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Q. I have three cats, the oldest I’ve had for nine years, the other two for seven. They are a huge part of my life. My boyfriend doesn’t like cats. It is not an allergy, but he just hasn’t bonded with them, and he doesn’t like how they get on the furniture and leave hair. He has talked several times about how we could move in together “if the cats weren’t an issue,” and when my sister comes and cat-sits when we take trips away, he says she should keep the cats permanently. I do love him and want to be with him, but I also don’t feel like anybody should have to choose between their pets and a partner.

I agree, and in this case it’s not logistics, allergies or life circumstances forcing the choice. It is your boyfriend. Even if not forcing, he’s implying that your cats are hindering your relationship’s progress. Does he understand what position this puts you in? Has he suggested solutions for what frustrates him? (Cat hair can be removed from furniture.) Or is he just letting that justify his lack of an open mind?

He may not like cats, but when we love someone, we should try our best to coexist with their loved ones and incorporate them into our lives in ways that make sense. These cats aren’t saying offensive things at Sunday dinner, or sending him into anaphylaxis. They’re being cats. So, how about a choice for him — can he try to coexist?

This (friend)ship may have sailed

Q. I have two friends who I am hoping to combine, one an old college friend who just moved to the area and the other a work friend who’s pretty much my best friend. Neither seems willing to give the other much of a chance. When I have organized outings (mani-pedis, going to dinner and a concert), they both sort of talk to me and not each other. And each one has privately made rather passive-aggressive comments to me about the other. How long do I keep pushing this? I love them both and can’t understand why they aren’t willing to try harder — I know they would get along.

But do you? Because right now, the evidence strongly contradicts that. And I worry that you can easily push through the land of “They’re not really friends in their own right” to “They’re now hurling plates of hot spinach dip.” Hey, you’ve tried. But it now sounds like something you want and they simply don’t. I’m sure your intentions were good, and you had their best interests in mind, but now you run the risk of making it solely about you. If neither of them is interested in forging a friendship, it’s time to give everyone a break — and remind yourself that at least their lack of a match is something they agree on.

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