Above is my fiancé, Kevin, and myself at our annual Halloween party back in 2012. I was the (Vegetarian) Hamburglar and he was my (Veggie) Burger. While everybody got a big kick out of it, being a vegetarian or a vegan and being in love with a meat eater can pose some issues.
I think the first thing to remember no matter which lifestyle you choose is that you love who you love. I fell in love with my fiancé because he's got an amazing heart, he's caring and considerate, and he's the best friend I could ever ask for. I knew back when we first started talking that he was a meat eater, and I didn't say "oh no, this can't work." I've heard other vegans say they could never be with a meat eater, and while I understand that it's got it's difficulties, to dismiss possibly finding the love of your life because of that is absurd. I'm here to tell you that if you're in a relationship like ours, it can work. Ours has clearly worked so well that after three and a half years we decided to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. It can work, if you both allow it to. I'm going to share with you what we've both learned over the years to allow our relationship to flourish and grow without allowing our different views to get in the way. My fiancé and I discussed this topic in great length before writing this so I can give you perspective from both sides of views.
With all of that being said, I want to tell you the most important thing when involved in this relationship, or any relationship. This is the fundamental core to any successful relationship, but especially one like this where the views are so different. It's one simple word that's easier said than done, and that word is: acceptance. In my heart, I want everyone to be a vegan. I think this world would be a more beautiful and peaceful place if that were the case. But I know realistically that won't happen. I know that most people have grown up eating meat and potatoes and to them that is normal, and the lifestyle I live is weird. There's members of my own family that think it's weird. But, at the end of the day, none of those people matter. The person that matters to me is my fiancé. I know that as much as I want Kevin to be a vegan, or at least a vegetarian, that's not going to happen. The same way he probably wishes at time I would eat like him so we could go to restaurants together that we could both enjoy. But he knows that's not going to happen. We have both accepted the path the other has taken. If you don't accept those choices, ad you're constantly pushing the other to live like you, it will never work. You don't ask someone to abandon their beliefs because you think you're right. Wars start over that. Don't start your own war in your own home. You don't have to like it, you just have to accept it. If you don't it will never work.
The second thing you need to have is mutual respect for the other's views. While logically I can't understand eating an animal, I respect that Kevin chooses to do so and I don't put him down for doing so. Even though I think it's wrong, I don't criticize him for that. He tells me all the time that he's so proud of me for being a vegan and following my heart and my beliefs, even though they don't mirror his own. He knows how important being a vegan is to me; it's an extension of who I am as a person. He respects that I live this lifestyle, and I respect how he chooses to live his.
The third thing you need to is to remember that you are going to make mistakes and say hurtful things. It probably won't even be intentional. I know when I read a story or I hear something and it just breaks my heart, I go off on a rant about my beliefs and how people are cruel and some of the things I say, while not directed towards him, can apply to him because he's a meat eater. When you feel so passionately about something, as most vegan's do living this lifestyle, it can be hard. Kevin basically goes against all I believe in. Sometimes it comes out all wrong. Just remember to apologize after all is said and done.
Lastly, be supportive. Kevin always takes me to get my favorite vegan cupcakes and vegan foods. He buys me awesome vegan shirts, and will basically take me anywhere I want if I'm looking for a certain vegan food or goodie. He even bought me a vegan cake ($50 mind you) for my birthday last year. And I know he's a chicken junkie. So I'll surprise him by stopping after work and getting him his favorite fried chicken from our supermarket for dinner. I'm not the best cook when it comes to meat, but I try for him. We support each other in a variety of ways.
These tips we have learned together has helped us in an area of our lives that we'll never fully agree on. That's just one aspect of our lives together. We both love Halloween, and scary movies, and fall. We both want to get married and start a family. We both can't stand the summer. More importantly, we both want nothing more than to be with the other forever and ever. Whether you eat meat or you don't, as long as you have a strong foundation for your relationship, everything will be just fine.