A Very Vegan Disaster: The White Elephant in My Refrigerator

Last week I opened up the fridge to a very vegan disaster. 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. It felt a lot like back-tracking, and it certainly wasn’t what I wanted. But at the end of the day, I love my guy, I make a choice every day to be with him, 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.

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*This post was originally published on www.ieatgrass.com. 

About the author  ⁄ Zoe

Zoe writes about food and sex on SexyTofu.com.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    CiCi
    June 20, 2014

    This makes me very, very sad. Power struggle? Sabotage? You dismiss it away politely…because you love him. Love goes both ways. And yours is a moral decision, while his is merely a taste decision. (He could eat omni outside house with little inconvenience.) Will it come to “I miss having luncheon meat conveniently on the top shelf of the refrigerator.” Sorry, Z, I think you’ve been dissed. Hope the Frog has a change of heart…in more ways than one.

    • Reply
      CiCi
      June 21, 2014

      It is like a violation of your Safe Word. :-(

    • Reply
      Zoe Author
      June 22, 2014

      I feel you. I was bummed to come home to it. It would have been better if he had opened a discussion about it first.

  • Reply
    Marion
    June 20, 2014

    He waited until you were gone so you would have to deal with a fait accompli upon your return. “Arrested development” ain’t just a show on tee-vee.

  • Reply
    Dan
    June 20, 2014

    Hate to say this, but it’s a complete lack of respect on his part. This is why I don’t think a vegan and omni can ever make it in the long-term – there’s a fundamental difference in value that you simply cannot brush off.

    It may not bother you today, but eventually it will eat away at you and your relationship.

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 22, 2014

    I disagree with your other commenters; another dialogue is perhaps needed, new boundaries drawn, but at the end of the day, it’s food. While you or I may not feel healthy, or happy eating dead animals, (or animal products) who are you or I to decide that our choice is the only one someone else can make?
    I’ve been married to an omni for 25 years; although I am happy to have influenced his eating habits a lot through the years, the final decision as to what goes into his body is his.
    And we share a refrigerator; it’s not mine, to stock with only what I approve. He does use his own pans for his occasional fish fry, and also washes them by hand. My husband is an amazing person, a terrific father, and a bedroom dynamo..I’m not about to toss out a great guy just because he enjoys an omelet, or a shrimp cocktail, and feels healthiest with occasional animal protein. I can argue, and suggest, but he knows what he feels like inside, not me.
    Good luck, whatever you decide.

    • Reply
      Zoe Author
      June 22, 2014

      Thanks Kate! Yes, it’s a tricky situation… in ours, he moved into my (vegan) house, thus the keeping it mainly vegan rule in the first place. However, I DO want him to feel like it’s his home now. Anyway, power to the vegan-on-omni relationships!

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 24, 2014

    Zoe, thanks for the clarification..I didn’t realize he moved into your vegan household. That does make a difference, and that does seem a bit disrespectful.
    Still, if you open your heart and home to an omni, you are tacitly accepting that some animal products may make their way into your space. I was told, a long time ago by someone wiser than I, “love a man for who he is, not who you think he will be with your influence. They never change the way we think we want them to.” (Thanks to my godmother)

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