getting a pet together

When you are meeting someone for the first time and you immediately feel sparks of chemistry between you, the feeling of hope and happiness can last for a long time. I’ve experienced that feeling multiple times when I had met men who I thought I had connections with. For me, the fastest way for that intense feeling of infatuation to die is when I find out that my date and I make completely different lifestyle decisions.

One of my favorite television shows is Kelsey Grammer’s ‘Frasier’. The main character Frasier is the exact opposite of the typical ‘alpha male’ touted on sitcoms who believed that a dog was a man’s best friend. In fact, both Frasier and his brother Niles preferred living pet-free lifestyles, much to the chagrin of their dog-loving father Martin. Aside from the tropical fish that I own, I am thrilled to live a pet-free lifestyle and I can’t imagine feeling any differently. Choosing to be a pet owner is a lifestyle choice that affects many couples. Here are things you need to consider before getting a pet.

The health of your loved ones

Being in a close relationship with a pet owner means you are increasing your physical exposure to the dander of your mate’s animals. Over 55% percent of the just the United States human population alone tested positive to allergens. That figure isn’t even taking into account the number of people worldwide who suffer from allergies. Sure, there are medications that allergy sufferers can take to provide relief from allergy symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and itchy skin. However, many medications have terrible side effects.

Even if you don’t have an allergic reaction to pets, you need to keep in mind that you interact with other people who could be allergic to pet dander. That hug that you receive from your partner could leave pet dander on your clothing. If your other friends and family members are having allergic reactions when they spend time around you, can you handle that? How about if the people who you interact with at work are experiencing hives and sneezing fits because of the leftover dander you inherited from your lover’s pet? People who have never owned pets need to keep this in mind when they enter into relationships with pet owners because a pet-free lifestyle is totally different from living a life with animals. I have a friend who is a senior citizen and she loves cats and she used to own cats. However, my friend won’t risk owning cats anymore because another friend of hers is highly allergic to cat dander even if it’s on someone else’s clothing.

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Many romantic relationships lead to parenthood. If you want to become a parent one day, then you need to consider that your future children might not be receptive to pets. It is completely unfair to force a young child to live with animals. Contrary to what is shown in the media, not all children are happy living and interacting with animals. While it’s true that some pets are bred to be hypo-allergenic, an animal is still an animal with different instincts than human instincts. Besides being allergic to pets, some children are also afraid of animals. You need to keep your child’s emotional and physical health in mind before forcing them to live with pets. If any of your children express distress about living in close proximity with an animal, you need to be putting your child’s needs first and limiting your child’s exposure to things or living creatures that cause them discomfort.

The money you’ll spend

How do you picture living your life with your partner? Do you dream of being able to vacation to sandy beaches together and spend weeks in a five star rated luxurious resort on your days off work? If so, you might not be able to live that way if you’re dating a pet-owner. Animals need to be cared for daily; they need to eat, drink, exercise, and be cleaned. Unless they have devoted family members or friends who are fine with pitching in to take care of the animal, pet owners cannot usually take long vacations away from their dependents. Pet motels can be costly, and your mate might not trust leaving their beloved pets with strangers. If your relationship turns serious and you end up living together, you need to consider the money and time that your household will need to devote to having a healthy pet.

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Veterinary bills can run into thousands of dollars. You and your partner should deliberately create a plan of how you’re going to pay for taking care of a pet on a regular basis. If you feel even slightly resentful of investing any of your money on a household pet, you need to let your mate know that pets should not be introduced into your relationship. You will be setting yourself up for failure if you bring pets into your home and you detest having to spend your money on them. Why choose a lifestyle that makes you unhappy? Choose happiness because it’s always the better way.

In addition to your pet’s medical care, you also need to factor in the money you may need to spend in order to keep your home looking its best. Animals can scratch floors, chew furniture and shoes, and urinate on your floors. If you are looking to rent a home, keep in mind that some landlords have strict no-pet policies because they don’t want the responsibilities of cleaning pet messes. The money you would spend cleaning up after a pet is money that you could be putting into an emergency fund for possible health issues you or your family members need in the future.

The time you’ll need to invest

I love that I get to sprinkle a few tropical fish food flakes into my aquarium, watch my fish swim whenever I please and get on with the rest of my day. Aside from cleaning the tank once a week, my responsibilities as a pet owner don’t take up too much of my time. When I watch reality TV court shows, I’m always in disbelief at the number of cases involving pet owners being sued for the damage their pets did to people and to property. After watching those cases I always feel thankful that I never have to worry about spending my time and my income to legally defend myself in those type of situations. I simply don’t want to spend my time and resources monitoring an animal. I’d much rather spend my time holding hands, cuddling, and eating an Italian meal with my mate.

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How much time do you want to devote to pets in your relationship? If you and your partner both want a life where you bond as you hold hands together while walking your dogs each evening, then bringing pets into your relationship would be ideal. You should only bring pets into your union if both of you are 100 percent on board with pet ownership. If not, don’t risk ruining your relationship. One person shouldn’t have to silently suffer because of their mate’s lifestyle choice.

You need to remember at all times that animals are not people. Animals do not think and act the way that people do. Is an animal’s love truly more important than the contribution that a human being can make to your life? While it is perfectly fine that some people are huge animal lovers, those who aren’t keen on living with pets should not dismiss the many realities of pet ownership. Relationships can be stressful enough without having to add in living each day in a situation that you don’t want. Think carefully before bringing pets into your relationship. Never assume that your mate is going to ‘come around’ and see things the way that you do. It is better to partner with a mate who shares your views on pet ownership.

Akua is a Canadian born and raised girl with Caribbean roots. She is a journalist, actress, music teacher, performer, owner and marketer of 3 worldwide dating websites, as well as an independent Pure Romance business owner selling passion products for singles and couples.

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