This was originally written for iEatGrass.com.
Recently, I sat on a bench with my darling omni boyfriend enjoying frozen yogurt (and frozen soy-yogurt for me). I was being silly and rambling on, per usual, about our looming cohabitation date. I said something along the lines of “when we move in together, I will be cooking, and so you will be eating vegan, and then you will feel so great you will want to go vegan, and then we can truly be soul mates.”
This was said in the jocular, babbling tone I take on when playing pretend. Similar statements have included “And then I will buy a barn, and go to the shelter, all of the shelters, and rescue the puppies, all of the puppies, and they will live in the barn. The end.”
Or my orgasms for breakfast regiment. It sounds great in theory but not so much in reality.
When it comes to vegans in search of romance, I am not of a “vegan-sexual” party. I am also not of the “veduction” party. You know: hook an omni, seduce them, demand they eat your seitan sammy, and BAM they are vegan. I am not for making people change when they don’t want to.
Say it with me: I can never change the person I am with. I should not expect my partner to change because I want them to. The only person I can change is myself.
Circling back to soul mates; I don’t even actually believe in soul mates in the one-for-one sense. However, I do believe in finding others with spirits and energies that mirror and match your own. This applies just as much in your friendships as it does in your romantic connections. And it is with this idea that I do harbor hope of having a vegan partner one day.
What I mean is that if someone truly matches your own sense of being, and your sense of being is compassionate through-and-through, then there is a better chance of them making an independent decision to live cruelty-free than if you lecture them for hours on end or make them watch Earthlings for the fourth time.
You can’t bully someone into thinking your way is the right way. And why would you want to? So you can have some vegan arm candy? They will probably only resent you.
Instead of focusing on finding a vegan partner (who could easily be wrong for you in many other ways), or changing the partner you’re with, focus on finding the person who is right for you in as many facets as possible. If their level of compassion truly reflects your own, then they may be curious about your lifestyle, excited to learn, and eager to adapt. But they have to want it themselves.
Maybe they will make the change. Maybe they won’t. Hopefully they will support and respect you regardless. And if they don’t end up embracing veganism on their own terms, well then you have a decision to make. You can show them another path, but you can’t force them to (happily) walk down it.
Last night I had dinner with my lovely friend Hannah (She is so inspiring! Check out one of her cookbooks or her award-winning blog!), and we stumbled onto this topic. Ever the well spoken one, she managed to boil down my entire ramble into two short, succinct sentences: “People can change. You can’t change them, but they can change.” Chew on that for a little.