I have been a vegetarian for a very long time—like since elementary school long. I have zero interest in eating meat ever again. It’s not so much that I think eating meat is morally reprehensible—it’s just that it’s something that doesn’t feel right for me. However, my boyfriend is trying very hard to change my mind. At least every other meal we have together, he will say something like, “When you eat meat again…” He’ll even jokingly threaten to sneak meat into a dish of mine sometime. I’ve tried to express to him that I don’t find this particularly funny and that it feels dismissive of him to not value my beliefs. I mean, I would never pressure him to be a vegetarian! How can I get him to stop this particular prodding?
Dear Tofu Enthusiast,
First of all, kudos on staying veggie for so long. I, myself, have tried (and failed) numerous times to stay on the vegetable-laden path. We, who do not have the will power to resist a Grey’s Papaya hot dog, salute you!
Now onto your beau’s prodding words…
Have you tried asking your guy—at a calm and happy time, when communication is open and not strained—why it is that he wants you to eat meat? Maybe he thinks it’s healthier for you to have meat in your diet. Or is it just something he’s hassling you about for fun?
Try to find this out, express acknowledgement of his concerns, and have a couple of solid reasons ready to explain why you want to stay veggie.
For instance: Does he know that if everyone in the world were vegetarian, that we could end world hunger in a matter of months? Or that we can actually consume all of the vitamins and nutrients the human body needs in fruits, vegetables and “superfoods” like Spirulina and Chlorella without ever consuming meat?
Eating meat is a choice, just as not eating meat is one. Both choices have their pros and cons—but he needs to get on board with respecting the choice that you have made for your life. And the only way to get him on that boat is to communicate, communicate, communicate!
Make sure to talk to him when you are in a non-defensive space, with an open and loving mind as to why he might want this for you. Guys can be a little shy with opening up to being “nurturing” and wanting you to stop something that they feel might be hurting you. Hence, they make jokes and act provocative instead.
As far as the threat of meat in your meatless stir-fry—ask him to put himself in your shoes. Really level with him (again, loving, calm and kind) about how he would feel if you replaced his beef-chili taco with tofu and bean sprouts! Sometimes it really helps to get men to see it from our side, and even if he thinks it’s all in good fun, he should be able to change his behavior once he really understands that this bothers you. These are the small changes we make in a relationship to create harmony between the two sexes.
Oh, and for back up – here are some articles to support your defense.
Feeling green now,
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