When we met three months ago, my boyfriend said he had a dog and a cat living with him in his apartment.
They’re very spoiled - sometimes the dog doesn't use the pad to pee, or it’s fully used and my boyfriend "forgets" changing it.
He feeds the animals their food in the same bowls he serves food for me.
I know he washes the containers thoroughly, but there's still my image of using the same bowl.
Both pets sleep on the bed, and both alternately wake me up.
They’re put outside the bedroom only when we have intimacy, but later can get in again. Otherwise, they cry.
I really love this guy, but his pets are driving me crazy. But I don’t want to offend him.
I had pets when I was young, but now they don't really interest me. They demand a lot of work, which you have to be committed to doing.
He wants me to move in with him, but I make excuses. Eventually I want to say it's because of the pets and his not-so-clean place.
If I move in, will the pets be my responsibility too?
He’s closely attached to his pets, so, yes, they come with the package if you move in with him.
However, it’s way too early in the relationship, especially when you haven’t yet been open and honest about your coolness to sharing eating/sleeping with his beloved pets.
You two need to discuss this now and try to find compromises about these daily living habits.
Until you can each handle some adjustment, moving in will be a set-up for repeated conflict.
For proof, see below:
My fiancée and I are currently building a home. We have a child, age one. Our only problem is with our cat and dog.
Before we moved in together, she chose to give away a second cat (too destructive).
But after moving together, the dog messed the carpet weekly, and the cat urinated on furniture, bedding, and any left-out clothes.
It caused huge arguments. We spent $1000-plus on vet visits for the cat, until she gave it away, too.
However, the dog still messes despite having plenty of time outside, walks, and attention. Also, she’s always in the garbage eating foods that upset her stomach.
I’m sick of cleaning it up, and don’t like our child playing on the same carpet. Also, I’m extremely worried about the new house and fear for the fights we’ll have then.
I grew up with cats and dogs, enjoy them, and don’t mind cleaning litter boxes or backyards.
It just seems that our pets are destroying our home.
How do I get past this? I love my fiancée.
You two missed an essential step of deciding ahead how to handle pet “issues.”
Unsurprisingly, the pets’ behaviour changed when you moved together, which happens similarly when youngsters change/regress in toilet-training and other habits when there’s a new baby, or new pet brought into their lives.
Animals are sensitive and reactive, much like humans. They show their discomfort and/or stake their territory, through the ways available to them.
Either you’re prepared to go through that period patiently, helping them adjust, or you’re not.
At this point, however, you need to be very patient with the dog, control her food intake better, and bring out a separate rug when the baby’s on the floor.
You need a solution, not a win. Stop fighting, and handle this as partners.
FEEDBACK Regarding the sisters’ problem of a father who became needy (August 6):
Reader – “It’s likely that he’s depressed and needs therapy and (possibly) medication.
“He also needs some companionship and a way to feel relevant again, e.g. through volunteering.
“The symptoms of male depression are often missed because some are so annoying - irritability, blaming others for their problems, attacking when feeling hurt.
“With aging, many men fear the loss of relevance. This father had worked a lot and now he does not.
“Men also fear a loss of physicality, and the bypass operation probably heightened that fear.
“By sitting down supportively with their father and explaining that he’s become very difficult to be with, he might see that - with their help – he could benefit from sessions with depression experts. He might find that he can become fun company, and an important part of the family.”
Tip of the day:
Love me, love my pets, should be the beginning of a discussion, not a too-late conflict.