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We Build Alaska

Ask a Cat: Valentine’s Day loneliness, parental relationships, and Valentine’s Day plans

Looking for a feisty feline to tell you how to live your life? Want your own high quality Ask a Cat sticker to make your friends and family jealous? The Cat will oblige. Reach out anonymously here or e-mail askacat@alaskalandmine.com.

Dear Cat,

Valentine’s Day approaching has me feeling extra lonely, I was thinking about reaching out to my ex. We’ve been broken up for a couple years, but I always figured we would get back together at some point. How should I go about this?

Dear Human,

Hold your horses and cool those jets! Now, Cat knows from their inbox that humans get extra sad this time of the year when they’re single. You’re alone, it’s cold, it’s dark…what a sad life you lead! But let’s just loaf up and relax for a minute while we examine your situation. First things first, get in your time machine and go back to when you and ex broke up. Why did you two end it? How did you feel leading up to it? Was it mutual? There is a lot to unpack if you’re hoping to seriously restart a relationship. Let’s also consider your exes’ current situation, you haven’t mentioned if they are available or potentially interested in trying to rekindle an old flame.

Valentine’s Day is tricky. Being led to believe that you’re missing out on some glorious romantic experience is generally false. Keep in mind that for the most part, you humans are disappointed by the expectations of this holiday even when you have a significant other. So, what’s a sad sack like yourself to do? Slow your roll on reaching out to ex. If you take some time to examine your breakup, and the madness of Valentine’s Day passes and you STILL want to reach out, then go for it. Cat really doesn’t know if your feelings are fleeting or sincere, but don’t let them be swayed by the temporary hoopla of the holiday. 

 

Dear Cat,

I’m in middle school and I haven’t been getting along with my mom lately. I just get along better with my dad. My mom and me just get into a LOT of fights/arguments. Sometimes I don’t even know what to do. Any advice? Thanks.

Dear Human,

Cat is flattered that you would come to me for advice. As many of us know, adolescence is a pretty common time to have conflict arise with your parents (or your mom, in your case.)  Cat will do their best to illuminate why you likely feel so purr-turbed and what to do about it. 

It sounds like you are at the age where you are becoming independent in many aspects of your life. One of the most important skills you’ll learn during your middle school years is to advocate for yourself and express your feelings in a way that leads to healthy communication. Cat asks you to ponder: Who has been the primary person looking out for your wellbeing, safety, and basic needs up till now? Cat suspects that for the most part, it is your mom. As you learn to assert your independence, it makes sense that the person you will likely have the most disagreement with is your primary parent.

So, now that we know that it’s normal and expected to have some conflict, let’s talk about how to handle it. It’s really important right now to make sure you have trusted adults in your life. It sounds like while you argue with mom more, you trust both your parents. Cat wonders: how can you connect with your mom in a way that doesn’t revolve around conflict? Do you two share a sense of humor? Do you both like to sing/dance/cook? It’s hard as we grow up to spend as much time with our parents as we used to when we were kittens, but making sure you take time to do the fun things with your mom will help strengthen your connection.

As you grow up and start your own life, it’s possible that your relationships with your family will be the most loving and supportive you’ll ever know. Understand that you are going through a natural process, and even if you feel misunderstood, it’s very likely that your parents have your best interest at heart. Cat advises you to remind yourself to talk to your mom during calm moments about how you want to handle conflict when it arises because in life, it always will. Helping to create a plan with your mom that you both agree to will ease conflict and strengthen your relationship. 

 

Dear Cat,

I asked my best friend’s boyfriend what he has planned for Valentine’s day since this is their first one together, he told me he plans to get her a card and “maybe they’ll go to dinner.” I know my friend is going to be really disappointed by this. I told him to be more creative but he got offended like I was overstepping my bounds. Should I tell my friend she’s about to be disappointed? Should I offer to help him? She deserves way more effort than he’s making, but I don’t think he’s a bad guy.

Dear Human,

That one is a bit troublesome. While Cat does not think it was egregious for you to casually ask about Valentine’s plans, going out of your way to tell your friend she is going to be disappointed would probably be a paw over the line. As to if you should offer this guy help, Cat senses that would not be the right move. It seems that you’ve already offended him. Unfortunately, Cat feels you should step back and let this man flounder. Cat thinks this couple needs to have a private conversation about what their expectations are for celebrating this holiday. If they already have, and he still chooses to be lazy about it, it is not up to you to compensate for his inadequacy.

While I understand the desire to see your friend in a relationship where she feels valued and romanced, it certainly is not your role to place yourself in the middle. If you are still concerned, you could always ask your friend what she plans to do for her partner to celebrate. This could possibly inspire her to initiate a conversation with boyfriend. Be available to support your friend if/when she is disappointed, but otherwise keep your whiskers to yourself. 

 

Cat’s Valentine Validations:

Humans, be your own damn valentine! Seriously. Even if we are so lucky to have a loving partner, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate love in every form. Love is a warm sunspot, a contented purr, a big stretch. Love and appreciate your own unique qualities and love your friends and family for theirs. 🐾

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