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Vegans with Meat Eating Partners

Anyone else feeling hostility from the online AR community?

1 - 10 of 18 posts   1 | 2  

...2 ...2 WA Posts: 2307
1 19 Jul 2013
I am a proud, passionate vegan, who is working towards being a better activist for animal rights. I am also very active online about animal rights, particularly on Tumblr.
My other half is a meat eater. I have not tried to change his thinking and change his lifestyle. Mostly because I know that pretty much nobody responds to activists being forceful like that, PARTICULARLY when they know the activist personally.

But, for dating me, he regularly eats vegan meals, and asks me questions about my lifestyle, which means that he is learning more about it and becoming more open minded.

Still, I'm feeling a lot of judgement recently from the online vegan community regarding vegans dating nonvegans. A lot of people suggest that you can't really be vegan if you are willing to date somebody who eats meat, or that you are a lesser activist, that you care less about the cause. It's quite hurtful. Most of these people are fortunate that they people they fell in love with happen to already share their lifestyle.

But many people go veg because of a partner, and others eat less animal products than ever before, or decide not to wear leather and fur, or choose to purchase products not tested on animals. Surely, these are all positive things?

Any other vegans on here feeling a little put down by other activists because of who they fell in love with?
Any thoughts on dating people whose ethics stand differently from yours?

Kels Kels QLD Posts: 6
2 19 Jul 2013
Hi there,

I'm dating a meat-eater as well and I found that in the past (before I started dating this guy) when I told other potential partners about being veg they weren't very supportive or would make comments about it. My Bf is very understanding and, although he won't go veg, he would never try to change me or put me down in any way. He says that I make him feel guilty for eating meat - which I really didn't intend to do but because I'm so vocal when I see horrible things on TV and ads promoting eating meat as being "Australian" he wonders if I include him as one of the 'bad guys'. It's hard when you're passionate and they're not. But I have got him thinking more about the ethics of what he eats.

As for feeling guilty myself, I suppose it's difficult because you have to wonder what will happen if you have kids together. I try not to think that far ahead but sometimes a little voice in my head asks the question. It's an important question though! What WILL happen. Who gives up their belief for the other? It seems "mainstream" society would side with the meat eater. It could be a battle.
I don't usually have a lot of trouble from vegans/vegetarians about dating a meat eater but I do get asked the "How can you do it" question a lot. It's about mutual respect. I'm not religious, he is. I respect that. Simple. I'm not saying it's easy though. It would be fantastic to be with a veg but there is much more to my bf than just his eating long as I don't have to cook it! happy

...2 ...2 WA Posts: 2307
3 19 Jul 2013
Kels said:
Hi there,

I'm dating a meat-eater as well and I found that in the past (before I started dating this guy) when I told other potential partners about being veg they weren't very supportive or would make comments about it.
Yeah, back when I was single, I met a guy who was interested, until he heard I was vegan. Then he backed up and said it was a total turn off.
tongue Well, so is that attitude!

Kels said:
My Bf is very understanding and, although he won't go veg, he would never try to change me or put me down in any way. He says that I make him feel guilty for eating meat - which I really didn't intend to do but because I'm so vocal when I see horrible things on TV and ads promoting eating meat as being "Australian" he wonders if I include him as one of the 'bad guys'. It's hard when you're passionate and they're not. But I have got him thinking more about the ethics of what he eats.
So is mine! In return, I try to be as un-pushy as possible. I haven't really spoken much about how passionate I am about veganism yet, our relationship is still relatively young, but gradually I'm letting him see more and more of how much animal rights means to me. He's always very open minded and willing to listen.

Oddly enough, it's vegans who suggest that dating a meat eater compromises my ethics that I've been experiencing, not a difficult boyfriend!

Kels Kels QLD Posts: 6
4 19 Jul 2013
Unbelievable! He actually said it was a "turn off"???? Right....because having Meat Breath is so sexy?! Yeah I'd have ditched him without a second thought. Having compassion isn't a turn off. It's a wonderful part of my personality that I'm most proud of! I'm sure you're the same! I wouldn't go back for anything!
I'm glad your current bf is so understanding. It's a nice quality to have. My guy too. Would be better if they would "step over to the dark side" but it's a gradual process of understanding. Maybe they have one meal less a week or think twice about buying's something! happy Every little bit helps. So those people who get angry with you should think about that. Our bf's are experiencing and learning new things because of us. It has to help the community in the long run! happy

The British Aussie The British Aussie SA Posts: 212
5 19 Jul 2013
When I met my boyfriend he ate meat A LOT! At the time I was still vegetarian and it never bothered him but he also never asked me about it (which I didn't mind as so many had before just to then make rediculous comments. When we moved in together he agreed on not purchasing meat as part of the weekly shop which I was very happy about, as I said to him that as I do all the cooking and I won't cook meat.  

After a year together he finally one afternoon asked me why I was vegetarian so I told him a few videos to watch... after watching them he looked rather pale and stated he never wanted to touch meat again and since that day never has.

His only concern was getting abuse off of friends and family as they are always having BBQ's and his dad hunts! However after throwing an all Vegetarian BBQ he realised it was easy and that people could (put nicely) go jump if they didn't like it.

Since then we have progessed to Vegan and he is very happy with it.

MY POINT IS... People who jump down the throats of meat eaters are never going to get the response they actually want, people need time to make their own decisions. And afterall most Vegans were once meat eaters themselves but some can get this sence of superiority and forget that they were once part supporting such cruetly (oblivious to it or not).

I wouldn't let those people get to you, it is fully up to you who you date and your boyfriend sounds very respectful of your lifestyle which is fantastic and who knows what will happen down the line he may go vegetarian or vegan.

Kels Kels QLD Posts: 6
6 19 Jul 2013
That's fantastic about your bf! I wish I could show mine the Earthlings video (haven't seen it myself. I'm very sensitive to that sort of stuff and get extremely depressed and angry when I'm exposed to the videos - I'm a veg already, have been for years, I don't want to torture myself, I know exactly what happens and have already acted to stop my part of it). I feel that maybe one day he'll ask me more and I can show him this. I just get worried that when I do, he may still not want to give it up and that may be something that will hurt me more than his desire to remain ignorant to it.
Sorry, off topic! I just love this site! It's nice to be able to talk about animal rights and not feel judged happy You're all wonderful - whether you're dating vegans, vegetarians or meat-eaters! The point that matters is that you care. happy

*Steph* *Steph* VIC Posts: 363
7 19 Jul 2013
I've been with my husband now for over 6 years and married for almost 2, we're now expecting our first baby in a month. I'm not so keen on labels but I am a vegan and technically he is an omni. When we first got together he thought my vegetarianism would greatly limit our potential as a couple but he soon learned that it's really not all that big a deal. I became vegan after we got married and it was hard at first as there were things I just didn't know about that I was greatly upset by (dairy calves, etc). It put a strain on us as a couple but settled down quickly when he was how passionate I am about it. He now only eats fish at home and non vegan snacks but for the most part he shares my diet. I don't know what he eats at work and I won't ask. I'm sure his friends and family think I made him choose but the reality is he does all the shopping and we share cooking duties. Our baby will be vegan, we've had very lengthy discussions on this but at the end of the day I will be the primary carer and I wouldn't feed my child something which I wholeheartedly believe is not good for them.
It disappoints me that you've experienced judgement from other AR people, you need to be assured that you're making more of an impact by showing that you can live healthily without animal products. Afterall how will people ever know if we don't show them? Even if your partner only takes out one meat meal a week that will still make a difference!

lucidity lucidity SA Posts: 54
8 20 Jul 2013
my boyfriend is also a meat-eater, I met him before I went vegan. I saw a post recently on tumblr as well which offended me, because honestly, if we were to cease all relationships with meat eaters, how could we be a living example of a compassionate life? i don't think he will ever go vegan, but i still have hope, and each time he asks me to buy frys chicken strips or tofutti icecream I feel like I've done more for the movement than I would have if I was dating a vegan. If we all lived isolated from other meat eaters then what good would we be? just because you're in an intimate relationship doesn't mean it's worse than being friends with meat eaters.

mowenna mowenna United Kingdom Posts: 7
9 21 Jul 2013
I think you can date whoever you want and it may be hard if they are eating meat in front of you but it doesn't mean you should only date people who are the same as you i would love to find someone who respects my life decision but just ignore those awful people, if your happy then that's all that counts. happy

BFV BFV SA Posts: 138
10 23 Jul 2013
There are a lot of great points here, and if both parties are happy and comfortable in the relationship then I think that's all that matters.

I got very lucky with my boyfriend.
We were both meat eaters when we met, but both had open minds and an interest in learning about these issues.
We watched videos together and shared info we'd read, and made the transition to veganism together.

This made things really easy for us - we were already living together and sharing our finances, which is where I see a problem occurring in long-term couples with different ethics. I guess you could go your whole life keeping your money separate, but it would still be complicated deciding how to split the grocery shopping, etc.

Another difficulty would be choosing how to raise any future kids, which has already been mentioned.

I personally don't think I could handle the emotions that would come with seeing a dead chicken in my fridge, or constantly having to bite my tongue about something so important to me.
Of course, I'm not in that situation, so I can't say for sure what I would do, and I don't judge people who choose to date meat eaters - in fact, I think it would take a lot of compassion and selflessness to make things comfortable between you.
But here are a few thoughts I have from reading the comments above:

The general consensus seems to be that if your partner doesn't ask / want to know about this stuff, then you shouldn't tell them for fear of sounding preachy and scaring them off the idea.
I think if it was me, I would wonder why my partner didn't ask/care/want to learn about my reasons for making a choice that is such a big part of my life...
Using the example of religion above, I am not religious myself, but I have a couple of close friends who are deeply religious, who I am happy to talk about religion with, and I frequently ask questions about their beliefs and practices. It interests me because it makes up such a big part of who they are, and although I don't believe in the same things, I still open myself up to hearing them, because my friends obviously care about it a lot.
With veganism, I think "don't ask, don't tell" is generally a pretty good way of avoiding sounding preachy to casual friends and acquaintances, but I don't think the same should apply to a partner who you are supposed to be able to share everything with.

Having said that, it would bother me more if my partner DID know my reasons but still chose to contribute to the torture of animals. Ignorance is excusable, but once you KNOW better, I don't see any excuse not to DO better. (except taste preferences, which is not good enough for me, if we're talking about someone who I would choose to spend my life with.)

Although I used the example of religion before, I do think it's important to recognise that there is a difference between respecting someone's religious beliefs (and other differences of opinion) and accepting someone's harmful behaviour.
Generally speaking, an individual's religious beliefs do not cause harm to others (obviously not including extreme cases like suicide bombers, funeral picketers or hateful street preachers.) There is no reason not to accept a person's differing beliefs or choices when they only affect that person.
We like to think we consider the lives of all animals equally... But would you be comfortable dating someone who frequently paid people to torture and violently murder fellow humans (usually children and newborn babies) for your partner's own enjoyment? I certainly wouldn't, and I would speak up about it if they didn't fully realise what they were doing. If they DID know the harm they were causing, I could not respect their decision even if I tried.

Lastly, I do think it's great if the person is eating less meat because of you, either because you cook for them or because you don't allow meat in the house. But if they don't share your beliefs, I can see that potentially backfiring.
Chances are some of your partner's friends/colleagues are going to learn that you're veg, either through food functions or just by talking to your partner.
Imagine how it would look from an outsider's perspective if your partner is going to work and stuffing their face with meat because they can't do it at home, especially if it's because of a 'no meat in the house' rule... People already have the impression that veg*ns are extreme without adding "controlling partner's food choices" to the equation. If your partner doesn't understand the reasons why you make those choices, it would be easy to simplify it and say something like, "yeah, she gets really upset if there's meat around" or "she's just really sensitive about that stuff" without having the ability to expand on it.
Of course, it might never come up, but if it does, you may be turning more people off than the one you are converting.

So that's a few things to think about, but like I said, this inner conflict is something I've never experienced myself. I have no idea what would have happened if I was single when I became vegan, or was in a relationship with someone who I already loved dearly who did not share my compassion for other creatures. You guys have my utmost respect for staying level headed in such a tricky situation. happy

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