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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boyfriend HATES them. And it has been bothering him since I got them that they are "disgusting"
So I'm very torn because I've only had them a week and I like having them very much - done all my research and really dedicated myself to making sure I can take care of these guys - and now he wants me to "get rid of them" and maybe get a new pet (anything but a rat he says). I told him IF i do that, he'd have to help me choose a new pet (thinking bird, or other rodent). I just don't know what to do and I didn't get much sleep last night because of it. We argued and I had a cigarette(which I had kicked for a whole month). We've been together for a year and a half and I definitely don't want to lose him to my rats - but there is no way he will get past this.

I just don't know what to do. ???
 

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You may want to reason with him about it... Does he have hobbies or interests you don't particularly like? If so, then use that as an example. Animals are a committment... and rats only live on average 2 years (sometimes less). It would be a shame to send them to the shelter when he would only have to "put up with" them for that amount of time. You may also want to find out if there is a specific thing that he dislikes about them... i.e. are they smelly? is it the noise? If so, try and make a good faith effort to fix that particular issue. If it is just the idea of rats that he doesn't like, tell him that he won't have to interact with them if he doesn't want to and maybe move the cage to an area he isn't in as often.

If you want to be in a lasting relationship with him, you have to learn how to compromise, but sending animals to the shelter is not a good way to do so unless there are serious issues (like allergies, etc.) that can't be overcome. If you knew ahead of time that he would not like the rats (i.e. he told you he hated them and didn't want you to get them beforehand) then that changes things a little (in terms of purposefully doing something you knew he would not like).

Totally unrelated topic: I live in Columbus, GA too!
 

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Ugh that's rough. Is there something your boyfriend doesn't like about them specifically? If you haven't already you should ask him what about the rats makes him "hate" them.

If owning rats is important to you you should make it perfectly clear to him. Maybe make a list of why you want to keep them to help map out what you'd need to say.

I have experience with loved ones who aren't too keen on owning pets in general. I've been with my boyfriend and live with him for over 5 years, and recently I had to tell him that not being able to own any pets would be a deal breaker for me. The important thing here is, I wanted for him to understand how important rats and pets in general are for me without breaking down. It's extremely hard because I'm an emotional person, but in order for him to understand I had to tell him with direct calmness.

I don't know you or your situation perfectly, but if I would in the situation you described I would still have a serious discussion. That is of course if you want to keep your rats.

Best wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did ask him, and he just hates the idea of them. He's stuck on the fact that they're rats. I've tried to explain to him how much I want them and blah blah blah. But he's still stuck on "getting rid of them". We've talked for HOURS about this topic and can't find a middle ground other than me getting a different pet.

I think what pisses me off the most is that he didnt say anything like this BEFORE I got them. He only kinda danced around the topic and now that they are actually here he doesnt like them.

I dunno. It's rough. I'm still in the time period where I can return them to the store, and maybe that would be the best option?

Artgecko,
that's awesome!
 

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I suggest getting him to tell you something specific, because "the idea of rats" sounds like a cop out answer for the situation you're in.

I whole heartily agree with what artgecko has to say too.
 

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There has to be something specific. There are several members of my family who don't particularly like my rats, but I put my foot down. They are my animals, I pay for all of their expenses, and I take care of them. As long as I take care of them and clean up after them then they can't really complain. My Dad thinks they carry the plague, which is a dumb excuse, but as proof I haven't died yet. Lol.

I would compromise with your boyfriend. If they are that important to you and he really cares for you he will see it. Rats do not have the longest lifespans, they are not like cats or dogs in terms of lifespans. Relationships are not always about having the same interests and doing the same things, sometimes being a little different can be a good thing. I know this may sound like a silly scenerio, but my boyfriend absolutely hates soup. He doesn't want to go near it, or eat it, or have anything to do with it. My grandparents are down from Germany. Last night my grandmother made soup. We talked, and he said he would at least try some before making himself something else to eat even though he absolutely hates it because he didn't want to be disrespectful.

I know it's not exactly closely related to your situation, but sometimes you can make compromises if something is really that important to you, related back to the soup story. My parents don't share all of the same hobbies either. My Mom doesn't like some of my Dad's hobbies, but she respects what he does and gives him personal time to carry out his hobbies. The same is vica versa.

If you think about it, let's say you found a home for your rats and you got another pet, let's say a bird for instance. What if your boyfriend doesn't like that animal after a few weeks? Would you rehome the bird too? You should compromise with him because it isn't fair to your pets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I suggest getting him to tell you something specific, because "the idea of rats" sounds like a cop out answer for the situation you're in.

I whole heartily agree with what artgecko has to say too.
Last night was a lot to take in - but I actually remember what he finally said really bothered him
Their tails, and their hands. So I think he could get used to them. I'm going to talk to him again tonight.
 

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Honestly, if he hates them that much, he should've spoken up before you got them. The fact that he knows how much you love them and how much you want to keep them, and yet refuses to even discuss a compromise or give you a legitimate reason for why he doesn't like them is a bit of a red flag to me.

I dated a pretty awful person in the past who told me that if I wanted to stay with them, I had to get rid of my bird (who I've had for 6 years) because they 'just don't like him'. That was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back (there was other abusive/manipulative stuff before). I'm not saying that this is what's going on in you're relationship, I just always find it concerning when a significant other demands that someone get rid of something that is harmless & makes them happy.

The person I'm with now would NEVER ask me to get rid of one of my pets, because he knows how much they mean to me. He wasn't that crazy about the rats when I first got them either, but he eventually warmed up to them, and now when he comes over the first thing he does is go to the rat cage to see the boys. And I would never ask him to get rid of something that made him happy either.

I'm not saying you should leave the guy or anything, just that I find it disturbing that someone who says he loves you would then try to take away something that makes you happy, without warning and without any real reason. :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll probably post again when I talk to him. For now I'm going to continue crafting.

Thank you everyone for listening and being helpful. I just hope he comes around.
 

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Isn't part of a healthy relationship about being supportive of one anothers hobbies? If he isn't being asked to spend time with them or take care of them I'm not sure he really has a right to be so upset about it. It would be one thing if he was allergic or something like that but just existing in the house isn't hurting him. Personally if he's that controlling and not accepting of something this simple I'd be worried he'd be the same way about something else that would be way more of a problem later! Just my two cents. I agree with others. Not saying you should leave him or anything but it's concerning if you've made an effort to talk to him about it and he's still all for taking something you love away from you just because he kinda isn't interested/doesn't like it.
 

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If he is genuinely afraid of them then you should be understanding because he will be able to see it's not a rational fear but still feel horrible near them. He may struggle to admit it because us guys don't like seeming weak around women we find attractive. However if he just dislikes them because they're just not his kind of pet then you should find a way to have them as your own thing and he should put up with it because he loves you and that means accepting them because you love them.
 

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I have friends who say that their tails bother them, so what do I say? Don't look at them or don't hold them! Simple. They are your pets and you love them, that's all that should matter. Keep responsibility fully to yourself and I don't see how this can possibly interfere with his life AT ALL. It really makes me wonder why people will go out of their way to make something an issue that otherwise wouldn't be. Just continue to negotiate and show him all the great things about rats, like their personalities and how loving/smart they are. Eventually, he will get over it. It's the mere exposure effect as said in psychology, after being exposed to something for an extended period you eventually get used to it! That doesn't mean he will love them like you do but he should be able to tolerate them, especially if he loves YOU. Good luck dear.
 

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From what you've written so far, there really is no way for us to determine if your boyfriend is rat phobic or if this is an unhealthy pattern of control. Personally, I've seen both. Some people do have an irrational fear of rats, and there really is nothing that you or they can do about it. I suppose you can keep them apart as best as possible, but there's always going to be a certain degree of tension surrounding your choice of pets.


On the other hand, some people do get jealous when their significant other shares their affection with their pets. This can be a sign of an unhealthy personality disorder. Mostly, it will manifest itself as jealousy. Unfortunately, this kind of jealousy can become irrational and even violent.


If your boyfriend's behavior is part of a pattern of control and jealousy or perhaps insecurity, your concern might be for the nature of your relationship. If, on the other hand it's just a matter of rat phobia and your boyfriend exhibits no other tendencies to control you or to be jealous of your friends or a tendency towards insecurity, then the issue is the choice of pets you've made.


To be very clear, I'm not offering you any personal advice. I don't know anything about the nature of your relationship, all I'm saying is to look at your situation in the broader context of the quality of your relationship with your boyfriend otherwise.

Best luck.
 

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I am in the same position you are in...

My boyfriend and I just moved in together this summer. We cannot keep our cats in our apartment. I've always grown up with companion animals and I couldn't stand living without some creature to dote on. My boyfriend can't stand this feature about me. I'm one of those people who will get really upset if they see a stray cat or a loose dog roaming around the streets. "You can't help every animal" he'll say to me. I'll never forget the one cold, stormy, dark night we were driving home and he slowed the car down because he saw something in the road. It was a kitten. The kitten was soaked and meowing pitifully standing in the middle of the street. It was something straight out of a movie. I didn't even stop for a second to think before I started to reach for the door handle to get out and rescue the poor thing. He saw me move to get out and he quickly drove away. I was infuriated that he would leave a poor defenseless animal in a situation like that. I screamed and cried that he needs to do something. He didn't. And I'll never forgot it.

Since that day, I've started to think differently. As a couple, we get along pretty well. However, he has a tendency to become cold hearted when it comes to certain issues. When I started researching pet rats he was not supportive. "You smell this? Yeah, it smells like nothing. If you get a rat it will never be the same." I wanted to value his opinion, and I do, but I couldn't help the growing desire to take care of rats. And besides, we're both in this living arrangement together. If he can do everything he wants and bring all his junk here to leave all over the house, why cant I take up a fairly small portion of space to take care of rats. I finally got him to agree. He hated them at first "I can't believe you did this. Everyone at work thinks I'm a pansy for letting you bring rats into our HOME." LOL, whatever. At first the insults bothered me... but the joy I've received doting over my fur babies completely trumps any gripe he gives me.

Now, he's starting to enjoy them. I'll catch him holding them close, giving them pats and treats. I've even seen him talk sweet to them. He'll even help me give Liney his medicine. He still makes fun of how I talk to them and he HATES it when he sees me giving them kisses. I personally think he's jealous that they get all the kisses these days :cool: but he'll never give up on the fact that he thinks they're disgusting. But that's okay, he'll just never understand the bond.
 

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I am in the same position you are in...

My boyfriend and I just moved in together this summer. We cannot keep our cats in our apartment. I've always grown up with companion animals and I couldn't stand living without some creature to dote on. My boyfriend can't stand this feature about me. I'm one of those people who will get really upset if they see a stray cat or a loose dog roaming around the streets. "You can't help every animal" he'll say to me. I'll never forget the one cold, stormy, dark night we were driving home and he slowed the car down because he saw something in the road. It was a kitten. The kitten was soaked and meowing pitifully standing in the middle of the street. It was something straight out of a movie. I didn't even stop for a second to think before I started to reach for the door handle to get out and rescue the poor thing. He saw me move to get out and he quickly drove away. I was infuriated that he would leave a poor defenseless animal in a situation like that. I screamed and cried that he needs to do something. He didn't. And I'll never forgot it.
I would never forgive this. How hard is it to pick it up and at least bring it to a rescue? I can understand not having the time/place/finances to keep a found animal, but how can you not bring it to a rescue?

I'm the big animal person here. however though my husband tries to act like his less interested, I can say that most of the animals we own and have owned he brought home. Our pet starling, he brought in after it was found on a neighbors porch, a teddy bear hamster (covered in black oil) he saw on the road on his way home from work, a pit bull that was running loose in a grocery store (though we did spend time trying to find it's owner to no avail)
 

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I am in the same position you are in...

My boyfriend and I just moved in together this summer. We cannot keep our cats in our apartment. I've always grown up with companion animals and I couldn't stand living without some creature to dote on. My boyfriend can't stand this feature about me. I'm one of those people who will get really upset if they see a stray cat or a loose dog roaming around the streets. "You can't help every animal" he'll say to me. I'll never forget the one cold, stormy, dark night we were driving home and he slowed the car down because he saw something in the road. It was a kitten. The kitten was soaked and meowing pitifully standing in the middle of the street. It was something straight out of a movie. I didn't even stop for a second to think before I started to reach for the door handle to get out and rescue the poor thing. He saw me move to get out and he quickly drove away. I was infuriated that he would leave a poor defenseless animal in a situation like that. I screamed and cried that he needs to do something. He didn't. And I'll never forgot it.

Since that day, I've started to think differently. As a couple, we get along pretty well. However, he has a tendency to become cold hearted when it comes to certain issues. When I started researching pet rats he was not supportive. "You smell this? Yeah, it smells like nothing. If you get a rat it will never be the same." I wanted to value his opinion, and I do, but I couldn't help the growing desire to take care of rats. And besides, we're both in this living arrangement together. If he can do everything he wants and bring all his junk here to leave all over the house, why cant I take up a fairly small portion of space to take care of rats. I finally got him to agree. He hated them at first "I can't believe you did this. Everyone at work thinks I'm a pansy for letting you bring rats into our HOME." LOL, whatever. At first the insults bothered me... but the joy I've received doting over my fur babies completely trumps any gripe he gives me.

Now, he's starting to enjoy them. I'll catch him holding them close, giving them pats and treats. I've even seen him talk sweet to them. He'll even help me give Liney his medicine. He still makes fun of how I talk to them and he HATES it when he sees me giving them kisses. I personally think he's jealous that they get all the kisses these days :cool: but he'll never give up on the fact that he thinks they're disgusting. But that's okay, he'll just never understand the bond.
If my boyfriend ever did that to me, I would be packed up and out the door by the next morning. That's really disrespectful, and more than a little controlling. :/
 

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Piixxies- this is horrible. You should find someone else because this boyfriend won't make you happy. Granted I don't know you, but your post made that pretty clear nonetheless. Sorry.
 

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@Mimsy, RattieFosters and Gribouilli; I know it sounds horrible. But he truly isn't the mean, awful animal hating ogre he seems to be. He is incredibly interested in animals and has his fair share of furry friends and reptiles. The kitten situation plagues my memory. I'm never going to let him live that one down. Prior to that point they had rescued a number of stray cats and kittens in the area. I think that was just a bad night and he was afraid I was going to try and keep it (I think I had been bothering him to get a cat for months because his previous cat disappeared on Halloween night). I'm not trying to justify the situation but its taken me a lot of time to come to terms with how his attitude is towards animals. He tends to prefer cats for their independence or more exotic animals that people tend to collect, hobby animals (if I may) that require less maintenance. I'm a person to treat animals as family and dote on them every second I get, companion animals. That bothers him... I've tried to dissect why and the only somewhat rational answer I tend to get is "You're going to get so attached and its going to die. You're going to be so sad and I don't want to see you sad."
 

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I apologize if I sounded harsh. I just imagined myself in your shoes and how I would react, sorry. I'm very fortunate that my husband loves animals as much as I do. I hope it goes well for you.
 
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