I used to have a favorite cartoon. It was a drawing of a man looking into a shoe. The caption read, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” We have all been there!
Clip 1 – Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
(Fidelity – Regina Spektor )
Clip 2 – Dear Jane (StopEnduring.com)
As if it is not challenging enough to be a vegan in a speciesist society, there is yet another level of challenge for most of the vegan community: dating while vegan. Where is the reservoir of prospective mates for a vegan? If a vegan must date only vegans, where will they find them? And if you date outside the vegan community, however will you navigate all the challenges this will represent? What’s a single vegan to do?
Dating Inside and Outside the Vegan Community
A recent incident really brought this to the forefront for me personally. I had written an article (Dr. Bronner’ Magic Soap) that reconnected me with this wonderful man I had known years ago, and we began emailing. To my delight, it seemed we still had much in common. I could not remember the circumstances under which we had parted long ago, but my friend recalled. He had been wild and free; I had been living in the countryside in the Wine Country. But I had two little boys, I had responsibilities. While I was fortunate to have some truly wonderful and meaningful experiences, I had to put my priorities in order. I had my sons to consider. He went on to live an extraordinary life and I went on to meet my responsibilities.
But it started me thinking more seriously about the possibility of dating someone who is not vegan. I started asking other vegan acquaintances how they felt about dating as a vegan and I found a variety of different attitudes. One person said they would date a vegetarian and then try to educate them and hope for the best. Another said they remained open – the pool of vegans is just too tiny to limit yourself. One women said she was dating an omnivore at the present time, but did not say how it was going. Some people responded to my query on Twitter that they would never date anyone that was not vegan because it is a core value; others felt that since they were not always vegan, they would see if the other person was open to learning and possibly joining in the veganism at a later date. One young woman, the former organizer of our local DFW vegan meetup Briggitte Dix, said that she was dating an omnivore that was very open and appreciated her vegan cooking.
A long term vegan, Butterflies Katz, covered this topic in one of her former blog posts, Why I Am Vegan Sexual. Here is a quote from her post:
For me, having ideals, principles and ethics are more important than having a relationship with a person. However, having them both together can be a real high! Many people are in a relationship because of financial reasons, just to have someone or they’d be alone. I would rather be alone (or without a human relationship) than be with someone that was not lifting me to a higher consciousness. On the other hand, if I can recall from memory, there’s not much better in life than the uniting of souls that commit to evolving together. And since veganism is humankind’s next evolutionary step, a quality relationship would have veganism as its foundation.
Well put Butterflies. That gives me some food for thought too. I think it would be much better to have another vegan who shares your core values as the foundation, too. But someone responded in this way:
I find that my veganism is reflective of a certain open-mindedness and concern with justice and equality…and I am attracted to men who are similar in that regard. Many people of that kind who are not already vegan simply haven’t thought about it and do not understand the issues.
That is a good point, too. I have to admit, the thought of kissing someone who has eaten an animal is repulsive to me. But we are all different and all have different expectations. If I was enchanted by someone, who knows how I would actually respond? But it is difficult to imagine being enchanted by someone who sees animals as commodities.
One of the people who responded to my query about vegan dating admitted to dating a hunter – now there is a real challenge for you! I guess it is true, love is blind. Age and maturity have something to do with it, too. I find I am unwilling to share my life with people who do not share my values, something I am more definitive about than I was when I was younger.
I went to Elizabeth Collins, from NZVeganPodcast, to ask about her feelings about dating while vegan. She has agreed to be on the podcast. So, Elizabeth, what do you think about Dating While Vegan?
Thanks so much Elizabeth; I think people are often torn about this too. We want to wait for that special vegan, but we don’t want to wait too long!
(Don’t Wait Too Long – Madeleine Peyroux)
I noticed that when I asked for information for this podcast, I received a lot more response from the females than from the males, but in any case, here is the response from one male whom I deeply respect and value, Tim Gier. I would like to share some of what he shared with me:
When it comes to who I want to spend my time with, and what I want to do with them, then I can’t imagine having any kind of deep and meaningful relationship with another person who isn’t vegan. Not only that, but they would need to understand the “whole enchilada” of veganism, not just the dietary aspects. My thoughts on veganism are grounded in an acceptance of a moral argument about what it means to be living in this world and what I owe to all the others who share this experience of being alive. As such, I could no more have a satisfying and lasting relationship with a non-vegan as I could with someone who believed in “honor” killings. It is the same thing to me. I have friends who are non-vegan, obviously, and I have friends who are deeply religious, even though I am an atheist, I respect them and enjoy their company, too. I am not interested in sharing the most personal intimacies of my life with them, though. We are not traveling in the same plane.
Thanks so much for sharing that, Tim. Tim is a really talented wordsmith. I really liked the phrasing he used about not being on the same plane. I think that says a lot about how many of us feel who are deeply committed to advocating for veganism and peace in this world.
(It’s Okay to Be Alone – Elam Blackman)
Where Are All the Available Vegans?
There are a few online dating organizations available now, but they may not hold the answer if you live somewhere that has few vegans and are not amenable to a move. Some sites include vegans but are not strictly limited to them, such as Green Singles, E-Harmony or Ethical Singles. There are sites like Vegan Dating and Vegan Passions available online as well. And there are lots of forums worldwide where you can at least strike up a chat about issues of commonality, although I have not heard from anyone who has begun dating that way. Then there are those relational challenges for vegans who were already in a relationship, or a marriage, when they became vegan. One such vegan mentioned how gross it was when her husband dead animal remnants on the counter, and I Finding a partner for love and friendship is always challenging; finding one that is vegan and compatible with you may be even harder. But then again, maybe it is easier. It is like having something that immediately skims off all the inappropriate partners out of your dating pool and leaves you with people with whom you share key values. Perhaps the best way to navigate these treacherous waters is to start your own vegan group so your chances of meeting a vegan will increase. And even if you don’t meet anyone, you are doing good things for the animals and the movement, right? If you cannot do it locally, they join an online chat or a vegan meetup. Who knows where love might blossom?
One thing is for sure: it is worth all the effort to share your life if the right person is found. Could life get any better than that? Remember you have to create a little vacuum in order to have it filled, so allow a little space in your life, too. Peace and love to you if you find yourself Dating While Vegan. And if you have stories to share, please contact me – I would love to do a Part Two. If you haven’t met that special vegan, maybe you just haven’t met them yet!
(Just Haven’t Met You Yet)
Clips: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places – Salem UU; Dear Jane (StopEnduring.com)
Music: I Just Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Bubble); Fidelity (Regina Spektor); Let’s Get It On (Matt Giraud); Don’t Wait Too Long (Madeleine Peyroux ); It’s Okay to Be Alone (Elam Blackman)
I would like to thank Elizabeth Collins of NZVeganPodcast for being on this podcast, and to thank Butterflies Katz and Tim Gier for sharing their wonderful writing and ideas on this topic. I would also like to give a big thanks to all of you who responded to my emails, tweets and queries. To find Elizabeth Collins, go to NZVeganPodcast of iTunes or find her blog at NZVeganPodcast.wordpress.com; find Tim Gier at timgier.com; and find Butterflies Katz at Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come – thevegantruth.blogspot.com.
I would also like to suggest checking out Eric Prescott and his documentary series, I’m Vegan. You can find Eric at ericprescott.com, and you can find information about his documentaries at vegandocumentary.com; his excellent videos are available on YouTube too.
Why I’m Vegan-Sexual – Butterflies Katz
The Vegan Relations Survey – Butterflies Katz
Briggitte Dix – Bloom Makeup Artistry