Is Compassion a Relationship Killer?
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.
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.
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.) 🙂
– Sam, Jacked on the Beanstalk