So this situation involves me (28F) and BF (27M). We have been together for about two years and some change. We live together and split all the main bills but the rest of our paychecks we keep separate and spend how we wish.
Typically this works fine. But despite him earning the same, sometimes more, than me he is not great at budgeting (he gets takeout almost every day, buys coffee out every single day, sends his god awful abusive mom money whenever she asks, etc) and I've had to help him out with money multiple times.
But the real issue started when he brought up wanting to buy a pug puppy. Now, I work in veterinary medicine (lead VT at my clinic) and frequently see first-hand the suffering these dogs go through due to bad breeding and even just their breed standard anatomy. Plus, they are prone to so many chronic expensive health issues.
Over the years, I've found that, no matter what the other person says, if you work in my field and they get a pet, a lot of the harder care aspects (like medical) will fall on you. Honestly, I find buying a pug at all to be unethical and something I am not okay with. I certainly wouldn't be willing to bring them into my clinic and shoulder the responsibility, which I know would happen.
I love my BF, but this is a guy who thought neutering a dog involved removing their penis and even says he knows, "nothing about animals until I met you." Who is going to have to manage the situation when this dog has chronic allergic dermatitis/otitis or IVDD or one of the other million issues they typically end up having? Me. I already know it.
I explained all this to him and he got quite upset with me for, "completely shutting down what he wants." I told him a small-med dog isn't out of the question, just NOT a pug or other brachycephalic dog and not a puppy. They are far too much of a time and effort commitment than either of us can provide and wouldn't be good for anyone.
I don't like to admit that I pulled the "this is literally my career field and I know what Im talking about" when he kept repeating "well you don't KNOW that," because yeah, I kinda do.
I am also not proud of this, but I told him if he did get the pug puppy I would never help him out again with money and I would give him zero help with the puppy, including bringing them into my clinic as an employee-affiliated pet for at-cost care (cheaper but by no means free) or medications.
He was pretty shocked when I said this and left our apartment to go cool-off. I guess he told our mutual friend because they told me via text I was being a b*tch about the whole thing and "must hate animals." All my coworkers agree with me, but I know they are obviously biased.
Also, this mutual friend was his best friend before we started dating and they became my friend also, or at least I thought they were. While what they said is sh*tty and not okay, I have a hard time believing my bf actually called me that to him. Even when we argue (not often, but it happens) he has never used any language like that or anything even remotely disrespectful.
I would not tolerate that. He is immature at times, but never like that. Another thing to mention, my clinic is actually PART of a shelter. I talked at length with him about how we could foster one of the dogs from work who was compatible with us and our lifestyle (size, energy, age, cat friendly, etc) before adopting and he was not happy with this.
He also was not interested in mixes with pug who didn't have the extremely short face due to "not looking like a pug anymore." That's when I got a little more forceful with my ultimatum. I said that, if we got a dog TOGETHER, then I would be happy to take on the lion's share of things like medical care because this is a pet we got together and just makes sense.
I got my cat before dating him, so this is MY cat, and have never asked him to shoulder any aspect of her care other than feeding her if I was going to be home late from work or something similar. We have never had an issue like this before so that's one reason I'm a bit... lost on if I was really in the wrong or not.
NTA. If he won’t consider your professional opinion (backed up by even casual research), then perhaps drawing this boundary will make him realize this is not a capricious decision on your part.
If he won’t consider your professional opinion, then he doesn’t respect you and what you do for a living. AND he is playing the card of I want what I want despite what I want being a really bad decision so you need to get on board and make it work for me and support me. Foot stomp. Yeaaa. You found yourself a reasonable and thoughtful partner.
I’m just flabbergasted that OP told him this breed of dog tends to suffer and become ill, and he’s still insisting on getting one because he thinks they’re cute. I’d be questioning the hell out of my relationship with someone who insists it’s okay to contribute to the suffering of a living creature just because he wants to.
NTA - First of all, I 100% agree with everything you wrote about pugs. Second, if he cannot afford his regular expenses, then it is completely irresponsible for him to get ANY dog. Setting the boundary that you will not subsidize his poor financial choices is something you SHOULD be proud of. Your BF is acting like a spoiled child. And anyone that calls you a bitch is not a "mutual friend."
NTA. those poor dogs can barely breathe. tell him to just do a little research, and he'll see you're right. maybe show him some puppies on a shelter website, so he can find one of a different breed to adopt.
So I didn't dump him (yet) after we had a looong talk.Should we still breakup? If I don't see a lasting change from him, yes. But we aren't there yet and him admitting he f*cked up is a big part of that. And no, a pug puppy is not happening.
Turns out, the dog he had as a child (D) was a pug, and he was devastated when D died. He never really liked talking about D, and I never pried. He cried a lot once he started talking about D. He thought D was always very healthy.
So, when I was going on about the health issues with pugs, he assumed that it was overblown and I was just being overly cautious, since D was healthy and he wanted a dog that looked like him. This was all brought on after his mom had found his old collar.
I got a gut feeling, so I kept trying to kindly ask questions about D. How often they took him to the vet, if he had any photos, etc. Turns out, he couldn't remember a single time this dog went to a vet (if a vet never diagnoses an issue it doesn't exist, right?)
Once he found some old photos, I pointed out the dog CLEARLY had ocular issues (likely untreated KCS with ulceration) and eventually went blind, sat in a way that indicated hip issues, even remembered a time that the dog COLLAPSED after playing in the yard but he got up again a while later so his mom said he was fine.
Once I spelled all this out to him, he looked like someone had slapped him across the face and just said he was so sorry, he was just like all those awful owners I tell him about, etc.
He was a kid! He shouldn't have been expected to manage that dog's veterinary care. But, now that he's an adult, he needs to look at the situation logically and I was extremely hurt he gave zero sh*ts about my professional opinion. I get that enough from owners at work, don't need it from my BF.
He apologized and said he doesn't think he is ready for a dog after all and when the time comes, he's happy to consider the dogs from the shelter I work at.
So, the issue with his friend. I did something I had NEVER done before. I asked to see his phone, specifically their messages. His friend got a very one sided version of events (thinking I unfairly vetoed him) but never used any derogatory language. I showed him what this friend sent me and he was pretty taken aback. He told me he would deal with it. If he doesn't, this relationship cannot continue.
And money... that was hard. I tried to be gentle but it feeds into a deeper issue with his mom (not a new issue.) I told him enough is enough and I can't keep supplementing his income because he gives so much to her. If something happened and he suddenly had a big medical bill? Car randomly breaks down? Obviously, I would help him. But, money for his psycho mom? No. Done. Her or me.
He chose me. He has said that he is going no or low-contact with her, and will give her absolutely no money, even if she does her manipulative bs. We'll see if he holds to that. If he doesn't, he knows I'm done.
I am overjoyed to hear that such an awful imapsse led to a potentially truly productive breakthrough. Whatever happens in the future, at least it will happen from a place more grounded in real communication and, as heartbreaking as I imagine it was, I think it is truly important that he has come to understand some hard truth about his childhood dog and how terribly neglectful his adults were.
I can only assume that the neglect was not limited to the family pets. This set of realizations, though, coupled with the current need to change his relationship with his mother is A LOT to take in. Would he consider a few sessions with a therapist to help him process this? I wish you both all the luck in the world and, separately or together, I hope you both thrive.
"I can only assume the neglect was not limited to the family pets." Unfortunately you are correct. he was raised by just his mom and she was... not great. but that's his story to tell, not mine. but it resulted in him feeling like he has to be responsible for her now, like he was back then.
I was also raised by an abusive/neglectful mother and parentified as a child but him and I have resulted as opposite in many ways relating to that. I have been low contact (couple times a year, maybe) with my mom for a long time now. I understand the struggle though so wasnt quite as willing to immediately toss the whole relationship like many (well intentioned) commenters wanted me to over it.
He actually was in therapy previously and we talked about him going back and he is pretty on board with it. he only stopped due to money. I think it's a pretty worthwhile expense though and he agrees so we will do what we have to for it to happen.
Poor D. The moment I read "...thought D was always very healthy" I knew that disaster was coming.
Yeah.... with the background I knew about how he grew up I had a feeling of what the situation was. But again, he was a literal child. He shouldnt have had any responsibility around the dog's medical care or "known" about their issues or what should have been done.
Good luck with him going N/LC with his mom. I mean this sincerely. Growing up in that dynamic is a process to break out of, and I hope he does.