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I have food ethics but my partner has none

AlysonJayne
Posted by AlysonJayne at 11/01/2011

After eating organic meat and dairy produce for some time I decided to become vegetarian. My partner was vegan when he was younger, but then reverted back to eating everything. It never bothered me very much before as I see it as a question of choice, but when he chucked some normal, instead of organic, milk in the shopping trolley today, it flipped a switch and I suddenly feel really angry with him. How can I resolve this incompatibility between our values in my head?

Responses

happycowgirl
happycowgirl11/01/2011 19:06:18
First, congratulations on going vegetarian! That is such wonderful news.

As to your dilemma, I don't think you can resolve it in your head unless you know for certain that he fully respects your values. He doesn't have to share the same values, beliefs or thoughts but he needs to respect yours. After all, all of our views change over time. We go from meat-eating to vegetarian to vegan or anywhere in between changing with new information and experiences we have in life. So if he threw the non-organic milk in the trolley and expected you to drink it, that's a big problem. Major red flag. But if he threw the non-organic milk in and then you threw your organic milk or soy, almond or coconut milk in, that can be delt with.

I'd say the path to a solution involves full communication. Does he know why you are vegetarian? why you choose organic? These are very personal choices of deep importance to most of us and he needs to know your thoughts and feelings. It's your responsibility to communicate them. It's his responsibility to listen to you and empathize with you though he may not agree with you. We're all a work-in-progress.

I feel very much for your situation and I think it happens a lot. One of my dearest friends is a vegetarian with a partner who is a major carnivore. The best she could do is to arrange that her partner cook meat while she is not in the house (she still has to see it in the refrigerator).

I've rambled on enough so I'll sign off for now.
All the best,
HCG
CNizz
CNizz11/11/2011 08:40:55
I was in a similar situation with my wife, but with the roles reversed Alyson. My wife has been a long-time vegetarian, while I was not. What it came down to for us was a level of mutual respect as well. She agreed that it would be unfair for me to compromise my diet and preferences to meet her needs, but I also chose not to flaunt my food choices in front of her and conformed to a cleaner diet when I was at the house. I found that I really enjoyed many of the vegetarian meals that she prepared, and it brought us together in the kitchen more often deciding how we could creatively cook meals that we both enjoyed. She would then choose to accept and overlook my meal choices when we would visit a restaurant, or if I occasionally cooked meat at home.

I would recommend keeping open communication regarding your food choices and ethics, so that he can be more mindful when shopping and cooking with you. Don't bottle your emotions, but explore them with your partner and look for compatible solutions.
AlysonJayne
AlysonJayne11/19/2011 03:39:42
Thanks for your balanced input and I support your views that respecting each other's choices is fundamental to having a having a healthy relationship (so long as these choices aren't abusing the other person or forcing them to act out of their value system). Overall, my partner's respectful of my food choices. I cook all of the meals for us and he's happy to eat veggie. He does have some fish and cured sausage in the fridge which he dips into but he doesn't expect me to prepare him dishes with them in.
I guess whether you can be with a non-veggie (and vice versa) depends also on your convictions and willingness to compromise with those closest to you, and some of us are different in that respect.

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