For most of us, having a pet is a wonderful experience. Whether you have a dog, cat, or something more exotic, a furry friend is a part of your family and can provide you with unconditional love and support.
So what happens if you meet the perfect guy or girl and he or she doesn’t like your pet? Are you forced to make a choice? Will your pet ruin your relationship? Or vice versa? Let’s hope not, and if you ever do find yourself in that situation, we hope that you will make the right decision for everyone.
However, before we can address the “who would you choose” scenario, let’s look at all of the different components that can come into play, as well as try out different solutions that won’t result in someone getting kicked out of the relationship.
Partner vs. Pet
In many cases, it’s usually the SO that has a problem with the pet. Perhaps he or she doesn’t like animals or has an aversion to that particular species. Another issue that can come up is allergies; you both want to make it work, but your SO breaks out in hives and sneezes as soon as he or she comes over.
If you find that your partner doesn’t like your pet, then you are forced to find a solution. However, one thing that you have to keep in mind is whether the pet came first. If so, then you have to admit that your SO should have known what he or she was getting into and that you would be a package deal. No one should be selfish enough to force another person to give up a family member because of a personal problem.
Pet vs. Partner
The other issue that can arise is if your pet doesn’t like your partner. In this case, your furry friend may see him or her as a threat or as someone who is competing for your attention. If that’s the case, then you actually have a harder task in front of you, as you cannot talk to your pet and explain the situation. If this happens, then you still have solutions that you can try, but it will take more work in the long run.
Now that we know the common ways that pets and SOs may disagree with each other, how do we fix the problem? Well, here are some things that you should try as soon as you find out about the issue. Remember, picking one or the other should be a last resort, so exhaust all other options before you go that route.
Talk it Out
If your partner is the one with the problem, then you want to find out what exactly is going on. Our natural reflex when someone is bad mouthing our pet is to get defensive, but in this case, you want to listen and ask questions. For example, does he or she feel jealous about the attention that you pay your pet? Does your SO hate that particular species? The more you can talk about it the better off both of you will be. To solve the problem you first have to understand it, so having a conversation is the best way to move forward.
If it turns out that your pet is the one with the problem, you should still talk with your SO about what’s going on and what he or she wants to do. The right path will depend on the severity of the problem, but it could be as simple as your SO avoiding your pet whenever possible, so make sure that he or she is open to different approaches.
Set Up a Meet and Greet
A major reason that people and pets don’t get along is that they haven’t had time to adjust to each other. A great way to seal the bond between them is to have them interact one on one. Most of the time your SO’s only interaction with your pet will be with you around, which could taint his or her image of the situation. See if your partner is agreeable to taking care of your pet for a few hours and see if that changes anything. The more time that they spend together the more likely that they will start to see eye to eye.
Compromise on Solutions
If, for example, your partner is jealous of all of the time that you spend with your pet, a simple answer would be to make sure that you show as much affection as you do for your furry friend. A great solution would be to have your partner as involved in your pet parent duties as you are. You can both take the dog for a walk, or you can have your SO help with feeding and watering your pet so he or she can be a part of the bond that you share. Try to include your partner as much as possible.
Overall, even if your partner is the one with the problem you should be agreeable to try and work things out. All three of you should be comfortable with each other, so that means that everyone will have to make compromises.
Consult an Expert
If the issue is more physical, such as an allergic reaction or a fear of the animal, then you might want to talk to a professional about finding a solution. Allergy medication has come a long way and can help your SO deal with the effects of being around your pet, as long as he or she is willing to take it.
As for dealing with a phobia or other fear, then you might have to try to figure out the source of that feeling and see if it can be overcome. If not, then you will have to settle for a compromise where your SO avoids contact with your pet as much as possible.
Overall, when it comes to pets and partners, the best solution is one where each of you is happy with the situation. Don’t be afraid to talk it out and always be willing to make it work. There’s no reason for anyone to suffer.