Just when it seemed like they were ready to take their relationship to the next level, she dropped a bombshell on him.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 10, 2021. It has since been updated.
When in love, most people tend to see their romantic partners and everything they do through rose-tinted glasses. Aside from ignoring some pretty obvious red flags, we also become willing to make quite a few sacrifices for the sake of keeping them happy. From silently watching them steal our favorite hoodies, grudgingly agreeing to watch the movie they like, giving up a hobby that brings us joy to make time for them, and making mental notes to consciously avoid a quirk that annoys them, most of us are guilty of happily bending over backward for a partner at some point in time. It is only when they take aim at something that really, truly matters to us that we wake up from the love-induced trance and see them for who they are.
A 22-year-old Reddit user turned to the relationship_advice community after his vegan girlfriend did something that popped the bubble. "I can't believe I'm about to type this but here we go," he wrote. "I've been dating my [girlfriend] for 7 months. She's amazing and we're super compatible in a lot of ways. She is an outspoken vegan, and she made it clear at the start of our relationship that it was important to her that any potential had similar cruelty-free values."
He explained that since he was already a pescatarian at the time, he had little difficulty transitioning to a fully plant-based diet. "My [girlfriend] was proud of me for going cruelty-free and everything seemed well. We became 'the vegan couple' on our college campus," he wrote. "Then there is my cat, Mittens... I've had her for three years and I adore her. She's such a sweet and cuddly cat. However, my [girlfriend] was always a little apprehensive around her, and she blamed it on not growing up around cats. After a while, we sort of made a tacit agreement to mostly hang out at her apartment instead of mine, so Mittens never really came up again in conversation."
Then came the pandemic. "Fast forward through all the quarantine stuff... My [girlfriend] and I have spent a lot of time together during this pandemic and we've started talking about taking our relationship to the next level. We began seriously looking at either buying a new apartment together or having one of us move in with the other," the Reddit user revealed. This is where things took an unexpected U-turn in their seemingly "ideal" relationship.
"After a lot of talking and planning, my [girlfriend] sat me down and dropped a bombshell on me. She said that with this next phase of the relationship, she did not see a future with me unless I was willing to give away Mittens. She said that she believed owning a cat is unconscionable for vegans, because they hunt mice and eat meat, and because the very act of owning a pet is a violation of vegan principles," he wrote. "I was stunned. I told her that I was absolutely not willing to give up Mittens, and she had no choice but to eat meat so I was reducing harm as much as possible by buying reputable brands of cat food. Plenty of vegans own cats and think along those same lines. My [girlfriend] got mad and said 'how much flesh does your cat eat? How many animals died to make all that food? Would you be okay with that being human flesh?'"
"I got mad and told my [girlfriend] that I would have really appreciated her telling me about her cat opinions before we got serious. She went on and on about cats killing animals. I ended the conversation there. I was so angry that I left [her] apartment. And I snuggled with Mittens when I got home! Although the mood soured a bit when my [girlfriend] sent me a link to a Reddit thread advocating for the extinction of domestic cats. Sigh..."
"I've talked to some of my vegan and vegetarian friends and they all think my [girlfriend] has lost her mind. Some have suggested that it's not about Mittens and my [girlfriend] just wants an excuse to end it. They probably don't understand why I haven't broken up yet, but I care about my [girlfriend] so much. I'd hate for this bizarre curveball to be the end of a beautiful thing. I want to try and work something out. Where do I even go from here? I will not compromise on Mittens and I don't think my GF will compromise either."
In an update post, the Reddit user revealed that he ultimately ended up calling off the relationship. "I would like to preempt this post by saying, as many users pointed out, that my girlfriend's extreme views on domestic cats are not representative of the vegan/vegetarian community as a whole. I do think that, sometimes, new vegans can be a little overzealous. In reality, most of us are just doing the best that we can to not hurt animals! I did not expect to generate a big debate in the comments," he wrote. "So, we broke up, obviously. I would never, ever give up my cat Mittens. Many users said that this situation was about control, not veganism, and looking back, I do see a pattern of control on [her] part. I was blind to it I guess."
"I called my GF and said I was not willing to give up Mittens under any circumstances, and given the recent issues we'd had, and our incompatible views, I thought it was best that we parted ways. I said she deserved a partner that shared her values," he recounted. "She then asked if we were breaking up, I said yes. There was some anger on her end but otherwise, the situation actually went better than I expected. So, yeah. That's really it."