Paging Paisley: I’m Newly Vegan But My Partner Is Unsupportive
My partner is not vegan and I am transitioning. Sometimes the pressure to the cave is strong. How can I stay strong when my partner is unsupportive?
Signed, A new vegan who is all alone.
Dear New Vegan Who Is All Alone,
I have done just this, and I can say it is not easy, especially when your partner is unsupportive. Stay strong, and never forget why you are making this change. The list of reasons you are choosing veganism will certainly get longer with time. Also, find support. A support group on Facebook or friends with similar views. It always helps to have someone you can call on. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you out.
Be stubborn. If you have decided to make veganism your lifestyle, then don’t let anyone or anything change that decision for you. If your partner is unsupportive, it can make this incredibly challenging. Brush the sarcastic comments off as nothing, and ignore it when they make non-vegan choices. Picking an argument or being an ‘activist’ inside your own relationship will lead to more harm than good.
Do you. When I went vegan, I explained to my partner what was going to happen. I wasn’t going to buy animal products anymore. If those were things he couldn’t live without, he was going to have to go buy them himself. I also do most of the cooking, so when it came time for dinner, he understood that I would not be cooking animals or using dairy anymore. If he wanted those things he would have to cook them himself or have them while he was out. He did continue to eat non-vegan foods out of the house, but he never took the time to buy or cook anything. He did purchase snacks I didn’t agree with every once and a while, but I just continued to do me.
Have a meeting. And then have another meeting. Going vegan isn’t just a diet change like many people think. It is a lifestyle change. More than just the food in the fridge changes. It is good to sit down and have discussions so you can explain exactly what changes you are wanting and be going to make. You can also gauge just how much your partner is willing to support you. Sit down again after 3-6 months and see how you both feel you are getting along. Is it working for you both? Can your partner maybe compromise a little bit more in order to make you more comfortable?
Educate them. Instead of watching that new action movie on your cozy date night ask if they would be willing to watch a documentary. I did this for about 2 weeks into my vegan journey. The first night we watched Forks Over Knives. The second night my husband wanted to watch another and after 5 nights in a row of watching documentaries, he agreed that we could keep a vegan household. He also agreed that raising vegan children was the best we could do as far as having healthy, compassionate kids. These days, we maintain a vegan household, and he eats vegan if the kids are around. He will even read our vegan storybooks to the kids.
Some people will say that being vegan in a relationship with a non-vegan would never work. I can understand their point of view. But, if you are just setting off on your vegan journey, don’t give up all hope that your partner will at some point join you. You have new knowledge that is compelling you to change. In due time, they might make some changes of their own.
Do you have a question for the Raise Vegan agony aunt? Do you have a similar experience where your partner is unsupportive? Send me an email to Paisley@raisevegan.com and I’ll be sure to answer you.
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