Doggy Style: When Your Pets Offer More Security Than Your Man

Doggy Style: When Your Pets Offer More Security Than Your Man

Dear Gorgeous,

I have a huge problem. I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man who loves and supports me. While we are not perfect, I believe we have something really special. 

Three years into our relationship, I left him behind in the town we went to school in to move back home. Recently, he admitted to me that he kind of resented me for this but didn't want to voice that he didn't want me to leave him for fear that I'd think he was stopping me from doing what I wanted to do. 

He eventually moved to where I was. Life hasn't been as great for me as I thought it would be when I moved. It sucked actually, and it's been wearing on us –– I'll tell you why.

During our time apart, I got two dogs. And they take up a lot of my time. My boyfriend hates this and says he can't live like this and that it's either him or the dogs. If you've ever had pets, you know how attached we as people can get to our dogs. And I understand that he has a point when he says it's a decision I made without him and that we are hardly ever together anymore because I'm always taking care of my pets. Walking them, feeding them, spending time with them. It used to be just me and him all the time, and he wants it to be this way again. He is self-employed and works from home like you, so he feels the effects of me not being there more than someone who has a 9 to 5 would. I offered to leave the dogs at my mom's house so that I could still see them and he says the fact that I can't let go for him after all of the sacrifices he's made for me (moving, helping me at work because it's an overnight job and he wants to make sure I'm safe, turning down jobs to stay close to me). 

I love him so much. He broke up with me because he has deemed that the dogs have proven that we are incompatible. Four years down the drain? We still love each other and he said he wants to make it work but not with the dogs. 

I am not a crazy person who thinks dogs are the same as humans. I can't marry my dogs or build a life with them and have children with them, but my dogs add so much joy to my life. They love me unconditionally and are always happy to see me. It would kill me to give them up. Why can't he see how important they are to me? He has gotten tired of competing, he said. 

My fear is that if I give them up, I will be expected to compromise all the time with everything, and he will be in control. And also, what if I give them up and he later can't let it go that this was such a process and decides that he doesn't want this?

He says he is insulted that it's so hard for me to choose because he's a human, and he was here first. 

Prior to the dogs, we talked about a future and children, but now he says he can't see it at this point. He said for someone who's in a relationship, it's not right for him to feel this lonely, and I agree because I am lonely without him being around all the time, too. He doesn't like coming over because he says he can't take the smell and his sinuses act up whenever he's around me and the dogs.

What should I do?

-Love My Guy. Love My Pets


Dear Love,

In reading your entry, I realized this post isn't about dogs. This is a post about feeling secure in your relationship and your ability or inability to see this man as part of your future. All I saw when reading your passage is that you are looking for something more and better in your life and though you may not have happened upon it just yet, where you've been and who you've been with isn't it. Dogs or no dogs, you're looking for security.

Security:

You said it yourself––life didn't turn out the way you expected it to after you moved and before your boyfriend came back, you got yourself some pets, probably for security. And I don't mean the stop or I will bite sort of security. What you were looking for after your move was comfort and something familiar. You left your man behind and made this move, probably in hopes that he would follow (which he did) but in the meantime, you were lonely. I get that.

But here's the problem: Usually, when our relationships are going well, we don't just pick up and leave our partners behind. You inferred you were expecting some sort of improvement when you moved and that leads me to believe you felt there was something wrong with your life before, and the fact that you left your man behind and didn't wait for him to be able to make the move with you, indicates that part of your unhappiness was with him, as well. You were looking for security back then and didn't find it in that town or in your relationship.

So, you left and you adopted yourself some security, in the form of dogs. I get that; but now the boyfriend has trailed you back home and guess what––you are still not secure in your relationship! You are more secure in the love and trust you have with your pets than the love and trust you supposedly have with your boyfriend! 

Choices:

So, your boyfriend is right. When you got the dogs, this was a choice you made without him, just like your decision to move was made without him. All this time, you have been disconnecting from him and he sees it. The question is, why can't you see it and accept it?

You're moving on and in a different direction. Don't give up your dogs (i.e. your security) for something or someone you are obviously so unsure about. As one of my many mottos go, if you don't know, then the answer is no. You have already chosen to be without him, now you have to choose to accept it.

Acceptance:

Sometimes, we think it's only difficult to accept other people's choices, the choices we cannot control. However, it can be just as difficult to accept our own choices, at times. There are moments in life when we just have to do what is right for us, no matter who it hurts, and that is a jagged pill to swallow. It is also hard to stomach the fact that, even though we love someone, they may not be the right person for us, or this may not be the right time for them to be in our lives.

Accept your choices. Take a long, hard look at what you have done. Look from the outside, as if your life were a stage play, and see the direction each character is taking. When we remove ourselves from our circumstances, for a moment, there is nothing we can do to change the directions the characters in our lives have taken and we can only just watch ourselves, apart from ourselves. Learn this technique, which I like to call the Stage Technique, and be an audience member for a moment. This is the best way to see your truth.

Here's Your Homework:

You, my love, need very little homework. Keep doing what you are doing until you wind up where you want to be. You are making decisions based on your core desires and you should not ignore that, but I will ask you to practice one thing.

Every time you make a decision, no matter how big or small, accept it. It can be something as simple as, "I am wearing this yellow dress, today. That's it and that's all." Say that to yourself each time you make a decision or think about a decision you have already made. "I moved into this apartment because I love it and I'm not moving out until I say so. That's it and that's all." 

I call this the It and All Technique. Continue in this way until you get to the decisions you have made about your relationship and your dogs. "I chose the security of my pets over the insecurity of my relationship. That's it and that's all." Stand by your choices even if you are making them for reasons you may not yet understand. But, no matter what, they are yours, so be confident in them.

Here's What Will Happen:

When you chose to pick up and leave your man and replace him with reliable pets, you made a grand statement. When he followed you and tried to make the relationship work but you were unwavering on your decisions to keep your dogs, unsure if your relationship would last regardless of their presence, you made an even grander statement. The moment you accept your choices and stand in them, all of this insecurity about these decisons goes away. The decisions have been made. You made them. Something inside of you tells you this man isn't the sort to offer the security you need and if your pets do that for you in the meantime, great!

In Conclusion:

But one day, a man will come along who will offer you more comfort and security than your pets ever could, and he will be so secure in what he offers you, that no dog could make him feel second place. Look out for that man, he's on his way.


Community Questions:

Have you ever left someone behind on your quest for personal fulfillment? Have you or would you ever fill a personal void with pets? Have your pets ever come before your relationships? Do you think pets could come between the right relationship? Sound off in the comment section below.

New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.