Vegan vs Non-Vegetarian Dispute Over Food & Kids
Love-Lorn Non-Veg Disagrees with Veg Girlfriend About Future Children
My girlfriend very recently became vegetarian again. She was vegetarian and then vegan many years ago and then slowly started eating some meat again for the past few years because of the ease of it. I am a non-vegetarian.
She is a strong animal rights advocate and that is why she chose to be vegetarian (rather than choosing because she believes it is a healthier lifestyle). We just had a conversation where she essentially said that she did not respect me nor anyone who while being an informed food consumer and knowing what is done on farms and slaughterhouses, still chose to eat meat.
She said that she would raise her kids vegetarian, which is ok by me but I still choose to eat meat. I asked her about a situation in which while our future children would be informed about the food industry but still chose to eat meat, she said that she would want them to get their own job to purchase the meat that they want to eat.
I disagree a lot with this latter issue because I believe that if our children are informed, I will not pass judgement and would respect them more in terms of what their food choices were (if they choose to be vegetarian or vegan, than so be it).
I do not disrespect my girlfriend but I am quite furious when she tries to push her propaganda on me (facts about the industry that I already know about) and I am extremely upset and disappointed about not being respected for a choice that I am making.
I personally feel that I prefer to prioritize my passions, and what I will fight or stand up for with regard to human rights and civil liberties. Animal rights just doesn’t rile me up in the same way as it does for her and others.
How do we get past this point of respect? What are conversation points that we can discuss to try to find a middle ground?
She is on an extreme end and thinks that I am ultimately the complete opposite of her because I choose to eat meat. I just think we differ on this issue based on the priorities and passions that we have set our lives to focus on.
What do you think? Please help. She is the love of my life -K. Cheng
Savvy Vegetarian Advice:
Personally, I feel that you two could use the services of a relationship counselor, which I’m not. Food and kids are a big source of conflict, and you’ve got both of them going.
But I ran this by my daughter Zoe, who is a life long vegetarian (but not vegan), with a non-vegetarian spouse. They’ve got a workable compromise, and they’ve worked hard at making mutual respect the foundation of their relationship.
Zoe made some good points:
Your girlfriend’s speech has taken you into endgame territory, which means your relationship is on the brink of being over.
Trespassing is the big issue. (I see it as a power struggle). Each wants to dominate the territory of food and kids that the other occupies.
The only way forward is to meet in the middle and establish ground rules for your NEW common territory. Keep these points in mind when you do:
Relationships are based on mutual respect. Respect means accepting the other person AS THEY ARE, not as who you think they should be. You can’t expect your adult partner to change themselves for you.
Choosing someone’s diet for them is like choosing their religion.
Children are people, not possessions. Both partners must agree that future children get to choose their diet when they’re old enough. Until then, parents agree on the primary diet in the household, WHICH EVERYBODY EATS.
Since you don’t have a particular food idealogy, except a reluctance to change your diet, follow the principal that compassion for any group – people or animals – extends to all others, including the love of your life.
But remember, the guiding principle for compromise is that you BOTH bend.
So, for example, you could agree that you’ll eat the food your girlfriend prefers when you eat together at home, with the agreement that you add what you want on the side or when you eat out. If she doesn’t want you to cook meat in the house, then work around that.
If you both can agree to a workable food compromise, great! If not, keep in mind that it’s possible to have more than one love of your life.
For more practical suggestions, download our free report, Veg/Non-Veg Together.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian