Dating can often mean some big changes in your life. If your pet is a central part of your everyday activities, it can affect them too. Pets can become quite accustomed to the status quo, so there are naturally going to be some concerns about bringing someone else into the picture. There are lots of implications for your dating life from your furry friend.
If your pet is important for you, it’s likely that you’ll be naturally drawn to like-minded people. Although, there are sometimes complications. Allergies or additional pets can cause all sorts of problems. The good news is that, if there’s a pet-related snag in the early stages of your relationship, it doesn’t have to be the end.
Most pet owners would probably say that someone compatible with themselves is someone who likes their pet. However, there can be exceptions. Sometimes you can meet someone who is great despite not being so keen on your pet.
A pet is a big commitment, and your obligation to care for it has to be factored into the decision making. It shouldn’t dictate how you live your life or who you can date, but the easiest way forward is usually to find someone who likes your pet as much as you do. However, sometimes you might just really click with someone who doesn’t particularly like animals or can’t be around your pet for one reason or another. Let’s look at some of those reasons and address them.
Dating with Phobias
Some adults have a fear of dogs. It’s called Cynophobia and it is as valid as any other phobia. Like most phobias though, there are ways to deal with it. Treatment for overcoming a phobia requires some willpower and work. A lot of people might not be willing to put this sort of time and effort in. It’s understandable with someone that they’ve just met. This might mean you have to be a little careful when dating someone who is Cynophobic.
Fear of cats is less common, but also a real phobia. That one is called Ailurophobia. The options are similar to the ones for Cynophobia. With a little work, they can progress through it by increasing the time spent interacting with the cat.
For a lot of people, they might just have never had a dog. These people can be jumpy around dogs. Dogs can be unpredictable, especially if you’re not used to being around them. When fear of a pet is like this, it’s not as much of a problem. If it’s not a pathological fear, they can probably get used to the idea of a pet after some time. They might even grow to like the animal.
These factors are important to consider when sizing up potential dates. It’s probably not a question you’ll ask at first, but its likely that your pet will be brought up at some point. This is a natural part of getting to know someone. However embarrassing the fear is, they will probably make you aware of it before meeting the pet. If you’re both willing to work around it, it will just take some time.
Allergies Are Not the End of the World
Pet allergies are a problem that can’t be overcome with willpower. Some people are allergic to the proteins that occur in the saliva on pet’s hair. It’s not a complete write-off if someone can’t be around you because of fur, it might surprise you how many breeds of cats and dogs don’t inflame common allergies. If someone has an allergy make sure you check if they will have a reaction from your pet before you introduce them. You could be worrying over nothing.
Your furry friend is going to live quite a while. So if you’re serious about someone who does have an allergy to them, you’re going to have to figure out a way for them to get along. There are many treatment options open to people with allergies to pets.
A major factor is just keeping on top of grooming and upkeep. Everyone could probably benefit from cleaning up all of the hair that accumulates more often. This is even more important if someone with allergies is around. The same thing goes for bathing your cat or dog. Cats will need bathing if you’re living with someone with allergies. They might not enjoy it too much, but it definitely helps to ease symptoms of allergies. Dogs will have to be washed more regularly, at least once a week. High-efficiency particle air cleaners can also help improve the air for people with allergies, but this is an expensive option in the long term.
Antihistamine and allergen immunotherapy are also available. These options would depend on how much your potential partner is willing to do. Until things get serious enough to warrant these conversations, it’s easier to just limit exposure with your pet. Make sure you don’t expose them to too much hair. While you’re still dating, avoiding your home where possible might be the easiest solution. Carrying a lint roller for any hair on you could save a romantic night descending into a sneezing fit.
Are Your Pets Compatible?
It’s fantastic when you find someone with the same love of animals that you do, but this will often mean they also have pets. That sounds great, but there is no guarantee that your pets will like each other as much as their owners do. If you’re moving in together, you can’t just bring your pet with you and expect them to become best friends. The key to making this transition work is to ensure they have the best meeting possible. What to do will vary with the combination. Introducing an adult cat and dog is harder but not impossible. Even with two of the same animal, you need to be careful with introductions.
Introducing a cat and a resident cat is tricky. As well as the stress of moving, they now have to share their house with someone they might not like. The first step is the introduction. Before they meet, it is helpful to let the new cat move around its new home without the other cat present. This will get them used to each other’s scents. The next day they can meet for a little while. From here you can build up supervised interactions.
A dog introduction should also involve showing the new dog the house alone. They should then meet in a neutral location. This will let both dogs relax and not view the other as a threat or an intruder. After this, when they meet you should take steps to encourage good behaviour with positive reinforcement. If they start to disagree, just separate them until they calm down. This should be repeated for as long as it takes for them to tolerate each other. In the best case scenario, your pet may eventually make a new friend just like you have.
Your Partner and Your Pet
If your potential dating partner just doesn’t like your pet, that’s a different sort of problem. If your pet is an important part of your life, then this shouldn’t be an issue to them. You can work around minor problems, like if one of you prefers cats and the other dogs. Within some time they’ll at least get used to the animal; think of it the same as gradually introducing two dogs. Maybe you should reconsider how compatible you really are if their dislike of pets is so strong that they can’t be around your animal.
If you’re staying at someone else’s home, there’s the small question of what your dog or cat will do for the night. The last thing you want to do on a romantic evening that might entail a spontaneous overnight stay is worry about finding a pet sitter. However, the welfare of your animal is an important concern. If your date can be around your pet and doesn’t have animals of their own that are being left unattended, it’s easier for them to come to you. If not, you might have to throw spontaneity out of the window and plan ahead. This could quickly wear out your pet’s welcome with those willing to looking after it for a few days.
Once your relationship progresses, it might become easier to bring your dog with you for the night. A cat can be left alone for a night as long as it has access to fresh litter, water, food, and the environment is safe. This makes them less of a worry, but you should still make sure they’re active and entertained, and don’t leave home alone too often.
Your Pet’s New Step-Parent
Everything goes great, and you’re ready to get more serious. Your partner likes your pet and you can move forward. All good? Well, there might still be some friction. They could disagree with the way you’re raising the animal. Maybe you’re a strict parent to your pet or maybe you’re very permissive. In any case, this can cause problems when your partner has the opposite view. Even things like giving the dog some people food could cause upset. In these scenarios, you have to consider just how involved you want this person to be with the pet. If you want them to take as much interest in the pet as you do, then you have to take their opinions on board and collectively come to an agreement.
It’s also helpful to talk over with whoever you’re dating how much commitment they want to make to the animal. They might be happy to walk a dog or care for a cat. Equally, they could be fine with the pet around but not interested in the responsibility. In either case, a simple conversation to get everyone on the same page can avoid fights further down the line. As long as everyone is on the same page about what is expected of them with the pet, you should be on a good footing.
Pets don’t have to get in the way of your dating life. It might seem occasionally like having an animal at home complicates things for you romantically. You can easily work around most problems. You should remember the companionship your animal provides when things go wrong. This should help you see things in a positive light, even if you’re ever frustrated with your pet for a date gone awry!