Is Compassion a Relationship Killer?

Is Compassion a Relationship Killer?

vegan breakup

Well here I am, once again, airing my dirty “dating” laundry over the internet. Tears are literally streaming down my face as I type this. My breath is short and fast yet heavy and winded all at once.

I’ve just ended a relationship due to my veganism.

My heart hurts. This was a guy who I’ve known since we were kids. Someone who I developed real, true feelings for. Someone I saw long-term potential in. And someone who despite eating animals, had a good heart and made me feel like a princess.

My family liked him. My friends liked him. And most importantly, I liked him.

For the eight months that we dated, he was open to trying my vegan food and I shut my mouth about his carnivorous ways **most** of the time when he was eating meat in front of me. Of course it bothered me that he wasn’t bothered by the cruelty and lack of compassion for his dietary choices. But I’ve always held onto the belief that it’s not my place to push my beliefs onto others and instead, live by the credo “I don’t preach, I inspire.” So I kept quiet for the most part and focused on all the good things in the relationship instead.

We both loved bodybuilding. He even liked the vegan restaurants I took him to. He respected the fact that I was vegan. And I accepted the fact that he was not.

On May 28th, 2017, we both flew to Vancouver for a short getaway (and free trip because I was booked to speak at Veg Expo.)

Everything was going great (or so I thought.) We even met his newly-vegan cousin for dinner at a funky raw place the night before the expo.

After dinner, I was pacing the hotel room, preparing for the expo, when he asked me: “if you could change one thing about me, what would it be?” Without any hesitation, I blurted out “I wish you were vegan.”

Apparently the most right reason in my mind was the most wrong thing that I could say.

The next day was of course, heavenly for me (as any vegan expo is for a vegan.)

Here I was, standing in front of a 30-foot poster of MYSELF all day long, meeting hundreds of people, flexing on stage with other vegan bodybuilders, delivering a kick-ass 30-minute talk on veganism, signing autographs and taking a bunch of photos with people.

compassion is a relationship killer vegan breakups

What I thought would be a cool and proud situation for a boyfriend–in reality, had the complete opposite effect.

Instead of feeling proud, he realized just how much this diet consumed my entire life and identity. I had made a career out of my passion for vegan health and fitness. And as much as every person on earth hopes and dreams of finding and pursuing their own passion, he realized that mine would never be his. And that was that.

I’ll be honest, guys. Right now, I kinda hate the fact that I’m such a compassionate person. I almost wish that I didn’t care so damn much about the cruel and unjust treatment of animals in our society. Dating sure would be A LOT easier if I could just stop caring about the billions of animals that are unnecessarily killed every year for human consumption.

ostrich head in sand

Last weekend I delivered a 45 minute presentation at Veg Fest in Ottawa. I’ll be honest. It took every ounce of my mental strength to stay on task preparing for it and not lie on the couch, sobbing uncontrollably in the fetal position all week.

I will never regret my decision to be vegan but in all honesty, at times like this, it’s easy to regret being THE vegan who I’ve become. And I’d be lying if I said that I don’t sometimes fantasize about going back to a regular 9am – 5pm corporate job where no one even knows or cares WTF I eat. And when I get into these funks, I imagine what my life would be like without this blog and without my vegan coaching biz.

But whether I’m workin’ for the man in an office Monday to Friday or pouring my heart into a blog post at 2:06am on a Sunday night… This, I know for certain:

“Compassion is not a virtue. It is a commitment. It’s not something we have or don’t have. It’s something we choose to practice.” – Brené Brown

And as lonely and heartbroken as I feel right now, I’m relying on my compassion now more than ever to help me get outta this funk. So I’m acknowledging my own suffering and I’m showing compassion to both myself and to him. I’m not passing judgement either because he was being authentic in what he wanted and didn’t want in his life.

I’m definitely not looking forward to “dating” again. But I’ll remain hopeful that there are jacked dudes out there who genuinely believe that compassion is a necessity and not a luxury. And even if I never find one, I’ll at least take refuge in knowing that those who fly solo often have the strongest wings (and are a centaur in the Warriors of Compassion Calendar.) 🙂

samantha shorkey

– Sam, Jacked on the Beanstalk

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  • Heather: June 12, 2017

    Sam, I’ve been following you and reading your blogs for a few years. Primarily because we are like-minded when it comes to our love for fitness, food, and for animals. Sometimes guys fall into the latter of those. I’ve dated meat-loving, hunters and guys who eat vegan that wouldn’t touch a weight or hit the gym to save their lives. I’ve been judged for my choices endlessly and I’ve been dumped after really great dates – and even long friendship-developed dates, because the guys were intimidated by one or more of my life choices that I believe truly define my character. It’s heartbreaking in the moment, and it does make you question yourself. The places in your life where you are true to yourself will ultimately be the places where you find happiness with someone else. This guy you dated, this, “friend,” actually sounds like he was more intimidated by your success than by your choices in food or desires for his choices to change. Up until he opened the exit door with a question he expected you to answer the way you did, it sounds like he didn’t have issue with your choices. Yet, there he was with you in a place and moment of success and what should have been and opportunity for him to support and encourage you, looking for an easy exit. That’s not a guy who has an issue with your hope for him to see your compassion for the lives of others, that’s a guy looking for a girl who doesn’t outshine him. And you’re looking pretty shiny these days. Congratulations on your successes. Don’t waste your heart on a guy who, however long your friendship, can’t see past his own fears of being overshadowed. When someone leaves you with a question like that, it has more to do with them wanting to blame you for their exit than it does with your actual answer. That was a guy looking for a window to escape the shadows of success more than it was anything to do with your lifestyle choices. If he truly felt strongly enough about the differences in your food choices that your answer merited a break-up, he would never have dated you in the first place. Keep doing what you do, and know that there are lots of other people who share your passions who won’t leave you feeling at fault in a moment that should be celebrated – due only to their own insecurities. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. Don’t you dare question yourself. Sending you love!

  • Carmi: June 12, 2017

    If the two of you have a history, and both of you knew your eating preferences why would your comment have such an impact on him? He could have laughed it off, as you could have. Is it the only reason you called it off? Seriously, if you really do think he is a great guy, and everyone else does too wouldn’t a compromise be an option. You could cook all the food for yourself, and include tasty veggies for him. His part would be cooking all the meat dishes if that is what he wants to eat. He can buy an Instant Pot, so you don’t have to smell it for hours cooking in the oven. Honestly, he just might come around given time. He knew you’re vegan when you began seeing one another, and made the effort to go to places that you could eat a full meal, and not only a lettuce leaf topped with a carrot stick. And you had a workout partner!! A workout partner sounds like heaven to me all by itself… As you know relationships really do suck at times. You have heard of the venus/mars thingy. If you haven’t read it, maybe think about doing so. It isn’t possible to live in harmony all the time, and we have to learn to pick and choose our battles. Some ‘discussions’ aren’t worth the time or effort, that’s not to say your convictions are meaningless. You can bet he isn’t the only one watching how you live, but that’s to be expected. Not many people these days find their way, and actually live and breath it. Reality is, we are all different. The whole world will never be full of vegans. I think we can encourage more people by introducing them to tasty plant based options, peak their curiosity enough without beating our chests, and saying::: #@### you have to stop killing the animals! It doesn’t work.They become defensive, and we get a bad wrap in the process. We have to respect one another, and whatever choices we make are ours, and ours alone. My heart goes out to you, Sam.

  • Sam: June 25, 2017

    Awwww Lucy!!!! What a beautiful, lovely comment. THANK YOU!! And so funny you mention my cat. I actually had a date with a guy last week and my cat hated him and he hated my cat!! Total deal breaker! I will admit that my cat loved my ex and he adored my cat but classic case of “why love one but eat the other” right? Anyway, thanks for the support and love and for doing your part for the animals. Don’t be a stranger!! xo

  • Lucy Peixoto: June 24, 2017

    Don’t you worry Samantha. God has a wonderful man picked especially for you and he’s coming to get you.! This was a test so be True to who you are: Compassionate, caring, and loving animals. And if he’s eating meat and talking about how hot other women are in front of you-well, that’s just disrespectful. And remember what I told you…..Really, Samantha, what would your Cat say! !??? Stick to that and you’ll never go wrong. Luv, your fellow Vegan and crazed Animal Activist, Lucy.

  • Sam: June 19, 2017

    Awww thanks Lupo!! I feel like I’ve known you on twitter for so long, it’s weird to call you anything but “Lupo” now haha. Whatever the case, thanks for the kind words (and 80s flashback.) I’m sure Sarah will enjoy reading it too :) I am actually doing a lot better. In fact, being asked to speak at the March to Close All Slaughterhouses this past weekend in Ottawa (and the Montreal chapter came to march with the animal activist groups here too) really helped to get over this whole situation. We had over 300 vegans and the day could not have gone any better!! We marched all across Ottawa as one great big powerful unit and after the march, half of us went to “Rib Fest” to protest and lay flowers for all of the victims of this stupid “festival.” And throughout it all, I connected with so many other beautiful, like-minded souls. And every single moment of that day reminded me of who I am and what I stand for. And failed love life or not, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing on this Earth. :)

  • Sam: June 19, 2017

    Such a kind and sweet message. Thank you, Mike!! You are such an amazing person and I’m so glad there are vegan guys out there who have made the connection and put their hearts before their stomachs. Can’t wait to collaborate on all kinds of fun shizz together :)

  • Sam: June 19, 2017

    Thanks pal <3 Let’s catch up soon, damn it!!

  • Hayat: June 19, 2017

    We JOTB Team ladies have to support eachother! Im here whenever you need me :))))) and Ill be more than happy to share my cake meal with you via skype :))))))))))) double cheaters ! :D

  • Wolf-Theo Holl: June 14, 2017

    when it comes to a break up I´m probably not the best to comment any decision… however I definitely know how it feels… being an old guy I´d just like to quote some lyrics ;-) (and I still think that Fleetwood Mac has been a GREAT band) If you wake up and don’t want to smile If it takes just a little while Open your eyes and look at the day You’ll see things in a different way Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here It’ll be better than before Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone Why not think about times to come? And not about the things that you’ve done If your life was bad to you Just think what tomorrow will do Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here It’ll be better than before Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone All I want is to see you smile If it takes just a little while I know you don’t believe that it’s true I never meant any harm to you …………………………………………… I´ve been reading you´r most recent comments and I it seems to me that you are already healing….luv that, please continue on that path, you are beautiful, an amazing woman and I´m sure a lot of people will always be there to support you ! Keep on spreading the vegan message (I´m sure you will ;-) ) Luv you, Theo (aka Lupo59 on Twitter)

  • Vegan Bestie: June 14, 2017

    I’m here for you, friend. ( I wrote a whole thing then deleted it…. I’ll leave it at that.) ❤️

  • Mike Downey: June 14, 2017

    Tis quite the fitting image you used as when I created it originally your character was being freed by a male slave so that you could fly away. I left out the slave yet you can still see your broken shackles in this image. You’ve been freed. You have such a huge world of opportunity and although your hurt now, you won’t be when you get back on track and find something more suitable. You’ll be thankful for his ability to move move on as even though my last gg was vegetarian it still drove me nuts after showing her the horrors of how dairy is made. If people can be ok with that, then it’s not you that’s not cut out for him, it’s the other way around. Maybe he isn’t saying it straight up, but I’d assume he may just want what’s best for you. Often guys play the hard role and aft like they don’t care anymore during a break up, but that’s not always the case. Anyways, I am not inside anyone’s heads, I’m just trying to help keep yours up I love my Pegataur /Centasus

  • Alina: June 14, 2017

    Way to go, Sam, good luck!

  • Sam: June 13, 2017

    Hi Alina! So nice to hear from you and thanks for the advice and words of encouragement. I’ve really been thinking a lot this week about whether I need to limit myself to dating vegan (or at least vegetarian) guys only. And ironically, I’ve also been thinking a lot about whether I need to expand my tastes beyond the typical jacked “meathead” to someone who probably does care more about the environment than the size of his calves. And moving forward, I really am gonna try to be open to dating different types of guys and not focus on physical and sexual attraction so much. Obviously you want the full package but as I’m sure you can agree, when a guy is compassionate, his hotness factor goes WAAAYYYYYY up. So I’m going to really start looking as deeply as possible at one’s inside before getting hot & bothered by his outside. Maybe I’ll get into cycling ;)

  • Sam: June 13, 2017

    Awww I love ALL of those quotes!! And as much as I DO love quotes (and you already know that) I NEVER keep love/relationship ones – only motivation/personal development ones as you already know being one of my fave clients. But I truly love all of these especially “don’t light yourself on fire to brighten someone else’s existence.” And truthfully, since the breakup, I learned some other things about him that made me recognize that I’m so much better off without him (vegan or not.) And I honestly feel as though this was a blessing. And yes Hayat, I wish nothing more than for everyone on Earth to view animals in the same way that we do i.e. sentient BEINGS and not THINGS. But alas, we’re just not there yet. But we ARE making progress and we gotta focus on that. And maybe by the time we’re 50, the ratio of vegan men to women will be equal. ;) Thanks for the love and support as always. And I can’t help but smile when I read your comment because for once, I feel like you’re the “mom.” And I’m okay with that…. this one time. Birthdays are coming up!! We def need to skype and eat vegan cake at the same time xo

  • Sam: June 13, 2017

    Awww thank you, sweetie <3 And my heart goes out to you too. I will say that support from all you lovely vegans has been soooooooo healing for me!!! And my best advice to you is to write it all down, exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. And if you don’t have a blog, write a letter to your ex and never actually send it to him. I promise you WILL feel better afterward. And of course, nothing is a better stress reliever than hitting the gym. Take out your pain and tears onto the weights (and get in better shape at the same time.) I allowed myself one day of crying, not leaving my apartment or pyjamas but now I’m staying busy and moving the eff on with my life. I hope you can do the same, girl. And if not, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Not sure where in the world you are but I’m only an email away if you ever want to vent. Stay strong, soldier. It DOES get better and you might not be able to wear makeup right now but you CAN go get your nails done or go for a massage. Something for YOU that makes YOU feel BETTER. And I’m typing this as a new red head :)

  • Alina: June 13, 2017

    Hi Sam! Trying to find the right words here. Sorry that your relatipnship ended in such a disappointment. I used to have the same ‘thing’ for hot gym guys and dated a fair share of them back in the day, but for some reason, it always, ALWAYS ended in some sort of a clusterf*ck. Don’t want to say that all gym guys are defective, but after a while I started thinking that my disappointments were not just a coincidence. Fast forward to today, I’ve been with my husband for seven years, and I’m now totally at peace with the fact that he hates the gym (he does love cycling though, so there’s the ‘staying active’ aspect that we do have in common). And I’m lucky that he agreed to go vegan a few months after I switched, not because of his compassion for animals but out of his concerns for the environment. My point is, what if the right person doesn’t align with your views and interests 100%but is fairly close in most areas – would you give them a try? Also, I do agree with the above commenters that it sounds like he felt overshadowed with your success rather than deemed your veganism a deal breaker.

  • Hayat: June 13, 2017

    Hey Sam, I know Ive told you more than once that when I read something from you I see myself.I didnt expect to read exactly this in this blog,but I have to say that its in our nature (you know what I mean) to tuck all of the emotions deep down inside of us and deal with it alone.Most of the time we dont realize that we cant deal with this " extra weight" and in one point its just blows into pieces.Given from my beginner’s experience on this planet (almost 29 years) I have to say that being a vegan is a lot A LOT to handle. You’ve been almost non stop everyday MENTALLY challenged to keep yourself calm and not give up because EVERYONE ELSE is against you.And by you I dont mean as a human being I mean as a VEGAN.Because its easier to judge as to support and understand someone. I get what you mean by having an easier life without bothering what you have to eat and what your believes are, because YOU as a person too want to have everything else like the rest of them.Its just that they keep pushing you away all the time and you keep pushing back with hope, hoping that next time or this time will be different.Our problem is that we think outside the box,the ‘MISTAKE’ that we make thinking about others,the animals and everything around us…a mistake of being a non narcissistic piece of sh… I often ask myself “where the hell am I going to find the guy Im looking for”and by that I dont mean blue-eye smiley face hot guy.Its really like lottery, you dont know what will happen until you try and try and try, again and again..but instead of having the bigger option like everyone else, you will be narrowed to that 1-2% that you are not even sure if it exists. I keep doing compromises like you did with your relationship just because Im sick and tired of being alone and being up there for myself.For once I wanted to be taken care of, because at one point it builds up and you cannot hold it anymore.But even then for that little piece of happiness /to taste it you ignore yourself and what you’ve build up until now up to the point when you ask yourself ‘is that how I really want it to be’.You feel it in your gut, its not right – “A heart that always understands also gets tired”. I dont know who said it but its damn true.You cant keep up hitting your head against the wall. Of course who am I to give you a relationship speech right now, Im sure you are so fucked up now that you dont even care who and what says.We July babies have a really tough time dealing with heart pain. I keep asking myself over and over when I will I have the chance to smile finally to someone that have the same believes like I do..and I keep getting no answer.. is it that f…hard to find,is that too much to ask…for God sake its just food,its breathing beings…why is it so hard to understand? I was too blindfolded for most of my life, but give me a break,its not alien language! You know what you did wasnt right because it took your happiness away,but you also know that you cannot just ignore everything else that you’ve preached and worked for!One thing that cheers me up (and I know you do it too) is saving me some inspirational quotes which I read time to time when Im down…I know you dont care and you are hurting right now,but Im gonna post some of them anyway, because I dont care that you are sad either. CHIN UP you hear me! – Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth – Dont light yourself on fire to brighten someone else’s existence – Sometimes people around you wont understand your journey.They dont need to,its not for them. – To heal a wound you have to stop touching it. and last but not least : believe that someday someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together! you can handle it,give it some time – you got this! tons of hugs!

  • Dominique: June 13, 2017

    I am going through a bad break right now too. Tears come more often than not. I stopped wearing makeup because I cry so much. I am inspired by your courage and your beauty (inside and out). Sending you love and light. Be well, My Friend.

  • Sam: June 13, 2017

    Haha damn straight. Love it xo

  • Carmi: June 13, 2017

    This should bring a smile. A quote from Ahsoka Tano of Star Wars fame!! ’This is a new day, a new beginning"

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