DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Chris" for almost five years. He's my high school sweetheart. We still live with our parents, but we feel we're ready to move out and start our lives together.
The issue is I have a cat ("Silky") and a dog named "Chips"; Chris can't stand them. He has said he doesn't want Silky to live in our home and he would make her an outdoor cat. He also doesn't want Chips to come with us because Chips can be whiny and vocal.
I feel it's my responsibility to take my pets with me when I move out. I don't want to abandon them and leave them with my parents, and I absolutely refuse to put them up for adoption. I feel if I decide to bring them with me, Chris will make them feel miserable. Silky is afraid of him, and Chris doesn't like Chips getting close to him.
I love my boyfriend, but I love my pets, too. Please tell me what to do! -- STUCK IN THE MIDDLE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR STUCK: Wake up! You are an animal lover; your boyfriend clearly has an antipathy toward them. Your cat is afraid of Chris because she knows he doesn't like her or he did something that scared her. If he makes Silky become an outdoor cat (or she gets loose "by accident"), she may be at serious risk. And your dog will be miserable on the receiving end of constant rejection.
It is very important that you learn to live independently. Because Chris is your high school sweetheart and you haven't dated many others, it's important that you take some time and date other people before deciding to move in with anyone. You and Chris may care about each other, but your compatibility is in question because, face it, you two have differences.