I adopted a dog a few years ago and now I'm considering the possibility of giving her up. I feel awful about it and I'm not sure what to do. Good reason for doing it: starting med school. Not sure if it's a good or bad reason: Boyfriend hates her. Really long, but if you can handle it, I'd love some insight.
posted by anonymous to human relations (54 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(If this sounds familiar, it's because I posted my story as a response to someone else's AskMe. I wanted to keep this particular question anonymous so that if my SO stumbles across it, he won't be able to see all my other posts. Also, I am not really looking for relationship advice based on my previous AskMes. Thanks.)
About 4 years ago I adopted a dog from a rescue organization. At the time I was single and had a full time job, and was able to balance it pretty well. I had grown up with a dog, so I felt like knew what I was getting into. Also, I was having kind of a hard time dealing with the absence of my dog who had died. At the time when I got her, the idea of medical school was just an incredibly long-shot, passing sort of dream (so i thought.) basically, even though i had considered it, i thought the chance of it actually happening was maybe 1% (having recently graduated with an unrelated degree, and working as a bank teller at the time.) it seemed like too far-fetched of an idea to actually plan ahead for it. Anyway, fast forward to now. I am amazed and thrilled to have gotten not one but a few acceptances, and I'll be starting in a few weeks. I'm not so worried about the first 2 years, but I know what 3rd year and residency will be like, which is arguably the better reason for helping my dog find a new home. the stickier situation is with my boyfriend.
my boyfriend doesn't like the dog. when we were first together, i thought it was a fling and not anything long-term, so i didn't bother caring about whether he liked the dog or not. As things went along and started to get more serious, it crossed my mind that it might become a problem, but since I didn't know what to do about it I just kind of ignored it. Unfortunately, I think he did the same (keeping his feelings about it to himself in order to keep the peace.) For the first year, we lived in separate apartments. then I ended up having to move into his dog-unfriendly apartment for financial reasons, and my mom took care of the dog until we could move into a dog-friendly one. (So we have lived together both with and without her.) Well, things have been difficult since we have been living together, with her. I guess I just figured that since he agreed to the situation, he knew what he was getting into and was willing to cope with it. But it's been very hard on him, which is making it hard on me, which is making it hard on the dog. The last several times we've gotten into arguments about various stuff, the subject of the dog has come up as something we might potentially break up over. I'm really frustrated, because originally I thought that it was bullshit that he'd break up with me over a dog, especially a dog he's been aware of throughout our whole relationship. But I can also see how maybe he just tried to tell himself it wouldn't be so bad, and then it turned out to be more than he could deal with. if i had ust gotten her without asking, while we were already together, then it would be 100% my fault. but it feels harder because i already had her!
Obviously, if I did give her up, it would make him happy. But it also worries me that it would give him the impression that I am willing to go against my convictions just to make him happy. or, that it was some sort of power struggle and he won. although i can say it's also because of the medical school thing- and it is- we've been having this conflict for long enough now that i have to wonder how much of it IS his influence. sorry if this is starting to ramble; here's why it matters. although our relationship has been difficult at times, we both recognize that we have something good going and want to try to make it work/ improve. one of the big issues was that he could be rather immature and selfish at times at the beginning of our relationship (thanks to, i think, a pandering mother, and no previous serious relationships.) I think he has come a long way on that, and I can see how he makes an effort for me, but occasionally he is still selfish and immature and unwilling to compromise. I am having a hard time deciding whether the dog situation is something that falls in this category. at first, i thought it was, but now that we've been in the situation for a few months, and how he keeps trying, now i am not so sure. i also used to think that if he really loved me, he could find a way to make peace with my dog. now i don't know if that's true or not. is it unreasonable for me to think that? is it unreasonable for him to think that if i really loved him, i'd get rid of her?
i really do love my dog, and I would feel extreme (probably unbearable for a while) guilt if I ever gave her up. i would feel like a failure, and like an asshole. i hate to admit this, but i would also probably feel a bit of relief. when she was at my mom's, although i really missed her, my life was easier. and again, i have 3rd and 4th year plus residency to think about. (She is quite small, and pee pad trained, so she CAN be left for a while. I'd just feel bad leaving her because she likes being around people.)
so if i gave her up, would i be doing the right thing, or would i be letting my boyfriend manipulate me into getting his way? or would i simply be making a reasonable compromise/ sacrifice? if i give up my dog, am i just giving in to his pressure and letting him get his way?
I'd love to hear thoughts from everyone. Especially- people who have been on the opposite side (my boyfriends side) and how you dealt with it. People who have been through med school and residency and can tell me honestly how bad it could be with a dog (this is especially important because, despite our best efforts, i realize SO and i might break up at some point anyway, so i need to consider the impact this would have on my life outside him and our relationship.) People who have had to give up a pet for one reason or another, and whether they felt they did the right thing, how they dealt with the guilt, etc. People who have given up a pet at the insistence of an SO and later regretted it.
oh and one more strange P.S. i dated, and lived with, another guy before this one. he LOVED my dog. they really bonded, and she loved him too. in fact, when i broke up with him i could swear he was more sad about leaving her than me. would it be, like, highly inappropriate to contact him to see if he wanted to adopt her if i decide to go that route? i can't decide if he would be either thrilled to reunite with her, or think i was a huge crazy bitch. maybe both. after living with my dog (his first time living with one) he expressed interest in getting his own dog, same breed, so i know he wants one. i know the idea seems really strange but . . . i think she would be really happy with him.
god, i'm even more confused after writing this than i was before. hopefully i hit all the high points. throwaway email @ JaneDoeAndHerDog@hotmail.com