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Dear Breakup Girl,
Like many of your other fans, I can't believe I'm actually writing to you.
Actually, what I can't believe is why I'm writing to you. This is
silly! But it's becoming an issue, so here goes.
About a year ago, I met The Extrovert. He and I began a long slow
get-to-know-ya phase that eventually became a good friendship, and then about
two months ago, we started to ... well, we became involved. I am a 26-year old,
confident, well-employed, happy woman, with two nice cats, and I'd been single
for about two years (dated, but nothing remotely serious). TE is a 31-year-old,
confident, self-employed, feisty guy, no pets, with a hideous ex in his past
about a year back. Said ex not only moved in with him and cheated on him ten
days later, he says she also valued her cat more than him, and that he let her
disrespect and abuse him and their relationship for too long before kicking her
So the silly problem is that he seems jealous of my cats! Everything's fine
until we go to bed and a cat comes to me to cuddle. (They know not to go to
him, as he'll put them on the floor.) He'll start to toss and turn and finally
goes home. Or he'll stay and be grumpy until I consider kicking him out! He
claims that he simply just does not like cats -- fine, he's entitled to
that, though he generally acts like he likes them fine, pets them and is amused
by them -- until it's night and we're in bed and then they annoy him by
existing. If one is on the bed and purring, he says it wakes him up and acts
like they're trying to annoy and be rude to him. Hello ... they're CATS! They
have no intent other than to be warm and sleepy and content.
The problem is that he's usually quite communicative, but we cannot talk
about this rationally, and it is becoming an issue between us. I won't deal
with his being grumpy and snappy about them; they're my friends, and while I
don't go overboard with them, they do sleep on the bed if they choose. And he
won't talk about it other than to express his anger at their "rudeness." (I
don't treat my cats or him at all the way his ex did. And he seems to have
dealt with his "issues" from that relationship and moved on.)
Is this an "ex-remnant" or something else? Is this petty insanity really
happening? Is this about the cats or about his communication? Oh, I really
can't believe I've just typed this.
Well, girlie, you've got yourself a coupla kitties named
Trigger. He could even be as over his ex as he's going to get, and still: the
cats could remind him
not only of that crappy time ("she valued her cat more than him"), but also
of how long he let it go on without putting his foot down. So my guess
is that he's making a symbolic retro-gesture and putting it down now. Which
is why you can't say this is nothing more than felines.
That said, the net effect is that he's being a bit of
a bonehead ("rudeness!?"). If you guys want to be/stay together, he doesn't
have to like cats, but he has to like you more than he hates them. And act (at
least discuss) accordingly.
Which means what? What to actually do? You said you "can't
talk about this rationally." Okay, so try to set the tone with the practical
rather than the emotional. Don't ask, "Why are the cats such a weird big deal
to you?" Ask, "Would it make a difference if we shut the bedroom door?" or "How
about we sleep at your place most of the time, and when we sleep here, you just
deal?" Yes, ma'am, you need to give a little here, too. After all, (says BG
in her weariest/preachiest voice, making little quote signs with her fingers),
"Relationships Are About Compromise." Skip the psychology (at least for now)
and find a practical one that works before this becomes an even bigger furball
than it should.
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