A few years ago, one of my friends was using an online dating service and, being the helpful and exceptionally nosy pal I am, I was more than willing to help her with her profile. There were a lot of really interesting prompts and questions, but the part I’ve given lots of thought to in the years since is the idea of “must have” and “can’t stand” lists.
For those unfamiliar with those lists, the gist is that your “must have” list includes qualities that any one you’d consider dating must have, so, in my case, I’d include things like dog lover, athletic, enjoys traveling. A “can’t stand” list contains your dealbreakers, so, again, sticking to my own relationship preferences, I’d probably list smoking, allergic to cats, reality TV junkie. (I can be friends with these people, to be clear — it’s not meant as a judgement! I just can’t kiss or live with or share a television with them.)
Recently, Food Box HQ surveyed 2500 single Americans to gauge how big a deal they consider veganism to be when considering whether to date someone, and over 28 percent of those surveyed said they would not consider going out with a vegan. (You can see the breakdown by state in the interactive map they provided below.)
Overall, they found that men and older generations were more bothered by the idea of dating a vegan than women and millennials. And, interestingly, vegans were far less choosey, with nearly 90 percent of vegans surveyed saying they’d consider dating someone who ate meat.
Now, I get where the left-swipers are coming from — after all, sharing what you love with someone you care about is one of the great joys of being in a relationship, not to mention the fact that going on a date often involves a restaurant, and when you have very different dietary preferences, that does become more of a challenge.
But as a pescatarian who’s been married to a meat-eater for nearly 14 years, I would urge those looking for love to stop considering veganism (or any other dietary preference) either a must-have or can’t stand. It’s true, my husband and I often eat different meals (although he actually loves a lot of my vegetarian and vegan recipes), but we usually make dishes that incorporate lots of the same ingredients, so we’re at least cooking together. And even when we’re eating entirely different meals, we can still eat together and enjoy companionship over dinner. I can’t imagine what life would be now like if either of us had decided the other’s eating habits weren’t worth the hassle way back in the early 2000s!
Where do you stand on this? Would the way someone eats strongly influence whether or not you’d date them? If so, is that because of your beliefs around that dietary preference or do you simply think it would be too difficult? —Kristen