Help! I’m dating a vegan, but I eat meat and wear leather. How do we resolve this philosophical difference?
– Mr. MeatLover
Dear Mr. ML,
I would suggest that seeking a resolution per se, is not going to work out for you. And I hope you’re not trying to convince each other of the ‘rightness’ of your respective positions because you will remain polarized. In order to find your common ground, you’re both going to need to look at your underlying belief systems and find where they intersect.
Veganism is a little like polyamory, in that it can just be something you do, or it can affect your entire ethos of living, your politics and your lifestyle (and it’s not binary).
Understanding the choice of veganism, whilst continuing to be a part of a system which kills animals requires a willingness to look at your own meat eating choices in the face and studying why/how we have industrialized killing the way we have and whether you agree with it. Discussing ethics around this area and being able to let go of your justifications is important.
And then there are some things you can do to make your lifestyle more ‘ethical’ even if you continue to eat meat. Educate yourself on the origins of the food you buy, choose organic/better treated animals (many cities have ‘wild’ butchers where the animals have lived a happy and ‘free’ life rather than cruelly raised in industrial sized complexes). Find out the weighting of the reasons behind your partner’s veganism and see whether you cannot eat more sustainably – luckily most vegans would agree that sustainable means not wasting the parts of the animals you eat already, so your leather jacket is probably safe (where a chinchilla coat would not be).
Compromising on restaurants and cooking is also important to incorporate a variety of additions to your common diet.
Personally, I have high hopes for you being able to work this out. Already you both know that belief systems can be questioned, understood and tailored to the situation. Above all don’t attack. Listen with respect to one another and don’t demand or expect change.