Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Moving on and moving in

Finally, finally, I have some "Dear Jamy" questions and answers for you. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

Also, for anyone contemplating sending in a question, here are a few guidelines:
  • Let me know if it is ok for me to publish your letter. If you have a question for me and don't wanted it printed in the blog, I will answer you directly (if I have time)—just state that upfront.
  • If you haven't "anonymized" it sufficiently, I can make changes. Some tips: don't use real names, don't list your city and don't give details about where you work. (It's ok to give these details, but it will make you less anonymous.)
  • If I know you and you use your real name sending the question, give me your preferred pseudonym or tell me to make one up for you.
  • If you have a blog, I will link back to you in the post if you like. Make it clear if you want that, though, as it will compromise your anonymity.
  • I reserve the right not to answer your question. However, the volume of questions is low, so you have a good shot at getting an answer.
Now on to the questions…

Hi Jamy,
What is your definition of a rebound relationship? Are all rebound relationships unhealthy? How do you know when you are ready to date again after a break-up? I have recently broken up with someone who is proving very hard to get over. We broke up because we found that we are not compatible, even though we care about each other a lot. We tried for 7 months to make things work, but were unsuccessful. We have talked a few times since the break-up (1 month ago) and will be friends (we belong to the same social group, so will inevitably see each other). I am trying to keep myself busy with friends and hobbies, but I miss him a lot and think about him a lot. I feel that the only way I will fully get over him is to find someone else. So I plan to start dating again soon. Please tell me that this is not a horrible idea. I don't know what else to do. I feel that I have processed the break-up to the extent that I understand why we didn't work, I know there is no chance of us getting back together, I know what I want out of a relationship, and I'm content being alone, but naturally I want a partner to share my life with.

Dear Eleanor,
I don't have a definition of a "rebound relationship." I'm not sure such things exist. And if they do, we find ourselves in them by accident, not by design.

I think it is legitimate to ask, though, when one is ready to date again after a break up. There is no set answer. I have friends who have given me formulas (half the time the relationship lasted) but that's baloney. The answer is—you are ready when you are ready. Some shorter relationships may take longer to get over than some longer ones. The time it takes is the amount of time you need. Listen to yourself and give yourself time to grieve and process the loss. It sounds like you've done this, but might still need to give it more time.

Sometimes dating other people helps. It can wake you up to things that were missing or made you unhappy in the old relationship. Sometimes dating new people just makes you sad.

You really won't know until you try. So, try and see how you feel. You'll know soon enough if it was a bad idea.

You might also consider taking a little time away from the group of friends that includes your ex. The only sure way to get over someone is time and distance, which you are not allowing yourself by staying in that situation.
Take care,

Hey, Jamy,
Here's a question for you and your loyal blog readers.

My boyfriend and I are **thinking** about moving in together in late June. I have a new adult cat, Katie, who I inherited from my sister. The boyfriend has two adult kitties-loves of his life.

Problem One: My sister tells me that Katie has never accepted or gotten along with another animal. Any suggestions on how we should make the introductions before he moves in. What if they never get along?

Problem Two: Katie is no trouble to me. But, I am less than thrilled with the thought of having three cats in my new home. If I want to allow the boyfriend in to my life in this significant way, I know I'm going to have to get over it. Still, I dread the reality of having three cats. Any ideas on making the transition a little easier for me?
Diane Mandy

Dear Diane,

How I love the cat questions! I would like to point out that the MAN in this scenario is the long time cat owner.

As to your question—I am not an expert on introducing new cats to each other, but there are ways to do it. There are many books written on the subject. The first thing to do is go to the pet store or the regular book store (or the library) and pick up a few of these books. They will give you techniques on how to introduce the cats to each other in ways that may ease the transition for Katie.

The basic idea is that the resident cat is confined to a part of the house where she is comfortable, possibly the bedroom. The new cats gets to explore. Then, slowly, they are all introduced. Because you won't move in together until late June, you have time to bring the new cats over and introduce them, gradually, to Katie. It could take years for them to get along. They may never really be friends. But they should be able to peacefully coexist. Do let them do their cat thing, though. They may need to scrap it up a LITTLE in order to get along. They definitely should be allowed to sniff each other extensively.

This will all be much harder if you are moving yourselves to a new house. Then ALL the cats will freak out. Cats are not big fans of change. In that case, you can stake out territories for the pair of cats who know each other and a separate area for Katie. Let them get comfy there for a while before allowing them to wander the house at will.

I have never lived with three cats. I did spend time with my mother's two cats, though, and I can assure you that it is nothing to be worried about. The worst part is the cat hair. And, I admit, it is not a pleasant aspect of life with cats. But you will get used to it and learn to ignore it. You may vacuum more frequently. You should keep a lint roller brush by the door for last minute hair removal (the tape-like kind works best, not the brush type). You should cease buying polyester fleece-type clothing as cat hair has a way of thoroughly ingratiating itself in this fabric. Stick with wool for your sporty clothing needs and you'll be much happier.

These are not kittens, which means they won't be demanding attention all the time. If they are bothering you or misbehaving, a squirt from a water bottle will discourage them. Good behavior should be rewarded too, as most cats do better with positive reinforcement.

I find that having the litter box in the bathroom and cleaning it frequently will keep the cats happy and your house smelling cat-free. You may need more than one box, though, with three cats. It is much easier to clean up any messes if they know the place for that behavior is in the bathroom.

Just as you were surprised at how easy it was to get along with Katie, I think you'll find that living with three cats is not much different.

Good luck with the new man and his cats!


Grateful for: good questions.
Drop me a line.

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