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Me and Alice are back. This is somewhat related to another one of my questions but more about me this time.

I have planned to visit my girlfriend Alice in a few months, during which I will be staying with her and her parents (they offered), and my girlfriend has asked me to not eat any meat while I'm there. Only her father eats meat regularly (1-2 times a week tops).

She really hates meat, once I sent a picture of my dinner which was beef and potatoes to which she replied "DISGUSTING".

I told her that I would want to continue my normal eating habits, but she gets angry at me for not being willing to compromise for just over a week. We discussed this at the start of the relationship, and we agreed not to make each other change our diets. But what I'm afraid of is that if I pull through this time, she'll use it as proof that I don't need meat at all and try to convert me.

During my two previous visits she didn't have a problem with me eating meat (her dad cooked) and even cooking (made a dish from my country) meat for her family (her father and sister ate, Alice and her mother are vegetarian). Also we stayed in Dublin alone for a week and I cooked and ate meat.

Clarifications:

  • I will be staying with Alice for a bit over a week. My past visits were only 3-4 days.
  • She did not say that no meat will be served, merely that she does not want to eat meat. Alice and her mother will be doing most of the cooking, so I assume little to no meat will be present.
  • I originally reduced my meat intake when the relationship started.
  • We haven't yet talked about her motivations for wanting me to not eat meat.
  • Her parents have work and are busy, so I would find myself alone at times with Alice for lunch or breakfast where we would have to make our own meals.

The question: My girlfriend wants me to eat no meat/fish when I'm staying with her. How do I not offend her further but keep to my own diet?

An additional question: If I do go through with this, how do I stop it from snowballing into a full-blown conversion?

Update:

I messaged her and talked more about it. We agreed on a arrangement where I consume meat in lower quantities but I would have to buy cook and prepare it myself, she doesn't like to touch and feel dead animals, meat included(edit).There is some semblance of a compromise on both parts here; does this seem like a good one? I'm afraid that she might be saying this just not to start a bigger argument and I don't want her to bottle up her feelings.

Update#2:

After some talking on the phone, she has seemed to have softened her stand on this and understand more about how relationships work (I am her first bf). I have accepted an Answer and I will be having an in-depth and serious conversation with her about this when we meet (face-to-face is way better) and examine the relationship.

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    I have a question for you : do your girlfriend expect you to eat like anyone in her family, and that anyone will be vegetarian for that week... or do she expect you to eat no meat while her dad and sister eat meat ? – Kaël Dec 29 '17 at 9:24
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    Is the dad not going to be eating meat as well? – Tycho's Nose Dec 29 '17 at 9:35
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    I feel like there is some relevant context hiding in the fact you would feel it appropriate to send someone a photo of food they didn't like. And seem surprised at getting the inevitable response. – user8195 Dec 29 '17 at 21:59
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    Hi, SomeoneElse. I've edited some information from your comments into the question. However, I think there are still a few more questions you might want to answer. Please edit clarifications into the question, and feel free to modify my changes if I've made any incorrect changes. Thanks. – HDE 226868 Dec 30 '17 at 16:47
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    Please do not answer in comments. IPS has a policy against this; if you want to answer the OP's question, write an answer. If you cannot answer because the question is protected, wait until you have enough reputation to write an answer. Answers in comments will be deleted. – HDE 226868 Dec 31 '17 at 17:02

18 Answers 18

93

I post from the perspective of being a vegetarian myself and my boyfriend eating meat.

I think it's very important to talk more to her. It's important that you respect each others diets and this should come for both sides. For my boyfriend and I this means we cook mostly vegetarian with sometimes some meat on the side. Sometimes, especially when there also friends coming, I will cook a meal that's mostly based on meat and make something different for myself. My boyfriend never makes remarks that he misses the meat and I never make remarks when he chooses to eat meat. We both cook vegetarian and meat dishes. We always keep the taste and the quantity of what the other person eats in mind. No easier way to get someone to hate your diet preference then giving them too little food or food that they really don't like.

I think you also need to go for a compromise. For example, I would propose to cook a vegetarian meal this time and eat meat outside the house or if you eat at her parents place and meat is made anyway. Maybe find a nice vegetarian restaurant for lunch. Just try a lot of different things and try to find vegetarian meals that you both like. Don't make her feel like you are not willing to eat vegetarian at all, but make her feel like you enjoy vegetarian dishes and meat dishes.

If she is ever not understanding about you eating meat, tell her that you will make your own decision about your eating habits. I don't know how it is for you, but I would personally also say that you don't want to have discussion over food when you're buying or eating food. From personal experience I find that these discussion mostly go nowhere and make me more upset then when the same was discussed drinking a cup of coffee. Try to have a good conversation about this and tell her how you see this moving in the future.

If she can't respect your eating habits at all and only expect you to respect hers, then it's a serious red flag. Not only if you don't want to turn vegetarian, but also because she will not respect other choices you make.

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    I really like this answer, it proposes some good actions i could take and i should take the discussion separately from when we are actually going to get food. Thanks for the solid advice and i hope i can reach that good level between Alice and me too! – SomeoneElse Dec 30 '17 at 1:20
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    I share this approach. I'm not a vegan/vegetarian by identity, but I adhere to a so-called "whole-plant-based" diet. I describe it to people as shopping like a vegan and eating like an omnivore. Not sure how that would fit into a steady relationship, but it works great when I have people over or when I eat out with friends. If it's on my plate and it's dead, there's no saving it, so I eat it. My body doesn't seem to notice as long as it isn't frequent. I can't make a persuasive case for my lifestyle by showing off how anal I have to be anyway. – Rei Miyasaka Jan 2 '18 at 2:40
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    @ReiMiyasaka this is my diet too. My experience is, carnivores feel like you are a hippy that judges them (even if you don't) and strict vegetarians tend to wonder how you could stand to pollute your self with meat :D – TheCatWhisperer Jan 2 '18 at 14:28
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    @TheCatWhisperer Yeah, when people ask why I do this, I just tell them it's to get rid of my acne. Truthfully, that's not the only reason or even the main reason, but people seem to be more receptive to the idea that you're doing something entirely out of vanity than that it's out of wanting to do good or to live until you're 300. – Rei Miyasaka Jan 3 '18 at 0:08
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    @ReiMiyasaka here is something funny, sometimes, if I tell a friend I am a flexitarian/plant-based, and they ask what that means, and I tell them, "I basically eat a vegan diet, but I won't get mad/send it back if there are bacon bits in my salad. So yea, just very little meat." They go, "Oh yea! I don't eat much meat either!" ... then they proceed to stuff five hotdog in their face XD – TheCatWhisperer Jan 3 '18 at 15:27
59

You are thinking about this the wrong way — it is basic etiquette. You were invited to be a guest in their home, and she asked you not to eat meat while doing so. If they asked you not to smoke while in their house (for example) or not to wear your shoes indoors, it's not reasonable to say you'll do whatever you please and carry on about your business.

Or you can politely decline and simply not go.

What you were permitted to do on prior occasions or what her father does is irrelevant. She already asked you not to indulge in this activity while staying in her home — and your desire to "stop it from snowballing into a full-blown conversion" is probably the only reason you are still together.

It shouldn't be too hard to refrain from indulging yourself for a week or two. This should be a catalyst to have a conversation focused around the long-term - if you don't have such a conversation, I think you are setting yourselves up for a long, lingering relationship that is going to have a very difficult time moving forward.

But if you want a literal answer to your question:

how do i not offend her further but keep to my own diet.

Eat out.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Catija Jan 2 '18 at 5:20
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    Sorry but no, just no. My brother was in relationships with several vegetarians as well. For years. And it is "basic etticuette" to live and let live. As long as ones behaviour does not affect another person, you are free to do what you like. He should be able to eat meat, and she should be able to live her vegetarian livestyle. Of course when cooking together, cooking something that is tasty for both partys is also "common etticuette"! But other times, for example when her father is already cooking something with meat, there is absolutely no reason for him to decline it just beacuse she does. – MansNotHot Jan 9 '18 at 14:20
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    This seems to be misunderstanding the circumstances of the question. Etiquette would demand you give consideration to the people whose house you're visiting: The parents... who have no problem with eating meat. – Ask About Monica Jan 12 '18 at 0:50
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Hate to break the news, but this is often a part of dating vegetarians...

Like anyone with strong moral/ethical convictions they're very often inclined to want their partners to share their convictions or at the very least be considerate of them.

From the sounds of things, your partner very likely wants you to adopt a vegetarian diet. If you're not willing to do that, you should probably be honest and get that out in the open. If this is going to be a deal breaker for her, it's better that it happens sooner than later.

I don't mean to sound harsh or scolding, I'm a carnivore as well, but I've dated more than a few vegetarians/vegans and I know how important their feelings are about the issue. Those that do it for health reasons may be a little more flexible, but those that see it as murder for a meal likely won't be. This doesn't seem like a huge deal from the meat eater's perspective, to us it's just food. This is a huge deal for vegans and vegetarians, to them it's an indicator of your morality and often ties into a wide range of environmental sustainability, animal cruelty, and fundamental value of life issues.

If you're going to try to ride it out (and I'm pretty sure you are because I did it too once upon a time) you're better off just making the sacrifice and going vegetarian for the trip. If you don't, be prepared for a seriously unhappy partner.

  • "this is often a part of dating vegetarians" - I don't find this to be the case. How many vegetarians have you actually dated longterm? If less than 10 this is almost certainly based on random chance. I know so many veggie/carnivore couples. Usually, there is some compromise, such as that meat isn't cooked in the house, but anyone is free to prepare or eat meat outside of the house or if someone brings over a meat dish that has been previously cooked. – WetlabStudent Jan 2 '18 at 2:08
  • I am looking for such a compromise, i will definitely speak to her more about this. – SomeoneElse Jan 2 '18 at 3:57
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    "Usually, there is some compromise, such as that meat isn't cooked in the house, but anyone is free to prepare or eat meat outside of the house or if someone brings over a meat dish that has been previously cooked." Not sure why this would be called a compromise. Sure, eat meat, just leave the home you rent/own and have at it. – Tim Nevins Jan 2 '18 at 14:12
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From your other questions:

Alice began to develop a very bad body image and resorted to eating almost nothing or vomiting her meals. [source]

Assuming this is true, this could be a very serious health issue.

She has been to a clinic for help and has seen doctors, and has gotten better as a result.

Yes, it's great that she sought help.

But now, it would seem her new behavior is just as unhealthy and dangerous as before, except now she's refusing to seek professional help.

Let's dig down into what happened:

She's trying the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet and since Alice is a vegetarian, her diet as it is, sounds unhealthy

You're correct.

I know about the keto diet, the keto diet is fine, and it works really well, but doing a ketogenic Atkins-like carnivore diet as a strict vegetarian makes as much sense to me as eating food and vomiting all of it.

It is so restrictive, it makes zero sense at all.

...she always complains about being tired and sleepy. As a result, she often takes multiple naps throughout the day even when she has had a solid 8-9 hours of sleep. She told me she doesn't need a doctor when I suggested seeing one.

Not enough fuel means not enough energy.

And yes, I believe you were right to mention that she should see a Doctor.

The Question: Girlfriend wants me to eat no meat/fish when I'm staying with her,

She may be trying to control your diet as a pre-emptive defensive move because you've shown concern over her eating habits and have been wanting to intervene.

For instance, sending her that picture of a nice plate of beef and potatoes may have been perceived as you taunting her since her diet dictates that she shouldn't be eating beef, nor potatoes.

After all, I also have vegetarian friends and I certainly do not go out of my way to send them pictures of things I know they wouldn't enjoy/can't eat.

how do I not offend her further but keep to my own diet?

You're young. She's young. This is also a long distance relationship.

Pick your battles. Eat veggies when you visit, load up on eggs in the morning, and go out even if she's sleeping most of the day, but don't be afraid to bring up the issue of her possibly needing medical professional help with her family and with her before you leave (if you feel her pattern of unhealthy behaviors has been confirmed and has continued during your stay). Also, you may want to read this article.

The worst that could happen is that she gets upset with you and breaks up with you. That would be a very unfortunate outcome, but sometimes that can't be helped. Developing boundaries for yourself is a normal part of growing up. Also, long-distance relationships can be extremely difficult, especially when you're young.

Just make sure to bring enough money to pay for your own lodging and travel expenses in case she breaks up with you and asks you to leave. If you break up early in your stay, don't be afraid to continue with your vacation either. Just stay at a youth hostel. Youth hostels are a great way to make friends. Just please, resist the urge to get into a long distance relationship with the first girl you find (that likes you back). A vacation fling is fine. What I mean to say is not to accept another long-term commitment with a girl if neither of you can commit to staying geographically close to each other.

  • I am not a vegetarian, but I am a big fan of low-carb diets. I just want to comment that it is possible to do a low-carb or even keto vegetarian diet, but food variety is extremely limited on that type of diet. It would take dedication to sustain that in a health way, but it is possible to do. If you were talking about vegan instead of vegetarian, then that would be much more difficult to accomplish. – Itsme2003 Apr 9 '18 at 6:06
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I think the most important part here is that her behaviour has markedly changed from previous meetings with her and the best solution going forward might be for you to first enquire what has led to her change of mind. One possible reason might be that she never really approved of you consuming meat in her vicinity but she did not mention it at first, for example out of fear of scaring you away. So she went beyond her own limits to accomodate you which is, in my mind, a sign that she really cares about you.

Going from my own and I believe somewhat comparable experience as a non-drinker I don't particularly enjoy the taste when kissing my girlfriend after she has consumed alcohol. But for the sake of our relationship this is a compromise I am willing to make. The alternative for me would be not kissing her when she has drunken alcohol, but this would feel like punishing her for something that is pretty much my own choice, so I am not going to do it.

But now that she seems to be stricter on that topic it could mean several things. Maybe her beliefs that lead her to becoming vegetarian have evolved in a way where she feels worse about people eating meat. Where previously it was possible for her to tolerate it, now she might feel offensively repulsed by it.

And while she might not be consciously trying to convert you, if her problem with other people eating meat is becoming bigger, that might be a red flag for a possible future together. So when you are talking to her about her change in behaviour, you should pay extra attention to the language she is using. If she is saying things like that she finds the smell repulsive, or does not like the way you taste after eating meat, etc. these are all signs that, should you desire so, once you move in together her vegetarinarism might pose a regular problem and be a common flashpoint in your household. In that regard you might be forced to make a choice: change your diet as much as possible to accomodate her or risk a tumultous relationship that might or might not end well because of your differences in diet.

So, to sum it up, I think you should ask her why she is stricter now than before. And I think you should try to lead the conversation towards your future together and

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As always, there are at least two relevant positions. I am a vegetarian myself for quite some time, my wife is not. So I think I have seen most of these discussions close and upfront.

To your question: You can not control whether somebody will be not offended. This is the task of the offended. Even with the best of intentions you still can offend someone. But the intentions are the core of this answer. Because you need to get your intentions straight and communicate them well. Also, this is something within your reach.

So what are your intentions?

Intention: You don't want to be changed/converted?

To take all your fears away: No one can convert you.

Are you afraid she might convince you? I guess they won't force feed you with tofu.

This is a decision you have to make for yourself. And anyone has to make for themselves. Without an intrinsic motivation you cannot change anything for an extended period of time.

But keep in mind that your decision reflects on your character and how much you value the convictions of your partner. When my wife and/or me are cooking at home it is 99.9% of the time vegetarian. When we eat outside like in a restaurant, or at a party, fair, shopping tour everybody orders what they like the most.

Intention: Trying to avoid offensive behavior/ further discussions

Don't eat meat while staying with her. Progressing with the same approach that you are asked to restrict for a short period of time will most certainly be perceived as offensive. I would.

Intention: I need my meat... and I don't want to discuss that!

Fair, but might be seen as quite stubborn, childish and selfish. Also a lack of some empathy and decency to at least some degree.

Conclusion:

Try to understand why exactly this is important to your partner. Or why it is more important then before.

Try to understand why this bothers you, and what your intentions are.

Respect the rules of the inviting party or don't visit.

Additional:

I really like your example of the guest cooking for the host, as sign of gratitude or gift or any kind of appreciation what so ever... Maybe try cooking a vegetarian dish this time. You might want to offer something nice to the whole family, maybe especially to your partner.

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    I think your first Intention around fears of conversion is off-base or at the very least incomplete. Yes, it's true that no one can convert you, but they sure can pester the heck out of you which can be detrimental to your relationship. Whenever you are dealing with someone who holds strong beliefs (be they moral, religious, political, etc..) and intent on proselytizing, it is vitally important to draw firm lines on what behaviors are or not acceptable. Otherwise you are just encouraging behavior which will surely be the source of future problems in your relationship. – user2904 Dec 29 '17 at 14:27
  • @DanK thanks for the comment, you are absolutely right, i didn't emphasize this enough. Maybe because my approach is to embrace diversity on opionbased topics. I love all verbal arguments about such topics, but in the end, as long as nobody is hurt, it doesn't make you a lesser of a person when you don't share my view. But the result might be, that someone is less interessted in communication (or living together...). But i didn't want to be judgemental about their quality of relation, since that would have been off topic for me, or not for me to weigh. – Bob Bobson Dec 30 '17 at 5:17
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I think you should first have a talk about how you discuss about this topic.
If you send a picture of what your eating, assumably because you like it and wanted to share the experience of having a nice meal, it is not acceptable behaviour to get a "DISCUSTING". Respect goes two ways, if she wants you to respect the vegetarian ways, she needs to respect yours as well.

Imagine the following:
You send that picture of your meal and she replies with a friendly "That looks like a nice meal for you, enjoy!", respecting you. You know/respect her bounderies and she knows/respects yours.
And now you get the question "Hey, while we're at my parent, could you please skip the meat requests? We're quite vegetarian, so...". Whole different vibe now.

IMO the 'eating less meat' is worth a discussion, but it has to be just that: a discussion, not one getting angry for having different preferences. Find the middle ground, I can promise you there is one.

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    Tbh, I think it's not off topic at all. I feel like OP is mostly annoyed that he feels pushed into vegetarianism, which is more a communication problem then an actual diet problem. I think the way they discuss it is actually most of the problem. – josephine Dec 29 '17 at 13:49
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    "disgusting" is certainly not an acceptable phrasing on its own, but to a fair amount of vegetarians, that's just what meat honestly is. And that's why you cannot expect vegetarians to comment positively on a picture of a meal containing meat, you can just expect them to convey their repulsion in a less offensive way (maybe "Please don't send me pictures of things you should know are disgusting me." if it's true that they should know or "Sorry but meat/fish disgusts me, I know I can't force you to stop eating it, but at least don't send me pictures" if maybe the don't). – Nobody Dec 29 '17 at 14:36
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    @Nobody I do think it depends on the context. I think for a lot of long distance couple, there is a lot of picture sharing. If this is just one of many food pictures, then I think it's weird to have such a big reaction. She could also have ignored the picture or ask to stop sending meat/fish picture or said something like 'enjoy your dinner'. – josephine Dec 29 '17 at 15:39
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    @josephine I think the same. If they share meal pictures all the time, "disgusting" would be rude. However, if they NEVER send pictures of meals, then the meat picture could almost be taken as a dig against her being vegetarian, and she rightly got defensive. I personally love sending pictures of meat to my vegetarian friends. They know I do it to mess with them, and with love instead of anger/annoyance/whatever, so they say "you dick" or send a picture of tofu. But that's just how our group is, I wound't do that to someone who doesn't know what I'm going for, or might take it seriously. – user3316 Dec 29 '17 at 22:11
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If you are staying with your girlfriend's parents then they are providing the meals correct? So on the surface it seems quite simple you will be eating what they serve right? You did mention that her Dad sometimes eats meat. Does this mean that her dad may have meat during the meals that you are being served? If this is the case and during such a meal her Dad offers you some meat then I see absolutely no reason why you should pretend that you wouldn't like some. On the other hand I would not just blatantly ask for meat without it being offered to you as you are a guest. If you are offered meat and partake and this somehow offends and upsets your girlfriend then I believe that the real question is more on the lines of "why are you with a person who wants to change you in such a basic way?"

Also somewhere up above you mentioned a concern that if you abstained from eating meat that your girlfriend may use this against you saying something along the lines of "See you don't need meat". Again my question would be if this is how she is then why are you with her? It really doesn't matter if you need or don't need meat. You like meat, that is what matters.

At some point you will need to face the reality that being with a vegetarian, when you are not one, is very similar to being with someone of a different religion than yours. These relationships are not impossible but they do require a lot of work, patience and understanding. The key thing to remember is that there should be work, patience and understanding from both of the people involved and not just from yourself.

My honest advice is to re-evaluate your relationship. What is it about her that makes you want to be with her. What is it about you that makes her want to be with you? What if you are not willing to change and she is not willing to stop trying to change you? Or vice-a-versa? How do you see that working out? To be blunt... if the answers to the above questions are something like "the sex is great" then this relationship will not stand the test of time.

5

She's trying to control your behavior and is using your stay as a pretext.

It's reasonable to let you know that you won't be served meat, if that's the case, but your answer implies that there may be meat available, and she wants you not to eat it.

To provide some context as to whether I have a bias: I eat meat substitutes a lot and go many days without meat, and I avoid some meat entirely (veal, lamb, pork products). This is more for concern about the animals' suffering than health concerns.

It sounds like your girlfriend wants to pressure you into doing things her way rather than persuading you to see things her way, and this sends up a red flag. What will you do if you eventually marry and share a home? What else will she expect you to change about yourself to suit her preferences? What is she willing to change about herself?

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but if this happened to me I would seriously reevaluate the relationship. Over many years I've learned that some partners continue increasing their demands and expectations and this eventually reaches a very uncomfortable point. Some quirks, insecurities, preferences, and fears are part of the richness of a relationship, and accommodating them can be a worthwhile, self-sacrificing act of love and compromise, but if this is too one-sided or neurotic and goes unaddressed, it's often a recipe for unhappiness.

At the very least I would insist that she respect my freedom to choose. Maybe her reaction would tell you a lot.

I've been single for a few years now, so you can also weigh that into my credibility. :) Not looking, not willing to disrupt my life right now.

4

Coming from a mixed household myself, I can hopefully provide a little insight into why she thinks that way and how to handle it.

Her reactions to eating meat sound like they're the result of being opposed to the meat industry itself. Truth be told, many people become disgusted by meat after they learn how it is produced and what controversies surround it. In my family's case that was the motivator. I'm personally not vegetarian but I consented to a mostly vegetarian diet simply out of respect for their views. Cross-contamination of utensils was also a concern, so I avoided cooking meat as well. There are plenty of benefits to even a pseudo-vegetarian diet, so I took the opportunity to explore that side of cuisine and found a lot of great food as a result (not to mention it improved my health a bit).

This did not require totally giving up meat, as I still ate it sometimes at work or when out with friends, and that didn't cause any conflict at home. The key is to respect each others' boundaries, don't argue with her about it. It's okay to disagree, but you can respect her wishes for this trip without sacrificing any of your own integrity. Being flexible in this way and avoiding confrontation about it can prevent a lot of unnecessary argument, and it could even be that once you get there she won't press the issue if her father decides to cook meat or everyone goes to a restaurant.

The bottom line: Being compliant doesn't mean you're giving up ground. It actually gives you better standing in the future to say "No, I won't convert, I respected your views so please respect mine."

One final side-note: Vegetarians often find the look and smell of meat to be gross, so sending her pictures of your steak isn't going to garner any sort of good response ;)

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    On a personal note, learning more about the meat industry (thanks to my family) did actually change my views on eating it. I now strive to eat only products that are made humanely and "naturally" (though the key word "natural" is often misleading). I recognize meat has important nutrients and is a regular part of the human diet, but I fully support the efforts to reform the industry and reduce the mistreatment and artificial nature of a lot of feeder animals. Free-range, antibiotic-free, and wild caught, are all good terms to look for on your products. – thanby Dec 29 '17 at 16:26
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    thanby - Agreed. It may not be the virtuous choice that a purist would desire us to make, but it is definitely possible to do "better" when eating meat. Free-range chickens and cows have decent lives. I've seen free-range chickens in person, and they have a pretty good time really. Easy food, run around outdoors as they wish, and only one predator that they don't know about until it's too late. It's certainly not perfect, especially at the end, but it's far better than the other options. OP may be able to compromise somewhat to mollify his GF. – Aiken Drum Jan 2 '18 at 5:33
3

I think that, while your "fear" is understandable, it comes from a harsh stereotype - vegans/vegetarians will always try to force their habits on others, and this might be wrong.

You said you already discussed this and both reached an agreement, so you have that for you in favor if she ever attemps to "fully convert you" afterwards.

I think the best you can do here is to accept not to eat meat while in her parents' house, making clear that it is just for this time. If you want to reinforce that, take a day or two and go eat outside (just try to not sound rude).

You just need to pay attention to what happens during and right after that time: if someone else eats meat and you're the only one "forbidden", or if after that time she talks about how well you did, then yeah, you're possibly right and she wants to change you. This would be a serious red flag and should make you reconsider your relationship.

But if everyone else eats just vegan food, and after that you and your girlfriend go back to your usual habits, then you were wrong all along about your fear, and you owe your girlfriend an apology.

Every relationship relies heavily on trust. The only things that should damage that trust are things that already happened, and never things you're afraid will happen without any real evidence or proof.

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    A comment on the first paragraph: Dictat of the minority is very real. – Vladislavs Dovgalecs Dec 30 '17 at 23:12
3

But what I'm afraid of is that if I pull through this time

Your expressions make this sound like a necessity, like a drug addict sees the drug they're hooked on.

Her expressions are as if is a simple choice, like simply choosing not to wear the color red while staying with her parents.

With that said, one of you is going to have to give if the two of you want to resolve this. What you're describing is a typical conflict in a relationship: one person wants the other person to be a particular way, the other person doesn't want to be that way.

  • Jake wants Mary to stop smoking, Mary doesn't want to stop.
  • Sara wants Pat to stop going to the clubs on Saturday, Pat doesn't want to stop.
  • etc.

While it's not necessary to resolve every point of conflict in a relationship, it can often be helpful in the long run. As for how you do that...

But what I'm afraid of is that if I pull through this time, she'll use it as proof that I don't need meat at all and try to convert me.

Also, additional question is if I do go through with this, how do I stop it from snowballing into a full-blown conversion?

Ask yourself, "Why is it so important to me that I maintain my status as a meat eater?"

When you have that answer, communicate that answer to your girlfriend, and try to get an answer from her, "Why is it so important to you that I cease eating meat all together? I don't feel like it's harming you in the same way I would if I had other bad habits, like drug or gambling addiction."


Also, for the stay at her parents, ask yourself before you eat stuff, "How will this make my girlfriend react if I take this action?"

Then ask yourself, "Is this issue so important to me that I'm willing to cause that type of reaction in this person I care about?"

In other words, pick your battles.

3

Perspective: I eat meat. Many kind of meats, from time to time.

I traveled to countries where eating pork was frown upon, difficult or plain forbidden. I like pork but did not eat pork for weeks then.

I visited people who were vegetarians, stayed at their house and did not eat meat during that time. Man, the burger I got back home tasted great.

I went to places where I was given meat cuts which I could not stand. It was disgusting and I told them nicely that I will pass. I was offered a grilled monkey head once.

This is to say that meat is something you can afford to put in the side for a week. It is not like your girlfriend wants you to stop drinking water during that time.

I would also have a hard stare at the future of your relationship if you have to eat meat to the point that you are sending her, a vegetarian, pictures of your meal.

  • 1
    Thanks man, she did ask what i was eating, I'm guessing it was insensitive of me to send pictures of such. – SomeoneElse Dec 31 '17 at 1:24
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    @SomeoneElse: well, the way you put it in your question ("She really hates meat, once I sent a picture of my dinner which was beef and potatoes to which she replied "DISGUSTING".") suggests that you sent her a picture of the meat you were eating, unsolicited. – WoJ Dec 31 '17 at 8:10
  • Sorry man i'll try to phrase it better in the future. – SomeoneElse Jan 1 '18 at 8:03
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    Frankly if she asked, I don't see anything insensitive about sending her a picture. Now if you already knew she was "disgusted" by meat and sent her the picture... OK then that was a poor response on your part when you could've just said "meat & potatoes" or whatever. But if she doesn't want to know, she shouldn't ask. – Jonathan van Clute Jan 2 '18 at 4:01
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    @SomeoneElse - I agree with this, that's a pretty gray area. You were a bit dopey to send a vegetarian a picture of meat, but she really shouldn't be asking what you're eating if she knows you eat meat and she doesn't like seeing meat. I actually wonder if she was trying to spark a conversation about the subject or maybe just looking for an opportunity to say eating meat is disgusting. Ulterior motives are commonplace in our world. – Aiken Drum Jan 2 '18 at 5:29
3

You've already accepted an answer but I'll chime in anyway. You are simply not compatible as a couple. I say end it now before you go any deeper down the relationship path. What you consume is absolutely nobody's business but your own. If someone has to micro-manage what you eat, then unless you're into that... they are not appropriate for you (or you are not appropriate for them, take your pick).

I say this as someone who has never eaten meat in my entire life (well, possibly when I was 2... but I can't prove it and I'm in my mid 40s now). No reasons other than I don't want it, it holds no appeal, it is not "food" to me and never has been. My partner eats meat whenever she feels like it, though almost exclusively chicken. I don't mind what she eats, she doesn't mind what I eat (or don't eat). I say that's how it should be (again, unless that kind of discord and strife is just your thing, which it is for some people...)

Don't expect this to get better. Expect it to get worse especially if you intend to cohabit. If she needs to control what you eat, it won't stop there.

This will probably prove to be an unpopular opinion but I say quit while you're ahead. Find someone who doesn't insist on changing you.

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    I actually kind of agree with you. However, as we are in a LDR, our lifestyles have not been intersecting greatly. I'll take what you say in mind when i have a more serious and in-depth talk with her when we meet about this and if we cannot reach a acceptable agreement, i would have to bite the bullet and accept that this won't work. I have no wish to fight over my diet for the rest of the relationship. – SomeoneElse Jan 2 '18 at 3:54
  • Ahhh ok, yeah if you've been LD for a while, then this sort of stuff wouldn't have revealed itself. Good that you're seeing it somewhat early, and can make an informed decision. Good luck! – Jonathan van Clute Jan 2 '18 at 3:56
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    Thanks! I knew her briefly before she moved away so i only scratched the surface then. I'll probably update this when we had that talk. – SomeoneElse Jan 2 '18 at 4:03
1

You are visiting her house so your should ideally try to accommodate her wishes. You can always eat out if you can't go without meat for a week or so.

However, in the long term, if you guys are going to be together, you should really talk about this and come up with a mutually acceptable solution. Frankly, food and sleep are the most important parts of our lives and something we need each and every day. It would be difficult to lead a happy life if you are fighting about it every day.

I'm a vegetarian and I would never cook meat but if my husband wanted to eat it, I would ask him to cook it himself or order food from outside. If I totally prevent him from eating it and try to convert him or force him to eat things which he doesn't like, it's really not going to work out forever.

Please talk about your priorities and expectations from each other. "Snowballing into a full-blown conversion" is very very important

0

Personal Context:

I'm a vegan, I dated a girl for a few years who didn't share my diet, it was a non-issue. She had her food, I had mine. She didn't go for my frequently tofu based cooking much, and obviously I didn't share her meals either.

That said, I was totally happy to put stuff on the grill for her that wasn't vegan, I'd put cows milk in her tea the way she liked it, and she was happy enough to eat most of my more conventional cooking (pasta, veggies, stuff like that)

The important thing that made it a non-issue was that we respected each other's choices. We accepted that neither of us was likely to convert to the other's way of thinking and we made the conscious decision to not argue or fight over it.

Respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship.

On the other hand, the only person who can make you convert to vegetarianism is yourself. If she makes a convincing argument.. why are you fighting it? Just to play devil's advocate. Don't stick to your guns and go down fighting out of stubborness, but don't cave to her will either. Examine the idea, honestly, openly and come to a decision, if she doesn't respect that decision then perhaps you should examine your relationship with the same honest and open mindset.

  • hmmm, thought provoking, i would think about this, and maybe some self reevaluating. – SomeoneElse Jan 3 '18 at 1:00
0

Your partner feels anxious and expresses it with conflicts about meat. You fuel the fire in various ways. I imagine the relationship doesn't exactly soar when that happens. So, my recommendation is:

  • During your visit, confine your meat eating to any solo outings or outings with her father you might have.

  • Deflect confrontations about your meat eating when you are apart. Humor might be helpful here.

  • Show that you are listening carefully if she brings up the diet conflict, but then, in a pleasant, neutral voice, move on to another topic, or request a few minutes of quiet time.

  • Use this visit to have fun together, and be close. Make some good memories.

  • Allow yourself some independent time every day, for example running an errand, getting some exercise, reading a book on your own.

  • If the relationship fails, let it be for something that has nothing whatever to do with food.

Imagine your relationship ten years from now. Here's what I see in my crystal ball (based on observations of mixed couples I've known): you and she have agreed to raise your children as strict vegetarians. You are as cooperative with this as humanly possible. (You are never subversive.) You have meat for lunch when you're not at home. You don't bring meat into the house. In short, you respect her strong feelings on this issue, but you set up limits (boundaries) regarding your own conduct when you are out and about, as a separate person.

Bon voyage!

  • Thanks mate! i will definitely construct boundaries and limits where i am not bending backwards to much nor making her feel she is compromising too much. – SomeoneElse Jan 9 '18 at 5:16
-4

Make the issue about harm

Ask the following questions of yourself and your partner, and be as specific as possible with each answer.

  • Why is it harming you to convert to being a vegetarian?
  • Why is it harming you to abstain from meat/fish for a week?
  • Why is it harming her for your to eat meat?

When you have exactly what is causing harm, then ask the following:

  • How much harming of your partner, and of what type, are you willing to inflict?
  • How much harming of yourself are you willing to endure to avoid harming your partner?

Why do this?

Because a lot of the time in relationships we don't do things that really matter to us, but repeat things that other people have said and pretend to care about it.

For example, if you truly feel harmed by the idea of converting to vegetarianism, it could be the case that your partner doesn't realize how important this is to you. It could be the case that she will stop trying to convert you so stoutly if you explicitly express how strongly you feel about the issue. Maybe she doesn't realize how threatened you might feel by changing your eating habits.

On the other hand, saying it out loud may make you realize that, in fact, you don't feel as strongly as you thought, and your relationship is more important than staying non-vegetarianism. Maybe you're just repeating something someone else said about eating meat, and when you take the time to express your fears and thoughts with words, you force yourself to think about it more clearly.

If you make the issue about harm, then you clearly demonstrate to yourself and your partner exactly what is at stake. It could be a vague impression you're holding on to, or it could be your very sense of self. Either way, if you don't zero in on why this issue is so important to you and your partner, then this conflict will never truly be resolved.

If you make it about harm, then it's impossible to avoid the topic. If you say things like, "This is important to me, don't you care about what I want?" Then the immediate, and thoughtless, response is, "Of course I care about you and your wants." But if you make it about harm, then you say, "This is how much changing my eating habits hurts me. Is there some way I can avoid this pain, or can you help me ease into it more?" There's no immediate response when you explicitly express the harm involved, and instead it starts a true discussion.

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