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Boyfriend or dog? He is making me choose
Sex & Intimacy / 5:33 PM - Sunday July 28, 2013

Boyfriend or dog? He is making me choose

And I'm pissed. I have a cute little 5 yr old grey and white Schnauzer/maltese mix I've had since she was a little puppy. I've been with my boyfriend 3 years and he proposed in January. He now is saying that I will need to get rid of my dog before we get married and/or live together. Allergies are not an issue. He says that for the first few years of our marriage he wants it to be just us and wants to wait to have kids. And I'm okay with that. But now he's saying that my dog is too much like a kid and he doesn't want me to keep her. He never seemed to have an issue before and just now is bringing this up. I love my dog so much, have a very strong attachment to her and refuse to give in to his demands. I will probably end up giving his ring back and telling him it's over. A couple people who know of my circumstance can't believe I am throwing away a marriage over a dog. But the more I think about this, the madder I get. I think I will choose my dog. At this point, she's the closest thing I've ever had to a child, and if he had an issue with her, why did he even start dating me in the first place? Then I'm told I am being ridiculous because she's an animal, not a child. What do you think?

Update: July 29, 2013.
Update: I don't fully agree with thetactician because I never expected to quit taking care of my dog and dump it onto a spouse. I take care of her just fine on my own. And he obviously doesn't have kids and hasn't spent much time around kids because pets are nothing like having kids. I don't have kids, but I have nieces and nephews and have babysat and spent enough time around them to know having a pet is nothing compared to having a child. Still it is a commitment and a responsibility, and if someone doesn't like animals or has an issue with it, then they need to not date people who own pets. But it actually turns out that thetactician was right about one thing, and this has come as a shock to me. I asked him if there was some reason he wanted me to break off the engagement and it turns out there was. We had a long talk where he came clean with me and it turns out that he was pressured by his family to find a nice girl so he started seeing me. Then there was the pressure to propose. I am in shock and I never ever suspected this but he told me he's known he is gay since back in first grade. Nobody else knows. His family has money and social clout in the community and they are very *very* Catholic. He said I'm the best friend he's ever had and trusts me more than anyone, loves me as a friend but he's gay. He said he doesn't know when or if he will ever come out with it to his family and if he broke off the engagement there would be backlash from them so he was hoping I would. So all his family knows is that the wedding is off and I broke things off. Already his mom and aunt have called me asking that I consider trying to work things out, suggesting we go for counseling because as far as they know he's crushed. I told them there were some issues that would make the marriage impossible that I was not going to discuss and left it at that. I am having a really hard time right now. He wanted me to dump him as a fiance but begged me not to dump him as a friend. I don't want to. I don't hate him but I am just having a really hard time with all this. I am glad he told me and didn't go through with the marriage. I am just in so much shock. Has anyone ever gone through something like this or know anyone who did?

- Asked by Female, 22-25

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Good for you keeping your dog. You are NOT being ridiculous. Those who are telling you this are full of shit themselves. A dog is nothing like a child and in fact is easier to care for than children.

Owning a pet is about obligation and responsibility and pets should not be thought of as being disposable. So, bravo to you.

Now for him. What this says about him is, he is being controlling, manipulative and has no sense of compromise. If you were to get rid of the dog and marry him, he's going to be telling you what to do and how the marriage will be run. In other words, he will control you and every aspect of your life. It is good to get out now before you marry and see the full, true person he is. And to do this to you at 3 years is also bullshit.

Stick to your decisions and your gut instinct on this. There are better men out there who will love you and all aspects of your life, to include you dog, without being controlling, manipulative or conditional.

- Response by msadvise, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Transportation

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His reasons are absolutely ridiculous and this demand is not only unreasonable it borders on emotional abusiveness. I would have slept on his comments and then gone out to where I knew he'd be the next day and give him his ring back and just told him..."We are done."
I wouldn't argue with him, nor try to get him to change his mind. I would just quit him. WHY? Because someone making these kinds of demands can't be trusted not to purposefully harm your dog.
We develop very close psychological attachments to our familiars. Pets are familiars. They know us and respond to us as such. Many pets perform heroic deeds in an effort to preserve the safety of their beloved owners. YOU NEED TO EXTEND THE SAME MEASURE OF HEROISM TO YOUR PET in this moment. Quit him. This is a deal breaker if I ever saw one.

You are not throwing away marriage. You are being given an eye opening clue as to who this man really is and you are being given a spirit driven opportunity to opt out so that another better man can take his place. For me there were many men between the ages of 25 and 28. There will be other men and other proposals by men superior to this one.

It will be hard. You will have second thoughts afterward. BUT DON'T RESUME THIS RELATIONSHIP. End it and never look back. This is sometimes what it takes to be a hero and to embody your highest self.

- Response by joybird, A Career Woman, Female, Who Cares?, Who Cares?

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Choose the dog. Yes she is not a child but she is still a living being that you don't discard because she is inconvenient. People who are not animal ppl will never get it but to ppl who love animals and dogs are at the top of that list they become part of your family and help define who you are.

That is a dick thing for him to do, that is akin to giving you the ultimatum to drop one of your family members in order to be with him. I assume if you have a dog you are an animal lover so that is who you are therefore if he is going to be with you then he has to accept who you are and not try to make you who he wants you to be.

- Response by aron77, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Kansas City, Celebrity

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He would be gone so fast he head would spin. My animals are very important to me and a date, boyfriend may or may not last. Sometimes I think these situations are the other person exerting power/control.

My neighbors adopted a dog because a woman's boyfriend did what yours is doing. He told her he didn't want a dog and if she wanted him, the dog "Meow" had to go. So my neighbors ended up with the dog.
6 months later he brought home a dog for them.

Please don't give up your dog for this selfish, controlling guy. If he cares about you he should care about your dog and not suggest you give up something you love.

- Response by lasuz, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Administrative

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IMO, this is a huge red flag concerning hubby to be. This says ALOT about his personality....pay attention.

- Response by etbass, A Creative, Male, 36-45, Executive

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I would break up with him. If he tries to make you get rid of the dog and you do, what else is next? He is trying to control you. This is a huge red flag. You are right, he has had 3 years to say something to you, and he never did. This isn't about the dog, it is about him trying to control you. That isn't love.

- Response by iamboo2, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Charlotte, Therapist

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I forgot to mention, in addition, he is jealous of your dog and is why he needs for you to get rid of it, in addition to him being selfish and self centered. And with that, I hate to think of the jealousy he will have when he father's kids because all the attention won't be on him anymore. He doesn't sound very mature either.

- Response by msadvise, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Transportation

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I applaud you for your decision. You are 100% RIGHT to choose your dog. Personally, I'd dump this guy so fast he wouldn't know what happened. I would not - WOULD *NOT* - get rid of my beloved pet for ANYONE for ANY reason.

Anyone who thinks you're wrong for choosing your dog over this loser, must be stupid and/or desperate. This is about ETHICS, and your bf doesn't appear to have any.

- Response by justpassingthru, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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Oh you should kiss this guy on the mouth for showing you that he's an asshole before you made the terrible mistake & married his ass. What a controlling, manipulating, selfish bastard. You're not throwing away a marriage as it never happened, you're throwing out the trash...

- Response by syncaset, A Creative, Male, 46-55, Dallas, Artist / Musician / Writer

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It sounds like he has serious issues, control being one of them. Either that or he is testing you to see how much you really love him by forcing you to make this choice (which is a bit childish, in my opinion). If this man really loved you, he wouldn't want to see you sad and hurting. When he met you, you had a dog, and he should have either accepted him as part of the package, or looked elsewhere. If he's asking you to give up your dog, the next thing will be your friends, your family, and anything else in your life that he feels will interfere with him being number one. I am speaking from experience, as I went through this in a previous relationship, and regretted the fact that I gave up my pet, friends, etc. for this joker. Keep your dog, and give him back his ring. You can do better!

- Response by experience101, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Who Cares?

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EVERYONE sided with the dog and told you to leave him. To everyone, have you all gone mad? How dare you motivate her to break a marriage proposal because of your stupid anger based only on her side of the story!? Do you know how big this decision is? This is MARRIAGE he's offering, and MARRIAGE he's risking because of a dog! Add 2+2 and realize that he must have serious reasons!

So forget all them, and try your best to save both before you decide for the dog. You said he never had a problem with the dog until now. What changed, and when? Do you expect him to take care of the dog in your marriage? Did you ask him which part of having a dog makes him reject the idea? Is there something he didn't tell you? Because to tell you the truth, for a non-dog owner, yes, having a constant responsibility for a breathing, eating and sleeping being IS like taking care of a kid, and IS a chore. Have you offered him to take care of it yourself? Oh, and to the others who claimed "He didn't accept everything from you, he's controlling youuuuu blabla", what do you call dumping responsibility for another being on someone? I call it controlling someone! Just because you love the dog, you can't force him to love it as well. If you love someone, you have to accept them completelllyyyyyy. You can ask for a middle ground, that he tolerates it, but asking of him to participate in the responsibilities is not fair from you either. If he wanted a dog, he would probably have one. You didn't give enough information for anyone here to pick a clear side and be right about it. Has he ever spent time with a (your) dog? What made him make that decision is missing? Saying it's like taking care of a child is true (I know, my parents had a dog), but which part of that responsibility befalls him and scares him?

Also, this may be a shock, but can it be that he knows of your attachment and WANTS you to break up? He proposed in January. That's a long time ago if you ask me. So instead of facing the aftermath of breaking a marriage, seeing you cry, fight, scream, people you both know hate him, he could be intentionally pushing you to break up. If you ask me, you need to do a lot more mature talking before you decide to accept the ultimatum as the only way out.

- Response by thetactician, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 26-28, Who Cares?

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Dump the boyfriend NOT the dog.

- Response by randyl, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Los Angeles, Who Cares?

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Some people don't like animals. He is one of them I guess. He is jealous of the dog. My friend almost divorced her hubby over his dog and then it died at 18. She always said he gave the dog more attention than her. This could be the issue with him so you might ask him. But if you have to choose, It would depend on his answer to this question and to how controlling he is in other areas of your life. Don't be afraid to pick the dog if you truly feel that is the way to go!

- Response by kmf1, A Life of the Party, Female, 46-55, Minneapolis, Who Cares?

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I think this says volumes about a person to ask for something like this. Even more importantly, it says more about him as you how he would take you setting a limit here. Sick people hate it when people set limits, and his reaction will tell you loads about him.

For me, I hope to be as good as my dog. I love dogs, and they are the only source of unconditional love I got as a child. So, if someone said "it's me or the dog" then the dog would win. It's THAT important to me.

I'm not in the market for a relationship, but one of the "tests" for a new gf would be is she a doggy person. I've found that I simply like doggy people better.

Peace.

- Response by kravjar666, A Father Figure, Male, 46-55, Los Angeles, Consulting

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"Serious reasons" my butt! It doesn't matter that it's your dog, rather what this dude is doing is laying down conditions in the form of an ultimatum. It's all about exerting dominance and control. If you marry this guy based on the facts as you presented them, you WILL regret it. I'm not saying dump him, but I'm definitely telling you to step back, take a deep breath, and consider carefully. Best wishes.

- Response by jteneyes, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Technical

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i feel that you can have a pet and a lover at the sametime.
i think he has weird ideas.
it is up to you if you want to choose the dog over him or him over the dog. this makes no sense.
this is really way out.

- Response by amandasboy, A Father Figure, Male, Who Cares?, Other Profession

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