Hi, so I’ve recently met someone and he's come to my home a few times. He's allergic to my cats and ends up with a really bad reaction. He's tried antihistamines but it hasn't helped, I've also tried removing the cat to another part of the house but that's not worked either. I really want us to start seeing more of each other but seems impossible as I have two young children and they are with me full time! I need some advice on what else to try?
Sex and relationship expert Jessica Leoni said: “This is a tricky one. I was allergic to cats when I was younger and had a similar reaction to them as your boyfriend. There is no way I could have conducted a relationship with a man if we were obliged to spend most of the time at his place because I would have coughed and snivelled through every one of our dates. I actually grew out of my allergy and I now have two cats and a dog - all of whom I love very much. Having said that, it took years for me to overcome my allergy and you clearly need a more immediate solution.
“With the childcare issues you have highlighted, then I cannot see any short-term solution which is going to work. You could try baby-sitters and spend more time at his, but I appreciate that is going to be expensive and won’t work in the long-term.
“I think the key here is establishing whether this fella is a keeper. If he is, you are going to have to make some tough decisions about your pets. I know the idea of giving up your cats is horrifying. I adore animals and the thought of not having my cats around me fills me with dread. But our relations with humans are more important than those with animals. I don’t doubt I will get lots of hate mail from animal lovers who equate humans and animals in the same way. I don’t. I love my cats and my dog and they are lovely companions, but they are no substitute for a long-term loving HUMAN partner.
“If I were you, I would look at seeing if a friend could foster the cats for a few months while you work on the relationship with this new guy. Anyone who has had a cat knows that, lovely as they are as pets, they have no loyalty. They will quickly settle with a new owner who feeds and houses them. Dogs are completely different - affectionate and loyal to their owners and unable to handle this kind of upheaval easily. I don’t doubt that some cat lovers will disagree with me but I am a cat lover, too, and have had at least two cats who effectively had two homes - mine and a neighbour’s over several years. Why? Because they got fed twice. Cats can easily settle somewhere new. If you do have a friend who can take them in, great. In time, you will know if this man is a keeper. If he is, your friend hopefully will permanently adopt the cats or you will need to find another home for them. Lots of people will happily take your cats in and give them a loving home.
“That means no more cats for you while you are with this guy. That may be tough for you but not as tough as giving up on love with someone who is right for you in all respects except his allergies. Going forward - you could try getting a dog. Much as I love cats, dogs are better! And just because your partner is allergic to cats doesn’t mean he will have a similar allergy to dogs. Bet I have set the cat amongst the pigeons (and the dogs) with that last comment.”
Jessica is a sex and relationship expert for the dating site, IllicitEncounters.com
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