My boyfriend of 2 years let my indoor cat out. I broke up with him.

My boyfriend of 2 years let my indoor cat out. I broke up with him.
The author.Courtesy of Anne Jarret
  • I broke up with my boyfriend of two years after he left the door open and we couldn't find the cat.
  • During our relationship, I did the majority of household tasks, even though I asked for help.

"Where's the cat?" I asked my boyfriend as I walked into the kitchen. The sun had set, and it was time for us to give her a steroid to ease her pain.

"I don't know," he said with a shrug. We searched, but we couldn't find her anywhere. Then I saw the patio door was wide open.

Guerrilla, the dying 15-year-old cat, loved spending time outside on a leash and would beg us to take her exploring.

"I guess when I took the dogs out earlier I forgot to close the door," he said. "I'm sorry." My heart broke.

I couldn't deal with his carelessness anymore

This wasn't the first time his carelessness had hurt me. We dated for two years, and we often rock climbed together, something he had years more experience with than I did.


Once, we were climbing in southern Illinois, and he was cleaning the gear off a traversing route. I was belaying him, and it was starting to rain. He made a mistake — he didn't unclip from my side of the rope before he removed the last quickdraw — and he swung like a pendulum, dragging me 20 feet across the rocky ground on my back.

I was in pain and shaken but not injured. A few other climbers asked if I was OK and told me I should examine myself.

On our way back to the car, I brushed my backside and noticed that my haul over the dirt had ripped a few holes in my bike shorts. I tied my flannel around my waist, and we talked about ways to avoid injury in the future.

My boyfriend of 2 years let my indoor cat out. I broke up with him.
The author and her cat.Courtesy of Anne Jarret

I realized he didn't think of me

I'd moved across the country to his city, Boston, where we lived together for a year. I was tired of long-distance, and he told me he'd never move anywhere for me — which, looking back, was a probably red flag.

I asked him to find an apartment before I moved. He didn't, so we stayed at his parents' house for months. When we finally had our own place, I made sure the rent and utilities were paid on time for the duration of our cohabitation.


I remembered the groceries and which chores needed to be done around the house. I constantly begged him to please not put his wet towels on my side of the bed and to put his dishes in the dishwasher, or at least in the sink. As a teacher, I had to wake up at 6 every morning; he would keep the lights on in the living room until 3 a.m. or later — which, in a one-bedroom, wrecked my sleep and ability to function.

He resented my asking, so I eventually stopped and did whatever I could by myself, complaining about him to my therapist and trying not to resent him. I didn't complain to my friends or family because I knew they'd tell me to just stop dealing with it, and I didn't want to confront the fact that it wasn't working. I was miserable.

And then he let the cat out. Or he left the door open and didn't think about the cat. Is there a difference?

I ended it the next day, distraught. I realized that for me, being nice meant being thoughtful enough to make sure we didn't have to worry about the day the rent was due, or remember that we needed oat milk, or realize that the counters needed to be cleaned. He said nice things sometimes, but he didn't think about me, which isn't caring at all.

So I drove back home to Missouri.


I'm not cleaning up anyone's accidents anymore, and I'm so much happier.