I'm a vegetarian and have been dating someone for 3 years who happens to be a meat eater. It doesn’t really bother me or affect our relationship because we are both respectful of the other's personal choices. He eats vegetarian meals most of the time, and when he wants to eat meat, he cooks it for himself, or orders it when we go out.
Recently we’ve been talking a lot about our future, about getting married, getting a dog, getting a house, and about having kids and the other night, he was saying something like “when we have kids, I can’t wait for them to try my mother’s famous meatballs.” I couldn’t believe it!! I don’t eat meat and I would never feed meat to my children. He said it wouldn’t be fair to them, that we need to expose them to all kinds of food and let them make their own decision about what they want to eat. I totally disagreed since animal rights is very important to me. Needless to say, we got into a huge fight.
Is there any way to resolve this? We love each other very much, but we’re both very stubborn and refuse to give up our values. What should we do?
--Vegetable Lovin’ Laurie
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Dear Vegetable Lovin’ Laurie --
It’s great that you guys are thinking about this before you get married and have kids. Neither of you should have to give up your values about eating meat or not eating meat, but in order for this to work, you are both going to have to decide if you are willing to compromise.
The fact that you don’t eat meat is a very personal issue, and I’m glad to see that you don’t try to push your views onto your boyfriend. For your future children, you may want to have the same approach and let them live and eat freely, without any limitations. You don’t have to buy or cook meat for your children, but if your man wants to, then you should let him. Remember that these will be his kids too, and his views are of equal importance. If you allow them to come to their own conclusion about eating meat (rather than forcing your views on them), then it will mean more to them and to you as well.
If letting your children eat meat is completely out of the question for you, it sounds like this amazing relationship with your boyfriend might not work out for the long haul since it sounds like he's set in his ways too. You should never give up on what you believe in, so search your heart and figure out what means more to you in the long run. I'm sure you two will be able to find a way to work this out.