AdviceHey, Bonita!

My Wife and Cat Ganged Up On Me

My wife loves our cat, but after it saw her attack me, it attacked me, too. Should I get a dog?

Honey, you need a new everything! Cats are territorial, so it makes sense that it went for you after she did, but your wife has no business laying hands on you. No one has any business laying hands on anyone in any relationship, actually. (And yes, that includes parents/guardians spanking children.) Believe me when I say that hitting is never your only solution, and any and everything can be talked out. If two adults can’t talk out their problems, then they are incompatible.

When interactions lead to violence in relationships, often it’s because of accumulated anger or frustration that one partner feels is not being addressed. I’ve had a few personal relationships that have gotten physical here and there, and during the times I chose to swing back I was furious. I felt ignored and unheard and insignificant, and that the point I needed to make was falling on the deaf ears of my not-even-hearing-impaired relative or partner. I’ve grown up a lot in the years since I had any sort of physical altercation, and I don’t follow that path once I recognize that I’m on it. I know when to walk away, and I know that people who don’t walk away aren’t good people Get a spray bottle for that aggressive cat, and get a therapist for you and your wife. Try out Samaritan Counseling Services for a great staff and income-based fees.for me to be around.

A dog might be a fun project to give you and your wife something to focus on outside of your problems, a thing to take your attention away from any issues and ease the tension in the home.

Caveat emptor, though, because pets are not dolls or games. Dogs have anxiety issues and get cancer, just like our human friends. They’re sentient beings with needs we must meet as their keepers, not to mention they’re overpopulated, so please don’t spend a thousand bucks on a purebred puppy just so you can sell it on Craigslist in six months. Find a grown-up, neutered rescue animal for whom you can provide a long and happy life in your soon-to-be happy home.

I wanna use my last few paragraphs to drop a tired yet accurate-as-hell cliché on you, Athens: Real love doesn’t hurt! And I’m not just talking about violence in relationships. Real love doesn’t make you second-guess yourself, change your body or lifestyle or betray your family and friends. People who love you do not tell you how much more proud they’d be of you if you were a few pounds lighter. People who love you will not laugh at your hobbies or get jealous of your platonic friends. They won’t ask you to choose between your family and them.

It’s summertime, and plenty of us are looking to hit the ground running now that the students are gone and the townies are showing more skin. Believe me, I’m one of them. But it’s important to remember to love yourself most of all and to strive for self-actualization so you don’t seek that out from bad people. It’s that neediness and feelings of inadequacy that make us stay in unhealthy relationships—the idea that some horrible mouth-breather completes us. You complete you. Love yourself!

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