Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: “Should Partner B Be Allowed to Eat Beef in the House if It’s Against Person A’s Religion?”

Over in the forums, Sara presents a scenario ripe for a poll (which we haven’t done in ages):

Two people are in a relationship for over six years. They both have different belief systems.

Person 1: is a long-time vegetarian who follows a religion in which the cow is a sacred animal.

Person 2: eats everything.

Both have been living together for six years and Person 1, although being a vegetarian, always shops for non-vegetarians items for their partner and cooks them. All they ask is out of respect for their religion that beef not be consumed at home. Eating it at restaurants is not an issue.

Person 2 feels that they should be able to eat what they want and that they should be able to eat beef at home. Feels there needs to be a compromise to accommodate their wants.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

So, I’m wondering:

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PS Who’s old enough to remember the image reference above?

33 comments… add one
  • lovelygirl February 9, 2021, 9:44 am

    Out of respect for Person 1, no beef in the house is a reasonable request. Person 1 is not saying “no beef ever” in their presence which is why the request should be doable. Yeah it sucks to not eat beef in your own home but that’s a small sacrifice for a happy long term relationship.

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    Guy Friday February 9, 2021, 9:58 am

    My first thought is “Why did you move in with someone, Person A, whose view on food is SO different from yours?” I kind of wonder when this became an issue. I mean, if they’d been together this long and suddenly Person A is objecting, I think that’s a bit unfair.

    I voted that Person B should be allowed to eat beef, with the caveat that he or she should do everything in their power to segregate it from Person A’s cooking items (i.e., use different plates and utensils at the very least; it’s not unheard of in Jewish households to have two separate sets like this).

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    • Miss MJ February 9, 2021, 10:09 am

      I came at it from the completely opposite approach – if it’s so important to Person B to eat beef at home, why would they move in with Person A when they knew going in that Person A would not be okay with someone eating beef in their home? Especially since Person A’s discomfort is based on their religion, not just a food preference or anything. It seems like a no brainer to either not eat beef at home out of respect for that belief or, if you just absolutely have to eat beef at home, then don’t move in with that person.

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        Guy Friday February 9, 2021, 10:38 am

        I’m not saying they’re not mismatched, but I’m saying that I think my opinion as to who is more in the wrong is going to be impacted by WHEN this first became an issue. If Person A moved in and was OK with it for, say, 5 years, and then this past year has suddenly objected, that’s shifting the goal posts. If it’s been a fight the full 6 years, that might be different.

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      Bittergaymark February 9, 2021, 12:20 pm

      Guy Friday and I have the same questions. I wonder the the Sacred Cow thing is new or not. I have known people to become strangely devout.

      Hell… In college I had a boyfriend who once told me that he was so grateful to have me in that we had such a blast “messing around” together. Yet he was oh so happy to STILL be a virgin. “A virgin?!” I said. “Last night alone we both literally fuck one another up the ass!!”

      “Yeah. But we can’t ever have P in V sex. So my virginity is intact. And I will one day be pure for my wife. . . As will You.”


      Honestly? Neither of us were in love and we were both quite happy with each other being Mr. Right Now… so it wasn’t exactly a malicious slap in the face. Far from it. He meant this in the best way, like isn’t THIS just simply amazing!! All this “fun” but still holy in the eyes of the Lord. (Actually, in hindsight I kinda shoulda been more down with THAT concept of religion.) But yeah… I was kinda confused by his logic here. We literally had sex ALL the time. Like the most ever of all my relationships. Ah, the joys of being 19.

      He later married. Had kids. Then messily divorced once his son was off to college. He is now with a guy — maybe married, I think.

      But yeah. Churches tell people the craziest of things. The idea that either of us were still pure. Was hilarious! We’d had a three way? Oh hell, why be coy. We had a four way!!

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    Kate B. February 9, 2021, 10:37 am

    I voted yes because I feel no one has the right to impose the tenets of their religion on someone else, unless that person is willing. I, too, wonder, how long this has been an issue. I have a friend in a similar situation: She is vegetarian, her husband is not. However, she does all the cooking in the house. She cooks meat for him, but does not eat it herself. This works for them.

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  • Jessica Londei-Shortall February 9, 2021, 10:39 am

    I didn’t read the full thread, but what complicated this is the pandemic – maybe pre pandemic, they could go out a few times a month, and hence person B could eat beef semi-regularly without offending person A. Now that everything is done at home (and restaurants deliver take-out), what seemed like an acceptable compromise to person B might not seem so acceptable (no beef for nearly a year). So I voted person B should be able to eat beef, but definitely be mindful of his/her partner’s preference, by minimising the amount (once or twice a month seems fair – twice a week may be a little inconsiderate), be fully responsible for preparing the food (person A should not touch/cook beef for person B), as well as cleanup and minimising indoor odors (ex: could he cook his steak on an outdoor grill so the whole house doesn’t smell of beef, or order take out with beef but not cook it?).

    I think there would be a possible accommodation if they both are willing to listen and be considerate of the other person’s needs. If not, if one of them is adamant (ex: I want to cook steak whenever I want and you never have a say in it OR you can NEVER eat beef, even take-out during a pandemic, in the house, and anything else is a major breach of trust), well then the inflexibility and lack of understanding might be a bigger issue than the position on meat.

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  • Fyodor February 9, 2021, 11:02 am

    I would be curious to know if they are able to successfully navigate or compromise on other issues.

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  • ArtsyGirl February 9, 2021, 11:08 am

    Since Person 1 (A) shops for and then cooks the food, Person 2 (B) can suck it up. Person 1 is already relaxed about purchasing and preparing meat even though they do not consume it. Not getting a burger or steak cooked at home is not exactly a hardship. As mentioned, Person 2 can eat beef whenever they eat out so if they has a craving for beef stroganoff or lasagna it is not like there are no solutions.

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    • Kate February 9, 2021, 11:53 am

      Ground turkey! Bison meat!

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      • ArtsyGirl February 9, 2021, 1:16 pm

        Absolutely Kate – I actually don’t eat red meat (not because of religious strictures but because of environmental issues, how smart cows/pigs are, and because I do not really like the texture of pork) – so maybe I am biased. I often substitute ground turkey or shrimp for pork and beef and honestly it tastes great. Just made shrimp burgers last week and will make turkey stroganoff with lots of portabella mushrooms this week.

      • Kate February 9, 2021, 1:30 pm

        Right, anything that calls for ground beef you can substitute ground turkey and it’s healthier and probably just as tasty. I love turkey bacon too as a substitute for pork bacon. Chicken sausage is good too. And then there are red meats like bison, venison, ostrich, etc. that partner B might like to try when it comes to steaks / cuts. Lamb chops.

        Not to mention beans, mushrooms, etc. My husband loves red meat but is totally cool with the vegetarian meals I order from Hello Fresh and cook. He’ll cook a steak dinner now on weekends and he goes to the store and buys the stuff himself. We don’t have a grill, but if they do it could be a solution. Maybe.

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        Copa February 9, 2021, 2:06 pm

        I love red meat, but buy/cook it very infrequently. I, too, opt into alternatives to be a little healthier and reduce environmental impact. Bison is delicious and an excellent alternative to beef. I believe by most standards, it’s also healthier. Ostrich is also delicious, but I’ve only ever had it abroad. There are also ways to make vegetarian and vegan meals seem “meaty.” (Lentils! Mushrooms!)

        My boyfriend would probably opt into red meat more often than I cook it, but I do most of the shopping and cooking. I’ll usually ask if some meal ideas I have sound good to him and I can’t recall him every saying no. He doesn’t complain. If he wants to eat something else, he makes it himself. Person A already seems to be doing a lot of unnecessary work by cooking separate meals for them. My take is that these two are incompatible.

    • A Simple Narwhal February 9, 2021, 11:58 am

      This is a great point. If you aren’t doing the shopping or the cooking, don’t complain about the otherwise lovely meal that’s been 100% prepared for you just because it doesn’t contain a specific ingredient.

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  • Kate February 9, 2021, 11:52 am

    I have a sixth sense through the Internet, and it tells me there’s a reason these two have been together 6 years and aren’t married. And it’s not about beef.

    So I was torn between choosing “No” (since for fucks sake Sara does the shopping and the cooking, so her partner can suck it up), and “They’re not compatible.” I chose the latter. I’m sorry, but with two people who love each other and are committed to making it work, you’re not going to have this issue. Partner B would not be trying to eat beef in the house, pandemic or no.

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  • Kate February 9, 2021, 11:57 am

    What do YOU think, Wendy?

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  • Teresa February 9, 2021, 12:11 pm

    <~~~~~ Old enough!
    I <3 Wendy's!

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  • ele4phant February 9, 2021, 12:32 pm

    For me – I feel like the original post didn’t give me enough to make a fair judgement.

    What has been the agreement for the past six years they’ve lived with? Is this a new fight, or an old fight?

    If it’s a new fight, why? Did Partner 1 change, or did Partner 2 change? Why the change?

    If it’s an old fight, why on green’s god earth are you still having it?

    The original post also mentioned that Partner 2 thought they should be able to eat beef at home and “feels there needs to be compromise”. What kind of compromise do they think is reasonable? Being allowed to get takeout? Being allowed to grill? Being allowed to buy and cook their own beef? Changing the status quo temporarily until COVID ends? Or, do they mean “compromise” in which they aren’t the one that compromises at all?

    Why on earth is Partner 1 preparing all the food, especially if they can’t eat meat themselves?

    I do think there’s nuance here, and I’m having a hard time making a judgement about what’s going on or what should done without knowing some of those details.

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    Bittergaymark February 9, 2021, 12:46 pm

    It’s funny. We all assume Person B is a man. (Yes, I read it that way, too.) But then why not just say boyfriend? Could Sara be wanting us to be REAL objective and thus writing about herself and calling herself Person B to ensure we are not biased towards her point of view?

    This would explain the vague pronouns… Could she simply have herself a Hindu boyfriend. (One who cooks and grocery shops). Or she could be a lesbian.? The deliberately genderfree pronouns are actually a bit intriguing.

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    • ele4phant February 9, 2021, 1:06 pm

      Eh, maybe.

      I find though that the youngs are more and more cognizant of gender norms, heteronormativity and yadda yadda yadda (I don’t mean to be dismissive, just, its a lot of concepts to type out).

      I know plenty of outwardly straight looking couples that prefer to use non-gendered pronouns and words like “partner” instead of boyfriend/girlfriend or wife/husband.

      I do assume Sara (whether she’s partner 1 or 2) is female presenting, because that’s a pretty traditionally female name, no idea the gender of her partner.

      And if Sara is actually partner 2 – she did an *excellent* job of painting her partner’s perceptions in the most positive light while making her own come across as fairly unsympathetic and brief. So…I really doubt she is Partner 2. If she’s that considerate in presenting both sides, casting herself in the worst light, why wouldn’t she be considerate and not eat beef at home?

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  • Betty February 9, 2021, 1:10 pm

    To me, the fact that it is based on religion is irrelevant. I think that if a partner makes a request from the beginning of the relationship, then it should be honored. For instance, if someone has arachnophobia and requests no spider decorations or pet spiders, then the other person should honor that (as long as it has been known from the beginning). It is unfair to start insisting on spider-themed Halloween decorations six years in or watching spider documentaries together.

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    • ele4phant February 9, 2021, 1:15 pm

      I mean, the crux of it is that we *don’t* know if this has been a request from the beginning. We know they’ve been together six years, we don’t know what the status quo was for those six years. Somebody could’ve recently changed their mind, hence the conflict.

      I mean, yes, there should still be the ability to reopen discussions. If someone entered a relationship with no fear of spiders, but had a traumatic experience with a tarantula or something and become arachnophobic five years in, a loving considerate partner wouldn’t say “Too bad, five years okay you were cool with my spider-tastic Halloween decorations so topic closed, forever.”

      But, if someone has changed the goal posts, the partner that is having things changed on them does at least deserve a discussion.

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        Bittergaymark February 9, 2021, 1:32 pm

        You’re probably right. Twenty somethings these days are so deliberately and pointedly genderfree… I constantly missthink they are LGBTQ when instead they are merely a straight heteronormative couple. With a penchant for being vague.

    • allathian February 11, 2021, 8:51 am

      If this is fairly recent, it may simply be that Partner B hasn’t been able to go to a restaurant and eat beef like they would otherwise have done. So it can feel like B is moving the goalposts, when the world around us has changed.

      I do think that it would be totally out of line to ask A to prepare beef dishes for B. Perhaps a beef takeout from a restaurant now and then would be a workable compromise for these two?

      That said, in the long term I don’t think these two are compatible. Call me cynical, but the divorce and breakup rates for couples from mixed backgrounds are even higher than for couples who share the same basic beliefs and values. It takes love, commitment and an extraordinary ability to both communicate your own wishes to your partner and to respect your partner’s choices even when they’re fundamentally different from your own, to make such a relationship work. A friend of mine is an atheist and a vegetarian, his wife is a Christian who eats meat. He’s taken early retirement and is a house-husband while she works. They’re one of the most committed and loving couples I know, although in their case things are a bit easier because they’re childfree, so there are no issues about which belief system to raise their kids in.

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  • Silje February 10, 2021, 8:22 am

    Yeah, incompatible or absolutely no beef in the house are my votes. The compromise IS that person B has meat cooked for them by person A. But if this has been the deal for six years, I wonder like the others what has changed now. If the relationship is not worth sacrificing some beef burgers for, then MOA.

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  • Trina February 10, 2021, 10:01 am

    #Not sure of granular details and can only speculate regardless of or not Person A is Sara I believe they did a decent job in presenting simple facts of said issue. In a relationship each person brings to the table things which are important to them and the love between couples SHOULD be the motivating factor in a compromise#

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  • FYI February 10, 2021, 10:42 am

    I think Person A and Person B are now more confused than ever and will now give up this argument and stay together forever.

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  • LisforLeslie February 10, 2021, 1:44 pm

    I, like everyone else, have filled in a whole bunch of details from my imagination,

    I’ve decided Person B really wants beef simply because it’s verboten, and it’s become the itch they really want to scratch. I bet if they were to eat red meat every day for a week that would go away if only because beef farts are just awful…

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  • ron February 10, 2021, 6:19 pm

    But, Person B could easily eat beef outside the house. This sounds like a dominance game. Person B not only needs to eat beef specifically inside the home, they also need to eat beef bought and cooked for them by Person A.

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  • Rebecca February 11, 2021, 4:21 pm

    “Person 1, although being a vegetarian, always shops for non-vegetarians items for their partner and cooks them.”

    So A/1 cooks meat for B/2, just not beef?

    Putting aside the religious/relationship/vegetarian aspects of this, are B/2’s hands broken, that they’re not able to cook their own damned food?

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  • Crush February 12, 2021, 5:39 pm

    We all know politics and religions don’t mix well for opposite believe. Let’s put “what I want” aside and focus on each other instead. Person A and Person B can live in harmony despite the difference. With all respect for person A’s religion… One can follows religion’s rule/practice A through Z buf if one’s heart is impure then it makes no difference and vice versa. Regardless whoever eat whatever at wherever just as long person A doesn’t eat that is enough respect for religion itself. Person A is the one “your God” is passing judgement on NOT person B. Person B is neither respect nor disrespect person A’s religion/God, B is just non-believers or difference religion that’s all. As for a relationship matter, if person A and B love is strong then show some courtesy, respect and care for each other’s feelings. “What I want, what about me, me me me” attitudes relationship will not last decades.

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