can actually be pretty awesome! And now I have a cooking buddy. =)

  7. It’s really great that you have such a tolerant, open minded attitude. If only the rest of the world was like you!

    Ideally, though, it’s good that there are places that you, as a vegetarian can meet other people who are like-minded. And thankfully there are places like that. I personally use

    http://www.myvegetariandating.com/

    Because, for a start, girls date for free, so there are lots of nice girls on there, and it just seems to attract a good crowd, lots of interesting people from all over the world. But I think your willingness to be flexible is great, because we don’t choose who we fall in love with.

  8. When I met my husband he was a meat eater – but luckily for me he was a very open-minded foodie who was willing to try all my different vegetarian meals at home (and just have meat when we ate out). At the time I was still eating a bit of fish and chicken at restaurants as well, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then, he decided to go full-vegetarian on his own a couple years ago and never looked back.

    More recently I have adopted a more planted-based diet, and he’s happy again to eat my crazy vegan dishes at home and just eat dairy and eggs when we eat out at restaurants. It’s all about finding someone who is willing at least to try new things and see things from your side – and oftentimes they’ll come around to the new diet completely on their own, as what happened with me!

    1. Exactly! For me, it’s all about having an open mind. I am passionate about food and about cooking so if my partner loved meat but was happy to eat my vegetarian cooking from time to time without the need to add meat, it would be fine. However, if they were so set in their ways that a meal just wasn’t a meal if there was no meat involved, it just wouldn’t work.

      I’m happy for you that you have found someone with an open mind. :)

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