Should I keep the dog?

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#1
My fiance and I are splitting up. Oliver is 'our' dog. The break up is 'my fault' (not that anyone is really at fault) - nothing major happened, it's more just a matter of feelings have faded and we are at a fork in the road, and I need to go my way and she hers. I am the one that is ending it (planning to have 'the talk' on Monday).

While it should theoretically be a fairly peaceful break up, I'm not sure there's really such thing as a good break up when it's been almost 5 years and you live together and your lives are so deeply entwined.

Obviously I want to keep Oliver - I'm not sure that sharing him would be fair to him with all the switching back and forth, although he doesn't typically seem phased by moving around (we've taken him house sitting a few times this year, camping, backpacking, etc). All of his paperwork is in my name except my fiance signed his initial adoption papers. Vet records, obedience classes, his microchip, registration, etc are all in my name and paid by me.

I'd say that Oliver is more closely bonded to me - when we are each home, he will get up and follow me everywhere, but he will stay with me if my fiance gets up. She walks him every morning and takes him for car rides, but I take him on hikes and to the dog park, I feed him, I train him, etc. I know that he loves her and she loves him, and I do think that she'd be an okay sole owner - as in, I wouldn't worry about him. However she might not have the most stable living/housing situation in the near future, that's something we need to discuss.

Basically I feel kind of guilty wanting to keep him when it's me who is ending the relationship. But then I also feel like I have no reason to be a martyr and give up my dog just because I feel bad.

I know that no one can tell me what to do, but if you were in this situation, what would you do?
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Doberluv

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#2
Oh that's a tough one. First, after 5 years, that is so difficult. I'm sorry you're going through this. It's probably going to have to be something you talk about along with everything else. See how she feels about it. If she is going to be heart broken losing the dog, I think you'll have to compromise and make some kind of arrangement like people do with children. It may be stressful but depending on Oliver's temperament, he may be okay with it. It would be optimum if you two can remain sort of friends and just realize that the girlfriend/boyfriend relationship isn't quite right but being civil and sharing the dog is the best thing for all. I hope you can work something out. Hopefully she isn't as attached to the dog as you are and won't mind you taking him. That would be optimum. Maybe you can explain what you explained in your post...I'd say that Oliver is more closely bonded to me - when we are each home, he will get up and follow me everywhere, but he will stay with me if my fiance gets up. She walks him every morning and takes him for car rides, but I take him on hikes and to the dog park, I feed him, I train him, etc. I know that he loves her and she loves him, and I do think that she'd be an okay sole owner - as in, I wouldn't worry about him. However she might not have the most stable living/housing situation in the near future, that's something we need to discuss.

Well, good luck. Hope everything will work out for you in an amiable way and that you can keep Oliver without complications.

(where did the little icon go that puts text into quotes when you want it?)
 

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