Relationship with non Vegan - Advice needed

anon

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Hello all,

Hope you are well.

I am currently in a difficult situation as my girlfriend of almost 6 months who I love dearly approached me recently with some difficult information.

So without going into too much detail, here are the basics of what has happened:

I've been vegan for almost exactly one year now (I'm currently 16), and I met my girlfriend 6 months ago on an online dating platform. We started meeting up very soon after and started dating and it has been amazing, until something that has happened now.

She turned vegetarian shortly after we started going out, and I knew that I must have somewhat influenced that decision, but apparently it had gotten really bad for her because she felt pressured into it and on a survival school trip, she ran out of vegetarian food to eat and ate meat, and was petrified to tell me. I am very glad she did though, and I told her that her well being and health is important to me and it would be better than letting it go to waste, and apparently I reacted in a very 'chill' way, which surprised her as she thought I was going to end the relationship, which I did not want to.

Now she told me how pressured she felt and I immediately apologised as this was never my intention, I don't believe in spreading the vegan message by forcing people etc so it was a shock but we worked it out.

Anyway, now her conclusion is that she wants to start eating meat every now and again, but as a vegan this upsets me a lot... and I just don't know what to do! She knows all about how animals are kept etc, I have shown her documentaries but she seems pretty firm with her decision.

Shall I give it time? What should I do?

Many thanks in advance.
 

Damo

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Welcome.

It really depends on how you feel about that person, most of the people you're going to meet are not going to be vegan or vegetarian and not everyone is able to make the transition to veganism obviously as you said which I agree with you shouldn't force or pressure anyone into veganism but you'll have to tell her how you feel about her eating meat, you'll also have to figure out whether this other persons choice is enough to end your relationship.

Shall I give it time? What should I do?

I don't think you should wait and expect her to change because she may not, speak to her and explain how you're feeling.

Also, I'm no relationship expert ;)
 
W

winter.frost

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This is interesting, though I'm sure it's painful and confusing to go through and I am sorry for you.

Have you asked her how she feels about game meat? That is, meat-sources that have not been 'reared'. I'm just trying to think utterly pragmatically here, and it's not perfect, but if she insists upon eating meat then game would be the best.

You are probably not living together, which makes it a slightly different situation. Honestly at the early stage in your relationship, and without you sharing a space, I think it is all you can do to talk to her. But you will need to consider where your boundaries are if the relationship becomes more serious. I know some couples who keep a 'vegan household' with the rule that they don't bring animal products home (if one of them is not vegan).

The more difficult question is how you feel about being in a relationship with someone who knows something of the horrors of the animal agriculture industry but is too addicted to meat to stop. No answers there. As Damo says, she may never change. I know you are both young, but I think you need to have a frank and open-ended conversation if you can.

All the best.
 

fzjohnson

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Wow ... I confess, I have worked with your cohort and rarely find anyone with such a mature and thoughtful attitude. That's not to say they were foolish 16 year olds, just not as mature and non-reactive as you seem.

I think in these and similar situations no matter what the age there are three words that work ... for me, anyway ... four, if you include the word "kindness" at the end.

The three words are time, limits (aka boundaries) and self-awareness.
Time: No decision has to be made in a hurry (unless it is life-threatening, which most of the important ones tend to become eventually). The best decisions are made without haste ... so yes, I agree with you ... more time but for you both, not just for her.
Limits: You need to be comfortable with hers as much as she needs to be comfortable with yours. So if she's uncertain of her limits, changing a bit here, changing back again, then maybe friendship is the way forward until she knows for sure? It's great she is considering vegetarianism and veganism intelligently. If she were weak willed she'd just do it in front of you then eat burgers behind your back. She sounds real and upfront, which is great even when it doesn't blend so easily with your ideals, right? The decisions we all make for ourselves are the ones that last the longest. Also, she's not going anywhere, so if you find it gnawing at your romantic relationship then perhaps it wouldn't be quite so problematic in your friendship? This sounds like a cop out, but it does buy you both some time and keeps the relationship strong and open ended.
Self-awareness: It sounds like what you've implied ... she is gracefully learning and trying out more and you have kindly made her consider things she might not have, if she'd been less open minded. As a community we thank you for that. If you give her the space to learn some more on her own, then you're contributing in the best possible way.

I also agree with the game meat as a less cruel option ... however my sneaky gene wants me to send you the best ever vegan chocolate cake recipe. ;-) ... Do you cook? There's an old adage that says, "the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach" ... okay, so I've flipped the gender, but you get my drift. Next time there's a school trip why not slip her a resealable bag of vegan treats ... wow, that would melt any girl's heart ... double word score/mega brownie points :) This is number 4 btw (kindness).

All the best and thanks for your post. I think I needed to read it for me too.
 

Sally

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How wonderful that you have come to be a vegan at such a young age. It sounds like your girlfriend is living in a meat-eating household, so it will be very hard for her to be vegetarian all the time, especially if her family are not completely understanding of her recent change. She might have to give-in now and then for a bit of peace. There is a wider picture, pressure will come from her friends too, it's probably not you at all. We each walk our own path and hopefully you can tolerate each other's differences and walk together.