Ever since I was a baby, I’ve always had pets… dogs, birds, rabbits, and even a slow lorris (kid you not, he was named Mokwye). Animals have always been a part of my life. But as I grew older, I realised that not everyone shared the same sentiments about pets.
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels
And yes, having a pet did sabotage my love life in some ways. Here’s what I experienced:
1. They might not get along
When I was single, I dated a kind and charming guy. Totally boyfriend material. However, he had 2 cats. Now, I’m not a big fan of cats… but I can tolerate them, for the sake of a relationship. The problem was, at that time, I had a lop-eared bunny named Bailey. And there was no way I could see us being a couple or later on moving forward to live together (get married etc) because I would never have Bailey in the same house as his cats. That was a total no go for me. So if you already have a pet, it might end your relationship before it even has a chance to start because some circumstances are not acceptable.
2. Comfort issues
I don’t mind having my dog in the same bed as me every night, and I’ve even let my dog Lola sleep with my baby Myla. But when I met my husband, this had to stop. Lola sleeps in her own dog bed now. Luckily she doesn’t seem to mind and is adaptable. A decade ago, when Lola was just a puppy, I dated someone who was disgusted that I washed my dog’s food bowl in the kitchen sink, and insisted that I used the tap outside because dogs are dirty. OMG, please! Our dog food nowadays is actually human grade! But yeah, if you love your dog so much that you don’t find it disgusting to eat off the same plate with it (yup, that’s me)... don’t be surprised that your next partner might have a different set of boundaries which you would have to work around or end the relationship.
3. It limits spontaneity
In the past, even though I didn’t have kids, and only had pets, I felt like it was a great responsibility and everytime I travelled or went out to have fun, I would feel guilty for leaving my pet behind. Luckily for me, I had family members around to watch my pets for me. If you don’t, then you have to pay exorbitant prices for dog kennels or sitters. So you can’t really up and fly somewhere on a whim, you need to pre-plan and make arrangements for your pet. Now that I have kids, I realise, oh man, my ability to be spontaneous is far more limited than when I only had pets. I wish I knew that then hahaha.
4. Pets can be too extra
… in the bedroom. I once dated a guy who told me that his last relationship ended because his girlfriend and him could never have sex without her 2 Schnauzers watching. They would insist on following her into bed all the time and when he tried locking them out of the bedroom during sex because they would whimper and scratch the door non-stop. A total mood destroyer and yeah this kind of boundary I totally understand. Unfortunately, not every pet owner does.
Many people turn to their pets for comfort, for cuddles, or as a way to destress after a long day. Pets are also like our children in the sense that they are dependent on us for food, water and care. It is not uncommon for partners to feel like they’re sharing too much of your time and attention with your pet. This is how jealousy arises. It may be good to just check yourself and see if you’re indeed spending an unfair amount of time and effort on your furry friend and neglecting your partner. But be aware that there are also crazies out there who get jealous over this kind of thing, no matter how you try to compromise.
6. It complicates breakups
If you get a pet together with your partner, it’s all fine and dandy and you get to play ‘house’ together. But when shit hits the fan, your pet becomes a problem. Who gets to keep it? Moving on will be hard too, the pet will be a constant reminder of your previously happy past. My advice for this is never to buy a pet with your boyfriend. NEVER. If you or him want a pet, then get one. But it should clearly belong to one person, while both of you may enjoy it together.