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You Asked: I'm a Vegetarian and My Boyfriend Loves Meat!

You Asked: I'm a Vegetarian and My Boyfriend Loves Meat!

Dear Sugar--

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

To see DEARSUGAR’s answer

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.

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KimmySYKES KimmySYKES 8 years
Personally, I dont agree with anyone here. Vegan/Vegetarian kids are SO much healthier than children who eat meat, I would definately show the details to your boyfriend on this, go onto the Peta2.org website and show him. Eating meat has been proven to actually be unhealthy for you, i am vegetarian myself, and although i am far from having kids just yet, i have made the definate desicion that i will raise my children as vegetarians. If your boyfriend does not support your desicion i think your relationship isnt really going to work, I dont think you should cave in to his beliefs, Stand by your opinion.
goldenheart goldenheart 9 years
Talk of vegetarianism always provokes a lot of heated discussion with a broad range of ignorance and wisdom-this forum being no exception. Yes it is a hassle being vegetarian-but it's worth it I've been vegetarian since I was eleven. I was and still am the only vegetarian in my family. Ever. Yes it confused the hell out of my parents and everyone else around me. But nothing is more rewarding to me than knowing that I made a commitment to myself nine years ago and have kept it, against high odds. I am very proud of it. I have to say that it is more important to give your children the perspectives and values that lead to vegetarianism rather than vegetarianism itself. Encourage them to have an open-minded view of the world. Encourage them to learn about the environment. Encourage them to become more informed about the two-thirds of the world that have practically no access to food at all (partly because we waste our food feeding animals that eat A LOT more food than they produce, and our retarded farm subsidies in America and Europe), encourage them to become informed about the realities of human health. Encourage them to learn about everything so that they can make an informed choice on their own.
JessBear JessBear 9 years
Okay, I know I'm a little late on this one, but I have to weigh in. Vegetarianism isn't just a diet, it's a system of beliefs. And it's not "forcing" your children, it's raising them with your same values and belief systems. Would a devout Catholic be comfortable raising her children with a Jewish husband, or vice versa? Quite possibly, and I know multi-religion families are common, but if she wasn't, no one would blame her or accuse her of wanting to "force" her children into anything. Of course children have the right to choose, but you're supposed to raise them with a set of values that will guide them through life. And for my children, one of those values will be 'don't even harm another creature' and 'don't kill just so you can satisfy a craving for a hamburger'. When they're teens, if they choose to believe differently, well, I can't stop them. But the will not be served meat in my home, because I firmly believe it's wrong.
geebers geebers 9 years
Sorry I pressed post twice!! I didnt mean to double my comment.
geebers geebers 9 years
I agree with everyone else here- your kids have the right to make their own choice when they get older but as they are growing up - let your husband make them meat dishes and you can make them vegeterian dishes. However, I want to point out about the many comments regarding meat as a necessary part of your diet. First of all, my parents are vegetarians (NOT vegan -they eat dairy) and raised me to eat what they cooked but never stopped me from eating any meat. Most people in my family are raised vegetarian for religious reasons and no one is lacking nutrionally or sick or ill so the notion that beef, chicken, or fish are "necessary" nutrients is ignorant and really judgemental towards people who eat healthy vegetarian diets. What you DO need to understand is eating healthy - if you dont eat meat you need adequate protein (beans are a good source) and you can't compensate lack of meat with twinkies and lots of starch.
Camarogirl67 Camarogirl67 9 years
I'm veggie, bf isn't. We've made it to almost 10 years with me cooking - I either eat the meal without meat or make myself something else entirely. I didn't have parents who forced me to eat meat - they tried at first, but I just didn't like it, and instead of wasting the meat on me they stopped putting it on my plate. Let your kids make their decision. SIDENOTE: A new topic to discuss - vegetarians not eating meat while pregnant? My bf told me I should if I ever get pregnant, and I flipped out! Just another thing pregnant women would have to do - listen to everyone tell them what to eat, what not to eat?
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
A great compromise, if you're primarily concerned with the animal rights issue, is to find an environmentally friendly farm or butcher. Halal meats, for example, come from family-raised animals that are allowed free roam, are well-fed, well-treated, and butchered humanely. There's many ways around that issue - and it's certainly worth it, to encourage free roam farms to continue their good work over inhumane factory farms! My mother is a vegetarian - I'm glad she allowed me to make my own decisions regarding meat. Like you and your boyfriend, she and my father argued about allowing their children to eat meat. In the end, she would prepare vegetarian meals, and my father would prepare meat if he desired. Now, I eat meat sparingly, but I only buy Halal meats when I do. I was taught a great lesson - compromise, staying healthy, and making a responsible choice about how to treat my body.
angiedatangel angiedatangel 9 years
im in a very similar situation. my bf eats meat too, but ive been reading him articles and educating him on how bad meat is for u, the planet, animals, etc. its been about a year that ive been showing him how toxic meat is. (i believe even albert einstein quoted that vegetarianism is the key to,,,world peace? or soemthign). its been a whiiile since hes eaten meat in front of me, i cook him alternatives and try to make them tres good so he doesnt miss the meat factor. we spend a lot of time together so he goes for days and days without meat, almost without realizing it. when he occasionally eats it i remind myslef how much i have converted him, and im optimistic the meat eating will decrease thru the months and years!
angiedatangel angiedatangel 9 years
im in a very similar situation. my bf eats meat too, but ive been reading him articles and educating him on how bad meat is for u, the planet, animals, etc. its been about a year that ive been showing him how toxic meat is. (i believe even albert einstein quoted that vegetarianism is the key to,,,world peace? or soemthign). its been a whiiile since hes eaten meat in front of me, i cook him alternatives and try to make them tres good so he doesnt miss the meat factor. we spend a lot of time together so he goes for days and days without meat, almost without realizing it. when he occasionally eats it i remind myslef how much i have converted him, and im optimistic the meat eating will decrease thru the months and years!
aanyanka aanyanka 9 years
I am also a vegetarian. My husband and son both eat meat. While most of the meals they eat are vegetarian (because I do most of the cooking) they eat meat about once a week. While I have made the decision for myself to be meat-free I have never felt the need for force that decision on my child. I do limit the amount of red meat (once a month at the most) and poultry (once a week at the most) my son can eat in order to ensure he is consuming a well balance diet (lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains). I think the decision to consume or avoid meat is personal and shouldn't be forced on anyone. However, I spend quite a bit of time educating both my husband and son about the importance of proper nutrition and eating meat in moderation (since they refuse to give it up).
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
What children are exposed to food-wise when they are young shapes their food preferences for life - which is why it is important to expose them to a wide variety of foods (including meat). You don't have to cook it for them if it goes against your values, but you should allow them to consume it at least occasionally. Not to mention, food is often associated with memories or cultural experiences (like Grandma's pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving) - it sounds like your boyfriend's mother's meatballs are important to his family, why would you deny your children that experience? I have to say, if you can't compromise on this issue, you should think twice about having children. Parents need to have an equal say in how a child is raised - by not allowing your children to eat meat, you're saying that your values are more important than their father's.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
When i asked, as a child, where does the bacon come from, or the hamburger, my father brought me to our other property where he kept the animals. Pigs, chickens, goats, cows, and showed me what we were eating. Didn't phase me in the slightest, in fact i helped name them, and slaughter them, cooked them and ate them. I still do. Let your kids make thier own decison, if you respect your husbands wishes respect thiers. Meat doesnt have to be unhealthy.
Lovaajn Lovaajn 9 years
My aunt and uncle had the exact same situation. My aunt is, and has been, a vegetarian for near 25 years. My uncle has eaten meat his whole life, and continues to. When they got married, my aunt was adamant about two things: the kids would be raised jewish, and would be vegetarians. My oldest cousin is now 18, heading off to college and is a vegetarian, and is agnostic. My youngest cousin is 16, heading into his junior year of high school and eats meat, and considers himself jewish. My aunt was adamant about those two issues up until she had children when she realized, so very wisely, my kids have the right to make a choice. My aunt never ate meat, but never restricted my cousins from trying anything. She would even make meals with meat after a few years, knowing that her children would make the best choice for themselves. At 14, my eldest cousin decided on vegetarianism, and my youngest didn't. My aunt has been an amazing mom, never restricting her kids from anything. Always allowing her kids to order steaks or burgers or ham or even a vegetarian lasagna. Stop attempting to control everything. Let your kids make their choices for themselves. It will take time, and maybe they will choose whichever way for a while to please, but eventually they'll choose what is best and will work for them. Your boyfriend is right on this one. You need to grow up a bit.
AmazonChick AmazonChick 9 years
I don't think it's a right/wrong agree/disagree issue. I think it's a compromise issue. I think, as you admitted, you are both stubborn and had certain ideas having to do with your children. But I think at some point we all get to the point when the future is not what we planned. Someone previously suggested eating meat twice a week or something, which I think is a great way to go about things. Then the children are exposed to everything, getting all their protein etc as well as understanding that there are options for them to make later in life. Just my two pennies...
Nitrobezene Nitrobezene 9 years
Let your kids eat meat and make their own choice. Sorry hon, your boyfriend is right on this one.
facin8me facin8me 9 years
Jaxon: I was not comparing dingdongs and cheetoes to meat, I was making the point that you do not let young children determine their diets. I also point out that older children should have a choice, but only once they are old enough to make their own decision regarding nutrition. When I was growing up, I ate what my parents fed me- it wasn't a restaurant. People who hang out in the shallow end of the pool do so because they don't know how to swim.
clarapl clarapl 9 years
?? Yes, I do...that was the point of my post.
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I'm in agreement with the boyfriend on this one.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
clarapl: "My biggest moral concern about eating meat is the suffering of the animals while they are alive" oh come on, you still eat eggs and drink milk right? you don't consider it to be "suffering" when chickens over-produce eggs then are useless in two years. or cows are pumped by machines a billion times a day.
clarapl clarapl 9 years
I've been a vegetarian since I was 15, so this is an issue I've thought about a lot, and came to exactly the same conclusion that DearSugar advises: I wouldn't cook meat for my kids, but would let them make their own choices when at a friend's or relative's house... That said, I think delia and cravinsugar bring up the excellent point that not all meat is the same. Factory farming has been outlawed in some countries because of both the unhealthy consequences for humans (like salmonella chicken) and the appalling, inhumane living conditions of the animals. My biggest moral concern about eating meat is the suffering of the animals while they are alive, which is totally unnecessary and, I believe, inexcusable, whether you decide to eat meat or not. So maybe this could be an area of compromise between you and your boyfriend?
lintacious lintacious 9 years
it is very hard to be a vegetarian without being hypocritical. forcing your "morals" onto others is one way. not growing your own food and purchasing your food from local farmers is another. killing animals is nature. pumping chickens full of hormones to overproduce eggs for the industry is not. i would much rather eat the meat of a cow who was made to be eaten (seriously) or the milk of a dairy cow who exists to have be milked (by hands, not machines) than eat veggies bought at a supermarket that were picked 2 weeks ago and pumped full of chemicals and dyes to look appealing to me.
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