You’ve exchanged “I Love You”s, moved in together, bought a crockpot – adopting a pet as a couple seems like the next logical step for your relationship. You both love animals, and you can’t wait to see your partner light up when you play with your new companion together.
Like all big steps, adopting a pet shouldn’t be rushed. Here’s what you need to know before you adopt:
Signs You’re Ready For The Next Step
Couples that want to adopt a pet together should have spent at least a few months living together. They should be able to coordinate chores so they’ll be able to handle the extra cleaning and other tasks that come with raising an animal.
You should also be in a habit of discussing finances. Whether you have a joint bank account or your finances are completely separate, you should be able to figure out how you’ll pay for your pets’ needs.
Being able to have serious discussions, respectfully disagree, and being able to understand your partner’s point of view are all big signs that you’re ready for a deeper commitment.
How A Pet Changes Your Relationship
Adopting a pet changes your relationship for better and for worse.
For better, you will feel closer to each other as you spend time with your pet. You may be able to take your pet to the park or a beach as a family.
Having a pet allows you to see a different side of your partner. You’ll fall in love with them even more as you watch them fall in love with your new pet.
For worse, you and your partner will need to make decisions without fighting. It’s important to have a stable relationship with someone who shares your values, someone you have already learned to resolve conflicts with. Couples that constantly blame one another always have trouble raising pets – mistakes are part of the process, so you must be mature enough to move past them and help each other learn.
If your relationship is already failing, getting a pet will not make it better.
Pets make a good relationship even better. But they make a bad relationship even more heart-breaking. If you’re not with the person you see yourself raising an animal with, they’re not worth your time.
One Person Must Be The Primary Owner
You and your partner might not enjoy talking about what would happen if you broke up, but it’s mandatory when a living thing depends on you. Breaking up is difficult enough when you don’t have to sort out where your pet will live.
Chances are, one of you will be more dedicated to your pets. One of you might be more likely to spend time on training, researching the best foods, and spending money at the vet’s office.
Pets Are NOT Practice Babies
Adopting a pet as a couple is like having a baby in a lot of ways. You learn to make decisions together about the health, care and education of your (furry) child. You budget for toys and food, and you snuggle together at the end of the day.
But a pet cannot be used to practice parenting, nor should it be used as a way to see if you and your partner would be good parents. A pet is a commitment all their own.
If you plan to have a baby in the future, make sure your pet will be part of your future, too.
Should Your Pet Be A Surprise?
There’s a ton of videos on social media of people surprising their partners and family members with animals. While this can be a cute moment, it’s more appropriate to surprise a child – not a romantic partner – with a living thing that requires years of commitment and care.
If you want to surprise your partner, wrap up a collar, food bowl or gift certificate from your local adoption center, then take them to pick out the pet. Taking your pet home for the first time is an experience best shared together.
Why Adopting A Pet Together Might Be Your Best Decision Yet
Pets teach you a lot about love. They teach you to be appreciative of the loved ones in your life. Raising an animal is an incredible journey, and it’s truly a blessing when you have a loving partner to share the experience with.
Do you have a pet with your romantic partner? How did it change your relationship?