Does anyone watch "Confessions of a Matchmaker"? There was a woman on there with this exact issue, last week. She has 4 birds, 2 cats, and a couple of flying squirrels. The woman hadn't had a relationship
in a long time and men were always scared off by her extreme love of animals. The matchmaker is very direct and to the point and told her that her love for animals is great but at what point to you sacrifice the love of a man for your animals? With this particular woman, I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, she had so many animals because she was so afraid of rejection that the animals basically filled a void in her life and would never reject her.
She was set up on a date, with a hunter no less, and was instructed not to bring up the animals on the first date. So, the guys mentions that he hunts and she actually handles it well, basically stating that she's not against hunting all together, but she would never do it.
He asks if she has any animals, and instead of sort of sidestepping the question or changing the subject, she starts telling him exactly how many animals she has, telling him each of their names, etc. The look on this guy's face was classic. He immediately withdrew and that was a deal breaker.
I think it's how you approach this. This woman was a bit extreme, but to talk about all of your animals on the first date, this guy basically pictured walking into a crazy cat lady's home that was a zoo. It's going to come down to what you value most. What if he's the love of your life and he happens to be deathly allergic to cats? Would you choose your cats over him? I think that if you give up normal, healthy adult relationships
for an animal, then it's time to reassess what really it is you want and what's important to you. They may not be mutually exclusive, but it may take a lot longer to find love.
*General "you", not you, Keenreader.