Imagine this: You’re out on a first date with a beautiful person, at a nice restaurant, and you’re feeling great about where this is going. It comes time to order your dinner and you go in for that great looking steak, but as soon as you order you look across the table to find a scrunched up nose and a frown. They don’t say anything, but order something full of vegetables. When your waiter leaves they look across the table and break the news; “I’m a vegetarian.” Most of the time people will tell you about this early, usually putting it in their profile. Even with fair warning though, it can come as a surprise when you’re presented with reality. However, just because you don’t share the same diet, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful relationship. There are a few simple things to keep in mind when venturing into the unknown.
Be very open with each other
The key to any relationship is open communication and that has never been truer than in this situation. If you’re interested in a relationship with such different dietary needs, you need to have a frank conversation at the very beginning. Start out by trying to understand why your partner is a vegetarian. What are their reasons behind it? Are they trying to save animals, or is there a health reason behind it? Just as there are many reasons for being a vegetarian, there are many types of vegetarians, some that eat eggs, dairy and fish, and some that do not. The strongest form of vegetarianism is Veganism. Vegans do not eat any kind of animal product, including honey, dairy and eggs.
Set boundaries (for both of you!)
Once you understand why your date feels the way they do, and how they live their lives, decide how it’s going to affect your relationship. Neither of you should change completely for the other, or expect drastic changes either. However, it’s not out-of-bounds for your date to ask that wherever you go out to eat, let there be vegetarian choices. A lot of vegetarians do not like meat being brought into their homes or prepared using their equipment, so that should be brought up. Other things to consider are whether or not they feel comfortable kissing you directly after you’ve eaten animal products. Something smaller you should consider if you’re a woman, is how your date feels about animal products in your lip gloss (Mainly bee’s wax) or clothing (Such as wool.) Bringing these things up now will save you time later and make it clear that you want them to be comfortable.
Plan activities you both can enjoy
If your date is concerned with the environment and animals, fun dates should take that into account. A great first date would be to a farmer’s market! There’s a lot to see that could interest both of you, whether it’s unusual vegetables, local artists or free samples! The great thing about farmer’s markets is that it gives you something to do and also allows you lots of time to talk. Not only that, there’s always something new and exciting to eat! Another fun date for both of you could be community clean ups. Whether it’s the beach or a local park most cities organize clean up days, which are usually followed by a fun activity for everyone involved. Maybe being outdoors and cleaning isn’t your thing, but by doing something you know they enjoy and are interested in, you’re proving you’re interested in them. Get outside your comfort zone and try something new! You might be surprised!
Be willing to try new things
You should always be up for new adventures when it comes to dating. Part of getting to know each other is trying the things your partner is interested in, and that includes new foods. Taking one bite of your partner’s meal is great, but be willing to try something if they want to cook for you. Be honest if something sounds unappetizing, but don’t dismiss things you’ve never tried. Just because tofu sounds horrible doesn’t mean it does. Whoever you’re dating wants you to like what they like, and whatever they want to cook for you is bound to be something they think you’ll enjoy, and one of their favorite recipes.
The most important part of any relationship is being open and communicative. Don’t be scared at the thought of trying something new! Whether it’s dating a vegetarian or trying something they’ve made for you, being open to new experiences is a good thing, no matter what. Dating is always an adventure, just think of this as something added to this adventure!