Michele O'Mara

Eat Meat, or Not?

Filed By Michele O'Mara | March 11, 2008 11:36 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: relationship advice, Vegetarian

My girlfriend and I have recently broken up and gotten back together. One of the issues that I have with her is the fact that she eats meat, while I am a vegetarian. Within our dynamic, I am only now finding a voice of power in the relationship, and now that that is the case, the issue of about being disgusted when she eats meat is key for me. I know she will only be happy if she remains herself and is able to eat and do what she wants, but the fact is it does disgust me. I have promised her that I would research on how not to proselytize within our relationship. Do you have any advice on how best to go about not being torn by this issue?

~~ Disgusted

What a meaty question! Your situation is more common than you might think, in that couples on opposite ends of the spectrum partner all of the time. Consider these pairs: drinker/non-drinker, smoker/non-smoker, Christian/atheist, Republican/Democrat, Health conscious/couch potato, and the list goes on.

The challenge in all relationships is to find ways to support and encourage one another to be our best selves, and live the lives that are truest to our core self. The question I have for you is, can you do be the person you were designed to be while being with a partner who eats meat? If your answer is "no," then I encourage you to be very clear about why not? Is it against your moral beliefs? Does partnering with an omnivore cause you to compromise your personal value system? Or is it simply that you just don't like it?

This situation seems most akin to smoking/non-smoking couples when it comes to the variable of "disgust." Most non-smokers are not keen on those who smoke - the smells, the toxic air, etc. Everyone has their deal-breakers; those things about which they are unwilling to settle, or live with. To use one's voice, and I'm glad to hear you've been finding yours - you must know what that voice is trying to say. Many people don't "use" their voice because they lack the insight or awareness about their personal value systems and boundaries. To make progress with your meat-eating-girl, you need to know what your limits are, and feel confident about expressing them.

If you conclude that you CAN be the person you are designed to be while partnering with a meat-eater, then your next challenge is to find ways to accept your differences, support her needs, and insure yours are met as well.

Relationships are imperfect. Seems to me that in relationships, we tend to find about 80% of what we are looking for, and our success ends up hinging on the whether or not we can live with the 20% that doesn't fit with what we wanted in a partner. Is the 80% that you like worth tolerating the 20% that you don't?

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Or the vegetarian could always do the cooking while the meat eater does dishes. Problem solved. LOL

Or the vegetarian could join Bil Browning's School of Vegetarian Thought. Worked out for him, I hear. lol

In my opinion, being a vegetarian IS a moral issue. So the question becomes how much can you compromise your ethics and still be yourself?