How to live with (and even love) a meat eater

Tobias Sjösten

By Tobias Sjösten on 21 Apr, 2016

A CrossFit L1 Trainer, BJJ practitioner, strength aficionado, and vegan. Building muscles without eating them!

I met my girlfriend via CrossFit, in one of our mutual box’ nights out. She’s amazing! Quirky, smart, hot as fuck (did I mention she does CrossFit?) and overall my favorite person in the world.

But there’s a problem – she eats animal flesh.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound too problematic to most people but for me as a vegan, with strong opinions on animal rights, it does present some challenges. Reversely, she probably had no idea what she got herself into when she came over for that first tofu dinner I made her.

This is something I’ve gotten a fair amount of questions on: how do you live together, vegan and omnivore? While we certainly don’t have everything figured out, I do want to share what we’ve learned after living together for over a year.

How to live with (and even love) a meat eater

When I see someone eating meat, I also see the long road from animal to fork. The scared little piglet on a cold, concrete floor. The innocent pig, jailed for its entire life. The scared hog being ushered onto a truck. And the terrified being seeing its brother’s throat slit, while waiting for his own turn.

It can be tricky to reconcile this perspective with your relationship to the meat eater.

In the case of our loved ones – be it girl- or boyfriend, family, or friends – how can these people lovingly stroke their pets with one hand, while paying the butcher with the other?

Here’s the thing: most omnivores don’t seem to see it that way.

Defensive layers

I firmly believe that everyone would go vegan if it wasn’t for the many defenses and justifications we’re taught from childhood. The most common ones are variations of these four:

So if you point out the flaws of these statements, people will turn vegan? Unfortunately it’s a bit more complicated than that, or you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.

There’s a difference between learning facts and fully internalizing their knowledge.

You can tell someone of the atrocities of the slaughterhouse, how the industries are killing our world, and just what animal products are doing to our bodies. It might still do nothing to change their way.

The person you’re talking to needs to pause to actually think it through, start to take personal responsibility for their actions, and decide what kind of person they want to be. Heavy stuff.

Bottom line is: people are generally not evil, we simply see the world differently and most people haven’t even stopped to think about their actions.

Just because you feel very strongly about your way and can speak to its superiority (yes, veganism is better) doesn’t mean you can shove it down someone else’s throat.

Practical tips

Here’s what I would tell any vegan going into a relationship with an omnivore.

Finally, don’t try to convince or change your partner. This really goes for all relationships – you need to accept them 100% as they are, with no reservation nor assumption they will ever change.

I would lie if I said I wouldn’t be incredibly happy if my girlfriend one day saw the world as I and chose to be vegan as well. But even with no chance of that ever happening, we need to either accept our omnis as they are or simply walk away.

Personally, I’m staying, hoping I get to cook her vegan tacos in our retirement home.