Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

My problem is a bit different from a lot of the other dog-related posts I have read here. I have a loving wife and a well-behaved dog, but she just doesn't like dogs. I have had the dog for 6 years now and had him when we started dating a couple years ago. We got married a year ago, but before that she seemed to like the dog. She never claimed to be a dog lover but never said she disliked them either, so I never anticipated any big issues. After getting married and living together in a house for a few months, she tells me that she now realizes she does not like living with a dog. She explains that she did not know this before as she would only stay over occasionally and have never previously lived with one.

He used to sleep in a crate in my room upstairs, but she didn't even want him upstairs at all. We compromised and I moved him to the guest room upstairs even though it broke my heart, and barred him from entering our room. I also make sure to keep the floor clean because she does not like his hair all over the place, and keep him off the furniture. He does not have any of the behavioral issues that most people in my situation complain about (no accidents/aggression/biting/chewing/barking/etc), and I take care of him 100%. He just likes to lick and occasionally beg when we eat, but I am in the process of training him to stop. She has also complained about him coming near the dining table when we eat, entering the kitchen, and just being near her in general, even though she has no allergies. The problem is, we live in a very small 700 sq ft townhouse so it is a bit hard to keep them separate, and I have explained to her that I can't keep him outside because it gets too cold here.

To her credit, my wife has been generally nice to the dog and has genuinely tried to make things work. However, anytime we fight or she is in a bad mood, she brings up "the dog", and how she doesn't like living with him. Our fights get bad because I get protective of the dog. She thinks that I should be happy that I get to keep him, and when I protest, she says that if I love the dog so much, she can move out. I feel like I'm always walking on eggshells with anything to do with the dog, and am terrified of him doing something she doesn't like. I thought things would get better over time, but her patience/tolerance seems to be decreasing to the point of fighting about him every week now. My wife loves me and I know she won't make me give up the dog right now, but that might change if/when we have a kid - she has already said she doesn't want the dog near the baby. I really want to make this work, but if things will get worse when we have a family, maybe I need to consider that being together might not be the best idea?

Sorry for the long post - I just wanted to be as detailed as possible.
My question is - has anyone else been in a similar situation too? Does anyone have any advice/tips on how to handle this?

Thanks for reading and giving your advice!

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post #2 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 02:54 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

In the grand scheme of things, your wife/family are more important than a dog. But it sounds to me like she pulled a bait and switch on you when it comes to your dog. Marrying someone and then pulling a bait and switch is a profound form of manipulation and dishonesty.

My take on it is that the dog is her excuse to push you around emotionally. If you get rid of the dog, she will just find another reason to mistreat you and keep you walking on egg shells.

How does she behave about your friends and family? Does she have a problem with any of them?
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post #3 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 04:46 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

In the long run If you want to keep your wife, you'll have to get rid of your dog. On the other hand if you want to keep your dog, you'll have to get rid of your wife.

Ultimately you'll have to decide which one of them you prefer to have around.
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post #4 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:11 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

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My take on it is that the dog is her excuse to push you around emotionally. If you get rid of the dog, she will just find another reason to mistreat you and keep you walking on egg shells.
Not necessarily, if she didn't grow up with cats and dogs etc, it is highly likely she didn't realise what she was getting herself into.

My wife has little experience of living with pets at all, until we got ourselves a cat (a lovely pure breed Turkish Angora) a few years ago. We lasted 8 months before, we had to find a new home for that cat. Just as lots of people really like having pets, there are lots of people whose skin crawls when they're near them.

Absent such exposure some people don't find out they don't like pets, until they end up living with them as adults.

I will also add that despite the fact I grew up with cats, dogs and birds and have rescued domestic animals and wildlife even in recent years and still happily interact with domestic animals. Having now lived without any pets for over 20 years (excempting the cat we owned), I don't want to have any pets in any home I live in ever again.
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post #5 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:40 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

I would never give up my dogs. No way. It's not about the dogs being more important than my husband either, it's about the fact that if he asked me to give them up knowing how much I love them and how it would break my heart, then he doesn't really love me enough. It would kill any love I had for him in the long run.

You can't force him to live outside either, that's cruel and there's no point in having him.

If you really can't choose do you have family nearby who he could live with? Then you'd still get to see him. Tell your wife that - tell her that fine, you'll give him to your parents but you'll be over there every night and all weekend hanging out with him...see how she likes that hehehehe.
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post #6 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:08 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

Love me, love my dog.

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post #7 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:23 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

People have such different perspectives when it comes to animals. OP you are use to having the dog in your life, and probably barely notice the dozens of things you do everyday to cater to your dog. The licking, the hair, the constant moving presence of the dog, that's what you are accustomed to. But for someone who has not had an animal it can be over whelming, the constant movement, your wife can't have any peace and quiet in her home. The hair, yuk, the licking, double yuk, and who wants to sit at the dinner table with some dog panting at the table blowing their dog breath at you and having to look at that big ole tongue hanging out? Yuk, yuk, yuk.

I would guess she really didn't understand what living with a dog would be like, I would bet it's a bit overwhelming for her. Compromise? Honestly I don't know what would work. get rid of the dog or get rid of the wife maybe, I just don't see a middle ground because of where you live.

There may be other things going on as well, you say she brings the dog up every fight, she may obsess about the dog using it as a tool to vent her frustration at you about something else, something she doesn't want to bring up or doesn't have the right words to express her frustration.
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post #8 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:33 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

You had the dog before you had your wife. It is probably like a child to you.

It may sound extreme, but I would advise giving up the wife before giving up the dog. Tell her you are sorry, but you are taking her up on her offer to move out.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #9 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:40 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

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Love me, love my dog.
Ain't that the truth!

I have always been a dog person and grew up with pets to love. My DH grew up without so much as a gold fish.

When DH and I were dating, my Toy Poodle was a brief problem. DH didn't want the responsibility of a pet and gently suggested I "get rid" of the dog. My reply was quite simple and very honest. I explained to DH that my dog and I had been together through the births of my kids, the death of my mother, and my marriage ending. He was a good and loyal friend throughout. I told him that if it came down to him or the dog, well, I'd miss him.

The next night, he started taking my dog for walks and they bonded.

The companionship of animals is unlike any other relationship. I wouldn't want to live without the love and laughter brought into my life by my dogs. If DH would have been unwilling to live with and at least be kind to my pets, I would have considered that a major incompatibility in terms of interests and lifestyle and ended the relationship.

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.
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post #10 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:46 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

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Ain't that the truth!

I have always been a dog person and grew up with pets to love. My DH grew up without so much as a gold fish.

When DH and I were dating, my Toy Poodle was a brief problem. DH didn't want the responsibility of a pet and gently suggested I "get rid" of the dog. My reply was quite simple and very honest. I explained to DH that my dog and I had been together through the births of my kids, the death of my mother, and my marriage ending. He was a good and loyal friend throughout. I told him that if it came down to him or the dog, well, I'd miss him.

The next night, he started taking my dog for walks and they bonded.

The companionship of animals is unlike any other relationship. I wouldn't want to live without the love and laughter brought into my life by my dogs. If DH would have been unwilling to live with and at least be kind to my pets, I would have considered that a major incompatibility in terms of interests and lifestyle and ended the relationship.
Totally agree.

And I don't even have pets!


One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #11 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:48 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

It's not just this dog either. Unless something seriously changes, your wife will probably never want a pet. Are you ok with that for a lifetime?

My husband hated cats and didn't want a dog because they were too much hassle. One of the first things I did after he moved out was get two cats. I would never want to live a pet free life again.
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post #12 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:52 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

Maybe you could consider getting a bigger place?

700 Sq feet is awfully small to be tripping over even a well behaved dog.

And it's not much space for a dog to play anyway.
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post #13 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:54 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

Unless we're talking about the mutt guarding the gates of Hades, I would have grave concerns about someone unable to bond with an animal.

My wife was not a pet person. In her culture, pets are unclean. Yet we fostered DD1's monster cat, long fur and talons and all, for four months.

What are her specific concerns? Not "the dog", rather, shedding, mess, expenses, ...
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post #14 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 07:28 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

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Totally agree.

And I don't even have pets!
I'm actually surprised! You have kids and a husband that often travels for work. I figured you had at least one companion animal to keep you company.

When the kids were young and DH was away more than he was home, I got myself and the kids a large guardian breed dog. Great company when I was alone at night after the kids went to bed, cuddles anytime I wanted them, and a good guard dog in case of emergency.

I currently have an American Bulldog (he's the guardian breed if you aren't familiar), a Pit Bull, and a Basset Hound. I also have a 35 year old tortoise, a 5 year old African Grey parrot, and two 2 year old Betta fish that my daughter left when she moved out.

On New Years Eve, our 15 year old cat passed away. DS, who is also 15 and grew up with the cat, is brokenhearted. I asked DH if we should consider getting a new kitten from the local shelter, but he said he would prefer not to. Something about not needing to have the entire food chain under one roof....

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Originally Posted by lifeistooshort View Post
Maybe you could consider getting a bigger place?

700 Sq feet is awfully small to be tripping over even a well behaved dog.

And it's not much space for a dog to play anyway.
Before we bought our house, we had an 800 sq ft 2 bedroom single story rental with us, 3 young kids, a dog, and two cats. The cats were lazy and were pretty much window sill decoration. The dog spent most of his time sleeping and got his play and exercise needs met during his walks. It worked out well, but I must say I was happy when we bought a larger house. Not because the dog was underfoot, but because the kids were!

If OP has trained his pet and does the feeding, walking, and cleaning related to the dog, even the small space shouldn't be much of an issue. If the dog was a marauding beast in need of training and discipline, it would be different.

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.

Last edited by MJJEAN; 01-06-2017 at 07:33 AM.
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post #15 of 134 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 08:01 AM
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Re: Wife realizes now that she does not like living with my dog

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It's not just this dog either. Unless something seriously changes, your wife will probably never want a pet. Are you ok with that for a lifetime?

My husband hated cats and didn't want a dog because they were too much hassle. One of the first things I did after he moved out was get two cats. I would never want to live a pet free life again.
Good insurance policy against him having a change of heart and wanting to come home.
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