She complains that I'm pressuring her to do something she doesn't want to do and is resentful that I'm trying to change her. I've attempted to see this as an opportunity to develop compassion for meat eaters, but when she comes home reeking of meat, I'm disgusted and repulsed. How can I commit to someone who is harming the very animals I'm working to protect? I don’t know if I should keep trying or if I should accept that I'm not doing either of us any good by being in a relationship with someone who doesn't share my core values. I don’t want to run away from the difficult challenges of partnership, but I don’t want to stay in a relationship with a person I can’t respect.
True love is a tender feeling of affection for someone we admire, trust, and like. It's an emotion that is rooted in the present moment. Love isn’t contingent on a person’s potential to transform or evolve into someone we might like better in the future. When we love, we appreciate and embrace that person completely, knowing that what we consider to be “flaws” may very well be the characteristics that make this individual unique and special. If we can’t accept others just the way they are, we can’t truly love them.
In every relationship there are elements of give and take and times when we get on each other’s nerves. If we find certain people annoying or disappointing, however, does this mean there is a problem with them or with us? Our inability to deal with differing viewpoints or exasperating behaviors usually stems from our own limitations and desire to control or change others to fit our idea of perfection. Our intolerances generally say far more about us than they do about the people we cannot tolerate.
There is nothing “wrong” with your partner -- nothing that needs to be corrected or fixed. Your failure to find her appealing after she eats meat and your frustration with her contradictory comments and behavior about vegetarianism arise from you, not from her. You cannot change her, and trying to do so is only unnerving you both and shredding your relationship. The solution, then, is to determine the extent of your ability to embrace your partner’s differences and choices. If you cannot respect her, are repulsed by her, and are unable to love her just the way she is, then it's time to look for a more compatible match. You deserve to be with someone who cherishes you, respects you, and shares your values. Equally important, so does she.