Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vegetarian dating

For most of my twenties I was married to a very nice woman. After about six years of marriage (and another two in a relationship before that), it just wasn’t working. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but rest assured that there is nothing in the way of animosity or resentment against her. She really is a nice person, and we still talk sometimes. I wish her all the best, and genuinely hope she has a happy life.

After our relationship ended I swore to myself I would not seriously date another meat eater. Not eating animals is simply that important to me. I don’t think people that meat eaters are bad people, but I’m not going to compromise this. The disadvantage here is obvious: it limits my options. But I have to stay true to myself, and my values.

After my marriage I got into a very serious relationship with a vegan girl. I’m not going to go into spill-my-guts details here, but I will just say that it ended with my being very hurt, and wound up propelling me into a months-long legitimate depressive episode where I could barely function. I am now, thankfully, on the other side of that chapter of my life. However, unlike with my divorce, there is a lot of resentment and animosity here (on my part at least).

So over the past several months I have been doing a lot of dating. As I was married during most of the “prime” dating years of my twenties, this is something completely new to me. And now that I am “on the market” I am playing by rules where I won’t seriously date anyone who is not at least a pescetarian. I will casually date (and have done so, semi-rarely) some girls that eat meat, though honestly it does make me a little uncomfortable when eating out, but I deal. So, I have never had a “normal” dating life, and I realize I probably never will, and I am totally okay with that. Regardless, the whole process has led me to learn a lot about myself.

So anyway, here are some observations about veggie dating (and dating in general I guess):

It is much easier to guys to be picky about dating based on eating habits than women. The reason? Basic dating economics: more chicks are vegetarians. I see female friends of mine that have a lot of trouble finding a veggie guy, and simply cannot be as picky as me. I am in a hell of a lot better position than they are, so I certainly can’t judge them.

Some people are just fucking mean. Sometimes there is simply nothing there between two people – there is no spark. Sometimes there is the unfortunate “one-sided” spark where one person feels something but not the other. Unfortunately, this happened to me a few months ago, with me being the sparkee. The other person obviously didn’t feel anything. How do I know? She cut off all contact. All of it. No goodbye, no “I’m sorry but there just isn’t anything there,” nothing. While this was far from a life altering event, in the midst of my depression it was not a reassuring experience.

People are going to get hurt. Dating is a blood sport, metaphorically speaking. I am reminded of a common theme in the best TV show ever, The Wire: “it’s all in the game.” Meaning, there are some inherent dangers in the endeavor. You are probably going to get hurt in some way shape or form, and unfortunately you are probably going to hurt somebody, no matter how hard you try not to. There are certain precautions you can put in place. The main one is simply honesty. Be honest with her and (perhaps more difficultly) yourself. If there is nothing there, tell her. However, hurt will still happen, just hopefully not as much than if you were not deceptive. I have put in a conscientious effort to not hurt anyone, and I have failed. Now I have not devastated anyone the way I was devastated, but my hands aren’t clean either, no matter how hard I tried to keep them so. You can’t make yourself feel too guilty about it though. It’s really part of the game. The best you can do is to treat other people with consideration and respect.

Confident guys are more successful at dating. A lot of guys think the assholes get all the girls, and this is not necessarily the case. I have seen lots of self proclaimed “nice guys” complain about how all the nice girls date jerks. I have noticed this to an extent, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the asshole factor chicks go for. It’s confidence. In college I was too shy, awkward and introverted to be very successful at dating. I was scared at getting shot down. After college I took comfort in the safety of relationships to shield myself from what I thought was the harshness of the cutthroat world of dating. Since then I have developed a lot of confidence. I am not scared to ask a girl out. I am not ashamed when I get turned down – it happens. I will kiss a girl if I like her, or at least try to.

Overall, being single is not bad. There are pitfalls sure. Again, someone will get hurt, and while hurting people is not okay, it’s important to realize that it’s part of what you sign up for. I’m not going to get too much into my own situation because this blog is more about vegetarianism in St. Louis than bullshit details and journal entries.

Anyway, I hoped someone finds this perspective on dating from the perspective of a straight vegan male useful, enlightening, interesting, or at least good for a laugh.


  1. This is the first time I've looked at blogs in months and the "veg dating" caught my eye. Was wondering what other STLveggies thought about it, now that I finally know some!

    I think you're right in that it's easier for guys in veg dating. I've looked around on free dating sites for guys in my age range (mid-30's to early 40's) and I don't see many veggies. If any! So I don't even hope to date a veg person in St. Louis. It would be ideal but the numbers just aren't there. It's quite depressing. I'm sure it's different for gals in their 20's.

    I haven't dated (as in looking for someone to date) in 6 years and I am SO not looking forward to the "Oh, you're vegan." said with disappointment. The only person I dated that didn't have an issue with my being vegan is my ex-boyfriend and though he was an omni, was extremely open minded and OK with it. He never went veg but enjoyed cooking vegan. He rarely, if ever, had to have meat in a meal we cooked together. Maybe a little cheese sometimes. He respected my diet and always made sure I had options that I was satisfied with when eating out. So dating an omni like that is quite OK with me.

    So I've been avoiding the whole dating thing for a full year now and am considering putting on the protective gear and getting back out there. Maybe. Wish I felt more hopeful.

  2. Just back browsing and came to this entry. I constantly struggle with this question in the dating world. Do I cut someone off simply based on the fact that they are a meat eater? Or do I give them a chance?

    I was not veg/vegan when I entered my last relationship with a vegetarian. I had dabbled with it in the past though, and was open to it. Who's to say that couldn't happen to me in a future relationship? However, I am older now than I was then. Most people are pretty set in their ways at this age.

    The truth is, I don't know that I could ever be in a serious relationship with someone who ate meat. Eating out, cooking meals together, eventually sharing grocery bills, and family dinners...I just don't wanna go down that road with someone who follows a different lifestyle. My mom and some friends give me a hard time about it, but I liken it to dating someone with a different religious view than yours. For a lot of people, that is a deal-breaker. People scoff when I compare being vegan to a religion, but if you are doing it for moral reasons, it very much is a belief system that extends into all aspects of your life. Melissa, maybe we just need to move to a city where the odds are more in our favor, eh? ;)