Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Heed red flag raised by pet-hating partner

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I brought a stray, freezing kitten home that I found dumped in the big snow, and my live-in won't let me keep it. This is consistent with her "keep the house clean" and "don't make love if it's messy" policy. I find out, now that we're living together, the reason she doesn't have pets is because she hates them. She doesn't like their neediness, the extra cost, the need to take care of them and show them love and affection. She always pretended to like people's dogs and cats when we visited them and never said one word against them. She knows I want a cat again, as I had one in my family until I moved in with her. Today I'm feeling so bitter as I must take this kitten to the no-kill centre. I feel like taking my girlfriend and dumping her off instead! I told my best buddy this. He said I'm overreacting but I'm really angry and disappointed in her. I don't think I want her as a wife to my children someday. She would deny them pets too. Am I looking too far down the road? -- Very Angry, Downtown

Dear Angry: Living together is a good idea when you need to find out if someone is going to be your mate for life, and the mother of your children. This woman is not the earth mother type you need -- unafraid of dirt, loving animals big and small, happy to go out in the fresh air with dogs, OK with helping clean litter boxes. You need to marry the kind of woman who isn't angry with the messes kids make when playing, or resentful that she has to change dirty diapers. Your whole body is telling you something today, so listen. You need to move on and it can be now, or you can waste some more time and it can be later. But, this is not the final answer in terms of a woman for you to marry. One instance, in this case, is a big red flag, so your buddy is wrong in saying you're overreacting. Heed the red flags!

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm writing in response to Tempted to Pull the Plug, who was asking for advice on what to do about his wife's cold attitude towards his son. My advice is to end it! I went through a similar situation as the son, when I was around his age. My stepmother would mock my voice (I have a disability that affects it), would accuse me of giving her or her son "dirty looks" completely out of the blue, and would pick on me for preferring to stay indoors and read rather than going outside to play. My father would usually take her side in a fight, and there was such hostility that I ended up crying myself to sleep most nights. When I was just hitting my teenage years I went to live with my mom permanently, and I only speak to my father a few times a year now. If Pull the Plug decides to stay with his wife, I can guarantee that his relationship with his son will never be the same. At some level the son will always feel resentment towards his father for choosing his wife over his son. -- Been There And It Hurts, Winnipeg

Dear Been There: There's not too much that puzzles me in human behaviour, but this has always confounded me. How could a man or woman stay in love with a person who was cruel to their children and how could that blood parent take the side of the abuser he or she married? How can a person be "turned on" by someone who has mocked their children earlier in the evening and made them cry themselves to sleep? I just don't get it. Maybe somebody out there can explain why they let the step-parent they married stay on, and treat their kids badly sometimes for years and years. That would be enlightening to us all.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2012 C2

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