Going to Bed with Caroline Vreeland: Sleeping with the Enemy

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Going to Bed with Caroline Vreeland is a new column on CR about everything between the bedsheets and more. Have a question? Comment? Flirty note? Email CV at online[at]crfashionbook.com.

Uh, oh. I’m sleeping with the enemy. Or rather, I fell in love with him.

Please note that this is not a Trump hate moment. (It’s clear where I stand on him. I do hate him, but my hero and mentor Ru Paul taught me that we should not get into politics in the workplace). Instead, I’d like to talk to more broadly. Yes, my boyfriend voted for Trump. He voted for him for economic reasons like lower taxes. I have been friends with him for 12 years—long before we ever started dating. This has given me the opportunity to see just what kind of a person he is. Not only does he come from a big, warm, loving family, he accepts and treats his diverse group of friends and co-workers with kindness and respect. He is not racist or homophobic or sexist. He is one of the best people that I know.

We had just begun the journey of taking our decade-long friendship to the next step at the time of the election. When I found out the way he had voted, I halted all contact with him for about two months. I didn’t grow up with a lot of male figures in my life, and I find men extremely hard to trust. And here was one of the best doing this dastardly deed. My world felt shattered. I felt betrayed. He suggested we sit down and talk about our differences rationally, and stressed how much he wanted to do the work to make us work. I told him to fuck off. I was bruised and lashing out. Insecurities, daddy issues, and pain all playing a part, I was ready to run back to my like-minded Silverlake tribe. I left Miami, where I had just moved in with him. I did what any free spirited, liberal Cali girl would do: I sacrificed my heart to save my soul. That’s when I realized I was the angry one.

I was amazed to see that during this time apart, my boyfriend stayed calm and steady. He respected my wishes, but reached out to me frequently to send his love and his understanding of my anger. This, of course, enraged me even more. Everything else in our relationship was so fruitful, so loving, and exciting. Why did it have to end like this? After a bit of time on my own I started to realize that I could put my pride to the side a little. Yes, this was a monumental difference of vast importance and circumstance. Yes, I don’t agree with his choice. But doesn’t every relationship have something imperfect or frustrating? I knew we certainly weren’t the only ones. Taking my musings further, I began to realize the benefit in looking at things from another point of view, even if that point of view was something completely foreign to me. I started to see that since he wasn’t pushing me away for my views, maybe I didn’t have to push him away for his. After all, ignorance only breeds more ignorance.

I realized that running away is the easy way out. This man has been good to me, and over the past 12 years I’ve known him, he’s shown me more kindness and acceptance and courage than anyone. So now, to return that courtesy, I’m not going to take the easy way out anymore. I want to get down in the trenches with him because he wants to work on it with me. If that means disagreeing on one presidential vote (even though it was my no. 1 deal breaker), I want to try.

I realize now that giving my boyfriend a chance to explain his differing point of view makes me stronger, not weaker. Through this now open conversation I’ve broadened my scope of tolerance, and I’ve learned to exercise my patience. He and I are very different but we both want to do the work to make our love stronger. And what’s sexier than that?

So in an effort to eradicate some of my hypocrisy I will write these following phrases on the chalkboard of my mind one hundred times:

If I want acceptance, I need to accept

If I want love, I need to come from a place of love

Fostering love within our differences and learning to listen to one another trumps (for lack of a better word) the discrepancies themselves. I may never be able to get past his decision, but at least I’m a little closer to making peace in our bed. So if you’re dating someone who voted differently than you, don’t lose hope, and don’t immediately alienate them. Try to see why they did what they did, and don’t dismiss their answer. Look, I’m never ever going to be happy about how this election turned out, but I also don’t want to let politics determine my love life.

To Papi: even if I can’t see eye to eye with you, I’m not going to give up on you. I want us to keep pushing each other, and help each other always establish a healthy open dialogue. After all, this isn’t a story about politics, this is a story about love.

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createdAt:Mon, 30 Jul 2018 22:37:24 +0000
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