How Long Should You Wait Before Getting A Pet Together? Here's What Experts Say
It's one thing for your partner to help you take care of your pet from time to time, but it's another thing entirely when you and your partner decide to get a pet together. Making that decision is a big step in any relationship. You're basically saying, "I'm ready to take on the responsibility of another creature's life, and I want you to do it with me." Getting a pet together is essentially the closest thing to having a kid, without actually having one, so how long should you wait before getting a pet together? A year? Three years? Until you're living together? Does it just depend on the relationship, or is there a specific amount of time every couple should wait before deciding to get a pet together?
Accepting the fact that it may be best to wait before diving into the puppy pool can be incredibly difficult. You want it, and you want it now. (Me with every dog, TBH.) But co-parenting a new pet is no easy feat, either, especially if you and your partner don't have the strong foundation necessary to be able to co-parent your new furry friend the way they deserve. I reached out to a couple of experts to see how long you should really wait before getting a pet together to ensure that you're bringing your new friend into a healthy environment, and here's what they had to say.
"Getting a pet together is a commitment that we should never take lightly in my opinion," Nikki Leigh, a love and relationships coach and host of Ready for Love Radio, tells Elite Daily. "When you get a pet with another person, you add additional complications. Where will they stay, when, where and how long? If they get sick or need shots, who will pay? Who will buy their food and on and on. The timing will depend on the two of you, and I don't think there's an ideal time, but [it] will depend on your commitment to one another."
While Leigh believes that when a couple is ready co-parent a pet depends on their relationship, she does advise against getting a pet when the relationship is still extremely new or when it's on the brink of ending. "If the relationship is starting to wane or you're thinking about breaking up, do not get a pet to try to save the relationship. It is not fair to you or the pet," she says. "I also would never recommend getting a pet when you're at the beginning of a relationship or still unsure how you feel about one another."
Relationship and wellness coach Shula Melamed, MA MPH, agrees with Leigh. She thinks there needs to be a certain level of commitment between you and your partner before getting a pet together, but she goes even further, saying you should be cohabiting before taking that step. "Since pets are domesticated creatures, I would definitely wait until you are cohabiting and splitting responsibilities," she tells Elite Daily. "If you are doing it together, you need to also be comfortable having conversations about dividing responsibilities and picking up the slack when one person is busier than another. Also, you have to be in a place where you can discuss what might happen if you part." Even though in that moment you may be at the epitome of happiness, relationships can end. So, when you're bringing another living being into the picture, it's important to briefly touch on what happens if your relationship ends up not working out. Quickly discuss, and then jump right back into your pool of complete and utter bliss.
Unfortunately, there is no set-in-stone amount of time you should wait before getting a pet with your partner. It really just depends on your relationship with each other and your level of commitment to one another. But remember: Pets can live for years. And if you don't see yourself being with your partner for that long, it may be best to hold off on getting your new furry friend until you find someone you do see yourself being with long-term.
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