My wife has 12 cats and our house is disgusting.

DEAR ABBY: My 15 year old wife is a cat lover. When we got married, she begged me to allow the cat she had at her mother’s house to live with us. I reluctantly agreed on the condition that the litter box is maintained and the cat is not allowed on the kitchen counters.

We now live in a house instead of a trailer. I am surrounded by more than 12 cats and my wife cleans the litter boxes very badly. Our house and everything we own smells bad. I’ve asked him several times to find homes for some of the cats, and each time it gets into a fight. I love my wife, but I can no longer tolerate the unpleasant smell and constantly have my life affected by these cats. I do not know what to do. To help! — ABOVE IN MINNESOTA

DEAR ABOVE: Tell your cat-loving wife that’s not why you signed up. She reneged on your agreement. Explain, as calmly as possible, that while you love her, you’re no longer willing to live in a dirty, urine-soaked house and it’s you or the cats – and be ready to go. Nothing will change if you don’t draw the line. If she agrees, it may take a forensic cleanup crew to get the house back to normal. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: Just before the COVID pandemic started, I was working in DC and met a man who lives there. We had amazing chemistry, but soon after I was no longer able to travel. We stayed in touch for a while, but out of the blue he stopped communicating. I didn’t think much about it because I was stuck in the Midwest so there was nowhere to go in the relationship.

Two years later, out of the blue, he contacted me. At that time, I knew he was married with four older children (all but one over 18). We started talking, then we realized we could talk to each other about anything. Not only did we know we had good physical chemistry, but we suddenly discovered that we had formed an intellectual and emotional connection unlike anything we had experienced before. I felt guilty but, at the same time, I don’t subscribe to societal norms about monogamy, and neither does he.

He wants to keep his family intact while the two youngest complete their studies. Also, he and his wife don’t have a typical romantic relationship – it was an arranged marriage. We have the most amazing conversations and fell in love with each other.

I suspect, however, that at the end of the day, I might be hooked on a fairy tale that will never happen and there will always be a reason why he doesn’t leave his marriage. Any advice is appreciated. — LOVE STRIKE

DEAR STRIKE: I am happy to offer it to you: RUN while you still can. The chances of it happening the way you dream are low. If you take my advice, I won’t be reading a letter from you in the next 10 years or so lamenting the end of a relationship that was destined all along to come to naught.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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