Relationship Stories From The World Of Interspecies Romance

Four unexpected animal couples explain how they are making it work – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Summer Anne Burton

This bird: When we first met, there were plenty of fireworks. Over the years that has subsided, and my first instinct was to fly away and find something new. Then one night on the couch I looked over at mouse and realized I had two options: either I could spend my life chasing fresh tail-feathers and spending my time with chicks who don’t know who I am, or I could make the conscious decision to choose the one mouse in the world who knows everything about me and somehow loves me anyway. Our life… it’s not always pretty, but it’s a hell of a lot more fulfilling than the alternative.

This mouse: It took me years to realize that bird was actually going to stick around no matter what kind of stupid fight we had or how much cheese I ate. That feeling of stability has empowered me in every aspect of my life, freeing me up to stop even thinking about our relationship much at all, and focus on my career and my creative pursuits.

Summer Anne Burton

This hippo: I’m a lot younger than this tortoise and my friends and family didn’t approve when we first started dating. Then we kept going, and going, and going, and eventually everyone forgot about the age difference. I don’t even think about it anymore, other than loving his wrinkles. We have our own lives, and I think that’s also why our relationship works. I get camaraderie from my friends, I get personal fulfillment from work, and I get love at home with tortoise. No need to mix those things all up together.

This tortoise: Hippo keeps me young at heart, and I keep her sane. Our age difference isn’t something I think about much anymore, but I actually think it’s one of the reasons our relationship works as well as it does. We’re meeting somewhere in the middle.

Summer Anne Burton

This doggie: Kitty and I spent years as something like “frenemies,” always magnetically attracted to one another but also fighting and carrying all of this bitterness about the relationships that one of us always found ourselves in. We spent ten years in a total of twenty-some-odd different relationships between the two of us, always circling back to one another to either cry on a shoulder and/or screw up the relationship that the other was trying to build. I found myself drunkenly explaining to another mutual friend one night that kitty would just always be “the one that got away,” and the next thing I knew I was standing on her porch with my damn heart in my hands, explaining that I didn’t want to die without at least trying. Ever since then, we’ve been together. Well, most of the time.

This kitty: Doggie and I have broken up seven times since we finally got together, but the longest we’ve been able to stay apart is 36 hours. Some friends say our relationship isn’t working, that we’re too different or that we fight too much. “Fuck ‘em,” I say. We love each other, and we’re getting the hang of it as best we can. Lord knows I wouldn’t be any happier without him.

Summer Anne Burton

This two-toed sloth: This will be our first Valentine’s Day together. It’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in. We love all the same stuff: cuddling, prog rock, fantasy fiction, and trees. I realized a couple weeks ago that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for something to go wrong, and then I looked at him and I was like “maybe it’s not gonna.” Like, every other relationship I’ve ever been in was such hard work, and I believed all the advice about how love is hard work and you have to put so much into it. This time, it’s not hard work at all.

This three-toed sloth: Two-toed sloth is the best thing that ever happened to me. Sometimes I worry that our relationship is “codependent” but then, I never really had a thing to care about like this. I’m not creative, I don’t care much about my career, I don’t pay attention to politics and news… Two-toed sloth has given me a reason to wake up for a couple hours every day, and that’s enough for me.

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