DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for a while. He is the kindest, most considerate and thoughtful man I've ever dated.
We do not officially live together but spend the majority of the week together, mostly at his house. He has three very large dogs we share the responsibility of caring for. They are not fixed, and he wants to have a litter of puppies (one of which he would keep). I strongly object for numerous reasons.
He has people willing to give them good homes, but the female (whom I am very attached to) had severe postpartum for more than a year after her last litter. His house is currently in the midst of an endless renovation, the dogs are always on the furniture, and it's a constant struggle to keep the place relatively clean from one day to the next, especially since I must also take care of my own house.
I'm a dog person, but three large dogs are already too much. Would it be foolish of me to throw away a good relationship over this? -- GOING TO THE DOGS IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR GOING: I don't think so. If he is truly kind, considerate and thoughtful, he will take into consideration that you are handling as much responsibility as you can shoulder and not insist on yet another litter. Because the last pregnancy was so hard on the female, it would be interesting to know what a veterinarian has to say about this. I'm wondering if your boyfriend may want to put her though this for money rather than love.
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DEAR ABBY: My father passed away a little over a year ago. Since then, I have started spending more time with my mother, and my husband does not like it. She is a huge help with our kids. On the day she gets them off the school bus, she will stay for dinner. Our kids love it when she's here.
My husband now wants this to stop. He says it annoys him. He gets angry when I talk to her on the phone, when I go to her house, when I help her with things -- everything!
I am torn. I love my mother and don't want my relationship with her to change. But every time I do anything with her, even have a quick conversation, my husband throws it in my face that I "put her before him." Please help me. I am not sure how much more of this I can take. -- STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
DEAR STUCK: How often is your mother at your house, and how long does she stay after those dinners? How often did you interact with her before your father died? Have you been ignoring your husband in favor of interacting with your mom?
That he feels so encroached upon or threatened that he's determined to alienate you from your widowed mother and is dictating how often you can visit or talk with her on the phone tells me he may be an extremely jealous and controlling person. This is such a red flag you should discuss it with a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he won't agree to go with you, I urge you to go without him. You should also encourage your mom to branch out into other activities, so she can reduce the amount of time she's with you.