Expressing your needs in a relationship as a vegan

Diana Banana

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Every case is different, and so is people. In my case, I'm not just a vegan; I'm a vegan activist, which means I dedicate most of my efforts to this cause. I had a 2-year relationship with someone special. The problem was that he never took veganism seriously, which meant he didn't take ME seriously. If my friends were to describe me with a word, they'd use "vegan". When I say he never took veganism seriously, that is something I found out after 2 years of being a couple. Of course he never even tried to learn about veganism, something very significant to me. But I didn't know that he thought veganism wasn't healthy. Like, how can you date a vegan activist if you think her core values are stupid?
I still don't understand why he kept on dating me for so long. He was my first boyfriend ever and I loved him with aaaalll my soul, so even if he rejected veganism, I still wanted to be with him. The thing is, as time passed by, I was learning more about myself and i realized I didn't feel good being with someone who ate disgusting stuff like calf tongue or just meat in front of me. At first I just told him to please brush his teeth after eating meat if he wanted us to kiss. But time passed by and I needed a little more of respect: i needed him not to eat meat at all in front of me. What he did the rest of the time, i didn't care. But when he was with me, I needed respect. So he thought I was manipulating him and we broke up.

What do you guys think? Was it a matter of respect or of manipulation? Regardless of whatever opinions I'll find here, deep down I listen to my heart and it tells me I did right staying true to myself. **** specism.
 

Indian Summer

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I'm far from a relationship expert, but to me it sounds like breaking up was probably the right thing to do. Which is sad, of course.

I don't think it sounds like manipulation, just that you realised after some time you felt more strongly about veganism and animal rights than you initially thought, and he felt more strongly about consuming meat than he felt about you.
 

silva

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It sounds like you both just grew apart.
Every one has differences from their partner, but in a good relationship they're acknowledged and kept in their place
It's like if you had different religious beliefs, or political beliefs. Not as easy as say, music or activities, but still workable if both cared enough to have boundaries and respect

You're very young. In time you'll probably see the breakup as the best thing for you.
In the meantime it really hurts to lose a love.
Stay strong
 

feather

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Is it not fundamental, as a human being to want to be known for your unique qualities and interests? To be 'seen' by another as you actually are? That natural curiosity and interest in you, seemed to be missing in that relationship with that person. If you had been a healer or a weaver or a gardener, they would have held you in the same disregard, dismissive of the 'you' they will never see. Their loss.
 

David3

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I agree with the posts here.

It's so much better and easier to just date other vegans. Don't try to date a meat-eater, hoping that they will change - it just adds frustration and disappointment for both people.
 
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Indian Summer

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In some areas there aren't lot of vegans, though. In that case, I guess the best option is someone who fully respects and supports your passion for veganism, maybe someone who is vegetarian or with whom you share the same outlook on the environment and politics etc.
 

shyvas

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In some areas there aren't lot of vegans, though. In that case, I guess the best option is someone who fully respects and supports your passion for veganism, maybe someone who is vegetarian or with whom you share the same outlook on the environment and politics etc.

Over here!:rolleyes:
 
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poivron

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I'm currently reading "Beyond Beliefs" by Melanie Joy, which deals specifically with the issue of intimate relationships between vegans and non-vegans. My spouse and I went vegan at the same time, so this issue is not really all that relevant to me, but I'm nonetheless learning some very important things about relationships in general -- what makes them work, and what makes them fail. This is not a typical self-help book; a huge amount of information is packed into every single paragraph.

As to the specific question, it's clear that you were not trying to manipulate him; you were trying merely to set some boundaries to protect yourself. It's also likely that he nonetheless genuinely felt manipulated. In other words, there was miscommunication, and probably also a failure to empathize on both sides. That is not to say that the relationship should not have ended. You needed your partner to be supportive of your veganism, and there was probably not very much you could have done to get him to see your perspective.
 

Danielle

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I agree with the posts here.

It's so much better and easier to just date other vegans. Don't try to date a meat-eater, hoping that they will change - it just adds frustration and disappointment for both people.
Just have to accept the fact that they won't change for you. Me and my bf have had more disagreements about other things than veganism, because I came in with the expectation that he won't change.
 

Humble Carrot

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Relationships are a mixture of happiness and sadness. The pain of separating from someone you love is difficult mentally and physically. I empathize with you. However, this might be for the best. What if the relationship dragged on for 10 years? At that point, leaving one another would be agonizing to say the least. Some people stay in a miserable relationship because they do not want to be alone. I'm not saying that's you and you are no longer with this individual so that's definitely not you.

You're young. You will surely find someone who respects your values and understands your activism. I say find a Vegan dude! This will make things soooOooOoOo much easier.

In the meantime, enjoy yourself and remember to smile everyday. You are a hero to me. Just like many individuals on this forum and around the world who choose a Vegan lifestyle. Also, big hug from me for your activism. I respect that. Our animal friends love you dearly.
 

feather

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You might find vegan friends (friends are a good start to something more) taking a vegan cooking class, or getting involved in whole food plant based groups. I don't remember which group had 'pods' where people get together to learn more and support each other. I'd look in the produce aisle of the grocery store. Maybe now is too soon, but you made a good decision to ask for respect for yourself. A good relationship isn't always smooth, and sometimes we have to agree to disagree, but both parties should treat each other with respect.

On a less serious note. If I die soon, my husband will be wanting to meet a single vegan woman. So..make sure I'm kicking but if I'm not, go ahead and look him up. I'm so proud of him making so many changes to support his health this past 2 years. And he has had time and opportunity to eat at McD's and cheat all he wants but he doesn't want to. He's thrilled with how he feels and doesn't want to go back to how he was before. I've also noticed, last night in fact, he took extra time carefully opening the patio door, to not hurt the frogs that were on it. Miracles never cease.

About the 'next guy', make sure he treats you with respect, all, the, time, and of course treat him with respect as well. Best wishes to you and your better future.
 

VeganRachel

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Hi. I think it is more difficult for men to have the courage to become vegan in a world full of omnivore men.
A world where meat is worshipped as the fuel for male testosterone, strength, virility, and sexuality. Yet the
truth is opposite. Erectile dysfunction is not caused by tofu, beans, broccoli, brown rice, avocado, almonds or lentils.
A world where vegetables and salads are seen as feminine and something girls eat. A poll of men found that omnivore
men considered "vegan" men to be weaker and more feminine. How sad.
There are vegan men who have made a commitment to ethical veganism. More will follow. Some humans have
the ability to change to veganism, some do not want to, or cannot It is much easier to be a conformist than to stick out from the crowd.
I made this commitment many years ago and am grateful it is the right choice for me as I love animals and vegetables.
I have met several vegan women who have meat-eating husbands. I think that is gross, but we all make our own choices.
I think it is best if both partners are looking in the same direction and share the same ethics towards animals. Peace.