Dating can be tough. Nowadays, it can be extremely difficult to balance your needs and your partner’s own needs, wants, and desires. Everyone is different and your partner is bound to have different hobbies and interests than you.
In addition, everyone has different expectations of their partner when they get into a relationship. Its important to be upfront and clear about these expectations from the get go, especially if children or pets are involved.
But what happens when an animal lover finds themselves entangled in a relationship with someone who is well…not.
Let me be clear from the start. It is possible to make a relationship with someone who doesn’t love your animals as much as you do work. If your partner is willing to compromise (maybe you only have one dog at a time and not two like you always wanted) and accept you for who you are (your animals included) than you can make it work.
Perhaps over time, the things that they didn’t love so much about your dogs or cats (maybe it’s the barking, the fur everywhere, the additional time and financial commitments) will just become background noise to them.
Perhaps, eventually they will come to love your pets as much as you do. And maybe not. But as long as they accept you, your pets, and an active role in pet ownership you can make it work.
On the other hand, I know all too well that there are partners out there who will never, ever compromise when it comes to pet ownership.
Their hatred (or at least their dislike) of companion animals runs deep. They are unwilling to deal with the fur all over their clothes or furniture. They are unwilling to deal with the barking. They are unwilling to give up complete freedom of choice over where to live and how often they can just pack up and leave because they have pets and responsibilities at home.
There are plenty of people out there who just have no desire to have pets EVER. It doesn’t make them bad people. It just means they might not be the right person for someone who has always had pets and cant imagine their lives without them.
Several years ago, I was dating a guy who hated my cats. He would moan and whine every time he came over and left covered in fur. It should have been a major red flag at first, but I ignored it and assured myself that he would come to love them overtime.
As the years went on it only got worse. (I went form having three cats to four. To four cats and two dogs and finally we got a fifth cat). The fifth cat was the breaking point for my then-boyfriend
. A few weeks after I adopted the little kitten, he came to me and informed me that if we were going to be together long term that I would have to give up my cats when we moved in together.
I was taken aback.
“So you want me to chose between you and my cats?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
I was devastated. I loved this man and I loved my animals, but he clearly did not love me enough to accept me for who I was.
“Then I chose them,” I said. “I’m sorry.”
For the rest of the night he continued to argue with me, trying to convince me to change my mind. The argument ended in a stalemate that night and our relationship continued for several weeks after that initial argument. But it didn’t last much longer and eventually ended.
After that, I adopted Bean and my life changed forever.
I often think back on this relationship and wonder what my life would have been like if I stayed with this man. I think about what it would have been like to never have adopted Bean, to have to give up my cats to my parents, to never own a dog or cat again. It is not a life that would have made me happy. It would not have been a life I would have wanted for myself.
I am happy that that relationship ended. And I am even happier now to know that I have found a partner who loves animals as I do and who has accepted my cats and my dog and loves them too.
But I know I’m not the only one out there who has ever been given an ultimatum in a relationship. And I am certainly not the only one who has ever been given an ultimatum over their pets.
“It’s me or the dog.”
“It’s me or the cat.”
We’ve heard it all before.
So if you ever find yourself in this tough spot what exactly do you do? How do you know what the right decision to make is?
While I am no relationship expert, i stand firm in my belief that you should NEVER GIVE UP YOUR PET FOR ANOTHER PERSON.
Why will your relationship never work if you give up your pets for them? And why should you never stay with a partner who would ask this of you?
1. The best partners are those who accept you and all the things you love.
This is your potential partner for life asking you to give up something that you care SO MUCH about. You would never ask your partner to give up a hobby they love (fishing, golfing, hiking) no matter how much it drove you crazy because you love them enough to understand that they are a human being with interests and hobbies that don’t always align with yours.
This doesn’t mean you have to love their passions too! It only requires that you accept and support them. If your partner truly loves you then they would extend the same courtesy to you. They would understand that you love animals and that they are an integral part of your life. To take that away from you would diminish who you are as a personal. You want to be with someone who loves you for who you truly are. If they are willing to ask you to give up something you love they don’t really love you at all. It will only build resentment.
Have you ever had a partner tell you that you cant do something? You may agree to placate them and avoid an argument, but it will only come back to haunt you in the end.
If your partner is asking you to give up something dangerous or harmful, than they obviously have your best interest and welfare in mind. However, if your partner is telling you to give something up because they are jealous or insecure (sometimes it’s not about the dog or cat, but about control) than your relationship is never going to work.
In the end, you are only ever going to feel resentment towards your partner and the decision they forced you to make. Eventually, these negative emotions are going to build and begin to tarnish and destroy your relationship. On the other hand, if your partner asks you to give up your cat or dog for them and you refuse, resentment may just build on their end.
2. You might just be too different for each other.
You will never meet a partner in your life who shares 100% of your interests and that’s okay. If everyone was exactly the same life would be no fun. We would never explore new hobbies and we would never grow or learn. Dating someone with different interests than you can be fun. You can share your passions with each other and take on new ones together. You may not love or even like everything they do, but its worth giving it a try.
Sometimes though, we may meet or date people who are just too different from us. You may have nothing in common or loathe every single one of their hobbies and interests. If you find yourself with someone who can’t stand the sight of cats or dogs, it may be worth it to admit to yourself that you and this person are just too different for a successful relationship to ever work.
So what can you do to avoid this?
Be upfront with your partner from the start. Tell them about your dog or cat and the major part that they play in your life. Be honest that animals will always be a part of your life and that this is something that you are not willing to give up.
If they admit to you that they have never had any pets, ask them why. Maybe they always wanted a dog or cat, but their parents never allowed one growing up. Maybe they live in an apartment with restrictions on pets. Or maybe they have truly never wanted a cat or dog. Ask them why and ask yourself if this is something that you could live with if you ended up together long term.
If you begin to date someone and they make it very clear that they never have and never will own a pet than this person may not be the right one for you. It’s better to learn that early instead of trying to convince yourself you can change this person.