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Wisdom Forum

Ok, some background: Was vegan for 2 years, met my guy 8 months ago and went vegetarian (reasoning: 50% financial, 50% because vegan freaked him out). So his family is hard core Italian, really fun and sweet and I love being around them except...

dinner time is hell for me. I've had probably near 50 meals with his family and the veg thing is brought up every freakin' time. At first it was concern that I was or wasn't satisfied with the food, lighthearted joking, valid questions and minimal discussion. My usual response being to answer questions simply and sit quietly as they continued their discussion.

Even though it wasn't intended negatively, after awhile I was getting frustrated and began to avoid eating with them. Until last night. My guy was already "annoyed" with me since I didn't want to eat lunch with him, his mom even jokingly threatened to hold me down and shove food in my mouth and I got angry and nearly grabbed my things and left. Wish I had.

Dinner took a turn when I was jokingly offered the bar-b-que'd chicken and I politely refused as I always do. "Vegetarians want to save all the animals but they are eating all their food," "I'd rather see chickens in battery cages than pay $5 for a carton of eggs" and on and on it went. His mom even threw in a story about a fur coat she owns and how her minks grew up fat and happy on a farm. All this went on for a good 30 minutes while I kept my mouth shut, eating my potatoes and brussels sprouts, thinking how incredibly rude they were all being and how offended and hurt I was. I refrained from saying a word because when I get angry I get really mean.

I'm lost, I don't know what to do other than refuse to eat with them ever again lol. I could talk to my boyfriend and/or his family but I don't think that it's my place to teach respect to people 2-3 times my age. In addition, I don't want to screw up this relationship just because my feelings are hurt, I also don't want to be the stereotypical veg and respond to them the way they are expecting me to. (Sorry this post was so long, but yeah... so upset)

So now that I've painted the picture, what would you do? What would you definitely not do?

Thanks guys

Responses (10)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AndyT at 06/13/14 01:48:58


    I am really sorry to hear about your plight.

    To be very open - I do not understand why you put up with it. This is not going to get any better. You write that you went from being vegan to vegetarian because "it freaks your boyfriend out". That, to me, is a first, brightly coloured, red flag. If that person was a racist, would you than be happy about his fun, sweet family, who were wonderful all the time (except when they go to a Klan gathering) and accept that you will just have to be mean to coloured people to blend in? Would you "love" and "forgive" him?

    The behaviour of your boyfirends family is one thing. BUT - if your boyfriend would really love and respect you, he would stick up for you.

    My advice - end that rather sooner than later.

    Best regards,

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Eugene Nyunt. at 06/16/14 05:29:23

    If your current boyfriend just sits there without bothering to interject into his relatives' truly disgusting manners then I'm afraid there is also a problem with the guy himself, not to mention his foul folks. After a long period of a beautiful three (me, my younger sister, and my mum, my grandparents) I went vegetarian in my early teens in opposition to an idiot fundamentalist carnivore, whose medical wisdom (he's a doctor) was reflected in some incredibly ill-informed and crass comments. I didn't like him before, and despise him now for several reasons, and I can't recall having ever spoken to him in my life, rather than being talked at. As an adult I haven't seen him for nearly two decades. The point is this: your own feelings will not change, nor should you have to tolerate being hammered incessantly in this needless way. Honestly, unless you're in your very late thirties there will be better people you will be with.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by angelakelly02 at 09/29/14 00:30:37

    That's not an easy situation. But if you had to stop being vegan for this guy is he really worth it? If my man suddenly wasn't okay with me being vegan it'd be him out the door, not my lifestyle.

  • Annelovesdirt's avatar
    Report Abuse

    Posted by Annelovesdirt at 09/29/14 06:55:42

    I know this is a difficult situation -- I have the same problem with a few of my in-laws, but I am convinced that the best way to handle it is to accept that they are rude to you out of fear and ignorance. No, it is not your job to educate them but you can set a good example by being a loving, tolerant vegetarian. Sooner or later they will notice your healthy glow, your peaceful demeanor and maybe someday they will think....hmmm.. I'd like some of that.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Ausargent at 09/30/14 04:55:29

    I think you should take your own advice and never eat with them again.

    As for what I would do, well, I'd be enjoying my single life.

  • RiggerBoots's avatar
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    Posted by RiggerBoots at 01/10/15 20:03:58

    I'd speak with your boyfriend and explain to him that your eating-habits and beliefs are not for daily ridicule and condemnation, explain it's unsettling and frustrating to you as you are being polite in return.
    If your boyfriend can't take the issue up with his family then I'd be concerned as to how much he cares about you.
    If he has a word and yet it persists you ask them all directly at the table in a polite manner to stop as it's wearing very thin and it makes you comfortable.
    If it's the odd joke of offering you something or discussing the issue in general rather than direct-abuse/directly-aimed-at-you, then consider that due to you they are having conversations they otherwise would not have, you have raised the issue in their consciousness. You are the oddity and curiosity to them and they perhaps do not know that their jokes/discussion are getting to you, until I randomly decided to be vegan I never appreciated just how frustrating the situation you describe could be.
    If it's getting to you and it's unrelenting after all reasonable measures then do not eat with them in future.

    Good luck.

  • Kayales_XC17's avatar
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    Posted by Kayales_XC17 at 05/09/15 01:00:25

    I think it's a little unfair to you that you decided to change from vegan to vegetarian because of your boyfriend. My brother dates a lovely girl who is vegan and he didn't influence her to change in any way. Their relationship is pretty stable, too.

    Also, I agree with what some of the other people have said. You should at least try to talk about the issue with your boyfriend, and if he really truly cares about you, it is logical to assume that he'll stick up for you the next time his family causes choas at the dinner table.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Thalassa4 at 01/13/16 17:42:15

    Ahhh...certain cultures, Italians, many South Americans...are still very communal and group oriented in their views. I had my own problems dating someone whose family is from Argentina. ..and I recently decided to just avoid them. In the 21st century Western world what your partners parents are doing to you is considered disrespectful, even abusive, and no, you don't have to cave to this style of group pressure. Tell your bf you love him and will stand by him, but that you won't tolerate being treated this way by his family. If he sides with them against you, maybe he's not the man for you.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Thalassa4 at 01/13/16 17:53:43

    P.S....I'm exactly like you, in that I either shut up or become really mean when I'm angry. What his mother is doing is assertion of dominance, and culturally speaking, I think this is normal for Italian women (my involvement I mentioned was with an Italian strand of very aggressive Argentines, and I again truly think this is cultural) it will be veganism, tomorrow it will be how many children you decided to have or not have with Her Son, You're Lucky She Allowed You To Date Him...this is crap, the matriarchal version of the patriarchal redneck Southern fundamentalist father.

    You'll get over them,if your self respect is intact, I promise you. I don't like already that you went from vegan to vegetarian to suit your bf.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by TalkinBoutPractice at 01/15/16 12:29:48

    Leave his ass. This man should be sticking up for you. His mom will never change. People will take their meat eating ways to the grave even if their life depends on it! In 40-50 years we will see improvement but based on what you have told us this guy has no bawls.

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