Dear Margo: Love Me, Love My Pet

When it comes to relationships, is pet compatibility a deal-breaker? Margo Howard’s advice

Love Me, Love My Dog/Cat/Hamster/Parrot

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 Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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139 comments so far.

  1. avatar Miss Lee says:

    ltr # 1, My last boyfriend hated my 15 yr old cat.  He got the boot, the cat stayed.  I liked the cat better. 

    Ltr # 2, Marriage should be for better or for worse.  Say you get pregnant and gain 50 lbs, would you husband pout and threaten to leave?  Got to ask because only movie stars have the same bodies they had before they got pregnant.  The rest of us struggle and usually don’t get back to the same place.  As for the brother, he is an ass.  The early warning given to him is left over brother stuff and has nothing to do with you.  If the brother ever does say anything, ask him just how long he has been an ass and turn your back and walk away. You will probably get a round of applause from the rest of the family. There is little hope for men like him…I’ve known a few in my time.

  2. avatar amyarizona says:

    This was the most boring dear Margo column in a long while. A whole column of fat people acting defensive about being overweight. Aren’t there chat rooms for you all to support each other?
    Out in the real world I can guarantee that if you are overweight, someone is talking about you behind your back.
    You only have a few choices. Accept that your weight is the subject of gossip it in a non paranoid way, or lose the weight. But don’t expect the whole world to ignore it.

  3. avatar Eileen Heath says:

    “He told me he’s beginning to no longer care about the animals, me or our relationship.”
    That really should be the end of the letter and the subject. If she listens to what he says and deletes the references to animals, she might realize this.
    The brother had to be warned she wasn’t skinny but John would not be ok with her ballooning to 225?

  4. avatar BigMouthFrog says:

    It’s obvious this tool of a brother gets his self esteem purely from the physical appearance of his ‘associates’ personal and no doubt professional. He is so obviously shallow, superficial and insecure, that his brother had to warn him in advance of LW#1s weight.  This only condones this guys shallowness from within that family. That dope needs to be called out by others in that family. I hope she lets him have it someday soon. He seems worthy of a reality check!

  5. avatar Deby Keller says:

    Ltr#1 – I agree, an animal person will never be happy long term with a non-animal person.  That’s it, short and sweet, as it were.  However, the writer is more than just an “animal person,” she’s an “animal lover.”  She needs to say good-bye.

    Ltr #2 – I am going to ignore her response or justification about her weight (even though she is not obese as so many folks seem to want to imply).  And the responses by ladies that think this is somehow directly aimed at them because they feel they are outside the norms of our society’s weight-height ratio ( and I am fat).  The more important fact was that her guy thought he needed to tell his brethren about her weight.  What about, “this is my gal and I love her!”  and let it go at that.

    Methinks this is a case of they both protest too much and no one really is very secure in their choices.

  6. avatar Koka Miri says:

    Wow, weight makes people /batty/!

    My issue with LW2 is that she was offended her hubby said she wasn’t “model skinny”. Get over it! That isn’t an insult.

    That said, the brother needs to get his danged nose out of her life, and hubby needs to tell him to shut it too. It sounds like he was trying to protect his wife but screwed it up.

  7. avatar ablex says:

    Regarding “Steaming”, and her “weighty issue” – does no one take offense at her boyfriend’s statement that he would not be OK with her “blowing up to 225 pounds”?!  You are all arguing over whether or not she is overweight, without acknowledging that her partner would leave her if she truly were obese.
    That’s one shallow man, in my opinion, who can declare that there is a weight limit to be with him.

  8. avatar patsea says:

    My question is why “John” is always telling her about these conversations.  Assuming she’s getting her info from John, I think John is usung these conversations with his brother as a way to tell her that she needs (or John would like for her) to lose weight.  I would have liked it if she said specifically where she heard about the conversations.