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Vijay Mehta
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xx Dietary Preference - A Deal Breaker?
« Thread started on: Mar 25th, 2010, 3:59pm »

Question, “my spouse must be a vegetarian,” is this a rational deal breaker?

This particular truth is followed by many people I know, specially the Jains or Swaminayans, who due to their fundamental commitment to non-violence, would not even consider a wonderful prospect in every other way as a prospect for marriage only based on one deal breaker – he/she is non-vegetarian!

So let us examine this personal truth.
Frankly when I was looking many moons ago I would have never considered a non vegetarian woman even if she were the last woman on the earth. At that time it was my personal truth. However, I must admit one year after my marriage while doing every other night on call at Boston City Hospital I was eating meat! Of course I rationalized in my head as to I had no choice etc. Here is an example of how Vijay Mehta of 1972 was different from the one in 1973. Looking back it should not have been a deal breaker but should have been in my preferred list. Non violence I was seeking for can be met by many other ways too. As a matter of fact, I have met many Jains who are strict vegetarians but commit lot more act of violence on others!

a. Diet preference is a changeable characteristic. We should be mindful of the fact that someone who is vegetarian today may chose to eat meat later and vice a versa.
b. It might have been fine in my times in India where I had hundreds of women to choose from to be so picky. My finding someone with all the qualities plus vegetarian was extremely high. Now, few decades later and thousands of miles away from home it would be safe to say that by requiring that your spouse must be a vegetarian you might be ruling out 85-90% of prospects.
c. I personally know so many women and men who after falling in love with strict vegetarian have on their own changed into being vegetarian. This is fine because they chose to change. In any alliance both parties are going to change as long as it is done by the mutual consent rather than force it is healthy and should be welcomed.
d. I also talked to a fine woman who has made a career out of body building. For her eating carbohydrate rich vegetarian diet probably is a difficult if not impossible task. I can see why it would be important to her to be able to eat meat.
e. Moral of the story is this is not an absolute deal breaker for most of us and it is absolutely possible for two spouses to have different diet preference. My wife did put up with my eating non vegetarian diet for few decades and on one fine afternoon in 2001 for some inexplicable reason I chose to become vegetarian again. So I am a born again “Vegetarian” been there, done that and decided it was not for me!
f. What may need to happen is both sides frankly discussing the disparity in this fundamental value in life and how they would solve it as a couple and how they as a team will deal with the rest of the family who also might have strong views on the issue.

Remember flexibility and adaptability is far sexier than good looks. These characteristics will serve you for a much longer period. Some of the most dangerous people I have met in my life were too smart but too dogmatic. That should be Deal Breaker!

Edited by Sneha Sharma.
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Vijay Mehta
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xx Dietary Preference - A Deal Breaker?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 25th, 2010, 4:03pm »

Latha Nehru

Vijay Uncle, for a long time I really thought this was a deal breaker... but realized for me the problem is not being with a Guy who is vegetarian, but my issue would be hiding my eating and drinking habits from the Groom's parents and that is something I am not comfortable with.

VijayUncle

Well no one is suggesting to hide any thing from anyone. The trick lies in both parties accepting the fact that there is a difference in this area. In my case I agreed not to bring meat in the house and not to cook or serve at the party in the house. My entire family is strict vegetarians - they check the labels for lard etc. So we including my young grand daughter learned to order only vegetarian food while we ate out with them. It is ok to respect no meet on special days too.

Neha Sharma
Hey Vijay Uncle! I totally agree with your points. However, ultimately, don't you think that if someone feels that something is a deal breaker at a given time in their life, whether it imakes sense to the rest of the world or not, then they should use those things to determine if someone is the right fit? Especially when it comes to some of these things like being vegetarian or of a certain faith? I agree that there are more important things and I'm definitely not in the category that would use this as a part of my decision making. I also agree that people should try to challenge their thinking. However, those that feel it is that important to them and have strong feelings as such, I feel should use these things as a deal breaker and vocalize it in that sense. I agree that people can change, but ultimately, people can change with respect to everything. I think that everyones reality changes with time, but you have to base your decisions on your reality and visions today.

VijayUncle
Hey Neha I agree with you. For some people it would be and should be a Deal Breaker. And what I am trying to bring in focus here is the relative value you apply to each of these attribute.
My goal is to bring out these issues and let you guys be the judge for your self. If some of you are enlightened and make a deal breaker into preference - more power to you.
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