One thing divorce attorneys reveal is that the question of “who gets the dog?” is as stressful as who gets the house. But what if you are in the beginning stages of a relationship, or you are living with someone, are engaged, or are married? Should you get a new dog with your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, lover, or spouse?
Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of dating.com, has already thought about it and offers “Four Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet with your Significant Other.” There are so many variants on “lover” these days, that nobody knows what to call the person they are in a relationship with, since there are so many people, including straight people, who call their lovers “partners”, and so many unmarried people calling their partners baby mamas and baby daddies, the new dating trend.
According to Sullivan, here are some things you should know about your partner and your relationship before you get a pet:
— “It is important to get a temperature check on your relationship,” Sullivan says, “and align on what the future looks like for you and your partner. For example, you don’t want to get a pet with someone who is not committed and fully on board with the idea–or is having doubts about your relationship.”
Seriously, the last thing you want to do is commit to getting a dog with someone who is supposed to be your boyfriend or girlfriend, and they are secretly texting someone else, like a dog.
— “It’s easy to underestimate how expensive pets are. They require food, toys, vet care, grooming, and more. It is very important to understand if you and your partner can handle the financial responsibility that comes along with getting a pet.”
Having a dog is expensive, especially when they get sick and the vet tells you it will be $3,000 for the leg operation. I have one girlfriend whose boyfriend wanted to share a dog with her, but I told her to break up with him after he put in a Venmo request for her to pay for the last date they had. The tackiest, most anti-romantic dating trend ever.
— “A red flag to look out for,” says Sullivan, is that the partner “doesn’t take care of themselves. If your partner can’t take care of themselves, there is no way they will be able to look after a pet, too.”
A red flag is when your partner is too lazy to do household chores. If he won’t take out the garbage, he won’t walk the dog. Just get your own if you want one, I say.
— “But don’t let not living together stop you from sharing a pet together,” Sullivan says. A lot of people say that getting a pet before moving in together can potentially put extra stress on the relationship. However, getting a pet shows signs of commitment and stability” she says. It can sometimes benefit your relationship and prepare you for what is to come in the near future.”
Getting a pet together can be romantic if you like dogs and lets you practice being a parent by being a dog mommy or daddy.
— And finally, “Create a backup plan in case your relationship goes south,” Sullivan says. “No matter what the circumstance, having a fall-back plan is always recommended. Discussing how you and your partner would split responsibilities and custody over your pet if you broke up should be discussed” she says. Obviously, while you might never think you and your partner will break up, never say never.”
In the meantime, it’s kind of fun to have a dog together. Just don’t let the dog sleep in the same bed with you.
Photo by leisergu at Wikimediacommons