Dear Bitter Single Guy: I’ve been with my husband for the last 6ish years. We just bought a house, and are quickly rebuilding our savings account. All should be well in paradise, right? Wrong. I want a dog. I’m lonely. My husband isn’t demonstrative, and doesn’t let me snuggle much. We’re a pair of ‘old souls’ that don’t really participate in all of the hot-n-randy stuff anymore. We’re 29 and 30. We actually work together, peaceably, and spend a ton of time together. Except for this one thing – A dog.
I guess I should backtrack a little. Its not just a dog – its any subject that he doesn’t want to talk about. He says, if you keep pushing this, we’ll have trouble. I’m warning you, you don’t want to make this a relationship thing. So, generally, I shut up. But I really want a dog! Maybe its my age – I want something to care for and spoil. The ferrets USED to do it – but now, with the new house, they’re confined to one tiny playpen – takes me 5 minutes twice a day to put it in order, and they’re no longer allowed to come out and interact with me. I don’t get to spoil my husband rotten. Neither of us want children.
I tried to tell him this. I did my research, made a plan. I found a dog that was clean, small and low shedding that seldom barked (shiba inu). Today I asked, “so you like min-pins, huh?” pretty insignificant, right? Just small talk with the hubby as I make breakfast. That started the war. What can I do to convince him that 1) I should be able to have a dog 2) Its not going to ruin his life 3) It won’t be his responsibility (i take care of the ferrets and the house as it is) and 4) this passive aggressive mopey stupidness is only driving a wedge into our relationship? ~Dog Lover~
Dear DL: AWESOME! In ten years of relationship advice, you’re the first person to come to the Bitter Single Guy with a pet-related issue! DL, the BSG has to admit that he has also had dog-cravings recently…something to be happy when the BSG gets home, something that won’t go belly-up if the BSG feeds him too much (stupid goldfish), something to…well…love the BSG! But we’re not here to talk about the BSG’s lonely house, DL.
Interestingly, the BSG is going to jump right past the dog issue to what he believes is the real issue. You have a greater need for companionship and love than your husband does, so you’re wrapping it all up in this dog-thing because you’ve convinced yourself that with a dog you won’t notice what you’re missing in your relationship, eh DL? The BSG wonders why you’re willing to replace the companionship that some might expect in a marriage with a dog? You know that’s what’s happening here, right DL? The BSG thinks he needs to call a little bullshit here, are you ready?
- Don’t give the BSG this “old soul” crapola…what you’re doing is coming up with a clever rationalization for why you and your hubby don’t have sex anymore. Let the BSG clarify…29 and 30 is too young to give up your sex life.
- Don’t give in to these vague threats from your husband about “if you push this you’ll have trouble”. What the hell…is this the 1950’s? Is this Ricky Ricardo warning Lucy not to meddle in something she doesn’t understand? DL, the BSG respects your right to preserve your relationship in whatever way you need to, but he wants you to think about what you’re giving up if you feel like your ability to speak freely is stifled in your marriage.
The BSG says forget the dog and have a conversation with your husband about how everyone in a relationship gets a vote about how needs get met. If he gets all vaguely threateny, the BSG says bring home a borrowed St. Bernard and tell him he’s yours. Push the button, DL. See what it’s like to participate fully.
p.s. the BSG wants to clarify that he believes that “pushing the button” will likely result in an argument, some door slamming and some chilly silences; all of which should lead (eventually) to some better communication. If your non-dog-loving husband’s vague threats turn into something physical, dial 911. Nothing you said indicates to the BSG that you feel physically threatened in your relationship, but he would be remiss if he didn’t call out this point. ~BSG~