My partner and I went through a breakup recently. During our relationship, he developed a close bond with my dog. As the dog grew older, we joked about cloning her to keep her in our lives. If Barbra Streisand could do it, why couldn’t we? Then the joke became a reality: When my dog turned 12, we cloned her. It’s been a joy to see her as a baby! (I rescued her when she was older.) Then came the breakup. I am keeping the older dog, but we can’t agree who should take the younger one. I think of her as part of my dog and want to keep her. He argues this is selfish of me and we should each get a dog in the breakup. (Note: He paid most of the cloning costs, about $50,000, and we share dog care.) Thoughts?
As an exercise in tolerance and compassion, I’m setting aside any urge to judge you and your former partner’s decisions here, and I hope readers will, too. (“How dare they clone a dog when so many dogs need homes?”) The fact is, there are now two living creatures, both beloved by their caretakers. I am sorry for your distress in having to make new arrangements, but it seems you must.
Having long lived with dogs myself, I can’t help thinking first of their well-being. Disrupt your dogs’ lives as little as possible. Keep them together if you can. (They probably spend more time together than with either of you.) And let them stay in the same environment if possible: Most dogs thrive in routine.
Still, there is no avoiding the fact that your former partner paid most of the $50,000 in cloning costs. That is persuasive evidence of an ownership stake. If the younger dog tolerates it well and geography allows, try sharing custody of her — or perhaps both of them — in weekly turns. Or offer to repay your ex for his financial outlay. If neither of those options works, let him take the younger dog and help him make an easy transition for her.
Neither a Borrower Nor a Dealer Be?
I was sitting on the lawn at an outdoor concert and I started chatting with a couple in folding chairs behind me. (They told me they were coming down from ecstasy, an illegal party drug.) When they left early, I asked to borrow one of the chairs. The man agreed and said I could return it to his brother who lived nearby. After they left, I got up to dance, and when I returned, the chair was gone. Later, I texted the guy to apologize, and he sent me a screenshot of the chair. It cost $150. I had no idea it was so expensive! He also offered to give me an ecstasy pill when I paid him. I told him I could not afford to replace the chair and didn’t want any drugs, which led him to send me a series of unpleasant texts. Before I paid him one-third of the quoted price, I told him I would not walk away feeling like a bad person: He’s the one who lent his chair to a stranger. And he’s a drug dealer. What should I have done?
I don’t care whether you borrowed the chair from the Dalai Lama or Charles Manson: It is your responsibility to replace it. (If you can’t afford to do so now, pay him in monthly installments.) It’s an unsavory move to try to wiggle out of your debts with ad hominem attacks on your lender. The man did you a good turn by letting you use his chair, and you were careless with it. Pay him.
‘Everything We Need’ Isn’t Everything
A longtime friend is getting married for the second time. He is middle-aged and well off, as am I. When the invitation arrived, I asked if he and his partner were registered somewhere. He replied: “We have everything we need.” When my husband and I married during the pandemic, we threw our wedding plans out the window. No one sent us cards or gifts, and we wouldn’t have wanted them even if there had been a party. Still, I don’t want to break with etiquette or seem cheap. Should we give a gift?
I’m confused by the analogy to your own canceled wedding plans. I am sorry if your feelings were hurt that friends didn’t acknowledge your big day — though you imply they weren’t. Unlike you, though, your friend is holding a wedding and a reception. I would write the couple a congratulatory card, at the very least, and give them a small gift or take them to a celebratory dinner.
Avoid Mildew and Dirty Looks in One Easy Step
I live in an apartment building with a small community laundry room. Lately, people have been leaving their laundry in the machines after the cycles have finished, sometimes for hours at a time. Thus far, I have avoided removing anyone’s laundry from a machine so I could put my own in, but it’s becoming more tempting. May I?
Here is a balancing act between shared resources (washers and dryers) and the sanctity of our sheets, towels and underthings. Personally, I would leave the laundry alone for 30 minutes (15 if you’re in a rush), then remove it, leaving a friendly note that you waited for half an hour.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or to @SocialQPhilip on the platform X.