Taking your relationship to the next level after moving in together can mean a lot of thing, including a pet. However, before you decide to adopt a puppy, kitten or any other kind of pet there are a few questions you need to ask yourself and your boyfriend or fiancé.
If you really want to make sure that your relationship is ready for a pet, here are the answers you need to provide before making this big commitment.
Do You Both Want It?
If you’re not on the same page when it comes to wanting a pet, things can get tricky. When one partner wants freedom to travel and no fur on any clothes or furniture and the other wants a fuzzy friend, getting a pet might not be the best idea. Even if you decide to be the primary caretaker of your new pet, make sure that your significant other is up for it.
Are You Realistic About the Responsibilities?
Your relationship can only be ready for a pet once you know how much time and energy a kitten or a puppy will need. You’ll have to clean up plenty of accidents, say goodbye to shoes or clothes that you really love, because they’ll end up getting mauled or scratched. Financial responsibilities when it comes to feeding and taking your pet to the vet regularly also come into play, but the first time a pet will demand is your time.
Is Your Relationship Stable Enough for a Pet?
An animal will form emotional bonds with both of you, especially if you adopt it really young, so don’t make this step before you’re sure about the level of commitment in your relationship. Having to give up half his family and even his home can be traumatic for a pet, so make sure that you’re in a good place as a couple before adopting an animal.
Are You Willing to Split the Pet-Related Chores?
Usually, a relationship is ready for a pet when both partners agree to invest roughly the same amount of time in caring for it. If one of you skips their turn, the situation can end up causing tension and it create problems that you didn’t really need in your relationship. Have a talk about all the details before making a decision.
See also: 10 Biggest Relationship Killers
Do You Have the Same Views on Discipline?
Some people treat their pets like babies, others subject them to very high standards when it comes to learning commands and following them. Start a discussion about how you see yourselves training or interacting with a pet. This may be a clue when it comes to your future parenting styles, but don’t read too much into it.
Are You Hoping That a Pet Will Fix Your Relationship?
Having a cuddly dog or cat can certainly lift your mood, but if you think this commitment can help mend any issues in your relationship, you’re probably wrong. Being ready for a pet means having everything already be stable. Even if it keeps you both busy, it won’t solve any problems in your relationship.
Would the Pet Be Just a Trial Run for a Baby?
A common mistake that pet owners make is to consider their cat or dog a test for their parenting skills. Get a pet because you want it, not to use it as a baby proxy, especially since you’re likely to stop having the time for it when a baby arrives. Don’t get a pet just to abandon it a few years later when your priority shifts.
Have You Accepted It Won’t Be a Puppy or Kitten for Long?
Many impulse decisions based on the cuteness of kittens and puppies can end up badly. Make sure your relationship is ready for a pet, and accept that it will grow up. If you just want a puppy, but not a big slobbering dog, maybe put off getting a pet.
More: How to Discuss Having a Baby
Have You Discussed Other Future Plans?
If you’re already talking about long term plans with your partner, then you’re probably ready for a pet. But if this is the first kind of commitment you’d be making together, think twice before adopting.
Do You Have a Backup Plan?
Even if your relationship is ready for a pet, things don’t always turn out the way you imagined them. It may be sad to think about what happens to your cat or dog if your relationship fails, but it’s important to consider it. Staying on friendly terms with the ex so your pet can spend time with both is the best case scenario.