5 Things To Know Before Getting A Pet Together With Your Partner, Because It’s A Big Deal
IMO, animals are one of the absolute greatest things on this planet. In fact, I'm that person who finds the one dog or cat at a house party and spends the evening telling them they're the prettiest boy or girl in the whole world. (I'm super fun at parties — feel free to invite me over!) If you're in a relationship and you're an animal lover, you might be considering adopting a pet with your partner. While that's amazing and yes — adopt don't shop — there are things to know before getting a pet together that can help you make this super important decision.
While wanting to get a pet together can be a great sign of committment in your relationship, I spoke to Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, about what to consider before adopting a pet with your significant other. Sullivan says, "It is important to get a temperature check on your relationship, and align on what the future looks like for you and your partner. For example, you don't want to get a pet with someone who is not committed and fully on board with the idea — or is having doubts about your relationship." While getting a furry friend seems like a lot of fun and could provide endless Insta-worthy moments, take a moment to consider these five things before you take the pet plunge!
Do You Both Have The Money, Honey?
Newsflash — pets cost money. Most animal rescues charge an adoption fee, and then there's food, potential medical costs, and a zillion cute toys you'll just have to get! Even though you can certainly have a pet on a budget, Sullivan says, "It's easy to underestimate how expensive pets are. They require food, toys, vet care, grooming, cages and more. It is very important to understand if you and your partner can handle the financial responsibility that comes along with getting a pet." Even if you adopt a healthy creature, medical emergencies can arise, so if you do decide you've got the funds for a fur baby, consider signing your pet up for health insurance, too. Discussing how you and your partner will cover the cost of a pet beforehand is super helpful.
Does Your Partner Take Care Of Themselves?
Most people can manage to feed themselves, keep their apartment in fairly decent shape, and earn a living, but taking care of a living creature does require a degree of responsibility. If your partner hasn't done laundry in 2019 or only has La Croix in their fridge, they might need to step up their caregiver game before they're pet ready. Sullivan says, "If your partner can't take care of themselves, there is no way they will be able to look after a pet, too." If you're the uber reponsible one in the relationship, realize that you might end up with the lion's share of pet care, which could lead to resentment. Dividing up pet care duties ahead of time can save you a headache down the road.
Does Your Partner Put Off Their Responsibilities?
I'm just as guilty of procrastinating as the next gal, but when you have a dog, you can't really put off taking them out for a walk or making sure their shots are up to date. If your partner hasn't seen the dentist in years or is overwhelmed with their work responsibilities, they might not be ready to be a pet parent. Sullivan says, "Do you find your partner is constantly putting off chores? If your partner can't handle their current responsibilities, it's hard to imagine they'll be able to adapt to the additional responsibilities that come from being a pet owner."
Do You Live Together?
If you and your partner don't co-habitate, it's still possible to share a pet. However, Sullivan says, "A lot of people say that getting a pet before moving in together can potentially put extra stress on the relationship. however, getting a pet shows signs of commitment and stability, and can sometimes benefit your relationship and prepare you for waht is to come in the near future." Of course, if you don't live together, have a plan in advance for sharing "custody" of your pet.
Do You Have A Backup Plan?
Even if everything in your relationship seems perfect and you and your honey are making plans for a future together, sharing a pet is a lifetime committment for the animal. Before you decide to adopt a pet, consider what you'll do if you and your loved one decide to eventually part ways. Sullivan says, "No matter what the circumstance, having a fall-back plan is always recommended. Discussing how you and your partner would split responsibilities and custody over your pet if you break up should be a priority." Of course, you might not want to think that you and your bae will ever split up, but it's good to have the conversation just in case.
Trust me — I once dated a guy who shared custody of a dog with his ex-girlfriend. While they were cordial and had broken up years ago, there was still always some degree of drama around picking up and dropping off their sweet pup, and it was really not fun to witness. So, preparing for all scenarios before you get a pet with your partner can be really helpful. If you and your honey have all the money, the time, and the responsibility to have a pet, now all you have to decide is what to name your new fur babe! Good luck!