Mar­riage has gone to the dogs – and cats

The Buffalo News - - LIFE COLUMNS -

Dear Abby: I’m re­cently mar­ried, and in my opin­ion, my wife has too many pets – seven in­side dogs. She also feeds the neigh­bor­hood cats, so at any given time of day, there are 10 to 18 cats in our front yard.

The dogs in­side have no bound­aries. They have taken over the main liv­ing space. The fam­ily room so­fas are filthy and de­stroyed, so we can’t use that space ei­ther, and it’s a to­tal eye­sore. The car­pet is gone, and there is dirt and dog hair ev­ery­where.

I’m at my wits’ end. I feel I have no say in this mat­ter, and I’m con­stantly stressed over these liv­ing con­di­tions. I hate go­ing home. I have dogs with me when I eat, sleep and make love. I don’t know how to ap­proach her on this when she sees noth­ing wrong with it.

– Liv­ing Like An An­i­mal In Phoenix

Dear Liv­ing:

Didn’t you know about your wife’s love of an­i­mals while you were en­gaged? Ex­plain to her that when you mar­ried her, you didn’t re­al­ize you would be just an­other oc­cu­pant in her dog­house. The liv­ing con­di­tions you de­scribe are not only stress­ful, but could also be con­sid­ered a health hazard.

As a part­ner in this mar­riage, your wishes should be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion and a com­pro­mise worked out. I, too, am con­cerned about her feed­ing the ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of neigh­bor­hood cats, some of which may carry dis­eases. One prob­lem with leav­ing food out for strays is it can at­tract other “crit­ters,” which could en­dan­ger the cats she is try­ing to help.

Dear Abby:

I’m a gay man. My sis­ter and I are best friends. I love her dearly. Long story short, she has now taken her reli­gious be­liefs much more se­ri­ously (Chris­tian­ity).

She’s mar­ried, with three won­der­ful chil­dren (6, 4 and 2 years old) who my part­ner and I adore. They at­tend church every week­end, re­hearse Bi­ble verses with their chil­dren every night and are very ac­tive in their com­mu­nity.

My part­ner and I visit as of­ten as we can to spend time with her and the kids. They live 200 miles away, and the drive is a long one, so we stay overnight. On our last visit, she pulled me aside and ex­pressed how un­com­fort­able she and her hus­band have been feel­ing with the sleeping ar­range­ment. They don’t agree with us sleeping in the same room be­cause we are “not mar­ried.”

I know it’s more than that – it is be­cause we are not a straight cou­ple. They said they pre­fer we sleep in dif­fer­ent rooms when we visit them. My part­ner and I feel dev­as­tated, sad and ob­vi­ously blind­sided. We don’t know what to do. Can you help?

– Sec­ond-Class Cit­i­zen

Dear Sec­ond Class:

From your de­scrip­tion, it’s un­likely that your sis­ter and her hus­band will be­come more ac­cept­ing than they are. As I see it, you have no choice but to “turn the other cheek” and spend your nights in a nearby ho­tel or mo­tel. That may be the sac­ri­fice you have to make to main­tain your close re­la­tion­ship with the kids.

ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

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