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Loving an animal over your SO?

CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
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So let me start off by saying, I'm not a pet owner, so it's really hard for me to grasp this comment but one of my let's say "friends" said to me that when she married her husband at the time, she made it very clear that her dog came before him.  He knew from the get-go that she loves her dog more.

I asked around and another friend said the same thing, her dog comes first.  The best response was "it's a different kind of love"...which I get more than putting an animal over a person. I thought that was a very odd comment, but like I said before, I'm not a pet owner, so I don't get it.  But CAN you love an animal more than your SO?


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Re: Loving an animal over your SO?

  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
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    DH and I have 2 dogs that we basically consider to be our kids. We freakin LOVE our dogs. With that being said - my dogs would never come before DH. I find that to be a really odd thing to say.

    vikinganna87
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    yeah, it wasn't a certain scenario she gave, but she admitted to us that her dog went before her husband. I think it's just in general.  Like, if she was making a list of things she loved.

  • So let me start off by saying, I'm not a pet owner, so it's really hard for me to grasp this comment but one of my let's say "friends" said to me that when she married her husband at the time, she made it very clear that her dog came before him.  He knew from the get-go that she loves her dog more.

    I asked around and another friend said the same thing, her dog comes first.  The best response was "it's a different kind of love"...which I get more than putting an animal over a person. I thought that was a very odd comment, but like I said before, I'm not a pet owner, so I don't get it.  But CAN you love an animal more than your SO?

    Well, that's kind of two different things - loving an animal over a person vs. over your SO. I love my pets (we have two cats, plus whatever foster cat we have at any given time, plus two family dogs that live with my mom) way more than most people. And, if I was single, I wouldn't date someone who was allergic to my cats, so in that circumstance, they'd come first. 

    But, I mean, yes, FI is the person/thing I love most in the world, so technically, I love him more than our pets. But I can't imagine those things ever butting heads - like when would a pet need to come first? Are these people like, I'm not feeding my husband until the dog gets fed? You can't go to the bathroom until we walk Fluffy?

    I guess if, like @lyndausvi said, there was a bed sharing problem (there is, in that the cats take up most of my side of the bed) and FI felt very strongly, I'd probably do it. Maybe.
    vikinganna87lyndausviSP29
  • yeah, it wasn't a certain scenario she gave, but she admitted to us that her dog went before her husband. I think it's just in general.  Like, if she was making a list of things she loved.
    I would love to hear how this came up. Like, please please tell me more.
  • I joke that on H's priorty list the dog comes before me. I think I'm mostly kidding but there is definitely some truth to it.
    vikinganna87Maggie0829charlotte989875
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    right, he's not asking her to give it up or anything.  Not that I know of.

    When they bought their house together, she named it "her name-dog's name-his name".  Then laughed and said "Oh he knows. He knows my dog goes before him". She wasn't joking though. 
    I also think it's weird to name your house.  

    SP29
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    She just sounds odd.






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  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
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    Can you? Sure. But I don't think it's healthy.

    I love my cats more than some of my friends and family members, but H comes first. I'm thinking in terms of H and my cats were hanging from a bridge by an evil villain and I can only save one from certain death. 

    But then, I also think it's weird when people put their kids ahead of their spouses.


    sparklepants41spockforprezSP29Gustafson28
  • Can you? Sure. But I don't think it's healthy.

    I love my cats more than some of my friends and family members, but H comes first. I'm thinking in terms of H and my cats were hanging from a bridge by an evil villain and I can only save one from certain death. 

    But then, I also think it's weird when people put their kids ahead of their spouses.
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  • right, he's not asking her to give it up or anything.  Not that I know of.

    When they bought their house together, she named it "her name-dog's name-his name".  Then laughed and said "Oh he knows. He knows my dog goes before him". She wasn't joking though. 
    I also think it's weird to name your house.  
    That's what I was thinking as I read this. 
  • vikinganna87vikinganna87 Live Free or Die member
    Fifth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
    H jokes that I love the dog more than him, but there's nothing serious about it.  I don't see love as a zero-sum game - I have room in my heart for the people dear to me and I don't like to compare my love for one person or dog to another person or dog.

    Love for my dog is simple because he doesn't expect more than food, exercise and affection from me.  When I'm on a work trip I ache for my dog in a different way than I ache for my husband -- perhaps because H is self-sufficient whereas the dog needs us - and I reckon it'll be a similar feeling once we have kids. When I'm away I also have irrational worries about the dog, depending on who's taking care of him, that I don't have as often about my husband.

    Beyond situations like the one @lyndausvi  outlined, I can't imagine a scenario where I have to choose either my dog or my husband.  But I guess if it happened, as much pain as it'd bring me, in a life or death situation I'd choose my husband because the dog is an animal and a human life is more valuable to me.  I think.  This is an interesting question....

    In your friend's situation I'm guessing she's had the dog longer than she's known her husband and therefore feels a strong attachment to it, especially if it's helped her through rough times.  Your friend saying her dog comes before her husband maybe isn't literal, but maybe you could ask her to explain further when you see her next time.
    hellohkb
  • I guess I can understand from the POV that an animal/child NEEDS you. They won't survive (well) without someone to look after them. Your spouse will feel neglected, sad, etc, but would be able to feed themselves, bathe, etc. So I guess it kind of makes sense like that.

    I love animals, but idk if I would put them before my spouse.

    image
    vikinganna87
  • Two and a half years ago, FI bought me a puppy for my birthday. She was a ton of energy and prone to bizarre accidents-- she jumped through a window (as in, smashed through the glass) in FI's house, she gnawed linoleum off the floor of my apartment, she opened the fridge and got into a container of chocolate fudge frosting, and she once ran away in a snowstorm during a potty break, where she went to the liquor store down the road. I have owned dogs before, and knew they were capable of a lot of mischief, but she takes the prize. 

    With all her insane adventures, though, she was the smartest and most joyful animal I have ever owned, and both FI and I loved her insanely. Christmas 2014 I brought her to my parents' house, where she ended up jumping their fence and was hit by a car. The lady who hit her found her dogtag and called me, so I was able to be with her and rushed her to the vet, but she died on the table there in my arms. I was absolutely devastated. I still am, and still cry about her. 

    FI is a pretty stoic guy and has only cried once in the 6 years I've been with him, and that was when I called him and told him our dog had died. It was and still is pretty intense heartbreak. (Thankfully, we did get a new puppy. Not a replacement by any means, because he is very different from our old dog. But it's helped make the hole in our hearts hurt less by loving her "little brother" as we like to call him.)

    Even loving my dog so much, though, it crossed my mind multiple times -- what if I'd received a call that FI had died on the road instead? I miss my dog so much, but I think if I lost FI, I would be an utter wreck -- like, quitting job, moving somewhere else to try to put my life back together because I could not stay in the same place after such a tragedy wreck. 
                        


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  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited January 2016
    She keeps saying "my dog" it seems, unless you are paraphrasing. Is this a pet she had prior to meeting and marrying her husband? I could kind of see that. If I'm going to start dating someone, they need to love my animals and if it came down to them or significant other, then definitely in those early stages of the relationship my animals trump them and I will choose them. I'm not saying that in later stages of the relationship the human then trumps the animal, but rather there would be no later stage of the relationship if they failed to understand the importance of my animals. It's possible that dog had been a longer, more constant relationship having seen a few boyfriends come and go before marrying.

    I think to some extent, it's also the lengths one would go to. I think in a relationship, I view my partner and self as equals. Do I dote on him? For sure, sometimes, because doing things for him makes me happy. But if I'm tired, dude is perfectly capable of getting his own breakfast or brushing snow of his car or what have you. We have a partnership and sometimes I take care of a certain thing and sometimes he does. We both have interests and hobbies separate from the other. Sometimes we have disagreements and get upset with each other.

    A dog (or other pet) is dependent on me. And knowing that you are basically that animal's entire existence and everything you do for that animal is met with as close to unconditional love as you can get forges a very strong bond. It's certainly different than love between SO's, but I could see how it could be as strong (especially if it predates the SO) and it could seem like it's more based on the extent of what you are doing to help the dependent creature. It likely isn't MORE, but equally strong in a different way.
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  • right, he's not asking her to give it up or anything.  Not that I know of.

    When they bought their house together, she named it "her name-dog's name-his name".  Then laughed and said "Oh he knows. He knows my dog goes before him". She wasn't joking though. 
    I also think it's weird to name your house.  
    I don't make enough money to have a house it would be appropriate to name.
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    SP29
  • There is no question my H and I love each other and put each other first, way ahead of our cat and our dog.  But it is funny that, if either of us is out while the other is at home, the one who is just coming home will greet and fawn over the pets first.  Then say hello to him/me.  That is because our pets are serious attention-mongers who both run up to the door all happy and excited.
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  • Yeah I also would be very weirded out if a friend said that.

    I guess the first place my mind goes is kind of like PP who said the dangling from a bridge thing- trying to quantify love is such a hard (and semi-ridiculous) endeavor that the way it makes sense for me to contemplate it is, if I had a split-second to save one or the other, who would I save? And I can not imagine even contemplating saving my beloved cat over my H.

    A more realistic way to put it might be, if my H developed a severe allergy to my pet (think unrealistic to treat with allergy meds etc.), would I end my relationship with him before rehoming my pet? For me, not in a million years.

    I wonder what happens when people who put their pets above everything have kids. Like, it's one thing if your SO knowingly comes into a relationship where he/she comes second to a dog... but can it possibly be healthy to bring a child into that dynamic? Are you going to deprive your child of one of their parents if that parent comes into conflict with your pet somehow (assume reasonable circumstances apply)? What if your child is born with an allergy- it's one thing to ask your SO to try allergy meds/shots/whatever to cope with the allergy but are you going to put your infant through that? Confine your pet to living the rest of its life in one room your kid can never go in? 

    OP, does your friend want kids ever?
    short+sassyvikinganna87
  • I joke with H that the cat has been in my life longer than him so she wins.

    Clearly it's just a joke and when we moved in together she no longer slept on the bed (I'm pretty sure she still holds a grudge about that) but I can't believe in any meaningful way someone would really say they love their pet more than they love their spouse.
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
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    I love our dog, but I'd put all humans in front of him. If future potential kids were allergic, I would find a loving home for our dog. It would be tough, but I'm not going to make a person suffer bc of a pet. If the dog attacked a kid, he'd be gone. I adore our dog, but people trump pets for me.
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    emmaaashort+sassyvikinganna87
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    My H is allergic to cats.  I had 2 before we met.  He knew that love me, love my cats.  When we moved in together, we controlled where they were allowed to minimize his reaction, but he would still pet and hold them from time to time and forget to wash his hands.

    Recently one of my girls passed away, she was his buddy and he was with her when she got sick and when she passed.  The day she got sick he took her to the vet, when I was able to get home, he looked like he had gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson his eyes were so puffed and swollen.  He loved them as much s I did despite his allergies.  

    I agree with the PP that said in the early stages of the relationship, if it were an issue, he wasn't the right guy.  Well, here we are about to celebrate 15 years together and 3.5 years of marriage.

     

    charlotte989875vikinganna87
  • I think it's weird to say that someone's pet comes before their SO because it's definitely different kinds of love, at least to me. I'm a HUGE animal lover, but I love my FI in the way that you love a partner, and I love our dog in a way that I would theoretically love a child (not to be mistaken for actually wanting a child, which is the conclusion that some people love to jump to). I really, really love my dog. Like, I miss him when he's at the groomer for 3 hours. If we had a child (which would be an accident), I'm pretty sure I would love my dog more than the kid. But then, I don't really want kids so.. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Some animals are more lovable than humans.   :)  I once knew a therapy dog whose passing was heartbreaking.  And once when my brother and I were kids, we were offered a puppy who was just soooooooooooo adorable that it broke our hearts that we weren't able to take him because our mom is highly allergic to dogs.

    But it does strike me as weird that someone would say this about their pet and their SO and mean it 24/7, 100% of the time and in all situations.

    If she means "I'm not getting rid of my dog, so SO will have to learn to accept it," that's one thing, but if she means "I will always feed, groom, walk, and otherwise take care of my dog before I do anything with you, and I will never go on vacation, eat out, or do anything with you where my dog can't come along, and your needs will always have to wait until my dog has been taken care of," then there's something big-time wrong.
  • edited January 2016



    right, he's not asking her to give it up or anything.  Not that I know of.

    When they bought their house together, she named it "her name-dog's name-his name".  Then laughed and said "Oh he knows. He knows my dog goes before him". She wasn't joking though. 
    I also think it's weird to name your house.  

    I don't make enough money to have a house it would be appropriate to name.


    --------

    Right? I guess I could call mine the money pit or something accurate like that.

    Eta: Boxes!
                 
    vikinganna87charlotte989875

  • In that case, the woman apparently has no actual issue with the dogs other than she just doesn't like them, so I agree with the advice given- they are just incompatible and I don't know how they got this far without realizing it. 

    I think maybe part of the "I choose my pets over my SO" sentiment is actually saying "I couldn't love someone who would be willing to see me break my heart over voluntarily giving up my pet rather than just learning to live with said pet." I guess that's the only way to interpret it that makes some sense to me.

    vikinganna87SP29arrippa
  • edited January 2016
    I agree that I think that was an odd comment to make. I love my dog and he is so much more than a pet, but I'd say I love my DH much more than my dog.

    That said, my dog's needs frequently trump my DH's wants, and he knows that. My dog needs to be fed four times per day (he pukes and gets sick if he doesn't get fed frequently), and that might mean we need to cut our outing short so we can go home to feed him on time, or it might mean that we need to shell out the dough to take him to doggy daycare so he can be fed on time. My dog is also epileptic, so if he has a seizure (they are currently pretty rare, thank goodness) our plans for the day might be cancelled so I can make sure that he is comforted and well rested. If my dog needed life-saving surgery and the only spare money we have would come from our vacation budget, well then the vacation would be cancelled. It's called responsible pet ownership, actually, and if you aren't willing to meet your dogs needs you shouldn't have a dog. If your SO is constantly battling with you over meeting your dog's needs vs his wants, then he probably doesn't understand what having a pet entails and might not be the right partner for a pet-crazy person. My DH never battles me on Dog's feeding times or any of this stuff. Because Dog is a living being who has needs that must be met and as a responsible person, he knows that (and also, he really loves the dog, too, even though he's more "mine").

    I don't, however, pick my dog over every little thing. DH doesn't want Dog on the furniture, so he doesn't go on the furniture. DH doesn't want to spend the $$ on grooming him, so I groom him myself. Sometimes Dog has to be kenneled so we can go out and have fun, even though I hate doing it. Sometimes he get's boarded or has to stay with my parents, which dog admittedly loves, but I hate. KWIM?
    Lulawife
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