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Questioning relationship over a pet.....

Community Member
Just to give a bit of background: my partner and I have been in a relationship for about 6 years, but have only been living together for 12 months.
When we first moved in to our house, I brought along my dog who I spent a great deal of time training. In the middle of last year we decided to get another dog. My girl lived with my parent’s dog when I was back at home and enjoys the company of other dogs, so we thought a companion would be good for her. My partner was adamant he wanted a male dog, so we got an 8 week old male pup. We took him to puppy preschool and tried to socialise him as much as possible, but from about 7 months he has been reactive towards people and other dogs he is not familiar with. I have been going through a reactive dog training program with him and working on desensitising and counterconditioning him. On top of this I work full time, do the majority of the cooking, cleaning, shopping and pet care. My partner works full time, mows the lawns and maybe vacuums and cooks once a week. I have really been struggling with my workload and have asked him multiple times to help me, whether it is helping with house duties or the dogs. He always says “yes I’ll put more effort in” then nothing changes. This is starting to get very hard on me because it means I don’t seem to find much time to relax myself (not great for my anxiety), while he goes off and plays sport or goes out 3-4 nights of the week. Is it horrible I am reconsidering whether this man is a good life partner over how he handles a commitment to a pet?
4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear nellie158,

It's not horrible, and I'm actually glad you're rethinking this relationship. From what you have shared, this goes beyond pets. It also shows that he does not value the work you do around the house, on top of your work commitments and pet care! In the long run, this does not bode well. A good relationship is one that is equal, where both partners are happy.

Have you considered coming up with a chores timetable where you both schedule chores equally between you? These include household chores as well as pet care. By doing this, you can give him one last chance at stepping up, failing which you probably do need to rethink whether this relationship is worth your sacrifice.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there

Agreed! Not horrible at all. A relationship is a partnership, right? When there's not a fair amount of give and take, resentment can creep in. This is an unfortunately common experience for women, and it's about time it wasn't.

All the best making a decision about how to move forward. Katy

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Nellie, and a warm welcome to the site.

People in a relationship, whether it's one year or even six years won't know the ins and the outs of exactly who the person is until you live together, that's when you truly know what the person actually does in situations that you may not have had to encounter before, who's doing the cooking, cleaning or taking the dogs for a walk.

'Your partner was adamant he wanted a male dog, so we got an 8 week old male pup', so surely it's his responsibility to feed the dog, walk him and take care of him, and not expect you will naturally do it, because he was the one that wanted it.

If he plays sport and entertains himself by going out 3 to 4 nights, that's fine, as long as he allows you to do the same and have the freedom you need to help with your anxiety, if however, he says ' I’ll put more effort in' and doesn't, then questions about being with a long term partner/spouse with someone for a long-term are going to move in the same direction, otherwise complications will invariably happen, even over the smallest issue.

If his dog needs extra training to be able to socialise and your partner is not involved, may answer the question you've asked us.

Best wishes.


Community Member

Hi Nellie

I agree with Geoff, in that you really only learn about a person once you live with them. Sounds like he's quite content to let you do all the work, while he does what he pleases.

If you are hoping to have a family with this man, I would ask if he is like this with a young dog, what do you think he's going to be like with a baby/toddler/child? If he can't step up with a dog, how will he step up when life's big problems happen, like a serious illness, a natural disaster, death of a parent, sudden unemployment or financial problems.

I would like to add, as someone who has been in animal rescue for a number of years, please accept my admiration for your admiration to this dog's welfare and learning, your commitment is making a genuine difference, even if you haven't seen the results yet.

You deserve a partner who acts like a partner, not someone who lets you do all the work so they can continue to live a lifestyle they don't want to sacrifice.

Best wishes, I hope you find what you need to know to go forward.