, Salem, MA


November 16, 2012

Girlfriend gets a dog, boyfriend gets upset

Q: My “bachelor-too-long” boyfriend says that he cannot propose to me now because I got a dog about a month ago. We have been dating seriously for more than eight months and get along really well (except for this). The dog is a rambunctious puppy. Boyfriend “Joe” thinks “Buster” is too noisy. Joe says that he likes to relax after work in the peace and quiet, but he can’t do that now at my house. He’s also upset that I didn’t “clear” it with him first. But, since there had been nothing official, I decided to get a dog. We don’t live together, and it is my house. My ex-husband and I divorced last year. He never wanted a dog in the house. After waiting a year, I decided to get a dog.

Frankly, I think Joe’s just using this as an excuse not to get married. He says he won’t ask me to get rid of Buster, but he has no desire to share a household with him. What do you think?

A: You sound clever and headstrong. So please take this page from the “Ask Dog Lady” playbook: Never make the demand — “Love me, love my dog!” Never expect another person to love your dog as much as you. It’s a romantic belly buster.

Men are sensitive creatures. Egos and feelings bruise easily. Joe was obviously hurt when you went out and got your dog without consulting him. No wonder he’s a mite testy and ill-disposed toward Buster. Tell him you understand why he must be miffed at the mutt and then shut up. Let Joe choose to continue the conversation.

If your man loves you and wants to be with you, no dog is going to stop him. A friend wiser than Dog Lady has a mantra: “When a man wants to be with you, he will climb every mountain and ford every stream.” Buster is part of your life. If Joe wants to be part of it, too, he will not hide behind excuses. If he’s the man for you, he will eventually come around to embracing the package deal.

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