One of the top ten reasons for divorce is vegetarianism!
Believe it or not food habits including vegetarianism are cited as one of the top ten reasons for divorce in Britain. So why do more vegetarians get divorced?
When couples divorce, if they are doing so on the ground of unreasonable behaviour, they have to state reasons why. Once upon a time, these used to be more extreme reasons like addiction or violence but now changes in diet or even snoring have become reasons for divorce.
So how can being a vegetarian break up a marriage? Why do more vegetarians get divorced?
According to a study from 2010 there are about 1,525 million vegans and vegetarians around the world.
Whether you fall into the vegan camp or you eat animal products or meat, there are arguments either way for your lifestyle choice.
It’s perfectly possibly and indeed common for “mixed marriages” between vegans and omnivores to work out. With mutual respect and communication, and some agreed ground rules, couples can navigate this tricky territory together.
Some compromises include – not eating meat at home but being able to eat it outside the home.
Or each cooking their own food.
Fundamentally it’s not just about what you like to eat – the bigger picture includes environmental, nutritional and cultural concerns.
What you eat says a lot about who you are
So when couples don’t see eye to eye on what they eat, and their reasons why involve a moral and ethical stance, that’s when problems occur.
It’s not just vegetarians who get divorced when changes like this happen. It can be any significant lifestyle or dietary change.
Real examples of relationship problems
Consider these poor folks with food related relationship problems on Reddit:
When I met my husband, he told me off the bat that he was vegan. I ate meat my entire life and told him that. Over months of dating, I cooked vegan meals for us, was always trying to find vegan options when food shopping, and limiting my meat intake around him. I was very respectful of his life decisions, and never made him feel like an outcast for being vegan. My family members used to heckle me saying that it must be annoying to go anywhere with him, but I ignored their judgements.
He actually enjoyed cooking meat for me and my son. He spent a lot of time and effort making things for me even though he didn’t have to. He said he enjoyed making things he knew I loved. Not once did he say it bothered him.
Then we got married and now months later, he’s trying to divorce me because I’m not vegan; saying that it bothered him to cook for me after he said previously he enjoyed doing it. He never vocalized that he was upset until now. He said he didn’t want to cook meat for me. He said it bothered him. But he offered. I was very confused because not once did he ever tell me that he wanted me to become vegan. I thought our relationship was great because we both respected each-other’s lifestyles and accommodated them nicely.
My wife has decided to stop being vegan
I’m at almost 6 years, she is a little over four. She has had knee and back problems, and a neck and knee surgery. During the recovery from both she gained some weight (not that she wasn’t already overweight). Her doctor today gave her a hard time about her weight and she so she has decided to start eating meat and cut carbs. We’ve had the conversation about counting calories and more exercise but apparently that doesn’t make sense to her or her doctor.
Am I wrong to feel upset/angry? I don’t want to use the word betrayed, but that’s closer to how I feel.
My husband and I are having major issues over begin vegan and raising a vegan baby. Need advice.
When we talk about raising this kid, he becomes absolutely livid at the thought of not raising them vegan. I told him he needs to research the nutritional requirements of a toddler, as well as drastically up his cooking game. Right now all he cooks is pasta once a week (which by the way is not great for my waistline).
How do I meet him in the middle on this? Are these huge red flags? And, has anyone here raised a vegan child?
I did actually have my ex husband tell me that me being vegan was a factor in why he wanted a divorce. To prove a point, I immediately ate a cookie and said something like “there, is our marriage fixed?”. Obviously it did not change a damn thing and he was just being hurtful and looking for excuses to end things because his friends didn’t like me (and because he was a jerk). Keep in mind, I was vegan when we met…
A big diet change rocks the boat
If someone in the relationship changes it can put tremendous strain on a couple. A person either taking up or giving up vegetarianism or veganism can seriously rock the boat. Not only because they may have strong ethical reasons for the change, but because change tests relationships.
Most people don’t like change and they aren’t always that keen on their spouse changing.
A different but related cause for divorce is when one spouse loses a lot of weight and the other doesn’t.
A survey found that if an overweight person who was obese when the relationship or marriage began had bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) the chances of that relationship ending within two years was 80 to 85 percent.
The shift in lifestyle change can really derail a couple if they don’t take care to reinforce their mutual support and love for each other.
Taking some time to think calmly about change can help
If one person in a relationship decides to start or stop being a vegetarian or vegan, flying off the handle isn’t going to solve anything.
In any relationship change is inevitable! So it’s important not to panic.
If your partner decides to change something dramatic about their eating habits, think about the following things:
- Focus on why the change is happening and what positive things may come out of it. Some vegans chose to relax their diet for health reasons, during pregnancy, or simply if they are out with friends who are not vegan. Likewise meat-eaters may chose to give up meat for health, ethical, environmental or empathetic reasons.
The important thing is to try and understand their reasons and view them with some compassion and patience.
- If the change feels intolerable to you, work out what your emotions are saying. Are you angry because of a U-turn on a moral standing? Are you sad that you will not be able to enjoy mealtimes together? Are you fearful that the change will change your relationship?
Is there a way you can calm these emotions? Is there a solution to put your fears to rest?
- Change can be a force for good. How can you use the change to help your relationship? Perhaps you can learn how to cook vegan food? If you love food and regard yourself as a foodie, learning a new way to cook could be a real feather in your cap. If you are passionately against eating meat, perhaps you can persuade your partner to eat less of it by cooking them some delicious veggie food – up your game!
4. Change is not always permanent. People often make decisions only to reverse them later. If you feel passionately about your choice of diet and you can’t persuade your partner with words, then simply eat your way, make it as ethical, delicious and tempting as you can and perhaps in time your partner will come round to your way of thinking. Play the long game.
At the end of the day, divorce is often more permanent than a change in diet. So keep that in mind as you navigate your vegan/ vegetarian/ meat eating future…
More reading: How to look after your health in divorce.