What It’s Like Dating as a Vegan & How I Met My Match

Dating in today’s modern society is not for the faint of heart. It’s clear to see how major media and social networking outlets have evolved the way we do it. More data than ever is at our very fingertips to help us properly vet our potential partners and with the introduction of dating apps like Tinder, Facebook Dating, Bumble, a new multi-million dollar industry has emerged. With the recent pandemic, it seems more people are hopping to the web to start their search for their perfect match presenting their best image, casting a broader net than ever before & having access to a seemingly endless pool of new, untapped connections. It sounds like the perfect formula, so what could possibly go wrong?

Common Problems with Social Dating Apps

  • Building trust can be an issue because until you know you’re both truly committed, your lingering presence on these apps can break down the intimacy of newly budding relationships. Its important to establish clarification of what is happening and be clear about your intentions. If you feel your time, safety, respect or any other boundary is being tested, that should be a sign to move onto the next match.
  • You give strangers too much benefit of the doubt and might learn that they are not who they claim to be in profiles. Catfishing is a frequent issue when it comes to social dating apps, right alongside unsolicited d**k pics. Be aware of potential scams and avoid matching with someone solely based on attractiveness. You should also be asking the right types of questions to ensure you are vetting connections to make sure you have similar core goals and values in mind.
  • Having access to unlimited options means we could be searching for the ‘perfect match’ for forever. With the fear of the unknown and the it can take to get to know someone, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of possible matches while ignoring someone there could already be potential with. Take your time and take it seriously, but have fun in the process!

My Experience Dating as a Vegan

In December of last year, I decided to jump back into the dating pool shortly after my separation from a 6.5 year military marriage that slowly evolved into an abusive relationship. I felt empowered with my newfound freedom and thought I knew all of the red flags to look out for after returning to therapy treatment. I knew all about gaslighting, traits that could indicate potential violence & how to set healthy boundaries for myself like knowing when to walk away. It was awkward jumping back in after six years of being out of the the dating scene but I was ready to give it my best. At first, I didn’t take it as seriously as I could of. I signed up for Facebook Dating on a whim to prove to myself that “I could do things like this now“, especially because it felt like I should. For my own healing journey at the time, it was either sink or swim.

I went on a few nice dates & matched with some icky people as expected. There are definitely some cringeworthy experiences, but I think the most surprising one was that everyone was so bewildered that I could be happy living vegan. It got really old answering to why I choose to be plant based all of the time and guys still treating me like it was just a foreign, ‘dietary thing‘. Everyone was either awe-struck or acted like it was a major problem when it came to eating out or how I personally viewed them. It’s easy to see why those connections didn’t work out when conversations just barely scratched the surface. It didn’t take long, each experience just brought me closer to the point of deciding that today’s modern dating culture is just not for me. At my peak of frustration, I mourned over the fact that no one would ever truly get me.

How I Met My Match

It happened when I least expected it when I stopped looking for love and started looking for real human connections near me. In February, I matched with Austin who I noticed was also plant based, into the same things as me & looked like he exuded my kind of energy. From what I could tell, he seemed like he could be a great partner but if not, perhaps an amazing new vegan friend I could go on all sorts of adventures with. Little did I know that he was on a long flight back from Costa Rica just waiting to send the message that started it all.

We actually hung out once before going on our date to see if we liked each other romantically. I think looking back that saved us because we had chemistry right off the bat. Austin said it was “love at first sight” and for some reason I just wasn’t ready to accept that yet even though I felt so strongly about him already. I’m proud to say that today I can accept love all around again now that I’ve finally left survival mode.

We covered the basics like whether we wanted kids or not (both yes), loving The Office, our tattoos meanings, what our siblings were like growing up and how our parents influenced the people we are today. He was so like me yet different because he was into things like football and wrestling; I personally hadn’t experienced much of either except for my WWE being on the TV growing up sometimes and my mom being a diehard Cleveland Browns fan. I claimed to be a Buckeyes fan for years, but could barely keep up with the score. While discovered that we had all these crossing similarities and differences, I was so intrigued to learn who he was underneath the surface and as our conversation went on, it was hard to understand how someone could be so diverse with their background as a musician to construction worker. He’s literally done it all and I have always admired someone who had the drive to follow their passion.

We talked for hours about our lives and I felt like by the end had been through just as many seasons as me so after each topic was covered, I found more like mindedness aside from our vegan paths. Life got a little busy after that and that gave us some time and distance to talk & grow more fond of each other from afar. About a week later, we went on our first date shortly after I got back from a work conference in Portland and and the rest was history. He took me on a hike at Cowels mountain which was perfect for us to enjoy nature while we got to know each other better. After that we hit a vegan bar called Kindred for a drink and a little nostalgia with their choose-you-own-adventure books. We ended it with a little Native Foods to give me all the French fries my potato loving heart desired. It was the most laid back, yet thought out and intense first date I’ve ever been and I’m certain it will be my last.

Four Ways I Knew I Met “The One” & How You Can Too

  1. The important things matter to him- When he called me “agave” instead of honey. 🥰 In all seriousness, I knew he was a great match for me because of his compassion towards others and animals. From our conversations early on, I paid attention to who he talked about the most and that helped me gauge what types of relationships were important to him and uncover who he was as a friend, brother, son, etc. What really sealed the deal for me was how he treated the fur babies & other people’s children like gold. If animals, children, or others do not generally view your partner as a good person, you’re definitely not going to help “fix” them.

  1. My Friends Love Him- I think it took some getting used to for my friends seeing me in a new relationship but once they got to know him, they started to look forward forward to planning the next we see each other. The opinions of others should never make or break a couple, but sometimes responses from the people who care about you naturally want to help you validate what you already know deep down to be true. On the flip side, if your partner’s behavior around male friends is aggressive/submissive or flirty/disrespectful towards female friends, you might have serious problems later down the road.

  1. Our Families Support Us Being Together- My family made it a point early on to indulge me in practically gushing with happiness during phone calls home about meeting A. When I brought him home to meet the the whole family in Ohio back in July, just about every one of my adult family members made it point to pull me off to the side or talk to me when I was alone about how happy with him. His family also welcomed me with open arms from day one and has only continued to help steer us in the right direction. When you are getting unsolicited feedback about your relationship like this, you know you’re doing something right. At the end of the day, your family just loves seeing you thriving so of course they would naturally gravitate towards loving the person who’s helping make that happen. In contrast, they will also express genuine concerns if possible red flags arise and you should not ignore repeated toxic behavior.

  1. He Has Positive Influences- Most of his friends are in committed relationships or are at least out of their own personal ‘party stage seasons. They are all on very different paths: some musicians, soon to be parents, paramedics, & mighty small business owners. He frequently seeks advice from his parents for ways to be a better man. Who your partner surrounds themselves with is partially a reflection of where they have been and want to go in the future. It also gives you a look into some of their personality traits so always be aware of toxic behaviors. If your partner’s friends are rude to you or others, you might want to pay closer attention to your your partners reactions.

The Adventures of “A & Agave

Austin really is my best friend and twin flame. When we’re together, every day feels like an adventure so we started using “The Adventures of A & Agave” to document our life together. He loves to try out new recipes from scratch with me and I’m always interested in learning more about his passion for the world of wrestling and WWE. We have a constant ebb & flow that really works for us where we don’t really need to compromise a lot. We enjoy playing video games like Mortal Kombat, cruising in the car to metal & underground rap, & meditating together. Both of us always try to put our families first and spend a lot of time talking with both sides together. Our life moves fast and we love to explore together, so watch out for more posts in The Adventures of A & Agave section. You’ll find anything from life updates, recent trips to recipes we’ve created together. We love meeting new people and will always share advice we think can help, but most of all: Austin & I are always learning. It’s such a blessing to have him on this wild ride we call life together and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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I won’t say you can’t find true happiness from a relationship that isn’t 100% plant based, but I’ll say that it certainly helps. When you think about it in the long run, the most important thing to focus on when dating is to find someone who you share the most important values with and hope the chemistry matches the kindness of the person. However, being a committed vegan comes with a certain set of ethics and if you find it hard to compromise at home, it’s probably best that you stick to that dating pool.

Have questions about navigating reentering the dating pool, finding the right partner through a plant based lifestyle, or simply just love the post? Leave a comment below.

As always, thanks for your love & support.

‘Til next time!

Em 🌱

Emerald May, The Plant Based Bae
Emerald May, The Plant Based Bae

Hi! My name is Emerald May and I’m The Plant Based Bae. I was born and raised in the Midwest, and have called Southern California home for the past seven years. In 2018, I decided to switch to a vegan diet which led to me improving my overall quality of life and learning a lot about health & humanitarianism. Since then, I’ve had countless conversations with vigorous vegans and curious omnivores to share what I’ve learned along the way.

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