Adopting a pet with your significant other is a big step. It’s a large commitment and can definitely be viewed as a relationship milestone. For these reasons, it’s important that you don’t rush into joint pet ownership. Make sure you sit down with your partner and talk about your expectations and how you’ll share responsibilities. Here’s how to decide if you’re ready to adopt a pet with your significant other!
Type of Pet
Before you and your partner adopt a pet, you have to agree on which pet you’re going to adopt in the first place. Are you going to adopt a cat or adopt a dog? How old will the pet be? Do you want an adorable, but high-maintenance, pet or a low-key senior animal? How big will the pet be? So before you surprise your significant other with a newborn kitten, make sure they have the same expectations for pet ownership!
Division of Labor
Determining a division of labor prior to pet adoption is also a crucial step. Otherwise, resentment can fester and put a great deal of stress on your relationship. Make sure you set expectations for who will exercise, feed and groom your pet. You need to be confident that both of you have enough time to care for an animal. If you and your partner already argue about who does the dishes and who vacuums, this may be an indication that you’re not ready for pet ownership.
Okay, this is probably going to be the hardest conversation for you and your SO when you talk about adopting a pet. If the two of you break up, you need to do what’s best for your pet, and that means not have a never-ending argument over who gets custody. However, what you ultimately decide isn’t a “one-size fits all relationships” solution.
Some couples are going to decide that one person takes the dog or cat and has full-time custody. This may be difficult for the other partner, but for many pets and their owners, it’s ultimately the best solution. Maybe the couple can’t co-parent amicably or maybe they live too far apart to make a split custody solution work. Another possibility is that shuffling the pet back and forth from each home is too stressful on the cat or dog.
Other couples might decide on sharing the pet. Sometimes dogs and cats do fine in this kind of arrangement and this way they get to spend time with both of their owners. The tricky part about making this situation work is deciding on a schedule. It can also be extremely difficult when you disagree with your ex on what’s best for your pet. Maybe you can’t agree on the best diet, exercise regimen or medical treatment for your animal.