Last week I opened up the fridge to a bit of a surprise. In addition to the normal contents (produce, almond milk, tempeh, a pineapple the size of my head) there were some interesting new additions: Eggs, two kinds of lunch meat, cheese, and butter.
I did a triple take. I had been away for 7 days, and it seemed as if my roomie had done a bit of shopping while I was gone. I sat down for a moment to consider how to deal with the situation. You see, I live with my very omnivorous boyfriend. When we moved in together, we had a conversation about what our household would look like, me being vegan, and him…well…not. We decided that the house would remain mainly vegan, save for a bit of cheese that he could buy himself for adding to the vegan dishes I cook. A compromise, right? Well, it seemed as if while I was gone, manfriend had reneged on our compromise. Ironically, I was in LA promoting my new book, geared toward vegans and omnivores trying to date each other. Ha!
I waited until the boyf got home to issue a line of attack – er, I mean, to bring up the subject with him. I explained where I was coming from: In addition to being a bit scheeved out about all of the animal products in the fridge, and I was bummed he had gone back on our compromise without first opening up a dialogue.
He explained that after a year of living in a vegan household, he missed eggs for breakfast and deli sandwiches for lunch. He realized this while I was gone, as he was suddenly left to fend for himself for the first time since cohabitation began. So he took to the store and picked up his old stand-bys, as well as his own cooking pan so none of his animal stuff would contaminate my vegan fare. I have to give him points there – it was very thoughtful to get his own pan.
Relationships have an ebb and flow. Like the moon affects the sea, when a person changes, so will their relationship. If you want your connection to be long-lasting and successful, you need to be able to change as well, or at least be willing to compromise.
For me, the ability to change meant listening—actually listening—to my boyfriend talk about how he missed eating animals in the house. It made me sad to hear it, because it highlighted how different we are. It made me want to stamp my feet and throw a tantrum, because it wasn’t what we agreed on in the past. But at the end of the day, I love my guy, and I know compromising goes both ways.
So now there is a white elephant lurking in my refrigerator – a drawer with animal products in it. I don’t open it, stock it, or acknowledge it in any fashion other than to take it as a lesson in flexibility and compassion. Eggs and all.