Your Pet and Your Significant Other
You have one child, a six-year-old Golden Retriever named Sally. You’ve had Sally since she was eight weeks old, and she means the world to you. What can you expect when you introduce a new significant other, Shawn, to your life?
How Sally and Shawn feel about sharing time with you will play a large role in determining how the two will relate to each other.
If either of the two are jealous of the time you spend with the other, trouble will ensue. You will subsequently function as a mediator or buffer between two warring parties. You will feel like you walk a tightrope: closely monitoring and adjusting how much time you spend with each party so as not to create problems with the other party.
Phobias, fears, and personal biases may play a role in how Sally and Shawn relate to each other.
Sally may not like males (some pets have gender preferences). Shawn may have a phobia of “large” dogs. As noted above, these issues will cast you in the role of buffer between Sally and Shawn.
Allergies may play a role in how Sally and Shawn relate to each other.
If Shawn is allergic to pet dander, he will likely not want to spend a lot of time at your house lest he develop allergy symptoms. You will then feel torn between spending time at home with Sally and spending time elsewhere with Shawn.
Ultimately, how well Sally and Shawn get along will be significant in determining the peace of your household going forward.
If Sally and Shawn do not get along, expect your home to be somewhat strained for a while. Jealousies and fears will likely fade over time. Hopefully, the two will gradually get used to each other: heck, they may even grow to love one another. In the alternative, they may simply grow to accept each other’s presence without grudge, an unspoken détente of sorts. Either way, your home returns to a fairly peaceful state. If neither love nor détente result, open hostility festers. No peace can come of this situation. Ultimately, either Sally or Shawn usually has to go. Either scenario is heartbreaking.
Allergy issues, because they are biological rather than psychological, bear special note. If Sally and Shawn do not get along well because your significant other is allergic to your pet, a variety of potential solutions are available to you. Visit with your veterinarian about spray applications that you can brush on Sally’s coat to minimize airborne allergens that cause problems for Shawn. Or you can bathe Sally frequently to minimize the allergens . Alternately, Shawn can take allergy medicine. Other potential solutions (i.e., keeping Sally’s hair cut very short, etc.) may also be available: by speaking with your veterinarian and Shawn, you can make the decision that is best for all involved.
If your pet and your significant other get along famously right from the start, that can reinforce your new relationship with your significant other. For example, if your new significant other loves dogs, you three can experience bonding moments by going on walks or trail hikes together, playing ball together, or just cuddling up together.
Introducing Shawn to your happy home that you already share with Sally can be a rewarding process, although not without its challenges. By keeping in mind the above information, you can manage the introduction as well as possible, monitoring the Sally-Shawn relationship and making interventions as needed. When successful, this resultant happy home for all three of you can be some of your happiest years ever.
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