I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nine (with two years of veganism); my husband is a meat-lover. Our friends ask us how we coexist in the same house all the time — assuming we must fight often about meat. That’s not the case at all! It’s totally possible for vegans/vegetarians and meateaters to live together peacefully, if both parties are willing to listen to the other and work with their comfort zones.
I’m the first vegetarian my husband’s ever been in a relationship with, and he wasn’t sure how to handle it at first. He made it a Way Bigger Deal than I ever did, which I was surprised by. He was so worried about being inconsiderate! He used to avoid eating meat around me out of fear that I’d be offended or upset by it, and he even tried out vegetarianism when we first met. He lasted a whole six months (“six miserable months,” he’d say) before deciding it wasn’t for him. I’m still grateful that he at least tried! Ultimately, however, I respect his autonomy and right to choose what he puts into his own face.
When he asked me to move in with him his biggest anxiety wasn’t about splitting bills, or how we’d get along seeing each other daily, or any of the other typical issues that new couples worry about. His major worry was about my vegetarianism, and how he could go about eating what he wanted to without upsetting me.
I’ve never made a big deal out of him eating meat. However, when he brings meat into our home, there are a few things I ask him to do to make me more comfortable with it…
Know your meat
When I met him, he’d eat whatever frozen meat patties or nuggets were on sale — regardless of brand. This made me unhappy, because animals are treated awfully when mass produced for most grocery store brands. I won’t go into the gory details, but I encourage you to look into it for yourself.
So, I had him research where his meat comes from by brand. In the end, he decided to start buying meat from local, pasture-raised animals that were killed humanely (if there is a way to “humanely” kill something that doesn’t want to die, that is). Now, when he buys meat, at least I know that he’s not supporting the horror show that is the mass-market meat industry!
When we moved in together, one thing that needed to change pretty quickly was how we stored meat. I hated opening the fridge and seeing a bloody, leaking hunk of carcass sitting front-and-center on a shelf. We discussed it, and considered buying a separate mini fridge just for his meat, but ultimately purchased solid-color, plastic containers for the meat to go into. That way, I don’t have to see any of it and if it leaks, he can easily clean it up without getting it all over the fridge shelving.
Let’s get cooking
My husband loves his slow cooker, but a problem we ran into was the house constantly smelling like nothing but meat for days at a time, which I eventually found upsetting. The solution? We put the slow cooker in a guest bedroom, opened the window in there and closed the door to it. I just burn scented candles (I’m a little obsessed with these tea lights!) when he makes meat in the crockpot, and between the light patchouli smell of the candles and having the slow cooker sealed off in an unused room, the house doesn’t end up reeking of cooking meat.
Clean up time
When we eat together, he always makes himself a meat-version of whatever I’m eating, and he never expects me to cook him meaty meals or clean his meaty dishes. He’s really so thoughtful. I wouldn’t mind doing his dishes, but he’s always very careful about rinsing off every kitchen item meat touched and putting it away in the dishwasher so that I don’t have to deal with it.
Meat eaters and veggies can totally coexist peacefully in the same house; my husband and I are proof of that! The key is to be considerate of each other, and to communicate about any issues that arise in a constructive and kind way. A lot of people assume that we must resent each other or get into arguments over my vegetarianism/his carnivorous tendencies, but that’s totally not the case with us. Be creative, kind, and communicative, and you’re sure to make it work!