What To Do When Your Partner Wants A Pet And You Don't

There comes a stage in most relationships when you feel like you want to take your union to the next level. For some, this might mean tying the knot or traveling the world together. For others, it might mean opening your home to a new furry friend. 

Bringing home a pet is a big responsibility and is often jokingly considered a precursor to having children, per Brides. While the two responsibilities are, in fact, quite different, there is some truth to this statement. Pets depend on you for everything, more so when they're young. You become responsible for knowing when they want to go out, knowing when and what to feed them, and being alert to any discomfort or ailments they might be experiencing, per Wag Walking. Depending on their breed and temperament, some dogs will also require lots of exercise. Pets also teach you about sleep deprivation. They may wake you up before you've decided to want to get up on a Saturday because they want a pee or poo. And taking care of them can be an expensive affair. You will have to be prepared to spend quite a lot on vet bills, food, toys, grooming, and general well-being for your pet. 

You might be at that juncture in your life when your significant other is sending you all kinds of signals that they'd like to own a pet short, but you have your reservations. Here's how you can handle the situation. 

Have an open conversation with your partner

Communication is the bedrock of any good relationship, per Brides, and even more so when big life changes are being considered. Owning a pet is just that — a big life change. It's important to dig deep into your reservations about why you don't want to own a pet. 

Are you worried about letting a pet down because you've been a dog owner before and understand the responsibility that comes with it? Are you afraid of dogs because of a bad experience with one in your past? Are you concerned about the added financial responsibility? Are you anxious about how messy your home is going to get? Fur and saliva on furniture are valid concerns. Maybe you're worried about having your pet sleep in the bed. Or, it could also be that you're troubled about how a pet might put a damper on your flexible lifestyle. Who will care for the pet when you want to travel? 

Whatever's going on in your head, you should discuss these concerns with your partner (via The Wildest). However, you should also listen to their reasons for why they want a pet. Give them a chance to come up with solutions for each of your concerns, as well. You might change your mind if you hear them out.

If your concerns are to do with allergies, make sure you explain how living with a pet can impact your health and your life as a whole, per Animal Wised. Your partner will understand and compromise if they value what they have with you. 

Try fostering a pet for a while to see how you like it

Being open to fostering a pet for a few months or even offering to pet sit for a friend is a great way to see how good you and your partner might be as dog parents before actually committing to the responsibility (via The Wildest). Giving a temporary home to a pooch in need also means giving yourself some room to reconsider while also being a kind thing to do, per Slate

Most dog shelters face challenges when it comes to the number of pets in their care; by offering to foster one fluffy friend in your home, you're actually freeing up space for them to care for another animal in need, reports Dances with Dogs

A lot of good things can come from owning a pet like stress relief, an increase in general happiness levels, and even some benefits to your body like exercise and heart health. Giving your partner and yourself the chance to engage in a trial run of caring for a pet would be a great way to let your partner know you're trying your best to see it from their perspective. Who knows? You might just end up changing your mind. And even if you don't, you've done all you can to make your partner feel heard.