“I love cats. They are the epitome of indifference.”
– Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
I have a cat. She is black and fat and when she sits with all four paws underneath her, she has a striking resemblance to what I consider cat-loaf. While I adore dogs with their endless sources of energy and abundant love, I doubt I will ever have the same affection toward a dog than I do for my cat. It’s entirely possible this has to do with the rejection my cat spurs on me daily, making me work hard for her love (Although, after 8 years, I think I’m close to earning it!). But why, even though my cat constantly looks at me with what can only be described as contempt, am I forever devoted to her? After spending some quality time thinking about this perplexing phenomena, I realized this bears an unnerving similarity to my dating life. Why is that?
We’ve all been there, sitting across the table on a first date with someone “nice”. The conversation flows, they aren’t terribly unfortunate looking, and on paper, this person’s great. BUT, there’s no spark and I’m secretly hoping he blows me off so I can fall madly in love. Alas, it never happens. As it turns out, when someone showers me with attention, good natured as it may be, I find it overwhelming. While this person may be an ideal mate, they aren’t providing me the opportunity to truly appreciate how wonderful it is to spend time with them. Sometimes, when you have to make an effort to earn someone’s love, you tend to appreciate it more. This is similar to my daily interactions with my highly independent cat. The more time I want to spend with her, the less she is willing to curl up during a marathon viewing session of House Hunters. Dogs, however, would like nothing more in life than to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment literally attached to you. I find this co-dependence endlessly annoying and wish they would stop lavishing me with kisses and love. While dogs provide unconditional love and companionship, I find part of the joy in having a cat as a pet is in earning her love, fully understanding that it can be fleeting and unpredictable. But that can be the best part.
When compared to my adventures in dating, I find that the relationships where we had to work on building our love and trust, and have our own cat like independence, tend to be the most promising. On the other hand, co-dependent relationships where one partner dotes on the other tend to bore me and have an expiration date shorter than unpasteurized milk.
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