How can you convince your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife to go vegan with you? As someone who has seen this process happen quite a few times, I do have some thoughts about this.
So, how do you get your partner to go vegan? Give your partner experiences and information to help them see the value of a vegan diet for their own goals. Use the 5 tips below to show them how veganism will improve their life. In time, they may go vegan.
Below, I’ll share my personal story of how I’ve had multiple non-vegan partners over the years choose to go vegan with me, and how I’ve seen it happen in friends’ relationships, too. Then I’ll share 5 tips for how to replicate this in your own relationship.
My Story of Several Girlfriends Deciding to Go Vegan With Me
When reflecting back on my relationships, usually the way it’s happened for me is that I started dating someone who is vegetarian but not vegan—and pretty soon, they decide to go vegan with me.
In my first relationship as a vegan, I was vegan on my own for about a full year in that relationship before she went vegan, too.
Luckily, she was okay with eating vegan when we were hanging out together. But she still kept eating dairy and eggs when we weren’t together. As an ethical vegan, I felt a little uncomfortable with that. But I stayed patient.
Over time, I just showed her cool vegan stuff online—vegan fitness stuff, vegan cooking and baking blogs, vegan conferences, and vegan restaurants and junk foods. We made vegan meals together.
Eventually, she became more interested in being a part of this cool vegan world—she wanted to be a part of the movement.
She saw that the vegan community shared similar values to hers and had good energy in it. She came to care about that more than the yumminess of non-vegan foods. So she went fully vegan.
More Success Stories
With another partner I had later, she was vegetarian but still ate eggs. We watched a vegan documentary together at least once—but I wasn’t pushy or anything. I was just sharing some of the info that had been interesting and compelling to me.
After a few months, I noticed she wasn’t eating eggs anymore, and I noticed she identified publicly as a vegan when she was asked.
More examples: I could list at least one more example from my life (but it’s very similar to the others) and two more examples from when my vegan friends started dating people who weren’t vegan. In each case, the non-vegan partner went vegan within the first year of the relationship.
In all of these cases, it didn’t take a ton of convincing or debating to get the other person to go vegan. In fact, it just felt like it was a matter of time. In the next section, I’ll explain the two reasons I think this sometimes happens.
Two Reasons It’s Often Easier Than You’d Think to Convince Your Partner to Go Vegan.
Reason #1: You have shared values. If you’re dating, then you likely have shared values. So whatever reasons you found to be vegan are likely to be compelling to your partner, too.
If you went vegan for health benefits because you’re an athlete and you care about athletic performance, then it would make sense that your partner might also go vegan for athletic performance.
If you went vegan because you feel compassion for the animals suffering in factory farms, then your partner is also likely someone who will feel compassion toward those suffering animals.
If you care about preventing global warming and other environmental destruction, your partner is likely swayed by those concerns, too. (Watch the documentary Cowspiracy together if this is the issue you both care about!)
If you’re willing to question the status quo by exploring veganism, your partner is hopefully willing to question the status quo with you.
So ask yourself: What convinced you to be vegan? Maybe that same reason will work for your partner, too.
Reason #2: Going vegan is easier when your partner is already vegan.
One of the hardest things about being vegan can be the social side of it—but if you’re vegan and you’re one of the closest people in your partner’s life, then they will have a much easier time with the social side of veganism.
When your partner is already vegan, that makes it a lot easier to go vegan! So your partner will have less to overcome compared to the normal American who isn’t already close with many vegans.
So make it clear with your actions that you’ll be there to help your partner figure out veganism if they do decide to embark on this adventure with you.
Now let’s get into the 5 ninja tips for “converting” your partner to veganism!
Tip 1: Emphasize the Benefits You’ve Experienced by Being Vegan.
How has veganism improved your life, and are you communicating that outwardly? Did veganism help you lose weight? Did it improve your energy? Do you feel more in line with your values?
Whatever positive things you’ve experienced from being vegan, make sure your partner sees that. Be an example of how positive veganism can be.
This is easily the biggest tip for convincing everyone around you to be vegan, including your partner: Be a positive example of how great it can make your life, how it can be a positive catalyst for so many good things in your life.
I wrote a bit more about this in my post called “How to Be Vegan Without Being Annoying“
Tip 2: Show Your Partner What They May Find Fun or Compelling About Being Vegan.
Find content online that exists at the overlap of veganism and whatever your partner already loves, and show that content to them.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
• If your partner loves baking, show them all the cool vegan treats—brownies, cakes, and cupcakes—that can be baked. Maybe they will find some interest in the challenge of eggless baking.
• If your partner loves cycling, find some vegan cyclist YouTubers to show them. Maybe your partner will be impressed by the athletic achievement you can have on a plant-based diet.
• If your partner loves football, look up info about pro football players who are vegans, like the 300-pound vegan.
• If your partner is an outspoken activist on a particular issue, see if you can find content creators online who are vegan and also an activist on that same issue. (A lot of activists on various issues are also vegans. Did you know that Angela Davis is vegan?)
Tip 3: Emphasize Relevant Vegan Health Benefits to Your Partner.
If your partner has high blood pressure, show them the data on how a plant-based diet can help to lower blood pressure.
If your partner has struggled with losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, show them information on how a vegan diet can help with these goals. (Most vegans achieve a healthy BMI—and that can’t be said for non-vegans.)
If your partner has digestive issues, acne, diabetes, asthma, or so many other conditions, there are studies showing the benefits of a healthy vegan diet on all of these conditions and more.
Of course, be discerning: A vegan diet will not fix every ailment. Don’t assume every health claim you read is true. But look into any relevant health connections.
Plant-based diets can be therapeutic for a wide range of conditions, especially if you include a lot of vegetables and healthy, whole foods. It may really, actually improve your partner’s life to take this step for their own health.
Tip 4: Dispel Any Myths They’ve Heard About Veganism.
Particularly if your partner is a man, he may have heard that vegans are scrawny and weak. He may think it is impossible to build muscle as a vegan. He may have heard that soy gives you man-boobs or vegans have lower testosterone levels. Dispel these myths.
Other vegan myths to dispel:
• The myth that vegans can only eat salad. Show the wide array of delicious options available. I have an article all about how you can be vegan without salad if you choose. Be sure to check that out if your partner is anti-salad.
• The myth that vegan kids are bound to be malnourished. Show them data on healthy vegan kids. (Brenda Davis’s book Becoming Vegan has a great section on vegan nutrition for kids, as well as for pregnant women.)
• The myth that veganism is just a movement of white people. Data shows that larger percentages of the black population are vegan compared to the white population in the U.S. White vegans just typically get more media representation, likely due to racism.
• The myth that vegans struggle to find anything to eat at restaurants. Download the Happy Cow app and explore all the vegan options in your area.
• The myth that humans must drink cow’s milk for calcium. Show them that plant-based milks and dark leafy greens have all the calcium you ever need.
Tip 5: Take Progressive Steps to Get Your Partner Eating Vegan.
First, just try to get your partner to try eating more vegan foods with you. If they think tofu is “icky” and they need to eat meat or dairy at every meal, the first step is just getting them more accustomed to plant-based foods in general.
Second, see if you can get them to eat mostly or completely vegan when you’re eating together. This will be a great improvement for your relationship if your partner is willing to eat at whatever vegan restaurant you want or eat whatever vegan meal you make at home.
The final step would be actually getting them to be fully vegan. But this step can only come when your partner decides for himself or herself that going vegan is what they really want. This is why you need to show them the information and content that will be exciting for them.
You Can’t Force Your Partner to Be Vegan. It’s Their Choice.
There’s common wisdom that you can’t force someone else to change. People only change their life when they choose to. So your goal should never be to force your partner to be vegan or to make them feel obligated to be vegan around you.
You need to expose your partner to the right experiences and information that will pave the way to them deciding for himself or herself that a vegan diet is in their own best interest.
Always respect if your partner is not seeing the benefits of a vegan diet yet. If you’re trying to sell this diet to them, you have to help them see the actual value of the diet so they choose it for himself or herself.
Be Patient. Try Multiple Approaches.
For more ideas, look at my article called “24 Ways to Get Your Family to Try More Vegan Food.” Many of these ideas will also apply to a partner in a romantic relationship.
If the first few approaches don’t work at all, don’t feel like you necessarily have to give up. Be patient. Don’t be pushy, but do be persistent if you really care about your partner seeing the benefits of a vegan diet.
Don’t call it quits after two attempts of sharing vegan food with them!
What If My Partner Never Goes Vegan?
There are relationships out there that have ended because one person was vegan and the other person refused to go vegan with them.
Since veganism involves moral values and daily experiences and routines, it can be a big issue on both of these counts if you and your partner never get on the same page. You can certainly choose to stay together, but it’s also understandable if it’s a hard issue for you to get past.
The decision of how to deal with this situation is yours.
There’s nothing wrong with being a vegan who is dating or married to a non-vegan. But there’s also nothing wrong with being a vegan who breaks up with a non-vegan partner because you’re sick of not being able to share that part of your life with your partner.
Don’t make rash decisions, and don’t make decisions based on how other people would judge it. The decision is yours and yours alone.
It can be hard to navigate relationships when there is a disconnect in moral values and major diet differences. I say more power to you, whichever path forward you decide on.
Would I Ever Break Up with a Partner Because They Aren’t Vegan?
Personally, if my partner wasn’t interested in veganism, even after I made many attempts to “show them the light,” how would I handle that?
Well, I would take it as relevant data for how I see my partner and how I see our relationship.
I would not break up with someone explicitly due to them not being vegan. But I would just start to wonder what it suggests about the long-term compatibility of our values and goals in life for a serious relationship.
But it’d just be one piece of the whole picture.
If everything else was working and I had a strong love and belief in this person and our relationship, I would stay together. But if I felt like we weren’t really on the same page as a whole, this detail would be one more example of why I maybe don’t have the right partner.
One Last Tip for “Converting” Your Partner to Veganism
This is a sort of over-arching tip that runs through all the advice in this post: Be positive about why veganism is so cool and how it will improve your partner’s life, rather than guilting them or making them feel obligated.
Don’t pressure them, but intrigue them. Share perspectives that they may agree with or find valuable, but don’t yell at them if they disagree.
Be patient and positive. Accept that your partner’s perspective is informed by their own life experiences and all the other information they’ve received in their life, and it is inherently valid for that reason, too.
Be a magnet that pulls your partner toward veganism. That will work better than trying to push them into veganism with negativity or pressure.
Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey
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2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.