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Dear Fifi: My boyfriend's mam won't shut up about the fact I turned him vegan

Dear Fifi is DailyEdge.ie’s resident agony aunt. The cases are real. The rulings are final.

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The best dating advice I can give on spec is “don’t mention the Zodiac Killer until at least date three, and maybe even date four if you really like them”.

For anything more tailored to your specific problem, please contact me directly

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Dear Fifi,

I’ve been hearing more and more from my partner’s mother about him going vegan. I did it last November and he was curious, so he did it in January. Both of us loved it so we kept it up. Now it’s been nine months and she is constantly messaging me asking if he’s healthy, is he lacking anything. Saying I forced him to give up animal products. I should mention he’s 30 next week, so perhaps it’s time to cut the apron strings?

It is absolutely time to cut the apron strings. But why is that something you have to do?

This is your boyfriend’s department. Give him the nod that his mam is overstepping the mark big style with the veganism. Encourage him to have a discreet word and assure her he’s fine. If she really needs to check in on his health, he should gently advise that she reroute her questions and comments to him not you. I’m assuming he’s not your ward of court, after all.

You’ll have to be tactful of course. But if your boyfriend’s mother has already got to the stage where she is accusing you of “forcing” your boyfriend into a certain lifestyle, then you’ve evidently been a little too tactful up to this point. That’s an inappropriate thing for her to say. A bit of steely yet polite froideur – or simply ignoring the messages and replying on a different topic – should be the order of the day in response.

You want her to like you, though, and you don’t want to offend your boyfriend. You don’t mention how his mother is in general. If this is a weird blind spot, navigate it cautiously and deflect it onto him. If this is part of a larger issue, it might be worth gradually reducing your contact with her. Constant messages from a partner’s ma is hardly the done thing.

Look. Some people are always going to find the idea of veganism a little tough to swallow, as I’m sure you’re aware. Eating is a big part of life, as well as a social thing, so it comes up a lot. You’re going to have to learn to take overly inquisitive and passive-aggressive pseudo-concern in your stride, I think.

Adopt a strategy. Perhaps that’s changing the subject cheerily but pointedly. Maybe for you, it’s answering a few questions dutifully but then simply saying “Can we talk about something else?” Either way, it’s up to you to clearly indicate the conversation is over, no matter who happens to be asking.

Veganism is really not interesting enough to be the major topic of conversation that so many people want to make it, on both sides of the fence.

Once that’s done, I think it’s up to your boyfriend to take on his mother. After all, you really don’t want yourself getting tangled in those apron strings. It’ll end badly.

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