I have been going out with my girlfriend for about six months and everything is going great with us. We live in separate places but I can see us moving in together in the future, maybe around six more months or so. A few days ago she told me she wants to get a dog, and she knows that I am really more of a cat person. I like dogs, but I don’t like having to constantly shower attention on them and how much money they cost and how often they need to be walked. My girlfriend hasn’t ever had a dog and I don’t think she knows what she is getting into. She has a full time job (which doesn’t pay that well) and we see each other about twice a week and I am worried if she gets a dog I will see less of her and that I won’t ever want to move in with her. How can I talk to her about it without seeming selfish?
My Dear Reader,
I don’t think there is a way, because you ARE being selfish. I am not saying that it isn’t ok to be selfish sometimes, but just don’t confuse yourself by thinking that you are only trying to do what is best for her. You want what is best for you, and part of what you believe is best for you is being with her, without a dog.
That being said, I am also not a dog person so I feel for you. I think dogs are ok, but frankly I usually won’t date a guy with a dog for several reasons.
1. A dog is like a child that never grows up. Owners need to spend sufficient time walking their dog, playing with it and teaching it things.
2. People with dogs can’t leave their pet unattended for long periods of time. Sometimes there is a reason to stay out until 6am, or fly to New York on a whim. Dog owners can’t be as spontaneous as the likes of me.
3. I don’t want to clean up after it. I don’t want my four buckle mary jane 3 inch platform shoes eaten, nor do I want to ever watch my lover pick up a dog’s steaming hot shit off the ground and carry it around in a plastic bag.
4. Dogs stink and shed at varying degrees. Therefore their owners’ homes/cars/couch/breathing air/various things can stink and hair gets all over the place which doesn’t bode well for a fashion icon such as I.
5. I am selfish. I want to be in complete control of my life as much as I can, all the time, no matter what. I want to control where my time/money/love is spent.
So my advice to you is this. Talk to her and be sure that she is aware of all of the pros and cons of having a dog. Keep your own opinion out of it at first, because she will resent you for trying to talk her out of it if you make it about you. This recently occurred with one of my friends, and I found myself agreeing with her who wants the dog, and badmouthing her boyfriend who was trying to change her mind when I would have been in his shoes if the situation were about me. Making it about yourself will make you sound like a jerk.
So ask your girlfriend if she has researched types of dogs concerning shedding, odor, patterns in health problems, how much to expect veterinary bills to be per year, the amount of care involved in raising it (if it’s a puppy), training it, the frequency she will be able to walk the dog, play with the dog, if it will affect the time she has with her family, her hobbies, etc. If she brushes it off, maybe she wasn’t really serious about it or maybe that is enough in itself to change her mind. If she does the research and decides on a dog and starts to make plans, then you can make your true feelings known. If you tell her you are serious about her but are not sure if you can handle living with a dog in the event where you move in together, maybe she will see that you care about her a lot and are just worried that this will change your dynamic. Or, maybe she will call you an arsehole because you don’t see it her way.
All in all, I think if you eloquently point out all of the cons of having a dog and she still wants one, and then you gaze into her eyes and tell her you hope to live with her someday but ONLY with her, if she still wants the dog, she is going to get it. With only six months into the relationship, she might choose a dog she has never met over you, and hope to meet another dog lover who will love them both, so I wouldn’t recommend trying anything silly like an ultimatum. This is not the type of thing you can talk someone out of if they have their mind set on it, and maybe you will learn to love this dog, or maybe you will walk away. Whichever way it goes, you can count on the fact that in most situations if you humbly point out the obvious and tell the truth about how you feel, if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t meant to be anyway.
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