As a young adult, you might be bombarded with the increasing pressure to settle down, get married or start a family. (I know... WHAT?)
But, there are a lot of beautiful, thoughtful steps you can make on the way to this kind of union, and one of my personal favs is the decision to get a dog with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
This past year, my boyfriend surprised me with a puppy for our three year anniversary, and I weirdly responded with a loud, resounding certainty about our undying love for another. In short, I know we're gonna make it.
Getting a dog, while it's not exactly a human baby, is still an insane commitment and can only mean he's in it for the long haul.
Here is how getting a dog with you significant other means your happily ever after is well on it's way.
They see a future with you.
Listen, dogs live for at LEAST 10 to 15 years, which is no small amount of time. For some of us, that's more than half of our lives so far!
When my boyfriend got us a dog, my first thought was, Ohhhhh... so we ARE going to get married. (My second thought was, OH MY GOD YAY A DOG!)
A puppy isn't a ring or a proposal, but it's a promise. And even for those who don't care about marriage, there is still a lasting intention to be together for a long-ass time.
They trust you.
The crazy thing about getting a dog is that one moment it's just you and your boo-bear watching Netflix, and the next, there is suddenly a THIRD LIVING CREATURE in the room with you.
Having to take care of an actual, literal life with your partner requires an extraordinary amount of trust and faith in one another.
You would never get a puppy with someone you didn't feel for certain could handle it, and making this kind of commitment proves they respect you and your decision-making skills and see you has a responsible, functioning, capable partner.
They see something paternal in you.
Not every couple wants to have kids, but you ARE parenting when you get a puppy.
They poop, pee, cry and need to be fed and played with just like a human infant. You will learn very quickly if you do or do not share nurturing skills with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
I wrote in a previous article how watching my boyfriend clean up our pup's diarrhea was weirdly the most romantic thing he's ever done. Seeing him love something so much besides himself (and me) made my heart turn to mush.
They want to share something meaningful with you.
Committing to owning a dog together is like committing to a life together. It's just your pup's life.
Participating in something that's LITERALLY LIKE RAISING A BABY, SORRY NOT SORRY, is a big freaking deal, and wanting to share it with you is super meaningful.
The situation is ripe for individual and combined growth, making your relationship stronger and deeper.
They aren't afraid of commitment.
This should go without saying for all the reasons above.
This dog is a commitment in every way. Time, money, energy and love will be given to this sweet, sweet smoosh face of yours, and if your partner was afraid of commitment before, they sure aren't now.
Making this kind of decision is not one that a responsible human would make. You can trust that if your boyfriend is ready to make the leap, they are dead serious about you too, girl.
Prepare for a happily, fuzzily, ever after.