Friday, May 8, 2009

Relationships Between Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians

"chicken crossing the road" by hans_s

While at Drinking Liberally last night at Capital City Brewing Company in Arlington, Virginia, my partner ordered 2 chicken appetizers. My partner is not a vegetarian. And when I met him six years ago, I was not a vegetarian.

However, he has met me more than half way (like, 95 percent of the way) with regard to accepting a vegetarian lifestyle. In fact, as a result of my switching to vegetarianism, which I abruptly did in late 2007, he eats chicken or fish no more than twice a month. Otherwise, he's eating and cooking vegan or vegetarian at home.

I'm interested in hearing about the experiences of vegetarians who are in relationships with non-vegetarians. Specifically, does your non-vegetarian partner or spouse adapt to your lifestyle? Do you and your partner cook individually? Or, do you and your partner cook vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions of the same dish?


AJ said...

Six and a half years ago, dear. Best years of my life.


On the dietary change, it's been fine, I like having a lot less meat in my diet. I feel like it gives me more energy and I've shed a few extra pounds. That's also a function of working 13 hour days and skipping meals, but still, I feel pretty good.

I miss some of the (really good!) things I used to make, I'm a decent cook myself, but I never was a big red meat person, and eating that kind of stuff now just wears me down. But a little (dietary!) cheating here and there still feels fine for me.

A relationship is all about give and take, and you can't sign on with someone and want or expect them never to change or be frozen in amber somehow from the day you meet. I've learned new stuff and it's been fun.

Jen said...

I've been a vegetarian for 10+ years and when I met my spouse 7 years ago, he wasn't a vegetarian and he still isn't. Much like your partner, mine has met me 95% of the way. The only time he eats meat is if he orders it at a restaurant. He says that he doesn't really notice meat missing from his diet.
Needless to say we cook together and sometimes (rarely) if he needs to, he'll make the meat version of our dinner by cooking meat on the side and adding after I've taken my portion.

DAVID said...

Jen: Similar to your husband, AJ (above) eats meat only at restaurants.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised a vegetarian for all of my 32 years of life. While my husband's mom is a vegetarian and he tried the lifestyle for about 6 months, he eats meat (no beef).

I have to say that it is very difficult for me to be with a meat eater. I really think I didn't comprehend how daily life would play out when we decided to get married. Although we have no meat at the house and we do not cook meat at home (as is the same at his parents home), he does eat meat when we are out at restaurants, parties, friends' homes.

I think this bothers me more than most people - I readily acknowledge that. But how do I rationalize with an emotional viewpoint of mine? I am a huge animal rights supporter so my decision to remain a vegetarian was not only family based but of my own insight.

It's starting to become a real problem - I think also because it means that my husband doesn't share the same world view as I do. He doesn't agree with my view that animals are not human food.

It also doesn't help that my ENTIRE family is vegetarian (parents, sister, brother in law, nieces, brother, cousins etc). I really do wish I had considered this more carefully before I married him.

Maybe this is a deal breaker for me. It's just really sad that I realized this after marrying him.

Christina said...


It sounds like your husband respects your beliefs but you don't respect his. He compromises by not having meat in your home, but you can't compromise and understand that he believes eating meat is fine? Seems unfair to me.

I'm vegetarian and live with my boyfriend, who is not vegetarian. We get along just fine. He was raised by his father, so his diet consists of bachelor meals: hot dogs, eggs, sandwiches, hamburgers. That's what he's used to, but that's not what I cook. He has meat infrequently (lunch meat on sandwiches, meat if we go out to eat, rarely at home), but it's by his choice. We shop for groceries together and he never picks out any meat for himself.

I try to remember that vegetarianism is a choice. I do the best I can at it, and I don't expect other people to agree with me or make the same choices I make.

Anonymous said...

I am vegetarian but my husband n his family eat non veg. Before marriage he told me they will prepare once or twice in a month and I too agreed on that. I am repenting on my decision now. After marriage they didnt prepare for a long time i.e,3 months. I was also relaxed thinking they will not do. But once my SIL came home and my MIL prepared non veg. I got upset and there was a huge quarrel between us. I told my husband if they want to have l plz have it in hotel but i dont like to cook at home. But he opposed me and told i have to get adjust if i want to stay in his home. After that both mom and son and also SIL are eagerly waiting for the situation to cook non veg. My husband does not support me. I am staying vth in-laws. I tell to myself to get adjust and tried also but when i see that blood i will loose all my Mind set. It smells very badly too. He does not understand my situation and defend himself saying they want nin veg. My marriage is on the edge now. I feel I did big mistake by agreeing to non veg proposal. I born n brought up in veg family... Please help... Please tell me what to do