I am trying to understand veganism, as a whole, and my partner.

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Dream Sphere
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Re: I am trying to understand veganism, as a whole, and my partner.

Post by Dream Sphere » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:56 am

I would need to know more before I would say if your boyfriend has been really unreasonable or not. I get that using analogies that use extreme examples can have the opposite of the intended effect and just make you find the argument ridiculous. The main point is that he has a moral value in this situation which is very different from largely irrelevant differences like music taste or whatever which may only result in very minor "conflict" on road-trips or whatever. What I mean is this issue is extremely close to heart for him, which makes it more understandable as non-negotioable for their partner to have to be to be in a relationship with them. To use a less extreme analogy, would you feel okay with being with your partner if they had a habit of buying stolen property from a shopkeep of burglarized items? Or if they bought illegal drugs from a shady dealer who might also be using his illegal income to finance a human trafficking plan, as a worse example? He's not directly supporting theft or human trafficking, but what he's spending his money on might encourage those things to happen in these analogies. Like how your spending on animal products isn't done because you want animals to be mistreated and die, but those are likely subsequent consequences of your purchasing actions.

Now human trafficking may be something worse than killing a non-human animal, I don't know for sure, but would you at least consider that supporting animals being bred into an often poor and short existence to soon be killed thereafter being a potentially worse action than buying stolen property? Phones and TVs are replaceable, but an animal's life is its one and only. While the non-human animal isn't as valuable as an average human, is pain caused to someone losing a blu-ray player greater than an animal living a short miserable life that has a chance to end in serious pain if the bolt-gun or other stunning method fails?

I get that you want mutual respect from him, but one of you has to change for that to be possible. Obviously I'm biased and the best possible option to me is you going vegan, but it doesn't have to be an overnight change. If you decide to seriously work on going vegan to resolve this conflict and go at a slow but steady pace and tell your boyfriend of these plans, he should be receptive. If he isn't receptive then maybe he really isn't reasonable on this issue. This would however require actual commitment to eventually going vegan, ending the relationship may be a better idea if you really know you can't go vegan eventually. And, I don't think he'll budge towards himself going non-vegan, so I see three options. 1.) You go vegan and potentially have a very happy relationship with him, 2.)You leave him and find someone else who has no issues with any of your current habits, or 3.) you continue to be in this conflict cycle/limbo with your relationship as this discrepency of values and actions continues to be unresolved. Those are in order of best to worst outcomes, imo.

So just try to see from his perspective that this issue is really important to him. He obviously cares about you, and he probably even sees you going vegan as something beneficial to yourself. He probably wants you to change because he thinks you have the potential to put two things he really cares about together, them being a greater moral consideration for animals, and the rest of the person he loves. If you can be that person for him (which is yourself if you're capable of changing, to be clear,) then I think you should have an even stronger bond with him.

I hope this helps you decide on what to do. If you have any questions or want to challenge a statement I made or say anything else, feel free to say so. Take care.

Tailend
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Post by Tailend » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:34 am

esquizofrenico:

Thank you for you through and thoughtful response. I am not familiar with this app yet, so I might not be able to answer you
"point by point." I will try.:-)

First of all, I would like to say that, your analogy of the abortion is entirely comparable and accurately describing the similarity of the thought process (mine and my partner's in this example.) I love it, and because of the level of accuracy, it helps me to understand his position a bit more.

We won't be having any children in the future, so at least that part of the complicated equation is not there. I still don't understand why we are back and forth so many times? Let me throw one question (suspicion) out there, please let me know if it is too far fetch or if it has any element of reality to it. I asked him how does it feel to be the only vegan in his social circle? His answer was, he feels alone and isolated especially at restaurants. Now, my question- Q1- do you think the reason he is pressing so hard for me to change is so that he won't feel as isolated anymore? He has only become vegan since 2016, so not too long ago. Q2- He might be afraid that he would fall off the wagon, and with a partner who also shares the same passion, it would ensure him staying with it longer? True?

I think both of us have realized we are at the tail end of this relationship. Our incompatibility is at the very basic level. Both of us understand the other person won't change, at least n the surface, if pressured. And yes, it has become toxic. And, yes- I am as responsible for my remaining in this relationship as he is. I just wish there is a way to accept each other and not trying to change the other. Q3- Does a vegan literally get sick at the smell of meat, or it only offends their sense of morals?

My only hope is by conversing in this forum with good and rational vegans, I am able to gain more empathy for his way of thinking. Again, thank you so much for your thoughtful answer. I really appreciate it!

Tailend
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Post by Tailend » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am

Hi Dream Sphere :
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Before I go on any further, as far as options go, we have discussed the same 3 that you listed. He also added the 4) He goes non-vegan, to which he quickly added, it might not ever happen!

Yes, I know that he cares and loves me as I do him. But,

"If you can be that person for him (which is yourself if you're capable of changing, to be clear,) then I think you should have an even stronger bond with him."
I am sorry to say but that is not unconditional love. It is conditional love. The " I only love the potential you and not who you are right now. That has soured my feelings for him. If I submit to him on this one issue, what the the next issues? Once a person can change you, in my opinion, there will be no limit on what else he would demand. Sorry, I went off the topic there.

"To use a less extreme analogy, would you feel okay with being with your partner if they had a habit of buying stolen property from a shopkeeper of burglarized items? Or if they bought illegal drugs from a shady dealer who might also be using his illegal income to finance a human trafficking plan, as a worse example? He's not directly supporting theft or human trafficking, but what he's spending his money on might encourage those things to happen in these analogies. Like how your spending on animal products isn't done because you want animals to be mistreated and die, but those are likely subsequent consequences of your purchasing actions."

These examples are more aligned with the issues at hand. Note to self: there are rational and articulate vegans out there. Not only those foaming at the mouth, irrational, inarticulate script repeating, ridiculous individuals who are a bad representation for vegans as a group. Back to the issue at hand. I have been struggling to understand that same argument from him. You see, I am a very visual person, I would need a sound and logical analogy to understand a concept, to which we have never been able to come up with one until yours. So, thank you! Agreeing with that concept is another thing, but having a logical comparison is a good start.

A little bit about him. He used to hunt/fish. Not sure what happened, but he gave up the sports and became a vegetarian. He went full flesh vegan about two years ago. He is volunteering for the wild life center to rescue animals for over 10 years now. However, the seat on his motorcycle is leather. He also has a seat cover made from sheep wool. He uses grocery plastic bags that are polished with chicken fat for its slippery/easy to separate effect. Inconsistency bothers me.

We spend less and less time together. A meal is such a big part of our socialization. Be it with friends, family, or our significant other. I want no tension from that very basic interaction- having a meal with him. Every time we are at a restaurant, I feel forced not to order my dish for fear it would offend him. In turn, I feel like my spirit is slowly dying. I have voiced it to him, but yet here we still are. I feel hopeless again for this relationship.

One more question for you- would you advise your sister/daughter/ or any female love ones to submit to their man's demand, regardless of what the issues are?
I thank you for your time and response. It has helped me a lot.

Dream Sphere
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Post by Dream Sphere » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:46 pm

Tailend wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am
Hi Dream Sphere :
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Before I go on any further, as far as options go, we have discussed the same 3 that you listed. He also added the 4) He goes non-vegan, to which he quickly added, it might not ever happen!
There may be a chance that he would go non-vegan, but I wouldn't hold out hope for it, he sounds pretty serious about his personal ethical commitments if he knows how he's risking a relationship with you which he really cares about. He probably feels as caught between a rock and a hard place as you do, so keep in mind he isn't doing this for the sake of controlling you, but probably because he wants to be on the same ethical wavelength/understanding as you.

Tailend wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am
Yes, I know that he cares and loves me as I do him. But,

"If you can be that person for him (which is yourself if you're capable of changing, to be clear,) then I think you should have an even stronger bond with him."
I am sorry to say but that is not unconditional love. It is conditional love. The " I only love the potential you and not who you are right now. That has soured my feelings for him. If I submit to him on this one issue, what the the next issues? Once a person can change you, in my opinion, there will be no limit on what else he would demand. Sorry, I went off the topic there.
I don't see unconditional love as possible for most people to give depending on how wide you stretch the meaning of unconditional. People are often changing and developing, especially in their formative years. Would you still love him if he drastically changed? Sometimes people grow apart, but it seems like he wants you to grow closer to him. If you've ever loved someone unconditionally, I'm unsure if there's anything they could do to make you stop loving them, right? So if you love him unconditionally, then you can't stop having feelings for him, but do you think that it's possible for you to lose feelings for someone if they really change who they are? I'm unsure about this, but I almost see unconditional love for one person as logically meaning love for everyone, as one person could change to become like anyone else, and if you're basing your love on him not changing in certain ways, then that's a condition. It depends what you mean by love. He seems to still have feelings for you despite you not being vegan now, so that's him loving you still, but having feelings for someone and having a working practical relationship are very different things. So, maybe he is giving you unconditional love still, but doesn't see a practical relationship working with how things are. The practical issue comes down to what both of you choose to do. One or both of you will have to make a compromise or otherwise change for a practical relationship to work. It might seem unfair to you because he wants you to be more restrictive in lifestyle, whereas you're fine with him being as he is or losing his current restrictions. On the other hand, he feels these restrictions as falling in line with a crucial part of his ethical character, so asking him to sacrifice his ethical character is likewise restricting of him being who he wants to be.

Tailend wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am
A little bit about him. He used to hunt/fish. Not sure what happened, but he gave up the sports and became a vegetarian. He went full flesh vegan about two years ago. He is volunteering for the wild life center to rescue animals for over 10 years now. However, the seat on his motorcycle is leather. He also has a seat cover made from sheep wool. He uses grocery plastic bags that are polished with chicken fat for its slippery/easy to separate effect. Inconsistency bothers me.

We spend less and less time together. A meal is such a big part of our socialization. Be it with friends, family, or our significant other. I want no tension from that very basic interaction- having a meal with him. Every time we are at a restaurant, I feel forced not to order my dish for fear it would offend him. In turn, I feel like my spirit is slowly dying. I have voiced it to him, but yet here we still are. I feel hopeless again for this relationship.
If he purchased some of those non-vegan things before going vegan, there's little additional harm from keeping these things. If he's a consequentialist ethical vegan, then he cares what his actions cause rather than what his actions may involve. Using a leather seat doesn't harm animals. In a vacuum, eating meat doesn't harm animals, look into Freeganism. It's that the purchasing of these things encourages more of them to be put on the market, thus more actual killing and harming animals in the production process. Another thing, veganism isn't about absolute purity, but doing the best you can do. So, are there alternatives to those grocery bags? If not, it may be the least harmful option he has. If he does have other options for bagging/food transportation, then suggesting those less harmful alternatives may be worth mentioning, without accusations over his current habits which would probably just get him very defensive due to a feeling of being criticized as a hypocrite when he may feel he's doing the best he can and has no better options currently.

It's understandable that you feel like this conflict is hurting your social bond with him. If you think there's any chance you can go vegan eventually, then trying to slowly get there may be your only way to repair that bond with him and feel comfortable together in these situations like you used to. If you think you really can go vegan eventually as long as there's not too much pressure around when, then voicing that to him that you'll attempt to do so may break a lot of the awkwardness. If he hears you're trying, then he should be supportive. If he gets more pushy, then let him know that that's not helping you get to where he wants you to be, but reassure him that you are seriously trying and that veganism is your goal, if you choose to try to repair the relationship in that way.

Tailend wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am
One more question for you- would you advise your sister/daughter/ or any female love ones to submit to their man's demand, regardless of what the issues are?
I thank you for your time and response. It has helped me a lot.
I think people can be unreasonable on issues regardless of gender. I think submitting to a demand in a relationship is never a good thing to do if you feel resentful about it, or just really don't want to do it. Being able to make compromises is very important however, and sometimes compromises may seem one-sided and unfair, but it may result in the best possible outcome for the both of you. And, I personally see the specific issue in each case as being very important as to which parts of whose sides I would advocate for. Also, to reiterate something I said before, I don't think he's trying to control you for the sake of controlling you. I wouldn't even say he's necessarily trying to control you. I see him as having given you a choice between staying with him and going vegan, or separating. That's not unreasonable of him. It may seem like he put a really hard decision on you, but this is likely as hard for him as it is for you, that's just the way relationships are when people change, decisions have to be made. Likewise if something else comes down the line where you gave him a similar choice of changing or separating, then that's your right too. Also, I'm sure it feels bad to want to be in the relationship with him and not want to change, conflicting personal desires can be difficult to handle. A lot of people have conflicting wants of various things, he seems to in this case too, but either you or your partner just need to figure out what you want more if you want to get passed this conflict. He's caught between his ethics against his love for you along with his problems with your habits, and if I'm correct you're caught between your love for him, against your feelings of him criticizing or wanting to change you along with needing to change to make things work if he doesn't change what he's asking of you. It seems to me like there isn't some absolutely fair compromise to be made, one of you will have to give a little more than the other if you want the relationship to work. Personally, I couldn't see compromising my ethics for any relationship, he may be in the same place. So, I do really think it's down to you either deciding to go vegan, or leaving him and finding someone who accepts you for how you currently are.

I hope you make the best decision for yourself. Take care.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:10 pm

Tailend wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:29 am
One more question for you- would you advise your sister/daughter/ or any female love ones to submit to their man's demand, regardless of what the issues are?
It depends on the issue.

If it's "You have a problem with drugs/alcohol and you need to get sober or this relationship is over" then I would absolutely encourage "submitting" to this demand, because it's the right thing to do and it's reasonable to ask somebody to do something objectively good.

Even "quit smoking" or "We're out of shape, exercise with me" (couples who do things together are more likely to keep it up).

This isn't a matter of arbitrary control or domination for selfish or superficial reasons like "dye your hair blonde or I'll leave you" or "get breast implants or it's over".
This is a matter of health, ethics, social responsibility, etc.

It's his life too, and you influence it. Asking you to do something that's objectively good like quit a bad habit because it affects his environment and his life to be around that isn't so unreasonable.

He may love you, but he doesn't love the bad habit and he has every right to ask you to quit it and even say he can't continue the relationship without you working on dropping the habit. Love is not magical, which is how I think you're representing it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaid72fqzNE

There are no soulmates; people live and grow together, and for a healthy relationship that means helping and supporting each other with things like fitness (going on walks together) or other POSITIVE lifestyle changes (like dropping meat from the diet). In an unhealthy relationship it goes the other way, with each person dragging the other into bad habits (smoking, sloth, bad diet, waste, etc.).

You're expecting HIM to unconditionally submit to a relationship with you, and that's not fair. If he did something you found unethical like smoke or something it would be reasonable for you to ask HIM to improve too, or at least discuss it and determine if it's unethical or not (yes, second hand smoke kills people, so that's pretty uncontroversially bad, but also a habit that can be really hard for some people to give up).

My suggestion would be to come to terms with the arguments for veganism and how it's a better choice than unrestrained animal product consumption (nobody's perfect, the important part is working on cutting back).

When you do that, you may be able to connect with it better like you might to his asking you to quit smoking or to go on fitness walks with him, etc.
Understand that it's an objectively good thing to do, and it's not like him asking you to comply with his requirements for hair color or something like that as an element of control.

Also: Ask HIM to do something too. Something good (not something bad like quitting veganism). If you work out and he doesn't, ask him to start working out and you'll work on quitting meat.
There must be something that you do better than he does, and you can both become better people and adopt each other's good habits instead of creating hostility and pushing each other apart.

Ultimatums are rarely received well, there's a lot of psychology that works against it and they're just bad practice (he probably did not ask in a good way or explain it well from what you're saying), but if you can find a trade that makes you both better you may be able to see your way to growing together rather than apart.

Good luck!

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:39 pm

Bit late to the discussion.

"Are all vegans this adamant about changing other people who are no a practice vegan or just him?" Neither statement is true. It is certainly not all but there is a lot more than just him. I would guess he is in the minority though in terms of how adamant. There is a tendency for vegans to become more militant in the early months or years, or when younger, and then chill out later. Of course, this may not happen to him, but it's a chance. But this would more likely be a change in attitude (less aggressive) than beliefs.

"Q3- Does a vegan literally get sick at the smell of meat, or it only offends their sense of morals?" It depends on the vegan, but the second case seems to be more common.

I would argue that it is OK for your boyfriend to make a relationship conditonal on not doing something morally bad. If you were violent towards humans, or stole people's possessions, or had a habit of shouting out racist abuse in the street, would it not be reasonable for him to demand that you end such behaviour, if it is morally bad? I would say, yes. And so I would say it is reasonable to make a relationship conditional on fundamental moral values and is not a toxic or alarming thing to do. And then, I would argue that eating meat is morally bad so his condition is reasonable. I am not saying it is AS bad or compable to the other things I mentioned, I am just making an analogy, OK?

Now, if someone tells you that eating meat is morally bad, you are not going to agree immediately as a meat eater. Of course not. You will either say maybe or no. But that is inevitable at first.

What I suggest you do is read several books and watch several movies about veganism and its ethics and also have a debate in the forum with us. If you are NOT willing to read the books and movies, then what you are really saying is that you are not willing to invest say 15 hours of your time to understand the critical issue that would make or break your relationship. So, can you agree that looking at the issue in depth is a good idea? If yes, do you want movie or book reccomendations?

After you have really properly investigated the issue in depth, and given it more thought (assuming you haven't already of course), there are several things that can happen.

1. You agree that meat eating is bad, cut it out, and become vegetarian and vegan, not purely to please him (this could be a mistake) but because you later agree with the ethical arguments.

2. He may agree with you (since ideally you should be debating the books and movies with him) and become a meat eater again himself. This will more likely happen because he gets tired of being isolated or something like that, rather than a ethical reason, because once you have truly understood the ethics of veganism, you have seen the light and so vegans usually only go back because of other reasons rather than ethical. If he is getting aggressive in his debating style, or won't compromise, this can even be a hint that he is struggling with his veganism.

3. Neither of you changes your position, in which case you have to work out a compromise. He should respect the fact that you have invested the time in the issue and be willing to compromise. For example can you go vegetarian but not vegan, or can you eat meat when you're not with him? Can he allow you meat at home, if you won't eat in front of him in a restaurant (or vice versa he accepts meat at restaurants if you agree not to have it in the house)? If you don't live together, can he accept meat in your house and you accept not to brining meat into his? If the compromise doesn't work at all, you may need to split up.

I feel that if you allow a little more time to the situation, both to understand more about veganism and to allow the relationship to develop naturally, you may find that in fact, this on-off situation, which looks like it's going to go on forever, will actually naturally go one way or the other and reach a resolution in the coming months. So if you put off the difficult decision for some weeks or months, at some point, that decision may become easier.

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