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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  • Sam: June 13, 2017

    Dale, just like Heather’s comment below, I’ve read yours a few times now. And I thank you for it from the bottom of my little plant-eatin’ heart. It’s funny because I sometimes wonder “do people really give a crap about my personal life?” and I contemplate being so forthright and open about my love life. But it really is therapy for me. And this situation in particular shows SUCH a silver lining in that the response from my beloved vegan community has been overwhelmingly touching. And in spite of many sad tears shed these past couple of weeks, today I actually cry happy tears. And that’s because of people like you. So thank you :)

  • Dale: June 12, 2017

    Sam, you are a beautiful and compassionate woman, why would you feel jealous of anyone? You inspire thousands of people and you belong to a community of people who love and respect you. I won’t comment specifically on your ex, I never have negative or hurtful words or thoughts about people that have touched my heart. Sadly relationships are very difficult, especially with a carnist; it can work but it takes two special individuals and a bit of compromise. I know I much prefer being with a vegan. A carnivore may view veganism as an end when in fact it’s a beginning. It’s not merely a personal preference, as you know it is consuming, it is a pathway to kindness. Is this something worth compromising on? Never doubt yourself, your choices or the person you have become. I’m sorry you have had a break-up, it sucks I know, but you have done nothing wrong and you don’t need to change one bit. We all deserve someone who will worship us and love us completely. You will find that person, you just have to sift through the hundreds of offers you probably have! Life is good and tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities. Take care xxx PS: Congrats on all of your successes. Just keep being you :)

  • Sam: June 12, 2017

    Thanks girl. Trying to pick myself up off the ground and get back to business as usual. Appreciate you being so understanding and in spite of this shitty personal situation slowing my work down this week, it makes me feel blessed to work with such beautiful, kind people and I’m even more excited to work with you because of it. So thank you :)

  • Miriam: June 12, 2017

    Bingo. You’re dead right.

  • Sam: June 12, 2017

    Thanks Carmi. Apparently there were other issues like my jealousy (because I didn’t like when he would comment on how hot other women were) and living in different provinces didn’t make it any easier. Whatever the case, clearly I wasn’t the girl from him and I have to remain positive that Mr. Right is out there somewhere. Appreciate all of your support as always, Carmi xoxo

  • Sam: June 12, 2017

    Heather, I’ve read your comment about 10 times already and have tears in my eyes as I respond. Thank you so much for this heartfelt message. It’s definitely been a tough pill to swallow and one that finds me questioning myself and my life choices a LOT. But seeing comments like yours reminds me why I do what I do and why I share what I share. So thank you. I really needed to read your comment. And I will probably re-read it 100 more times today. xo

  • Sam: July 26, 2017

    Haha thanks Veronica! I’m not too worried. And even if I never find him, then that’s okay too. Just means I can get more cats and write more blog posts where I can connect with other cool peeps like you :) And I totally feel you on the BF comments. It’s disrespectful and any partner should be able to recognize that especially if you’ve voiced that it bothers you. I would never comment on other dudes’ “hotness” in front of a guy I cared about because I would never want him to feel any less than satisfactory for me. Why should wanting the same from our men be seen as insecure or needy? Fuck that. Respect is always #1. And that means respecting ourselves enough to not put up with any bull shit. Stay strong, girl and thanks for the kind words and support xo

  • veronica: July 24, 2017

    Wow, hearing you say this really made me feel quite a bit better! I’ve been down on myself over this subject, wish I wouldn’t feel a negative way when my bf comments on other ladies looks. I just can’t help it, and I know i’m a great looking chick but I can’t help but compare myself. He apologizes but still brushes it off. Hearing that an amazing, strong and beautiful lady like yourself can feel this way as well really opened my eyes to tho common trait! I’m so sorry you are feeling down about this breakup, but you are only going up from here! There is a hot, jacked and most likely vegan man just waiting to meet you when the time is right!

  • Sam: July 06, 2017

    Awwww I truly love that so many strangers are offering me such thoughtful advice and sharing their own stories on my posts. So thank you, Sahy!! I also thoroughly enjoyed your “endurance athlete” suggestion. I like that idea. I just need to warm myself to the idea of a less muscular man I guess. ;)

  • Sahy-fi: July 06, 2017

    I am married to a non-vegan. It is difficult at times to reconcile myself with the fact that we don’t see eye to eye on this issue. Yes, life would be easier with a vegan partner. However, I feel like I have had more impact in spreading the vegan message by being with him, as he has drastically reduced his meat/dairy consumption since we met (he only eats non-vegan outside the house). His family has also started incorporating more plant-based dishes into their weekly meals, which is kind of a big deal because they’re French (will never be able to convince them to give up cheese, unfortunately!). I have hope that he will make the transition one day, which would be a 1 for the vegan population. So I think it is important to be with someone who is at least open to changing their eating habits, though it may take them awhile to do it. Yes, you might have to look outside of bodybuilding circles, where meat and dairy reign supreme. Might I suggest looking for an endurance athlete, instead?? Lol.

  • Sam: July 03, 2017

    Awwww thank you Kendyra!! Means the world to me!! I will soon start a part 2 to this post that you’re sure to love. It’s a juicy one and the ultimate vegan-experience. So standby for that gem! :) And I love that shirt. I heard a vegan saves 900 animals in their average lifetime. Pretty amazing. PS I will respond to your emails eventually, I promise!! Just never enough time in the day!! xo

  • Kendyra: June 30, 2017

    That is so terrific, I suspect your ‘ex’ wouldn’t have come with you. That is his loss not yours.

  • Kendyra: June 30, 2017

    Hi Sam, have you seen the ‘95’ t-shirt? It has a sentence around the number that says: The number of lives saved each year by a vegetarian’ (it must be even higher for vegans❤️). If I had to choose between saving 95 lives versus one nest eating boyfriend, well let’s just say: We’re both animal lovers. You did the right thing. My hubby was a meat eater when we met but he now is vegan Hallelujah! And he’s taken up Pilates. You just have to stay single and happy or hold out for Mr Right (who is a vegan) it is sooo worth it. What kind of person supports the consumption of innocent animals especially if they have you to educate them to the advantages of kind living. I am SO PROUD of you. Mwah kendyra

  • Sam: October 23, 2017

    Aww you’re too sweet, Lauren! And sorry to hear you’re dealing with a similar situation. It can be super frustrating and discouraging. I actually met a hardcore animal rights activist right after and ironically enough, that wasn’t ideal for the complete opposite reasons!! But it’s all a part of this big, crazy and awesome thing we call life, right? Just gotta stay present and try to create supportive, healthy relationships whether they’re vegan or not. Good luck with it though, girl. And thanks for the kind words :)

  • Lauren: October 22, 2017

    I am basically in the same boat right now. I hope you’re doing better. You’re amazing!!!!

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