Why would you want to go out with someone who isn't vegan? Perhaps you've already started a relationship with someone and would rather work out this one issue than give up on what you have and start over, perhaps you've realized that the vegan pickings are pretty slim where you live and you want to keep your options open, or perhaps you've realized that dating non-vegans is an excellent way to go about making new vegans. As Ingrid Newkirk has even said, “if [you] get someone to see how wonderful a vegan diet is, I say, 'Dump him [or her]. Move on now! It’s his or her turn to go out and get somebody else over to our side.' When you talk to people, one of the strongest reasons they go VEG is because they had a girlfriend or a boyfriend who was VEG.” Perhaps you're not ready to go quite as far as Ingrid Newkirk suggests, but this is a guide to getting whatever partner you may have over to veganism as efficiently and reliably as possible.
When starting a new relationship let your partner know that you are vegan as soon as you are comfortable doing so. Letting them know earlier on will make it easier for your partner to appreciate that it is an important issue for you, while putting it off puts you at risk of putting them off when you begin to stress the issue more later on. Be prepared for your partner to ask a few questions as to why you are vegan when you tell them, and try to answer in a way that emphasizes that you are vegan for ethical reasons, but doesn't imply that this is something you expect them to do right off the bat. For example consider telling them, “I chose to be vegan because I couldn't justify the way we deny animals all of their most essential interests for what was, for me, a relatively menial interest in the taste of their flesh.” Ultimately our goal is going to be to get your partner to go vegan by letting them believe as much as possible that it was entirely their own idea.
Over the next couple weeks, let veganism come up casually, but don't push the issue too much. Pondering philosophical questions with your partner is a great way to get to know them better, and some questions can help lead their thinking in the right direction. For example: “Imagine humans and chimpanzees had evolved as a ring species, how do you think today's society would have to change to cope with this?” You may need to premise this with asking your partner if they know what a ring species is or explaining it to them. Another excellent question to ask your partner would be, “If you could go back in time and kill one person whose death you think would have the largest positive impact on the present, who would you kill and why?” They will almost inevitably say something along the lines of Hitler, Stalin, or perhaps Pol-Pot because it is very difficult to brainstorm through every notable person in history in a number of seconds, but asking this question gives you the opportunity to share your own answer with them. For your own answer pick someone who wasn't necessarily specifically evil, but someone who played a pivotal role in defining our views towards non-human animals, such as Aristotle or Rene Descartes. Both of these individuals were fine individuals who, through their ideas, ended up laying a groundwork that continues to justify out treatment of non-human animals to this day. Aristotle in particular would be an excellent choice for an answer since his views toward non-human animals were very tightly linked to his views of women and people of other races and they largely went on to be incorporated in Christianity's justification of the mistreatment of women and the condoning of human slavery. If you bring up all of these issues together it will seem much less like you are trying to lecture them on animal rights, while still getting an important message across to them on how you feel the present could be largely improved by eliminating our mistreatment of non-human animals.
Over this period try to share your food with your partner as much as possible too. Do try to get an idea of what they will like beforehand, but be willing to introduce them to new foods too. Try to avoid calling things “vegan” before you offer them to your partner, but do try to introduce them to vegan alternatives to their favorite non-vegan foods so they know that those things are available. Cooking something that will get them to say, “Mmm, that smells good.” is a great way to get them to try something new while having a positive attitude toward trying it. Some people will try to make a big deal out of the fact that they are going to be eating something vegan. If that is the case with your partner try to diffuse the situation with a line like, “Don't be silly. You're not a martyr; I'm sure you eat things like this all the time.”
Once this has gone on for a few weeks your partner will hopefully have become much more comfortable with the idea of a vegan lifestyle, and now it is time to go in for the kill. Ask your partner if they'd be willing to watch the film Earthlings with you, implying that it is something you've wanted to see and that you would like their company just in case it proves to be too intense for you to handle alone. This film is not without its faults, it may exaggerate some environmental risks, show some clips in entirely misleading contexts, and the bit at the end about there being “three life forces in the world: plant, animal, and human” bothers me immensely; however, this film is incredibly effective with its animal rights commentary and emotionally wrenching scenes from within the industry. Your partner will certainly be shaken from seeing this film, and use the time immediately afterward to discuss how they are feeling with them. As always, try to ask questions that will guide their thinking in the right direction rather than simply giving them answers. “What did you think about their commentary about speciesism at the beginning?”, “How did you feel about such-and-such practice used to produce so-and-so?” You will hopefully have gotten to know your partner fairly well at this point and try as best as you can to anticipate any objections they may make. Try to respond to these objections as if you are trying to agree with them, but that their objection doesn't seem to take into account (some point that you don't think their objection stands up to), therefore the issue is still bothering you.
Hopefully this will have been enough for your partner to decide to go vegan, but don't be too put off if they don't agree to go all the way immediately. They will at the very least have seen that meat and factory farmed animal products are worth cutting back on and if they continue to see all the different ways you have cut these things out of your diet they will pick your habits up over time as well.