Dear Margo: I’m at odds with my boyfriend. I grew up with pets and as an adult have nourished my passion for animals by working at an animal shelter. I’ve been at this job for several years, occasionally bringing home an orphaned kitten to bottle-feed or other small pets (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) that would’ve been euthanized had I left them at my job. My boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up without pets and has little interest in them. He doesn’t understand what my job is like. He’s kind to the pets we have, but whenever I mention a pet at the shelter, he gets very irritated and starts a tirade about how he doesn’t want to hear about it, how I always want to bring more animals home, how we have enough pets already, etc.
He told me he’s beginning to no longer care about the animals, me or our relationship. It’s very frustrating because sometimes I need to vent or cry about situations at work. It’s caused friction in our relationship where there used to be none. I don’t know what to do. Part of me feels like I should find another job, but part of me knows that what I’m doing is important and thinks I should find another outlet to “talk animals” with. Any ideas? –Animal Lover
Dear An: Yes, actually. You’re with the wrong man. It is not a good match for an animal person to be with someone who doesn’t get it. It would be a great strain to be in a marriage where you couldn’t talk about something you cared about greatly. Your interest is so fundamental that I cannot imagine things getting better with your boyfriend, only worse. Even changing jobs wouldn’t diminish your love of critters, so I would continue to enjoy your work, feel free to talk about it, and find a guy with whom you are more compatible. –Margo, logically
A Weighty Question
Dear Margo: I have been committed to “John” for two years and recently found out something that could potentially destroy the relationship. Apparently, before I met his family, he told his brother not to expect me to be “model skinny.” John told his brother this because his brother is shallow and John was afraid he might say something about my weight! (By the way, I am 5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 155 pounds — by no means overweight, but also not, as John so kindly pointed out, “model skinny.”)
Apparently, the brothers have had a few discussions about my weight since then — instigated by his brother. Before we took our relationship to the next level by moving in together, his brother called him and had another discussion about my weight, this one revolving around our having kids and me “potentially blowing up to 225 pounds.” The brother basically asked if he would be OK with that; John’s response was no.
I’m not sure who I am more upset with. I think it’s beyond disrespectful that John ever described me to his brother as “not model skinny.” While it is true, I don’t feel that’s how you describe someone you love. So my question is two-fold: Do you think it a forgivable offense on John’s part, and how do I get past this with his brother? I’m at the point where I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. –Steaming
Dear Steam: The brother must be a lulu if your guy “warned” him, fearing he would say something insulting. I would give him a pass for his initial alert, but … tell John you would like him to be done discussing the subject with the jerky brother and next time he brings it up to tell him basta. Even shallow people respond to “knock it off.” As for being with said idiot brother, a slight frost is permissible. –Margo, effectively
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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