Having a dog has enriched my life and changed me for the better, no question. It's made me a more responsible person, it's shown me the meaning of unconditional love, it's helped me to appreciate routine and companionship. All around, my dog has been an overwhelmingly positive force in my life. And even though he's a dog, he's my favorite human — you might have to be a dog owner to understand that logic. That said, having a dog takes a toll on my dating life in a way I could never have anticipated.
Having a dog when you live alone sometimes feels like being a single mom. You're solely responsible for the well-being of a living creature, and they're completely helpless without you. If you get stuck at work late, your dog isn't going to say "Oh well," and make himself some Easy Mac and watch the baseball game until you're back. Your dog's going to go hungry and get nervous. And it's not like you can text your dog to reassure them — another illogical thing that I think all dog owners think about.
When you have a dog, your world revolves around them. And no matter what's going on in your life, whether you're happy, sad, busy, bored, single, dating — you're equally responsible for that life. When you get a dog, you won't think about how it might negatively affect your dating life, you'll see an adorable slobbery little face looking up at you and your heart will dissolve and you will convince yourself that your love for this creature will make taking care of it easy. But you were wrong about some of that. These are all the ways that having a dog will affect your dating life:
No More Spontaneity
Your dog is on a schedule. There are only X amount of hours it can go without being walked or fed before there's an issue. If you're on an amazing date and they suggest adding something to itinerary that you hadn't planned for, time-wise, you'll have to decline. You can't stay out and watch the sun rise on their roof or drop everything and run off with someone without making arrangements ahead of time for your dog. And chances are, you won't trust anyone to watch your dog either, so it's all on you.
No More Uncomplicated Sleepovers
You can't really wing it with guessing when you have a dog. If you're on a date and you think you might sleep over, you have to make arrangements for someone to take your dog out, or you'll have to leave at the crack of dawn. Chances are you'll wake up with serious anxiety and guilt and be dashing out of a lot of beds before the sun rises, leaving your date confused.
Lots Of Fighting Over The Bed
When your partner sleeps in your bed, they'll probably have an issue with the fact that your dog does, too. You'll try not to be offended when they as if the dog can sleep on the floor, but you will be. And if they don't mind the dog in the bed, they will when it wiggles between you two.
Lots Of Jealousy
It sounds crazy, but I've had serious issues with the people I date being jealous of the affection I give my dog. They want me to choose between the two of them when it comes to comfort and attention and they always lose. No one should ever ask you to be put ahead of your pet! It's awkward and childish.
If you want to go away with your lover, good luck. These are your options: you can bring the dog, which is typically a nightmare. You can board the dog, which is expensive. Or you can have someone watch the dog, which will freak you out and make it impossible for you to relax on the trip. There is no such thing as a simple trip anymore.
Lots Of Outdoor Eating
City dog owners know this well. If you want to bring your dog with you on a date, you'll have to eat outside, as no dog is allowed in any restaurants. Why would you want to bring your dog, you ask? Well after a 10 hour work day, your dog is waiting for you at home to be walked and exercised and fed. If you have a date after work, bringing your dog with you can hit two birds with one stone. And unless it's summertime, you'll probably be cold and uncomfortable outside and your date will be secretly annoyed.
Arguments Over Training
When you bring a partner into your home and around your dog, they're bound to have some opinions on your training, and this is surely going to be the catalyst for a few arguments. They might have an issue with the way you feed them table scraps, you might hate the way your partner encourages your dog to howl. You'll feel defensive over your dog and that will make things awkward for you and your partner.
Some nights, you'll come home from work before a date and not be able to leave. You'll see the way your dog watches you put your coat back on, you'll see the disappointment, and it will be too much. You don't want to leave your dog, you'd rather stay home and cuddle him all night than go on a date. This will happen often.
You probably won't want to admit it if it happens, but you'll have a break up that will be because of your dog. Maybe it's because you always had to leave at the crack of dawn. Maybe it's because you could never get away together. Maybe it's because your partner couldn't stand your dog. But when you break up, you'll know deep down that if you weren't a single dog mom, the relationship would have worked out. But then you'll also realize that the right person will make it work with your dog. The right person will love your dog as much as you do, and everything will work out because of it.