Can a vegan have a successful relationship with a non-vegan?

I was going to put this in GD, but there may be room for personal experience sharing.

So I got to wondering if vegans are more or less constrained to only being in relationships with other vegans.
Why? Well consider yourself a vegan, and your partner is not. You’re at a restaurant and just finished your veggie dinner, and they ate their BBQ sauce steak. Now you’re going to kiss that mouth? There’s obviously still going to be meat particles in there, so what happens? send the partner off with the toothbrush? kiss later and spontaneous romance be damned? Pretend it’s not the same as eating meat yourself?

There are other situations I’m sure would lead to similar awkwardness (food in the fridge for example - would it have to be compartmentalized? Cooking for each other would likely be out etc.), so are vegans left with a reduced dating pool?

I’ve been saying vegans but I guess it could apply to vegetarians too.

If vegans don’t eat meat, good luck getting any head.

Seems like kissing is not really an issue is it? A few particles might remain but I don’t think that’s really going to upset someone. But maybe I am wrong and they would have to get their toothbrush out.

I’m a vegetarian and I’ve never dated anything but omnivores. I’ve lived with a few vegans, and they’ve dated omnivores too. It didn’t seem to be a big deal. It’s not really something I’ve ever considered a deal breaker; I’m not that interested in what other people eat. As for the kissing thing, I’m not concerned about particles, though honestly I’ve never thought about it before.

What do you mean, “pretend”? Kissing someone who has eaten meat absolutely is not the same as eating meat yourself.

Also, you aren’t looking at this from the meat eater’s point of view. That half of the relationship ends up making more sacrifices, in my experience. Want to go to a steakhouse? Tough luck. Want to split a pizza? Fine, but you can’t get what you want on it. In a lot of ways, these are the kinds of things any relationship must learn to deal with, but it’s magnified in your vegan/ non-vegan scenario.

For compassionate vegans, at least, a bigger issue than “getting some on you” is the moral issue. It’s not that they’re allergic to meat and can’t touch it, it’s that they recognize the horrific mistreatment of animals involved* (perhaps magnified by ruthless application of large-scale industrial processes) empathize with the sufferers, and know that modern dietary knowledge makes meat consumption unnecessary. You don’t have to eat meat to be healthy; therefore it’s either a deliberate choice or just a thoughtless habit.

So for those who are vegan for ethical reasons, which is probably a majority of vegans IMHO, it’s like dating someone who is thoughtlessly or deliberately cruel. Would you date a puppykicker? Would a relationship with a Nazi work? (Ask Sandra Bullock!)

In my experience, these relationships get strained eventually.

*I’m pretty confident we can use the phrase “horrific mistreatment” factually, because whenever these processes are applied to humans, there’s a huge outcry. Some people don’t care about it, of course, or don’t think about it, but the first-hand accounts we have from humans subjected to industrial slaughter are consistently negative.

I was a vegetarian for 14 years and it was pretty much for ethical reasons, but I can’t agree here. I never saw omnivores as monsters or horrible people at all. I personally objected so I personally didn’t participate. Frankly, I was more motivated by vegetarianism helping to combat world hunger than I was with animal rights, but I did figure if I didn’t have to kill animals to survive, I would choose not to if possible. There’s a pretty big spectrum of vegetarian ethics which doesn’t reach the meat-is-murder-and-omnivores-are-Nazis area.

I never had a problem with omnivores unless they had a problem with me.

Also, re: the OP: it’d be impossible in any functional way to avoid ‘meat particles’. And kissing someone who ate meat is not eating meat; no pretending required.

Well, a vegetarian is a different thing than a vegan. The OP addressed veganism. Also, while you had ethical concerns, they weren’t vegan ethical concerns. World hunger is a laudable cause and vegetarianism and veganism certainly mitigate it, but it’s not the driving force behind the vegan movement.

As I understand it, it’s impossible to avoid Vitamin B12 deficiency without eating some sort of animal product. So any vegan has to settle for “close enough” anyway.

Agreed. I’m a vegetarian partially for ethics reasons and apparently my inlaws think I roast the best turkey ever. I just don’t eat any of it. My husband is a true omnivore who really loves meat, but is more than happy to eat when I cook a purely vegetarian dinner. He also appreciates it when I make meat for him, which is most nights.

Not all vegetarian people are like this, of course. I know a couple where one is vegetarian, the other is not. The vegetarian is also the good cook of the couple, but she will not make meat for her partner. (Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know if she even wants meat in their house.) They’ve been together for many years, so obviously it’s working out so far.

Any relationship in which one person is severely, openly judgemental about their habits and those of others (religion, exercise, food, living green, whatever) will be very rough and probably not last long. But if that person instead knows that their way is best for them, and might well be great for others/the planet/etc., but they’re not willing to get all preachy about it, then that’s much better.

They can get it by taking a multivitamin or fortified foods, like cereals or nutritional yeast.

I can’t find the exact cite, but I’m fairly sure the woman who writes the Vegan Lunch Box blog (and the two cookbooks that grew out of it) has said that her husband is not vegan or vegetarian. So that would be at least one couple that has managed it.

My girlfriend’s a vegetarian, which more or less makes me a vegetarian. But I do love the taste of a good burger.

I refer the honorable gentleman to the claim made by Deadeye Dick in the song New Age Girl.

I don’t know, I’ve known quite a few vegans over my life (I went to UC Santa Cruz, and if you know anything about Santa Cruz, this won’t surprise you), and at the moment, two of my best friends - who are dating each other - are vegans. I’ve only ever heard of them go on about how non-vegans or non-vegetarians were horrible murderers, and he was a PETA jerk who found out I was vegetarian and was trying to recruit me by giving me gruesome paraphernalia. No, thank you.

Right now, I have three friends who are vegan. One, I’m not sure what his motivations are (I think it’s mostly that his wife is vegan), but the other two, whom I’ve already mentioned, are in it primarily for environmental reasons, not because of animal rights.

I have been married to a vegetarian for 13 years, and lived with her for 15. She does dairy and eggs, though.

I eat Culver’s burgers every chance I get, but we don’t have meat in the house. It works.

Morgan Spurlock, the guy who does the show 30 Days and is most famous for the film Super Size Me is married to a vegan. Morgan is not a vegan himself.

What is the driving force behind the vegan movement? And how would vegan ethical concerns be different from vegetarian ethical concerns? Are they like vegetarian ethical concerns, only on steroids? I’m not asking to be a jackass - I really want to know.

Also, I’m assuming you’re referring to the vegan movement in the West. I think the West is really the only place where such a thing is considered a “movement.” Anywhere outside the West and I think you’ll find that veganism or vegetarianism is pretty unremarkable.

Most vegans I know are vegan either for health reasons or because that’s how they were brought up - it’s cultural and just how things are done. I suppose that includes religious reasons (i.e., being a devout Bhuddist or Jain). Then again, most people I know who are vegans are from South India, so the way they choose to eat is far less in your face than in the U.S.

With respect to the OP: if the vegan in the relationship is so put off by meat that they consider their partner tainted when they eat meat, the relationship probaby won’t work very well. I imagine the non-vegan would find it difficult to live with someone so judgmental and, unless they were willing to change, would get frustrated. Also, the vegan would have to deal with someone they loved committing or condoning what they felt was murder, which I can’t imagine would go over well with them, either.

I had a roommate who was a vegan strictly for ethical reasons, but he always made it very clear that it was a 100% personal decision and what works for him might not work for anyone else. He didn’t have a judgmental bone in his body.

And trust me – he had plenty of relationships with girls of every type of diet. Plenty. :slight_smile:

Personal anecdotes: my mother and I are vegetarian and my SIL is vegan. We are all married to omnivores. My mother cooks meat sometimes; SIL and I do not. None of the omnivores is a die-hard meat-eater who insists upon meat at every meal. It doesn’t cause much conflict in any of those relationships.