Got a question? E-mail me to submit a question, and to read future Miriam’s Advice Well columns, visit miriamsadvicewell.com weekly on Thursday.
My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, and we immediately discovered that we are repelled by each other’s go-to breakfasts. We of course knew about many of each other’s food preferences before moving in, but neither of us realized just how entrenched our breakfast habits were or just how much we disliked the other person’s food of choice. Any suggestions for how to peacefully deal with this? Otherwise the move has gone great!
Avoiding Breakfast Battles
There are many times of day for you two to spend time together, and, hopefully, many other meals that you can share, but it sounds like your mornings will benefit from some planned separation. If you don’t have to be around each other’s breakfasts, you won’t have the opportunity to be annoyed or grossed out by it, or even the opportunity to be frustrated by this stumbling block in your relationship.
Thinking about your work schedules could be the first step to deciding how to structure your mornings. Can one of you make breakfast and eat while the other goes for a run or is in the shower? Can one of you wait until the other is on their first call of the day or has left the house? Who is more likely to be the early riser? Are there certain days of the week that would make sense for one of you to eat first, or would it be better to stick to the same schedule every day?
Another option is finding a way to cover things up. If the smell is an issue, employ some scented candles or incense as part of your morning kitchen routine. You should each commit to cleaning up your own breakfast dishes fully to avoid possible interaction or contamination. You could even keep the ingredients in different places to keep everything as separate as possible – both from each other’s food and, ideally, from the rest of your relationship that isn’t at all like your breakfast experiences.
Finally, though I wouldn’t normally say that trying to change someone’s tastes or habits is a recipe for success, given that you are both equally offended by the other’s food choices, I think you have an opportunity for a small point of compromise. Since it sounds like you can eat other meals together, I wonder whether you could share leftovers from lunch or dinner some mornings, or whether you could just cook something else once a week that you both like and call it breakfast.
Sharing food is a potentially wonderful but not always necessary part of a relationship, and I hope you’re both able to get to a point where you feel secure enough in your routines not to regret that breakfast is something you can’t share. Even more important than sharing food is sharing an attitude of respect for each other and each other’s choices, plus maybe a bit of humor about the situation.