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Whose Side Are You On: The Vegetarian vs. the Boyfriend

Dear Sugar,

I've been dating this guy for about eight months and he finally said he wanted me to meet his parents. They invited us over for dinner and everything was going perfectly until we sat down to eat. His mother was in the kitchen and I leaned over to my boyfriend and asked him if he remembered to tell his mom that I'm a vegetarian. Before he had a chance to answer, she walked in with a huge turkey and I knew he had forgotten.

His dad started carving and when he handed me a slice, I politely said "No thank you. I'm a vegetarian." There was a moment of awkward silence and then my boyfriend said, "Oh just eat it. One time won't kill you." I was outraged! He knows I don't eat meat for ethical reasons and that I've been a vegetarian for almost ten years. I could tell his mom felt really bad when she said, "I thought vegetarians don't eat red meat, but turkey doesn't count, right?" I went on to explain as sweetly as I could that I don't eat anything that used to walk around, and that included turkey. Let's just say that our first meeting went from awesome to awful — instantly.

On the drive home, my boyfriend and I got into this huge argument. He thought I was being rude for not eating what his mom had prepared and I thought he was being a jerk for not supporting my views.

There's no right answer here so ladies, tell me, whose side are you on?


snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Advah-no vegetarian eats fish or chicken, if they do, they are not a vegetarian. Someone who just eats just fish and not other meat is a pescetarian. A "strict vegetarian" is a vegan, and does not consume any dairy or eggs. Not like it matters to the story because the mother might not have realized this anyway. It would help if a "vegetarian" that eats chicken and fish just would say that they don't eat red meat, there would be less confusion!
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Eee...I may be a bit biased since I am a vegetarian, but I feel like there WAS a right answer here! I am always very careful not to offend when I eat over at someone's house, but your boyfriend put you in such a bad position by not telling his mom ahead of time, and it's even worse that he told you to eat it! I'm sure his mom felt awful, because even if she still would have served a turkey I'm sure she would have made extra sides. I'm sorry, but that shows that he does not respect you at all. My boyfriend is from a family that takes their meat-eating seriously, and I never expect them NOT to serve turkey or roast, but because they know I'm a veggie they don't throw gratuitous bacon bits in the vegetable sides, and they always make sure there is salad before the meal. Sometimes I end up stopping at Subway before I go to dinner at someone's house, but there are just times when a family wants to make you part of their meal, and that's kind of hard when they don't know you are a veggie ahead of time! Ugh what a jerk!
Realblonde Realblonde 9 years
I would've spewed all over the dinner table if someone put that on my plate. That would've got the message accross!!
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
I said vegetarian. Not only is the boyfriend ignoring her ethics and values, but also, she could have gotten violently ill from it.
geebers geebers 9 years
I am surprised some missed the point -those of you that voted undecided(and/or with the boyfriend). The point is that her boyfriend completely disrespected her and after forgetting to let his parents know his g/f was a vegetarian he made it look as if SHE was the one causing trouble for following her beliefs. I would have understood if he forgot- hey it happens - and she could easily have eaten the sides. However, he went onto insult her after she said she was a vegetarian. Maybe she didn't respond in the best way, but would YOU if your boyfriend basically demeaned you in front of his family like that? She understandably probably became defensive as a response to her bf and the unfortunate result is being a bit condescending to his parents. All she has to do is send a thank you note to his parents. But what does HE have to do to be forgiven?? I am sorry, dump this loser. Anyone who said something like this to me would be very lucky they didnt get a slap across the face. I am not a vegetarian but my family is (they are hindu) and the idea that any of them would be expected to eat meat just once to look polite is incredibly insulting.
Advah Advah 9 years
Damn I'd be really offended if my bf had talked to me like that! :S So he might have forgotten to tell his parents, or maybe he told them but they forgot, or his mum thought it was ok to prepare turkey - I don't see anything bad with that. Yes it was probably difficult being in the vegetarian's shoes, but it's not like someone had a bad intention. However he really shouldn't have said that, and especially in front of other people! That sounds like he thinks you're a kid or just does things without reasons. Whether he understands your choice or not, he could have waited a couple of hours and then discussed it privately with you. And I also agree you could have been a bit more tactful with his mother. I understand it's annoying having to explain that to people all the time (I recently had to stop eating any type of dairy for medical reasons, and I was surprised to find out most of my friends thought I was just being moody; some even stopped talking to me when I told them I couldn't have cake because of the butter in it), but his mother probably wasn't serving you turkey on purpose. So they don't understand, you can't blame them for that. (also I know a few people who call themselves 'vegetarians' but eat fish and occasionally chicken - go figure. So just saying that you were a "strict" vegetarian for instance could have been a bit nicer). Guess you could always send a card to the parents - you don't have to apologise if you don't want to, just say you appreciated the dinner anyway and the attention of having a dinner to introduce you to the family, and hope that they're not offended.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
vegetarian issue aside, the boyfriend was being an A-hole. The comment about "i dont eat anything that used to walk around" was bordering on b*tchY. My Step sister is a Smug vegetarian who i would totally respect if it werent for her holier than thou attitude. She wont even Pass a plate as in "pass me the ham" that has meat products on it. And she isnt polite about her diet/choices either. She is one of those that has to tell you about the life cycle and beautiful eyes the cow had, thats now on my plate.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I don't know what the big deal is that she didn't want to eat the turkey. What if she just DIDN'T like turkey? Plus, can't you get sick from eating meat if you haven't eat it so long?
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
What you said to the mom sounded a little condescending. A better approach would have been "no, vegetarians don't eat turkey either, they stay away from XYZ meats though some eat fish." I hope you thanked her profusely for all of her effort- it's not your fault she didn't know you don't like turkey, but that doesn't mean she didn't feel offended.
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
Sorry to add something here, but, I'm just trying to say that the guy should take responsibility for his own actions (or his lack of action in this case) and not be a whiny little baby.
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
Its the guy's fault, he's the one who forgot to tell his mom that the girl was a vegetarian in the first place...and he has no right to then argue with the girl or make the comment at dinner. It was his fault, he should apologize like a gentleman instead of expecting his gf to change her very important values after YEARS (what an ass). It sounds like the guy was just embarrassed and annoyed at the situation and spoke out of frustration, instead of stopping to think through the situation and just say something like: I'm so sorry mom and gf, I should have remembered to tell you mom. Then he could later have explained better to the mom that the gf really wasn't being insulting, and that her values are important to her, and she is not going to change because of one little dinner accident. Geez, this guy is mean.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
I am not a vegetarian, but I totally side with the writer here!!!! The boyfriend was being disrespectful, when an issue is important to someone you love, even if you do not agree you should at the very least respect them, and inform his family what being a vegetarian means to you!!! If he cannot understand your position on this, then you should be with someone who not only understands you, but respects you as well!!! Good Luck!!! P.S. If however, you do want establish a good relationship w/your BF's mother, regardless of where you believe the relationship will end-up, then you may (if you have not already done so) want to write a brief "Thank You" note to his mother thanking her for the lovely meal, (yada yada yada) take care and you look forward to your next meeting. Etc., ect., Sincerely, _________.
kythera kythera 9 years
Undecided, both sides have done a little bit of wrong. But meh, you will probably be single shortly. Next!
CupcakeGal10 CupcakeGal10 9 years
This guy sounds like a supreme jerk, and I'm very unimpressed with his parents who should have just accepted the situation and tried to make you comfortable. Get rid of this guy!
Random2 Random2 9 years
I sided with the vegetarian here. For her boyfriend to not tell his parents that she doesn't eat meat then trying to force her to eat it is completely out of line and rude. However, the 'not eating anything that used to walk around' line seems a little preachy and condescending; she should have just said that she doesn't eat poultry either.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
If you were being a vegetarian to lose weight or something, then, yes, eating the turkey would not kill you. But your boyfriend KNEW that it was for ETHICAL reasons, it was your belief system. The way you handled it right at first, just saying, no thanks im a vegetarian, was completely respectful. It wouldn't have been awkward at all if you had just filled up on the veggies on hte table and complimented her on those foods. i think what made it awkward was your boyfriend not backing you up. i think he sounds like a jerk, but in any case, you were right!
iRose iRose 9 years
I voted undecided. Yes the bf was wrong in telling you to eat the turkey, but for goodness sakes did you have to sound so condescending about not eating anything that used to walk? You out rightly insulted the hosts (your bf's parents) and made them feel uncomfortable. If they wanted to eat the turkey let them, and eat a side dish and be happy. But I bet your snide comment caused tension at the table. You want people to respect your right not to eat meat, well maybe you should return the favour and respect their right to eat it.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
I just don't date vegetarians...they're too much hassle...want greens only...bring your own.... :p
lovekailua lovekailua 9 years
"one time won't kill you", yea but it will likely send you straight to the bathroom for a long long time. What a jerk. I don't think anyone is asking for "special treatment" like someone thanksgiving I just eat all the side dishes, never ask for anything special, it's not necessary but there is no way i will put a slice on my plate and just leave it there to be polite...that's gross and more importantly wasteful. This xmas my mom made a spinach lasagna for everyone on her own and it was wonderful...i didnt ask but everyone was thrilled with the taste. anyway, rude boyfriend not sure how i would deal with boyfriend is a meat eater but doesnt give me any problems (and he enjoys a lot of veg dishes!) about it and i have had to clear up some frustrating misconceptions but always politely and educational tone never condescending...the "walk around" could be condescending but you'd probably have to hear the conversation to be sure. i think some meat eaters get on the defensive in a big way when they hear you are a vegetarian, it can be awkward and frustrating for sure but i understand some veg people come off as pretty condescending, i've met quite a few. Sooo yea I side with the veg, you might have been a little more polite but that's how many situations are anyway, you realize after...
sweetlily10 sweetlily10 9 years
I've been a vegetarian my whole life and oh my gosh, how could he say "just eat it one time." You aren't a vegetarian just sometimes, or just to be cute. It is your LIFESTYLE. It is one thing if he forgot to tell his mother. But the fact that he thought you COULD eat it just one time means he doesn't get it at all. What if he had a dietary restriction - suppose he could not eat salt or it would greatly affect his blood pressure. Would you tell him to suck it up and eat something super salty just once? Even though you don't have a medical condition, you can't just eat meat because it affects who you are as a person. Has he graduated from high school?
red4bonez red4bonez 9 years
your boyfriend is a jerk!!!! you are going out for 8 months and he forgets to mention that you are vegetarian and your views are strong about it and he tells you go ahead eat it??? I know this, if i was there i would flip out right there! And i am sorry but his mom says she thought that vegetarians don't eat red meat and eat everything else?? WTF!! seriously!! and he has the nerve to tell you that you were rude??? wasnt he rude for not even mentioning that you don't eat meat or just explaining to his parents and apologizing to you that he forgot to mention it and try getting you salad or something? What bothers me is that he said go ahead and eat it one time it wont kill you. That is very rude and disrespectful toward what you stand for. NOT COOL. I would be pretty damn madd over it!!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
The Vegetarian; you told them kindly that you don't eat meat and it's not your fault that they didn't accept easily. The boyfriend sounds like a jerk for saying "one bite won't kill you", and he over-reacted big time for fighting about it. It's as simple as: you don't eat meat, he didn't tell his mom, you kindly decline having the turkey, mom's a bit disappointed, boyfriend doesn't even think about your beliefs and throws a hissy fit. You did nothing wrong. You told your boyfriend to tell his mom about you being a vegetarian and he didn't.
mlen mlen 9 years
after 8 months he should have known you better than that. and i think as long as you tried to be super polite to him fam about it, then there is nothing else you can do. i mean i had a friend in college who was vegetarian and i made sure when she came to my house for dinner my mom knew that, so why shouldn't your bf have to same courtesy. and since its for ethical reasons then you should definitely not eat it. there are certain foods i don't like but if i'm a guest somewhere and am served them i will force down a small portion to be polite, but that's just a personal taste issue, not a moral choice not to like them. so again as long as you tried your best to be polite then i can't see what else you could have done!
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
As a former long-term vegetarian, I've heard my share of oddball beliefs about vegetarianism: "It's ok to eat a hamburger once a week, right?" "God made animals for us to eat." "You have to eat meat or you won't get enough protein." "We have to eat animals to control their populations." Anyway, the boyfriend was a jerk. It seems like he got flustered by the situation and handled it badly. It's important to stick up for your eating habits and tastes at family meals. If you ate the turkey once, just to be polite, they would expect you to do it every time thereafter. Just like that weird creamy green jello dish my husband's grandmother makes that I forced down with a smile four Thanksgivings I always get served a double portion of it.
yaliyah yaliyah 9 years
your man sounds like an asshole.
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