DEAR ABBY: My wife of 15 years is a cat lover. When we were first married, she begged me to allow the cat she had at her mother’s house to live with us. I reluctantly agreed on the condition that the litter box was tended to and the cat would not be allowed on the kitchen counters.
We are now living in a house instead of a trailer home. I’m surrounded by more than 12 cats, and my wife does a terrible job of cleaning the litter boxes. Our house and everything we own smells terrible. I have asked her repeatedly to find homes for some of the cats, and every time it becomes a fight. I love my wife, but I can no longer tolerate the nasty smell and constantly having my life affected by these cats. I don’t know what to do. Help! — OVER IT IN MINNESOTA
DEAR OVER IT: Tell your cat-loving wife that this isn’t what you signed on for. She has reneged on your agreement. Explain, as calmly as possible, that although you love her, you are no longer willing to live in a dirty, urine-soaked house and it’s you or the cats — and be prepared to leave. Nothing will change unless you draw the line. If she agrees, it may take a forensic cleaning crew to get the house back in shape. You have my sympathy.
DEAR ABBY: Right before the COVID pandemic began, I was working in D.C. and met a man who lives there. We had amazing chemistry, but soon afterward I was no longer able to travel. We stayed in touch for a bit, but out of the blue he stopped communicating. I didn’t think much of it because I was stuck back in the Midwest, so there was nowhere for the relationship to go.
Two years later, out of the blue, he contacted me. By this time I knew he was married with four older children (all but one over 18). We started out just talking, then realized we could talk to each other about anything. We not only knew we had good physical chemistry, but suddenly found we had formed an intellectual and emotional connection unlike anything either of us had experienced before. I did feel guilty but, at the same time, I don’t subscribe to societal norms regarding monogamy, and neither does he.
He wants to keep his family intact while the two youngest finish school. Also, he and his wife don’t have a typical love relationship — it was an arranged marriage. We have the most amazing conversations and have fallen hard for each other.
I suspect, however, that at the end of the day, I may be hung up on a fairytale that will never happen and there will always be a reason for him not to leave his marriage. Any advice is appreciated. — STRUCK BY LOVE
DEAR STRUCK: I’m glad to offer it: RUN while you still can. The odds of this working out the way you dream of are low. If you follow my advice, I won’t be reading a letter from you in the next 10 years or so bemoaning the end of a relationship that was destined from the beginning to go nowhere.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.