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Weird argument with DP - our values are different - what's this about?

(71 Posts)
wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 19:56:37

Name changed as I tend to over-reveal (and have been outed on here before) so covering my tracks. Will try and keep this as brief as poss!
Been with DP for almost two years, following a marriage which eventually ended with some affairs (his) and emotional abuse type stuff going on. DP is kind, loyal, lovely, has integrity and is extremely emotionally open. These are the things I love and value most about him.

I've been vegetarian since I was little, from the time I realised what meat actually was. It's almost a squeamishness thing. I just never liked the taste nor texture of meat and fish & have never had the desire to eat it. I have no issue at all with what anyone else eats. DP is also veggie. For me, that's convenient, but no more. I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest if he weren't.

Recently I've been thinking about trying some fish after a nutritionist friend looked at my diet and told me that I was really lacking in protein. It's a big thing for me after nearly 25 years of not eating it. I mentioned the idea in passing to DP and he really surprised me with his reaction - apparently it's one of hig biggest principles to be vegetarian, one of the things he likes most about me hmm and he implied that he'd be disappointed if I went back to eating fish. When pushed, he admitted that he would worry his feelings towards me would inevitably change if we didn't share this fundamental thing.

This all led to a barney where I told him I didn't want to be in a conditional relationship, there were far more important values in my opinion and really it was up to me what I ate. I'm hyper sensitive to any signs of controlling behaviour (thanks to XH) and this rang alarm bells even though he's never given cause for concern before.

So where do I go from here? We made up after the row, but it's still on my mind. Should I be seeing this as a big red flag or does everyone have sticking points? Is it just that his priorities of what he wants in a partner are different from mine, and is that an issue in itself? Thanks to anyone who got this far, I know it's a weird one!!

Ineversignedupforthis Tue 18-Oct-11 19:59:51

I am a fish-eating veggie, whatever the proper name is, I know its not true veggie....I went back to fish cos my diet was crap.
Maybe a red flag, maybe not. See if you can move on from this but take note? If it is entirely in isolation may well not be red flag IMO.

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:06:20

Thanks Inever, my diet is crap too. I'm so bored of it. I've been having those protein shakes but they're disgusting.

I think I'll talk to him again about why it bothered me so much. I really don't want to think that the best thing about me in his opinion is based on what I eat.. that's mad.

Ineversignedupforthis Tue 18-Oct-11 20:09:50

Ok, I get you, I'm in that position. If he really loves you, he'll find a way to accomodate it, no?

Ineversignedupforthis Tue 18-Oct-11 20:10:56

IME if they really are control freaks, it exhibits before now, but others may beg to differ.

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:13:48

Exactly. I've had enough of trying to change to accommodate someone else when I was married and virtually lost all sense of who I was.

kunahero Tue 18-Oct-11 20:14:15


my dw and I are vegans, we were veggies when we met and its just one thing that attractedeach other. But over the years our reason to go vegan and our lifestyle in general mean that it is a very important part of our lives and as such if dw decided to go non vegan then yes it would change the way i felt about her. If its an important part of your dh life then I can fully understand.

Being a committed vegan I cannot understand why you would want to eat any animals. If this nutritionsit 'friend' was any good they would accept your beliefs and find a good source of protien from plant sources of which there are plenty. vegan society erbsite can help.

My 3 yr old is vegan and v healthy and growing very well without animal protien, so if she can do it so can you.

MangoMonster Tue 18-Oct-11 20:14:29

Difficult one, maybe he's just shocked... I think you need to talk it through again...

purplewerepidj Tue 18-Oct-11 20:16:23

Some people are vegetarian because they don't like meat.

Some people are vegetarian, or partly so, because of their childhood experience (my DP won't eat pork or shellfish, for example, although he doesn't mind if I do)

Some people are vegetarian like others are born-again religious, and will insist that it's the only "true path", meat is murder, etc.

It sounds like you lean towards the former, while your DP assumed you, like him, were more towards the latter. If he's not like it about anything else, then you need to work on accepting that this is his belief and he feels strongly about it. If he is like it about many things, then it could be a control issue...

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:24:27

kuna, thanks for your input - that's pretty much exactly what DP said, even about the friend (who is well intentioned). He was very supportive about getting round the protein issue and doing some research for me.

Mango, you could be right. He does tend to react first and think later. He told me the other day he used to be quite hot-headed when he was younger, which surprised me as he's usually really patient with me and the dc's.

I think it's the conditional love aspect which bothers me though. I could happily not eat fish for the next 30 years, but don't want to feel that I have no choice in the matter. I just don't think I'm as highly principled as him. I feel like I've got him under false pretences.

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:27:37

purple, thank you. you've nailed it there. We're coming at it from different viewpoints and there's been some misassumptions.

He isn't really like it about anything else - we have different political views, for example, and he doesn't try and impose his on me.

Will talk to him again later.

SolidGoldVampireBat Tue 18-Oct-11 20:28:00

While I think that veganism is basically attention-seeking wank, your DP is entitled to his beliefs, however ridiculous. You are, however, entitled to be pissed off that he is saying he will value you less if you eat fish. It's like having a partner who values you for your high-status job saying that they will be disappointed if you decide to change the job, or if you are high-maintenance pretty and decide to give all the performance-femininity a rest for a while. If he doesn't love you for you rather than for how much you conform to his ideals, tell him he can like it or lump it, and bin him if he sulks.

HauntyMython Tue 18-Oct-11 20:34:30

It's easy for me to say as I'm not in the relationship but I'd be tempted to start eating fish again (IF you are genuinely happy to), not making a big deal of it... See if he reacts?

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 20:41:46

grin solid. That's the point, though. He needs to love me for me.

What a partner eats or doesn't eat (unless it's truly freaky) doesn't even factor on my scale of what's important. DP's clearly operating with a different scale. Time for the talk.

GiveMeSomeSpace Tue 18-Oct-11 20:56:02

I think it's fairly straight forward:

You're entitled to your choices and he's entitled to his.
He's also entitled to view you differently if you choose to change. It's obviously very very important to him.

You've hit the nail on the head with your last questions: "Is it just that his priorities of what he wants in a partner are different from mine..." IMO Yes,
and "is that an issue in itself?" IMO Yes

That amount of inflexibility would be a show stopper for me.

HardCheese Tue 18-Oct-11 20:57:05

My partner and I have both been vegetarians for getting for twenty years - though he leans towards the 'I just hate the taste of meat' variety and I'm definitely more the ethical/environmental kind - and I have to say I would be appalled if he stopped being vegetarian. Obviously, he is entirely within his rights to change his behaviour, but apart from anything else (like my strong sense that meat-eating is environmentally irresponsible) I would be quite viscerally disgusted to kiss and sleep with someone who ate meat - vegetarians and meat-eaters smell different (breath, skin smell, bodily fluids) taste different etc etc. Some people might feel the same way (in terms of physical disgust) about a partner who suddenly started smoking.

Talk to him about why it matters to him. And do at least consider whether fish might not be the only answer to making sure you have a better, more protein-y and more interesting diet.

kunahero Tue 18-Oct-11 21:01:17

try this scenario on for size.

you are both committed christians and have been for years, both attending the same church religiously. One day your dp says 'Stuff this god lark. I'm worshipping satan from now on'

as far as us attention seeking wankers can see its the same thing

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 21:02:26

That's it in a nutshell, giveme. It's what I do about the realisation I guess.

And that's a really interesting point, hardcheese. DP always smells and tastes delicious. XH didn't and he ate loads of meat. I had never made any connection there but perhaps that's why.. hmm

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 21:03:08

Am not saying that people who eat meat smell, btw. Just that maybe DP smells so good to me because we're in tune or summat..

wtfwtf Tue 18-Oct-11 21:07:35

kuna, your analogy is quite appropriate. Part of the reason DP chooses not to eat meat is because he tries to follow Buddhist principles (not forced upon me, although I find it fascinating)

Put like that, it makes sense. I'm just not as devout as him though. Nor do I really want to be.

ChippingInToThePumpkinLantern Tue 18-Oct-11 21:11:09

I agree with Kuna & HardCheese.

It's not about 'what you eat' it's about 'why you do or don't eat it' and there's a huge difference between the two.

I can see why you are 'alert' to red flags after your Ex, but I think this is one of those situations where you are reacting to old baggage and not just dealing with the issue at hand.

Gargula Tue 18-Oct-11 21:30:24

I agree with Kuna and HardCheese too. I've been veggie for 25 years and my husband has been raised veggie. We're raising our kids veggie too.

For me, if my husband were to announce that he's going to eat fish, I would be completed baffled and shocked and, while I may not want it to, it would inevitably affect how I view him and relate to him.

I don't think anyone's love for anyone else is truly "unconditional", it just depends what you view important enough to have as a "condition". He obviously views vegetarianism as important enough. This is probably hard for you to relate to as you've never seen your vegetarianism in this light.

KouklaWhooooo Tue 18-Oct-11 21:35:06

Both me & dh were vegetarian when we met, and in recent years we have mellowed and started eating fish on occasion. I think we too got a bit bored with the diet, a bit restricted in restaurants/ on holiday etc. Which makes us sound awfully frivolous doesn't it? We were always of the fairly conscientious/don't like farming or slaughter methods/ don't really like meat variety. We weren't of the religious fervour variety, and tbh I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at him eating meat again.

But in your situation, I'm feeling that I would stick to vegetarianism tbh - I wouldn't want to lose my husband over it. I think some vegetarians are so very idealistic, and it is like a religion and whole way of life to them. I think this is a pretty good way to be tbh - a very moral and caring attitude (although the but of many jokes).

I wouldn't see it as controlling behaviour as such, more that it was your good morals with regard to animal welfare that drew him to you - I'm sure that's not the only thing that did. I'm sure he's not up for any old person as long as she's veggie! Don't know if I'm making any sense here at all. I have never had any 'controlling' issues in a relationship before - so it may feel very different to you.

I remember on 'I'm A Celebrity' Tony Blackburn (I think it was) was really disgusted when Uri Geller (I think!), a fellow veggie, ate meat for a challenge. He was disgusted that he would let his principals go so easily, just for a meal as it were. I remember feeling the opposite - I thought he was brave to sacrifice his beliefs and take one for the team, as it were.

birdofthenorth Tue 18-Oct-11 21:45:24

I was a true veggie for 17 years and have now been eating fish for 3. I took it very cautiously... and hid it from my true veggie friends for quite some time! In my case DH eats meat & was pleased he could now cook loads of new fishy dished for me, but I can see you DH's point. I'm more your school of vegetarianism than his though... although I guess that's obvious now I eat fish! Some vegetarian friends told me I was at the beginning of a slippery slope but I have zero inclination to touch red meat, poultry etc & never will do (one veggie friend essentially said "you'll be eating small children by the time a year's out" grin)

hipsdontlie Tue 18-Oct-11 21:51:00

Do you want to eat fish or is it purely for nutritional reasons? I would say you can have a good diet without eating meat or fish - you just have to know what to eat. Go on websites and get some advice about food.

If you want to eat fish, then clearly your values are different from your DH (and you didn't realise it) He is entitled to his opinion but equally you are entitled to yours. He has to start accepting this new feature about you and you have to start accepting his reaction.

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