Relationship issues

noaddedsugar

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Hi all :) I'm new here and was just looking for a little bit of advice.

Like many, I decided to make the switch to vegan in the new year. It's something I had been thinking about for a while and although I had a vague idea about the cruelty of the meat/dairy industry I almost chose to be ignorant in some way.. I knew once I did my research and discovered the full extent then that would be it and it would make the switch to vegan something I wouldn't even question. So it's been 20 days and everything is going great. I don't miss meat or dairy products at all. I've had the odd comment from family and friends - mainly being called a freak or too extreme. I completely understand why it's unusual for people I know as prior to this I was quite the meat eater - I'm talking meat with almost every meal. I can take the negative comments on the chin from friends and family because deep down I think I am not affecting your life.

The problem is with my relationship. My partner has adopted a pescatarian diet for the month and was supportive to me at first but now I think she is beginning to get frustrated. Like many (and even myself) I don't think she realised how many food items contain animal products. I think she thought that I wasn't going to stick this out beyond the month because I said I would gave myself a month to see if I would be successful. Already the comments have started about how awkward I'm being and I've had all of the talk about how if I carry on with this we will never be able to have the foods we normally have such as takeaway pizzas, our usual order from the chinese takeaway and a roast dinner with meat every Sunday. She's made the point of how difficult it will make things having to cook separate meals constantly. I completely understand her frustration as we have been together 4 years and she has always known me as a meat eater. I didn't even make the transition slowly so I can get she is annoyed with the change. I even remember many moons ago uttering the words 'Ugh, I could never date a vegetarian' and the concept of vegan was completely alien to me. Even though I've educated myself and changed my beliefs I would never put any pressure on her what so ever to change her diet and wouldn't mind her eating meat in front of me and I know many people are passionate and it would be ideal if everyone in the world thought the same way but I understand our culture and would never try to push my view point on people.

I don't want to abandon this lifestyle - I honestly feel like my entire mindset has changed. Like I will look at someone eating meat/dairy and be turned off immediately. I'll hug my cats and think about how they mean so much to me and think 'I wouldn't eat you or want you to suffer so why should I support an industry that does that to other animals?'

I'm just afraid that this is going to put so much stress on our relationship and cause arguments. I can already see it happening. I was just looking for a bit of advice on how to deal with this situation. Has anyone else been through anything similar with transitioning with a partner who didn't approve?
 

Sally

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Hi noaddedsugar and welcome.
I've been vegan for 16 months and my husband is a meat eater. He was very supportive and then worried that I might make him be vegan. Then he felt guilty when he was eating as usual and I wasn't, it was like I was on a diet, but I've stuck to my guns and just carried on being vegan and he has realised that I'm not trying to change him and we are pretty much okay. Sometimes he'll say that we can't have this or that because I can't eat it, but I try and find a way that he has what he wants and I have what I want and then it's okay. He's learned to respect my choice and I his and that's where you need to aim for. The relationship will be fine if you can just accept each other's differences and make room for them. Tomarto, tomayto, potarto, portayto, let's agree to disagree. :)

PS I have a lot of boring food when we go out as meat eaters reign in restaurants and cafe. I usually end up with baked beans on dry toast or chips and black tea or coffee while he eats his all day breakfast.:(
 
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noaddedsugar

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Thankyou Sally :)
That's so great that it works out for you guys! Does your husband ever get frustrated with you? Did you used to eat meat or were you veggie before vegan? I'm just worried that as time goes on her tolerance will start to lower. I mean she has tried to be supportive, even bought some quorn mince the other day and I didn't have the heart to tell her I couldn't eat it because it contained egg so it's just sitting in the freezer. The problem is it's such a big change I can see why she thinks I'm being awkward but I'm obviously not meaning to be.

Yeah I can already see eating out is going to be a big challenge. We had a hotel stay last week with breakfast included and my breakfast was dry toast and beans :( so disappointing when there is such a wide variety to eat on a vegan diet but so many places unwilling to cater for it. Hopefully this will change!
 

Connie

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Hi @noaddedsugar

You've done it the hard way. Stick it out. You need to show her how things can be the same. For example, and whilst it may not be the price range you were thinking of, pizza express do a vegan pizza. It contains no cheese or dairy products whatsoever. They will switch out the garlic butter if you order dough balls with any option you want. I'll have balsamic sauce with olive oil or even olive oil with garlic instead. Lady time I looked there was even a dairy free egg free sorbet (can't rent if it was raspberry think it was) but the dark chocolate straw had milk in it so I had it on the side and my hubby had it as a treat. They will also leave off the cheese (s) on any pizza, you just have to ask. He's veggie I'm vegan, fatally allergic to dairy products btw.
Wagamama's have various vegan options as well. Just ask. Find ways around. Gastric pub restaurants often are quite happy to cook something for me, if I ring up and explain. Most places where they cook something from scratch can help. You just need to plan. OK garlic bread from xyz supermarket is out, but fresh pasta and a tomato sauce isn't. A surprising number of dolmio sauces are vegan without people knowing. Pringles Texas BBQ are vegan, hobnobs original or choc chip are vegan but not the dark chocolate covered ones. Many craft beers are unfiltered and are vegan. Check out barnivore.com for what wine and beer is vegan.
Why not start looking at the ways the same meal can be both vegan and what she wants? Cook more at home? Cook everything as per the meal instructions, put keep the meat separate. Bolognese is easy, she gets the fried beef (is it?) You get the fried tofu or better still fried tvp. IKEA's veggie balls are vegan. Use those. Even eat in their restaurant. Veggie balls hold the sour cream, it's no issue to them. Add chips or roasted veg... There's bread rolls, a chip buttie with senap (Swedish mustard) or tomato sauce as the butter. There are plenty of options around if you look or ask people. Even service stations are resort now in the UK. M&S have a great range of vegan salads. Look for the ones with the honey vinegette, is in a separate container inside the package, change it for something you have either taken work you or bought there... It sounds to me like you need to be more creative. OK Yorkshire pudding is more difficult but there are some great vegan sausages, gravy and key options available. Sunday roast, just roast the potatos in olive oil and fine yourself something to go with the veg and a vegan gravy. I usually make to sausages or burgers from the freezer isle in the supermarket if I haven't made my own.

Just a few ways things can still be the same for you.

Connie.
 

Sally

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Hi noaddedsugar, I was vegetarian for a couple of years before, but that didn't make much difference, in fact it is easier being vegan as I have got out of the mindset of replacing meat with dairy and subsequently make more interesting meals, using vegetables and beans, and vegan mince is really the only meat substitute I use, and that rarely. As you get into it you will learn more and more and my husband will say "that smells nice" and I say "that's mine." She might be worried that you are not eating enough, often my husband will ask me if I have enough, but just reassure her that you understand the needs of your body and that you feel great (provided you do). I was looking at Melania Trump today, she's 45 and is so lovely and I realised that so many ex-models like Joanna Lumley and others have all aged healthily and beautifully, so clearly eating a lot is not necessary to a healthy life or old age, we just have to eat enough. Regarding the mince, are you in England, as Tesco does a lovely vegan soya mince, it's very realistic and they also do really nice No Dairy splits and cornetto style ice creams made from lupin beans. Do not buy the Tesco meatballs though as they have egg in to hold them together I suppose. Keep going and don't preach and it will become the norm, there must be lots of things you differ on. I say you get together because of all the things you have in common, then spend years finding out all the things you don't have in common. Just concentrate on the bits you do agree on. :)
 
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noaddedsugar

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Thanks for the advice :)
It's getting worse. There's been comments like 'I didn't sign up for this' and 'I would never willingly get into a relationship with a veggie/vegan' 'We will never be able to eat [this meal] again' and loads of sarcastic comments.

I'm just worried this is seriously going to damage things.. I keep trying to point out that it's not going to affect her and she can eat what she wants but she says it is and it's making things awkward.
 

Sally

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Aahh, she might think you are just purposefully going somewhere she can't, at present, follow. I suppose if your partner suddenly changes their lifestyle you might think that you aren't going to fit into it anymore and would feel insecure and, as always, that tends to bring out anger. Yes, you want her to support you, but you need to support her too. Tell her that it doesn't matter to you if she eats meat, make her meals as important as yours. Explain to her that it is only food and stuff, in all the other areas of your life together things are the same. You must have more in your lives than just eating meals. Sometimes, I cook my husband pork sausages and I have vegan, other than that the meal is identical. Don't complain about her food being near yours, or buying it. You have cut animal consumption in your home by 50%, that's fine.

My friend suddenly threw up her office job after about twenty years and announced she was going to art college. Her marriage didn't survive as her husband felt like he'd been given up along with the job. Don't let that happen, you can work this out, it's give and take, and, as you are the one to change, you will probably find that you have to be the one to give. :)
 

mtotheb

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Hey man. I feel your situation. Funny enough I have posted something similar to your post. I know it's really hard and it feels like once you have made a step and got that connection, it's impossible to go back to ignorant bliss. I guess the answer is to fight the long game? Back down a bit, eat the odd bit of chocolate or what not to show your not an Extremist and gradually work in the vegan life style. This is my game plan. The way I look at it IS we have done really well to make that connection and we are in a position to make a small difference and pass on the message to those who want to listen.

Maybe hit her with a compromise and have a binge day every now and again, while introducing the occasional vegan alternatives until she is ready to let you fly forward. I think from my own experience I went it too hard and fast, like I'm always thinking about what to eat and I get real excited by food now WHICH drives my partner nuts since she wants chicken and ribs and Whisper Chocolate.

What I'm trying to say is I'm in a similar camp to you and I think I'm too hard on myself, I know what's up and I will keep fighting but my relationship is everything to me as well so Balance is key. Dunno what do people think?