Below, a picture of us soon after we started dating (excuse the shadows) . . .
My omnivorous man, whom we'll refer to as Jim (because that's his name), is the first non-vegetarian I've dated in a loooonnng time. In fact, I went vegan in 1991 and he's the very first non-veg guy I've dated since. I've actually been married twice - once to a vegetarian, and once to a vegan (who went vegan the day we met). Obviously, those didn't exactly work out, despite our compatibility in the kitchen. There are SO many factors that make up a healthy relationship.
Shortly before meeting Jim, I'd decided to tweak the things I was looking for in a life partner. Instead of saying "vegan" I said "vegan-friendly." (He's great about eating vegan meals with me and would never step foot in a McDonald's for example.) I also added things like "kind, caring, nurturing, giving, great listener, responsible, truthful, optimistic, brilliant" and many more to my wish list. And I got them all. Jim is all of that and so much more. (p.s. I highly recommend making a "wish list" if you're single - don't be afraid to have high standards and wait for the best to manifest!)
My list before meeting Jim was very different than it was years ago. I've let go of having to have the things that aren't actually to do with who someone is as a person, and how we relate to each other. For example, before meeting my first husband, I wanted someone adept at outdoor sports. He had to be good at rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, that sort of thing. I got what I asked for, but in the end I realized that those things have nothing to do with how happy our relationship would be.
Also, a few real-life inspirations from within the vegan community have moved me. Most recently, an article by my friend JL Fields had me in tears. She and her hubby Dave are such a beautiful couple. I'm also lucky enough to know Ellen Jaffe Jones and her long-time husband Clarence. Although he's decided to go vegan very recently, he didn't start out that way, and it even inspired one of Ellen's books, Kitchen Divided. Well, I've been in that divided kitchen of theirs several times, and I have to say that although the food was separated, the love and respect between them was palpable.
OK, so back to my Jim. How could I not fall in love with someone who gives the world's best backrubs (no exaggeration, people - OMG) and does stuff like THIS for his kids on camping trips?? (photo of the slackline he rigged for them, above)
Still, I'm honestly surprised that I'm able to let go of our food differences, as they used to be such a huge criteria for me. However, I'm the happiest I've ever, ever been in any relationship. And who knows? Maybe he'll go vegan someday - but I'm not about to force him into it. After about 25 years as a vegan, I've learned that you can't make anyone be vegan. All you can do is cook them amazing food (hence, why I write cookbooks) and be a good example.
One last thing I want to share - something even more personal . . . I'm finally figuring out the key to having an amazing relationship, and it involves something I like to call "Overcoming Blocks." It's something I work on all the time with my ladies (I run a women's holistic weight loss group called Be Radiant). They find that discovering their blocks is KEY to finally removing obstacles that previously kept them from their goals. For example, many of them had a subconscious thought that they didn't deserve to lose weight and be vibrantly healthy. Just as some of us may think we don't deserve an amaaaaazzzing relationship. It's key to unearth those negative beliefs so that we can become aware, question them, and turn them around.
I've been applying those yummy, transformative principles from my Be Radiant group to my relationship with Jim. Any good relationship will challenge you to be your best self - and part of that is letting go of anything and everything less than that. I've been majorly challenged to let go of my negative, limiting beliefs about relationships and I have to say, it's incredibly liberating! As a result of becoming aware and turning around those limiting beliefs, I've become much more open to how amazing things can be. In fact, Jim and I want to eventually start working as a team to help others get empowered with their own relationships. It's pretty exciting stuff. : )
And the food side of it? Well, it's not perfect. I don't love seeing him order meat when I'm noshing on my beans and rice. But I'm also not about to force anything on him before he's ready. I'm just going to keep accepting and appreciating him for the incredible person he is, cooking delicious vegan food for him, and choosing to love what IS. Because what is, is pretty damn good.
Thanks SO much for stopping by! Please share this article if you feel moved to do so - and please comment below. I'd love to hear from you!