Dear Prudence: I have been dating my girlfriend for three years, and I am mostly sure that this is the woman I will marry, except for one thing.

The only thing we have any real disagreements about is our cat. She thinks it is just fine to kiss it right on the nose, repeatedly. She basically kisses it, and makes this "om nom nom" noise while doing so. I think it's gross, and she thinks my reaction is funny.

I honestly feel ill when she does this, and can't stand the thought of kissing her afterward unless she washes up first. She thinks that makes me a loon. And yet, I can't help the ick factor.

She has begun to wonder why we aren't engaged yet, and while it is quite true that I don't want to deal with wedding plans until I am done with grad school, the really big reason to me is I can't decide if this is a deal-breaker, or if I am being overly squeamish.

So, please tell me, am I overreacting, or is she just being gross?

Prudence says: I understand your bafflement and distress. When kissing one's pets on the nose, the sound one makes should not be "om nom nom" but "num, num, nuu." Everyone knows that. I would feel better about your objection if you then said that your girlfriend suffers from constant bouts of feline-related flu. But it sounds as if she's just fine. This is no deal-breaker but one of life's little quirks that requires partners to indulge each other. So while you roll your eyes at her cat kisses, don't try to stop the smooching. And while she rolls her eyes at your hygiene commands, she rinses with mouthwash. This should make all three of you purr with contentment.

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