Vegan Confessions: I Dated a Hunter.

When I found myself out of married life and suddenly single, it literally took me years to get back out there. I rebuilt my life from rock bottom to this beautiful, passion-driven career focus. I’d be damned if I was going to let a guy into my life to destroy what I built again. It took a job promotion and moving to a whole new town with literally no friends to finally have the desire to make an online dating account.

It took me awhile to find anyone I was even remotely interested in. I grew tired of swiping left on all the Michigan boys holding bloody deer heads and dead fish proudly for the camera in their profile pictures, so I put right in my bio: no hunters, please ✌🏼 . The intention was set for a relationship based in common interests.

One of the first guys I met was super nervous after reading up on me. For privacy’s sake, let’s call him Ben. Ben saw I was super passionate about veganism in my bio and thought if he shared he enjoyed deer hunting, I would unmatch him for sure. He decided to take the second route: hide it until he saw me in person. And it paid off.

We met shortly after I moved to this area, and hit it off right away. He laughed nervously as he told me he was a hunter, and begged me to give him a chance. I right away wrote it off as something that wouldn’t last, but he seemed sincere, so I listened. I soon realized Ben loved animals. He loved being outside and surrounded by nature, and that’s why he loved to hunt and fish. He had certain qualities he would look for to try to pick a deer that has already lived, and didn’t have babies. He trained dogs by day, and was knowledgeable at animal psychology and genuinely cared. I could see his heart. His genuine intention for animals is to love them and be close to them.

Ben quickly became my best friend in this area and casually dated me a few times a week. We never really ate together, and he tolerated my vegan burritos, but was turned off instantly at the word “vegan” in front of anything. Despite this, we tried to find desserts we both liked and restaurants we both liked (which is a challenge in mid-Michigan). It all seemed like it was going well. He knew my coworkers and friends, he came with me to a wedding, and we were growing closer and closer, until….. November: hunting season.

It didn’t become known to me he had an issue with me being vegan until things got real. What set me on this nutrition focused path was looking for answers after my dad died of cancer back in 2008, never smoked, never drank, but ate a high meat, Atkins diet. The ten year anniversary was in November this year. Ben spent that day with me making sure I was okay. I found myself on my vegan soap box spewing all of my knowledge about preventing disease and longevity with a plant based, Whole Foods Diet. This was the first time I really let my vegan freak flag fly with him.

And then, I said it: “I want to raise my kids vegan so they have the best shot at life.”

This statement, unknown to me at the time I made it, lead to a 4 day blackout period where I didn’t hear from Ben. The man who stayed with me on the anniversary of my dad’s death, told me he was in love with me, and drove me to a wedding hours away, wouldn’t even text me back, until he finally explained.

Ben texted: “If 4 days is a problem, how are you going to feel when I’m on a two week hunting excursion in my near future? You talk about veganism 25% of the time, and I will not raise my kids vegan. It’s something I never wanted to learn about. And I don’t want to hunt and think about how my lady doesn’t approve. It’s not that you’re vegan, it’s that I can’t escape it. And I can’t change you so I’m letting go. ”

After 6 months of friendship and companionship, we are now strangers who don’t speak. 👌🏼

If I learned anything valuable from Ben, it would be how to look at someone who hunts compassionately. Many hunters’ main motivation for hunting is a misguided love for animals and nature. Knowing this is honestly such a gift and has helped me cope with living in an area surrounded by them. It also taught me another very valuable lesson: the red flags you ignore in the beginning will be the very reason your relationship ends. Never let anyone make you feel bad for setting standards out of self love. If they don’t meet them, not a match. 💚🌱✨

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