Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceBreak up or give up?

Break up or give up?

Before my relationship I had 4 cats, and then I meant my lovely boyfriend that I thought would be my forever.

I am an animal lover through and through.

Many years, covid and ups and downs later, he has given me the ultimatum of its him or the cats. This was at lunchtime yesturday, one week to get rid of more than half of our cats to which I have been distraught about feeling that either way I am losing a huge part of my heart and life.

We actually, on his request maybe a few months ago, fostered a stray kitty that was found in the middle of nowhere to which they are now also part of the clan. I do realise it is a lot, however all of the others are very senior cats.

He has two main concerns, 1 being 2 is more manageable and 2, he can’t stand the idea of how much I love my pets. Lamenting that he doesn’t mind dividing my heart with my fam but not my cats who would it me if I died.

Now for point number one, I have said multiple times that cleaning and managing fur (vacuuming everyday, brushing cats etc) would be a lot easier for me if I had help with the chores. When I come home from a long day at work, maybe go training and then straight to cooking and then cleaning, then showering, I am exhausted. I asked if he could share some of these house hold chores, and cleaned WITH me once a fortnight, I can get a regular cleaner in and he can see.

But he is saying no compromises because he doesn’t trust that it is sustainable. I wholeheartedly believe that as I team it is, because instead of rushing to fend of spiders and get the mail, take out the bins and everything else in between, we can share the load and I can focus on on the cleaning. I am not and have never asked him to clean the litter but I do clean them at least 3 times a day and I am more than happy to buy any automated litter or anything to make it better. It is just of course really hard to do everything myself.

Now for the second part, I have tried to allow him to see that even asking me that question shakes me to the core, a lot of things don’t upset me but one thing that does is the knowledge that my pets won’t be here forever. Maybe we are wired differently, but I have and will always have all my heart for my family which is him, my parents and my pets that is all the true family I have in this world. Sure I have amazing best friends, but when it comes down to it it’s my clan above all.

This is really long and I feel like I am going on a tangent at the moment but I am completely lost. Within less that a few hours of having this conversation with me to know resolution as it is either him or the cats, he has moved on with the process of leaving and I feel it is not fair to even consider both putting 100% in and trying one last time as fair as possible to which I feel should’ve been from the start.

How do I make him see that my love for my cats has nothing to do with how much I love him? Should I just let it be and let him go? SOS

Edit: I would never ever give up on my cats, they are as much a part of my family than any other human.

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  1. >he can’t stand the idea of how much I love my pets.

    That’s *fucked up*. Dump this weirdo, jesus christ. I saw that you’re planning on becoming a parent: how do you think he’ll react to your love for your kids???

  2. Keep the pets. Ditch the boyfriend – he is not being an equal partner to you in sharing basic tasks. Someone that loves you truly, loves you for you and that includes how you love your pets.

  3. Him asking you to throw out your pets is a bright red flag, I hope you are not too blinded by love to see that.

    I would have ended the relationship the second he made that demand. This is not someone worth keeping in your life long term, sorry.

  4. Honestly, I’d keep the cats. You made a commitment to these animals who can’t take care of themselves. I bought a horse when I was 18 and when I was in college it was very difficult financially to hang onto her. I considered selling her but then reminded myself that I made a COMMITMENT. And you’re not allowed to back out of these commitments just because it’s become difficult. You persevere. My challenge was money and that passed. This is just a bf.

    If you back out of your commitments because they’re hard, you were never really committed.

  5. He is saying that

    1) you can’t love anyone/any pet AND him

    2) he is okay with senior pets trying to find a new home.

    3) cleaning is solely your responsibility.

    I think that’s everything you need to know in order to make a decision.

  6. This issue is not about the cats. It’s about how he doesn’t help with any of the household chores, which is causing the household to decline due to the constant needs of the pets.

    He can’t complain about a problem that has an easy solution. Break up with him.

  7. I’d choose the cats.

    Your pets are part of your family. You feed them, love them, protect them.

    His ultimatum demonstrates his misunderstanding of you. A partner who cared for you and understood you would never ask you to cut out family members. Incredibly selfish.

  8. >he can’t stand the idea of how much I love my pets.

    OP, there is something seriously wrong with a guy who is prepared to state openly that he’s jealous of your cats. And then uses that as an excuse to do nothing around the house and make you do all the chores.

    Normal, secure people are not jealous of pets. Good partners don’t leave you to do all the work of running the household because you have pets. Decent human beings don’t give you ultimatums to force you to get rid of much-loved senior pets that you’ve had in your life for years. Why would you choose someone who’s treating you and your cats like this?

  9. Kick him out, he definitely needs to go before the end of the week. I wouldn’t need to hesitate on that decision, the cats are far more important.

    If he is making you choose about something as serious as this, he clearly doesn’t love, or respect you enough to make you not choose. If he makes you choose once, he will do it again and again, next time over family and friends. Kick him out, and help him get his crap out the house. He is no kind of man.

  10. The cats came before him. Any sane person knows that someone’s pets are almost like their children… they are part of the family. His reasons aren’t acceptable.

    “I hate that you love them more than me.” This is so unhealthy and toxic I just have no words. It’s a very VERY simple concept to understand that love isn’t a limited resource where you have to pick and choose. You can love your cats one way and love him just as strongly another way. Same goes for children. If he’s this jealous, insecure, and controlling now… how much worse will he get? Next he’ll probably be asking you to cut off your family. Then your friends.

    “He can’t stand the fur everywhere.” And yet you say he REFUSES to help you with ANY chores so that you could focus on lessening the shedding. Setting aside the cat issue… it doesn’t sound like you have an equal partner, it sounds like you have a child. A demanding one who wants things his way and doesn’t care what damage that does to you emotionally. One who won’t lift a single finger to compromise or even share the workload at all.

    Issuing an ultimatum is usually the death knell for a relationship… and they’re usually still less ridiculous than this one is. He’s made it clear that he already is willing to leave you. Because you have cats. Cats that were part of your life before you met him. Cats he KNEW were part of your family when he got together with you.

    If you choose him and give up your cats, you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life. You’re also never going to forgive him and the relationship won’t last. You can’t come back from something like this. He has no excuse. My whole family could be dying and I would NEVER ask my partner to give up her pets or something she loved… even if it annoyed me. Not that this is even a problem for us because we split all chores 50/50 and work together to find solutions when issues arise.

  11. I didn’t even finish reading this.

    You keep your cats. You made a FOR LIFE commitment to those cats when you took them in. It’s wrong for you to leave them behind especially in their senior years of life.

  12. I would end that discussion immediately and put him in his place. Tell him **absolutely not** you are not going to get rid of your pets. And frankly, I would tell him to not bring it up again. If he really can’t tolerate that then he can hit the road.

    This in itself proves he doesn’t love you like he may say he does.

  13. OP, my answer would be somewhat different if it weren’t for this:

    >cleaning and managing fur (vacuuming
    everyday, brushing cats etc) would be a lot easier for me if I had help
    with the chores. When I come home from a long day at work, maybe go
    training and then straight to cooking and then cleaning, then showering,
    I am exhausted. I asked if he could share some of these house hold
    chores, and cleaned WITH me once a fortnight, I can get a regular
    cleaner in and he can see.But he is saying no compromises because he doesn’t trust that it is sustainable.


    He’s a complete, sexist asshole. He doesn’t deserve you and you don’t deserve him (rather you deserve much better.) Keep the kitties and let him go mooch off the hard work of some other sucker. You can do SOOOO much better, and there are plenty of cat-loving men out there.

  14. Giant red flag OP. If you get rid of the cats he’ll start resenting the attention and love you give to your family… and if you were to ever have children with him god help you because he’ll be jealous of them. He’s showing you that he is both heartless and very controlling. The way he’s treating you is abusive and it will only get worse. Sorry

  15. Keep the cats. As someone who is also an animal lover and has multiple pets, this is part of who you are. This isn’t a one time decision to get rid of the cats or not. This is a decision that will forever impact your lifestyle and forever impede on this part of you. No partner is worth sacrificing your lifestyle or who you are. I have a good man now who loves me and my zoo, not because it’s his lifestyle but because a) they were here before him and b) he’s aware of how happy they make me and that this is a part of who I am. I have had partners in the past who shrug it off and then it becomes an issue later, and it causes significant resentment all around. This won’t be the last ultimatum either. Next thing you know, it’ll be he only wants one cat. I know that you care about him, and the relationship I’m sure has its positive attributes, but he’s putting a lot of work on you already out of resentment for the cats and I would urge you to consider whether this is really about the cats or if there are some compatibility factors you have to consider here.

  16. You only have 3 cats? They way he gave that ultimatum I thought it was like 40! There is nothing wrong with YOU. Kick him to the curb. He is jealous of your cats now. Later it will be your mother or your sister or your baby. Just get rid of him and keep the cats. Sorry he’s such a jerk.

  17. Listen babe, I think I’d keep the kittys. You can meet someone who shares your love for animals. You shouldn’t have to give up what you love for another person. It sounds like you’re compromising a lot for someone who’s compromising nothing. It’s probably best to find someone whose more right for you xx

  18. I have a few things to say, please bear with me, I’ll be as succinct as possible.

    First, if it truly is him or the cats, choose the cats. They will be there for you while you recover from the relationship I don’t see him sympathizing with you while you are sad the cats are gone. And, all the stuff everyone else said. But, in case it doesn’t have to be one or the other…

    In our house (our favorite breed of dog & cat is rescue) we tell the pets (no human children) there is one rule: we don’t divide our love, we multiply it! Of course, we are teaching this to our many nieces and nephews as well. My point being, your boyfriend needs to feel this. Stick to it. If he can’t accept it, you find someone who can multiply love with you.

    A litter robot litter box. They are very expensive, but when I have multiple cats, it pays for itself in spades. Seriously cannot live without it. The cats even learn what the lights mean and will wait for it to clean itself.

    Talk with your bf about the household chores. Right now it sounds like you are doing everything because he’s using the cats as an excuse? Heck no. But, I think clearing some of this up will help you decide if you want to keep him or rehome him. Discuss what chores he should be doing. You keep the litter box and cat care, fine, but he needs to be doing other chores anyway. If this is a problem, or he insists the cats are the only reason he has chores, he can become a stray…

    If at the end of this, you realize life is better without him, move on. Find someone who will support your love of animals and be there as they age and move on. My husband and I usually adopt older animals and/or those with health problems, and that support we provide each other while loving these animals until the end is priceless.

    I’ll be watching for update(s).

  19. I don’t care about his reasons to want to get rid of the cats. He is an AH. Cats like routine. The cats like each other and you. They won’t do well by putting them apart and nobody adopts old cats, to be honest. They’ll get sick and die. It’s cruel. Your BF is cruel and selfish.

    Can you imagine living with the same people all of your life and after years and years… bam! You are abandoned and all of your family is gone? That’s just horrible.

    Nobody does ultimatums on pets that were already there! And after years of dating. He can go fuck himself.

  20. First, the way you described it i was expecting you to have 9 or more cats. 3 is not outrageous or unusual. You made a commitment to care for these animals. They are not disposable. If he’s that insecure that he can’t share you with three cats, it wouldn’t even matter if you DID dump them, he will find more things to try to take away from you. It’s pathetic that he is trying to force you to choose him over your cats. Look at it this way, if you dump the cats you will regret it and feel horrible. If you DON’T dump him, you will also regret it and feel horrible. The choice is clear.
    By the way, look up the video/song “i have six cats” by Anna Akana.

  21. Do not succumb to ultimatums. I understand taking issue with 4+ cats. It is a lot. However,

    1. He should not be giving an ultimatum.

    2. He knew about your love for these cats when you met.

    Stand your ground. Explain these two points to him and ask him if this is a definite dealbreaker.

    If it is, leave him. Better to be in control of the breakup than to let him plan when things end and to take you by surprise.

  22. Pets before bros. Please stay with your beloved cat-pack and cherish that once abandoned stray kitten and embrace your dear senior kittys for a long time. They are your family.

  23. he’s commenced with leaving already. he’s just ready to go. let him. I watched a YouTube video of a woman who got tired of men and opened a dog rescue. she’s busy and fulfilled. screw this guy, he isn’t the one.

  24. It’s going to be sad to see your boyfriend leave, but you’ll get through it one day at a time with your kitties to console you. He apparently has one foot out the door, so I suspect the cats are a pretext. After all, he moved in with you knowing full well that there were four cats involved. A truly loving partner would contribute to the household chores and try to work out a solution to the cat hair and other inconveniences of having five cats. I’m sorry for the hurt that you’re feeling and hope that time will heal.

  25. Honestly it sounds like you should break up with him. You need to find someone who will love you and love your animals just as much.

    My husband knew how much I loved cats when he met me and has been very supportive. He has a minor allergy but takes medicine for it and has fallen in love with cats as well.

    I’m sure you will be able to find someone who loves you and loves your animals.

  26. If he won’t help with chores now, how bad will it get if you have kids? Also he doesn’t like how much you love them ? Wtf. Kick is ass out and get a partner who loves you AND the cats.

  27. I didn’t need to read this whole post. This guys a dick. Dump his ass now. Anyone that makes demands like that is a sick. RUN don’t walk away from this POS.
    My friend had a puppy she LOVED Few yrs after getting puppy she dated a control freak that wouldn’t be around this dog. So she left the dog with her parents 3 hrs away for over a yr. Visiting every few months. Long story short. Guy dumped her, she reunited with her dog. two weeks later her dog was diagnosed with aggressive cancer and she had to put it down. How guilty do you think she feels? She crying about how she should have spent that time with her dog She’ll never get over that. All for a POS just like your guy.

  28. I love cats, but I’m deadly allergic to them… which means I wouldn’t date someone whose pets are cats.
    He knew about you being a cat lover and having cats, now he wants you to change so he don’t “compete” with them?
    Get a new guy, please

  29. >he can’t stand the idea of how much I love my pets.

    >Should I just let it be and let him go?

    100% let him go

    I have been in the relationship where someone was jealous of my pets. I 100% regret the man, I do not regret my animals.

    The right person would not say that. Would not be insecure about pets. He’s not a right guy

    ETA looking at your comments it seems likely you will either put senior cats outside or abandon them for him. Which is sad for them and you. You and the cats deserve better. I hope you take the rose colored glasses off

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