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Frustrated!!!

I am so frustrated and need some objective advice.  I have been a vegetarian since I was very young.  (I know that some vegetarians are obnoxious and some of you have very strong opinions about this, so if you can get past that piece I would appreciate it--lol).  I work very hard not to make a big deal of it.  For instance, I never make a fuss at a dinner party, I don't demand special foods be made for me, I don't throw a fit if someone eats it, or preach to anyone.   I am the "black sheep" in my family on this point so I am used to just sucking it up.


That being said I don't eat meat because of my personal beliefs.  They are beliefs that are very important to me.  There are a few things that, if I see them on a menu, I prefer not to eat at that restaurant again.  Or, I if I see those things on a menu in advance, I work hard to find another option.  I also have a really sensitive gag reflex to one particular odor and so if I see that item is a hot ticket on menu, I will usually skip the restaurant or sit far away from the kitchen.


Lately, my SO has been very lax about planning holiday events at restaurants that I normally would not dine in.  Sometimes the plans were made in advance by others, so I have just had to grin and politely bear it , but sometimes my SO has planned it.  I fear I have been a bit too accommodating on this point and it has blown up beyond what it should have.  He is very aware of my feelings, but again, I have tried really hard not to be a pain. 


This all culminated in my SO and a mutual friend planning an expensive "chef's experience" a well known restaurant--this is where you sit in or right outside the kitchen and have several courses.  I didn't know it was being planned, but when I was told and took a look at the menu, I saw that every reason on earth that I could not sit in a kitchen and eat at this place was there. 


When I talked to my SO and let him know I could not join in--though he was welcome to go without me, and I meant that--I was disappointed that he didn't take the time to consider my feelings.  He was defensive, basically saying I was just being jerky and they were just trying to do something nice "for me".  Huh?  My mutual friend was also pretty rude about it, calling me the next day to tell me how great the experience was, how it would have been FINE if I went, etc. So I tried to discuss it with her, explain my feelings nicely, even saying, "oh well, you didn't know, my SO should have discussed it with me, sorry for the inconvenience".    I got lots of attitude about how I feel about the topic.


At this point, I feel ganged up on.  I also feel like I have been a pushover and brought this on myself.  But I also don't want to be a pain in the butt.  I need my SO and my friend to understand that I am not being difficult--it really upsets me and makes me feel ill to be in certain environments. Advice?   Thanks in advance :)    

Re: Frustrated!!!

  • Hmmm, I feel like your SO's reaction seems like one of those "about more than this specific instance" type things.  I'm a pescatarian so I know where you are coming from to an extent (recognizing that full vegetarianism is a lot tougher at restaurants), and I think you did the right thing by declining a chef's table experience at a very fancy restaurant, as it would have been pretty rude to ask for modifications or send things back to the chef.  I love fancy food and tasting menus, but only go to restaurants that state explicitly on the menu that they will accommodate dietary restrictions.  It is not the norm among very nice places.  

    I assume the items that you especially object to are foie gras and/or veal?  I feel pretty strongly about these as well, although not to the point that I will not eat at restaurants that serve them.  Is it possible that your SO's reaction came from the phrasing of your reaction to his plan?  I know the veal thing has caused little mini-bickers between my H and I in the past (he won't do foie gras either but grew up with veal so it's tougher for him to give up).  Perhaps he was excited about treating you to something special and didn't realize how strong your reaction would be since you had relaxed your rules about these items recently?

    My advice (which may sound blunt but is not mean to be harsh), based on reading what you wrote, is to avoid the phrases "really upsets me" and/or "makes me feel ill".  I know that you see them as honest, but they just sound a little harsh.  I do understand the gag reflex thing, as I get it too sometimes, but eating meat is so commonplace that others can sometimes become offended if you bring this up.  Instead, I might tell your SO that you've been reexamining your belief system and aren't going to dine where ____ is served anymore, unless you're invited by work or family and don't feel like you can decline.  That way you're on the same page.  I do think you should reiterate that he is free to eat wherever he wants.  To anyone other than your SO, I'd just say "I'm sorry, I'm not able to attend" if they invite you someplace that doesn't jive with your morals,  and look away and think about something else if they're eating a trigger item while you're with them.  
  • This may be partially your fault. It sounds like your SO doesn't know how important this is to you.

    If you don't feel comfortable talking to him and being completely open about how you feel, you could be with the wrong person. He doesn't have to agree with you or adopt your lifestyle, but he does need to respect your views and opinions. Same goes for your friend.



    GilliCshort+sassy
  • CA90310 said:

    I need my SO and my friend to understand that I am not being difficult--it really upsets me and makes me feel ill to be in certain environments.

    I think you should just tell them that. If they really care about you, they should understand. If you discuss it in a neutral, objective way, and they still can't understand, I would reconsider whether they're really your friends.

    If I have a friend with dietary restrictions, I'll happily try to work around them or understand if someone declines an invitation. However, I also forget sometimes, so you do need to be patient about some slip-ups. However, the overall sentiment should be acceptance and recognition.

    image
  • While I agree with the other PPs that, in the past and for the future, you should make more of an emphasis on the types of items/restaurants that you are the most uncomfortable going to, I'm also utterly floored that both your SO and friend would think a "chef's table experience" would be something you would even remotely like.  I mean, I'm assuming they at the very least they know you are a vegetarian and know the menu will not be vegetarian.

    It bothers me how condemning people can be of other people's food allergies/choices, especially for individuals like yourself who don't expect others to cater them or disrespect their choices.

    I have Type 1 Diabetes and so have my own dietary restrictions, though they are fairly easy to live with.  But I remember being really annoyed with an ex-b/f who always wanted to go have dinner at a local BBQ place.  Pretty much the only type of restaurant that DOES have an extremely limited menu for me because BBQ sauces are almost always swimming in tons of sugar...and everything on the menu is slathered in it.  I didn't mind if he wanted to go without me, but I have no interest in eating plain salad or dry chicken for dinner.

    My DH is normally really good about it.  In fact, there is a commercial circling for V-Day that asks, "What women doesn't want chocolate?"  And he and I both laugh at it because I would NEVER want chocolate.  Never mind the diabetes, I just don't even like it very much.

    But even he mad a mistake a few years ago that really upset me.  I'm the only one with a car, so it is always me picking up dinner if we are in the mood for FF meals.  He was out with a friend one day and they picked up Wendy's on their way home.  I was so excited that, for once, he was bringing home something for me.  First, the hamburger.  A plain, boring cheeseburger that was nothing like anything I had ever ordered at a FF place.  In fact, I usually got chicken sandwiches.  Okay, a bit disappointing, but it was fine.  Then he hands me a soda.  I say, "Diet Coke, right?"  Completely expecting that, OF COURSE, it is Diet Coke.  We've been together for years, he knows I'm diabetic, I've only ever ordered Diet Coke.

    No, he got me a regular Coke.  Granted, it's just a soda, who cares.  But it bothered me immensely and really hurt my feelings.  Because it showed he gave zero thought to what I wanted.  I probably acted more petulantly than I should have, but I was just so floored.  I asked him, politely, why he got me a regular Coke when I only ever drink Diet Coke.  He apologized and said he didn't think about it.  Yeah, obviously.  I didn't say that but, what I did do, was hand it back to him and say in an annoyed tone, "Well, since you know I can't drink Coke, you take it and I'll get some water from the kitchen."

    I actually had a discussion with him about it later that evening.  Not an angry one, or even just that specific event, but pointed out that I always made the effort to remember what he liked, yet he notoriously cooks, brings me, or orders food I have told him I don't care for.  Though I did point out that bringing the wrong drink was the straw....more like the bundle of straw...that broke the camel's back.  To give him a lot of credit, from that point forward, he became a LOT better about remembering my preferences. 

  • That seems kind of weird. I'm a vegetarian too, and my husband is always more concerned with what I can eat at a restaurant than what he will eat. It's the first thing he does when he sits down. It kind of drives me crazy, but it's sweet. I've not even had time to pick up the menu yet but he's scanned it and is already pointing out the things I can eat and asking if I'd like to try any of it.
    image

    Chronically hilarious - you'll split your stitches!
    I wrote a book! Bucket list CHECK!
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