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Non-vegan boyfriend needs help with vegan girlfriend...

Discussion in 'Support' started by Embattled Boyfriend, Jun 17, 2018.

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Can a vegan and non-vegan be together?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. Embattled Boyfriend

    Embattled Boyfriend Member

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    I’m pretty confident that this post is going to be akin to a lamb leading itself to slaughter, but I’m going to give this a shot. It’s important to me.



    I’m a 33-year-old non-vegan guy, my girlfriend will be 24 next month, and is the staunchest and most devoted and dedicated vegan I know. And when I say staunch, I mean it, she’s converted both of her sisters, her mother, her father, and all of their partners. She’s is tremendously conscious, the kind of person that will take ten minutes out of her lunch break to go and just pick up rubbish off the streets.



    We’ve been together for two years, and I guess I just need a bit of insight from people of a similar mindset to her. I don’t have any vegan friends. Her love of animals, generosity, and kindness is one of the things I love about her; but it has always been the cause of a rift as well.



    I’m going to lay it out on the line: I’m never going to be a vegan. That’s all there is to it. I have come a very long way—my girlfriend cooks amazing food, and 90% of it is good enough that I sometimes get in the mood for it and expressly ask if she’ll make it for me that night. So, I have reduced my consumption of non-vegan food considerably. I am a lot more conscious than I used to be too, to the point where I’ll avoid a restaurant if it has a live lobster tank on the premises. There are lots of other little examples of how my thought processes and my behaviour have expressly changed to adopt certain vegan ideals to certain extents, but none of it seems enough.



    I’m sure we’re all aware of the phrase: “give a woman an inch and she’ll take a mile.” That’s kind of what I’m experiencing at the moment. My girlfriend is so ardent, anything other than total compliance is unacceptable, and her way of thinking really alarms me. I’ve gone to great lengths to appease her and make her feel more comfortable, but it’s like, the more I do, the more she wants to push things, and I can foresee hardships on the horizon if it keeps up.



    You can’t argue with her. You just can’t. Veganism, as a movement, has the moral high ground, there’s no denying that, and in my girlfriend’s mind, that makes it an unquestionable and unchallengeable ideal that you are evil if you don’t adopt yourself. She calls me a murderer.



    And believe me, I get it, complex and beautiful lifeforms are systematically bred and slaughtered to cater to my tastes, and my consumerism contributes to the demand for that to happen. But whereas I can concede that, and acknowledge I am playing a part in that cycle (and shame on me to a certain extent, sure), actually being labelled with the word “murderer” seems a bridge too far, and it’s hurtful. Furthermore, it’s skewing her perception of me in really negative ways. Who wants to sleep next to a murderer?



    I guess I’m seeing if that way of thinking is just what veganism does to a person, or are there ways to be more moderate with things? My girlfriend knows I’m not a vegan, and she’s come to accept that I won’t be, but then her tact shifts. “Fine, don’t be vegan, just don’t eat anything non-vegan in front of me, don’t have any non-vegan things in your house that I live in and don’t pay anything towards, and we can’t ever go anywhere that has non-vegan options,” is her idea of compromise.



    And again, I get it, she’s literally disgusted by non-vegan things, she’s very sensitive and very emotional. It conjures images of terrible things that she can’t put out of her mind, so I try to cater to her as much as I realistically can. But to essentially have to be something I’m not every minute that I’m in her presence is not going to be sustainable, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to say to your partner: “I know you’re not vegan, I accept that, you just have to play the part in front of me forever after.” That’s not acceptance.



    Does anyone else here have a non-vegan partner? Are there ways to sustain it?



    I’m constantly defending myself. Veganism has the moral high ground, I don’t dispute that, and that fact alone has altered my behaviour and choices radically. Veganism is often portrayed to have the medical high ground to, that’s not as clearcut at least with the research I’ve done, but there are lots of merits there as well, no doubt. But I also have a stance on the matter, some of which is routed in cultural and societal norms that I’ve been imbued with, some of which is health-based, and some of which is pure self-centred hedonism which I won’t deny. Do I deserve to be tagged as a murderer?
     
  2. Lou
    Woot

    Lou Active Member

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    I would never call you a murderer. But maybe an idiot. Your girlfriend sounds Wonderful. You're willing to damage your relationship for what? Bacon?!
     
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  3. Embattled Boyfriend

    Embattled Boyfriend Member

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    Feel free to leave the reductio ad absurdum out of the discussion if you wouldn’t mind. I came here to reach out to a community that is renowned for compassion and understanding, to get insights and advice. To suggest I’d leave my girlfriend purely to eat bacon is, well, to be polite I’ll just call it silly and move on…



    The issue of damage is an interesting one—who’s damaging the relationship? I’m being accommodating, patient, and doing an awful lot to make my girlfriend feel comfortable. Not only that, I’m embracing her views to an extent, and sharing in the elements of it that she revels in, like her food and whatnot. But, apparently, so what? It almost feels like the mentality is “oh great, now you murder fewer things, big whoop, how magnanimous?” No acknowledgement or recognition, nothing.



    I don’t put a lot of stock into ideologies, and I’ve never been one to define myself by an “ism” (i.e. catholicism, socialism, veganism, or what have you). But I do put a lot of emphasis on the importance of a relationship, and good ones are supposed to revolve around all sorts of things like love, understanding, and—this is a big one—compromise.



    I’m compromising. I’m bending over backwards. Veganism is important to her, and I embrace and accept that; but is it unreasonable to expect some understanding in return? I’m not a vegan. She acknowledges that, she just doesn’t want to have to face it or be reminded of it, and call me out when she gets a look behind the curtain.



    I love her, and I want to try and appease her. But if she’s going to turn into a bloodhound and make it her mission to sniff out anything that doesn’t comply with her rules so she can chew me out, she’s literally looking for us to fail.



    And my mother lives with us too, I look after her. I’m supposed to impose veganism on her in her twilight? She’s a grown woman, if she wants cheese she’s going to buy it and put it in the fridge.



    Do veganism and absolute-ism go hand-in-hand?
     
  4. Consistency
    No Mood

    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    I am somewhat like you in the sense that I don't identify with anything however I don't eat animal products and don't call myself a vegan because unlike others here... I wouldn't have a problem taking a life in an absolute survival situation.

    Are you unaware of what happens in factory farms? How animals are enslaved and have no choice whether to live or die. No freedom. No sunshine. No fresh air.

    Eating meat has been shown to cause a cognitive dissonance. My suggestion to you is to go to a slaughterhouse in person to see a slaughter and then decide if you can live with your choice to eat animal flesh.
     
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  5. Sax
    Daring

    Sax Active Member

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    You feel that your compromises should be reciprocated. If you compromise on some of your behaviors to accommodate her, she should compromise some of her behaviors to accommodate you. That's perfectly reasonable.

    It seems like the problem is that you're willing to compromise on your ethics in order to continue consuming animal products...can she accept that without feeling like she's compromising on her ethics? It's possible, but only she can answer that, and the indications you've shared sound like a "no".

    I held these two ideas in my head for a very long time. One turned out to be wrong. The vast majority of vegans are people who used to tell themselves "I'm never going to be a vegan".

    Your own ethics are pointing you in the direction that can not only save your relationship from its current troubles, but draw you both much closer. There's a serious confluence of interests here. You two could be living the healthy vegan super-couple dream!
     
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  6. Veganite
    Speechless

    Veganite Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps writing her a long letter, similar to your post here would help her understand how you feel. I find writing things out can be very helpful in that you get to articulate exactly what you wish to say, and without interruption. Words can be very powerful. Good communication is powerful.

    In almost any relationship communication is critical, as is compromise. By telling her you'll never go vegan closes that door for her. How do you compromise 'never'? You can't. As far as communication goes, that also creates a wall. Maybe it might have worked a little better if you had told her that you'll think about it or something to that effect, instead. Just a suggestion.

    I get it...I understand your reluctance to be vegan. I have many friends and family just as you are. It's like asking a smoker to quit. They know cigarettes are bad for them, but no one can tell them when to quit. As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". So she's lead you to the water, but you ain't drinkin' it.

    I agree with Sax. Just imagine how happy that would make her. Ultimately you have the power of choice, but for her 'never' is not a choice...it's a finite. No compromise. In her mind you're saying you'd rather contribute to the suffering and killing of animals than even consider it. How would that make you feel if the tables were turned?


    *
     
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  7. amberfunk

    amberfunk Active Member

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    It just seems like you guys are just going to wind up hurting each other constantly if you stay together. If she calls you a murderer and is wanting you to do all the compromise it's just not going to work. It's going to cause resentment on both sides.
     
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  8. Embattled Boyfriend

    Embattled Boyfriend Member

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    I’ve seen many of the movies, at my girlfriend’s insistence. It’s terrible, I don’t deny that.





    I don’t determine what I eat based purely on ethics, so much is true. At first she was far less accepting, and we used to butt heads all the time, so I was forced to do lots of my own research. Veganism definitely has documented benefits, but there is also a lot out there pointing to unprocessed and properly prepared meat being, maybe not an essential ingredient, but one that makes the acquisition of nutrients and whatnot easier.



    It’s funny, she can quote lots of different findings in the vegan world chapter and verse, but she’s riddled with confirmation bias and doesn’t see it. I pose a few studies of my own, and all of a sudden, “oh ********, they probably get all of their funding from the meat industry.”



    It’s not even about that, I don’t want this to descend into a battle of studies between me and my girlfriend, when the fact is this. Eating a purely vegan diet can be immensely healthy, or, it can be very detrimental and dangerous; and the exact same thing is true as far as an omnivorous diet is concerned.





    Okay, so “never” closes doors, but so does “always” in the same vein. I’m never going to be a vegan, she’s always going to be one; both close the door to communication, but I can’t imagine a suggestion that she should temper her language will be forthcoming. And I get it, people adopt veganism because they believe it’s right, you shouldn’t compromise on something that’s right. But people also refrain from veganism because—not ethically, but in other ways—they believe that to be right too.



    Why is the only suggestion that the non-vegan should compromise? Well, that’s a rhetorical question, I came to a vegan forum knowingly, fully expecting that everyone would feel and think very similarly to the way my girlfriend does.



    I also reject the thinking that trying to convert someone to veganism is like trying to get someone to quit smoking: there’s nothing redeeming about smoking, and it wasn’t something that changed the evolution of our species to help make us the intelligent homo sapiens we are today. Eating meat, on the other hand, is different.



    And the funny thing is, I’ve really embraced her values and her principles a lot. My consumption has plummeted, my viewpoints have changed; but there’s a huge difference between cutting back and stopping outright. I don’t believe stopping outright to be healthy.
     
  9. Consistency
    No Mood

    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    Can you explain to me how meat stimulates the growth of neurons and how it stimulates bone resorption aka remodeling of the skull bone?

    Too many evolutionists without any understanding of neurochemistry keep regurgitating nonsense. If meat from land animals increases cranial size; why do big carnivores still have small 350cc cranials?
     
  10. Embattled Boyfriend

    Embattled Boyfriend Member

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    Interesting you’ve filled in the blanks on my statement with your own account of my argument, and come armed with a question aimed at disproving it right off the bat. Who mentioned anything about cranial size or neurons? What are you even talking about? Don’t jump to conclusions, if you wanted to know what I meant just ask, you’re 100% wrong in your assumptions.



    Not that I want to get dragged into discussions of studies and research, but, what I was alluding to when I mentioned that meat in our evolutionary history made us who we are has nothing to do with meat’s impact on cranial size. It had to do with the expulsion of energy, chewing cycles, and the fact that 2.5 million years ago, our predecessors that wound up evolving into what we call human made a profound change: they began to eat meat. No, they weren’t built to eat it, or hunt it, or even properly digest it; but for whatever reason, they started to consume it and found it provided more calorie-rich meals and required far less energy to consume. That substantive reduction in energy had huge benefits, physically and sociologically.



    Putting peoples political or ethical beliefs to one side, while we may not “need” meat today, it’s presence in our history had a resounding impact on what we became. Look at the evolutionary path of man, and contrast it to that of any other animal… somewhere along the way we deviated in a way that made us very special.



    But that’s by the by, you’re actually doing exactly what my girlfriend does. You want to take it down to an argument about semantics and details, who cares about that? When you’re talking about two people in a relationship, with their own well-formed views and opinions, it’s not about trying to out-prove one another. It should be about actually respecting one another, tolerating one another, and having an appreciate of one another’s views.
     
  11. Consistency
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    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    The bottom line is that you're conditioned by bro science and you won't listen to reason.

    I would suggest watching the Jon Venus 3 year review veganism on YouTube.
     
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  12. Nekodaiden

    Nekodaiden Active Member

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    I always find it interesting and rather a little amusing the statements some people will make (and others will believe) about "what we know" in reference to a period as far back as 2.5 million years ago. It's almost as if there were scientists with technologically advanced gadgets and super computers around to measure the brains of their own species, and then regurgitate that knowledge somehow by time travel telepathy to select novelists and diet bloggers 2 million or so years later.

    Sigh, and about those "calorie rich meals that take less energy to consume" - anyone who has compared the feeling of a rice and beans meal with some veggies to a burger and fries/ potato and steak meal knows that the former takes far less energy to consume and the latter requires "extra lift" in the form of Coffee, red bull, V drinks and other garbage that are mass marketed to those seeking to undo the fatigue that sets in a few hours after those meals. I knew that when I was a meat eater, no paleo-tard degree in ancient history required.

    About you and your girlfriend. If you are dead set on not even trying a whole foods plant based diet(I mean a real one, not just testing it now and again), and it's causing this many problems, why stay with her? Surely you can find an omnivore female that you won't be arguing with all the time? Vegans represent but a tiny fraction of the population and it seems like both you and her would be better suited to others who share your convictions and preferences.
     
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  13. Embattled Boyfriend

    Embattled Boyfriend Member

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    I don’t understand… now I’m conditioned and won’t listen to reason?? Who’s reason? Have you actually put any forward for me? In your first post you made wrongful assumptions about a point I was making and posited a question. And from there, you’ve gone on to just dismiss me as not listening to reason. I’m not sure how those two dots got joined, but I’ll leave that be.



    Sure, I’ll go watch a video—that seems to be a common out with some in the vegan community. ”Just go watch this, this person explains my point better than me.” And I’m absolutely sure that one individual’s motives and backing is never questioned, and they obviously represent the pinnacle of scrutiny and objectivity. Never mind institutions like Harvard Medical School or the World Health Organisation, no, all brain-washed they are, just go watch a video by Jon, he’ll sort you out, dude’s on point.





    There’s validity there, obviously studies dating back that long rely on making certain assumptions or interpretations, that stuff gets outlined in these scientific papers, there are always limitations. But how else do we discover anything about who we are? Do we just stop investigating our history, the history of the universe, physics, all of those things? That particular phenomenon I was talking about as the byproduct of about six different studies from some pretty prestigious researchers—if it’s not valid, well great, I’m very scientifically minded… point me to something that interprets the past better and I’ll look at it.





    I, in all honesty, have never experienced what you’re referring there. I don’t actually drink caffeine at all…

    Anyway, I can see the direction this is going. Thanks for the insights everybody, I'll leave you all be...
     
  14. Veganite
    Speechless

    Veganite Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You are very very welcome!

    On that note, I will close this thread, giving you the last word.
     
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