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Woman asks if she was wrong to blow up at boyfriend for not disciplining his dog.

Woman asks if she was wrong to blow up at boyfriend for not disciplining his dog.


'Had a weird conflict with boyfriend about his dog and I'm having trouble understanding why it became so contentious. Am I an over-protective dog owner?'

Hi friends, I had a weird conflict with my boyfriend of about 5 months (first big fight) and I honestly don't know how to react, if I'm in the wrong, or what to do next. I truly don't know if I'm over-reacting or if I'm being manipulated. It revolves around our pets, of all things.

The back story:

I (36f) have a small, middle aged dog and I work from home so I spend all day every day with him. My bf (34m) has a huge 1 year old dog. He works in a medical field and is never home. He basically outsources the care of this dog to a dog sitter; the dog is with the sitter much more than he's with my bf. Bf is on call, dog is with the sitter for multiple days.

Bf is working, dog is with the sitter. Bf wants to sleep well, dog is with the sitter overnight. Bf wants to do something social, dog is with the sitter. I honestly don't know why he thinks this is okay.

And when he DOES have his dog, it makes it so we can't do anything because, 'I have my dog so I can't leave him alone.' His apartment is sparse and uncomfortable so I don't want to go there to hang out (I have a nice house in a cute town).

'I've thought about saying something about how his dog makes it difficult to be in a relationship with him, but I can't imagine being the girl who says, 'it's either the dog or me.''

The incident:

Bf and I were at my house watching TV; earlier BF's dog had been a little rowdy, stealing my dog's toys and starting to rip up my dog's bed a bit. But I mean they're dogs and he's a puppy. He's not malicious, just excited.

Bf didn't stop it, but I didn't ask him to. Bf's dog pulled my dog's toy box out from under a cabinet and turned it sideways so all the toys fell out. He was playing with all the toys, which is fine. But he took my dog's favorite toy and played with it until the squeaker broke and it was ruined.

It's my dog's favorite toy, a squeaky duck, and also it was a gift from my mom. It sounds so silly but my dog would play with it and I say to him 'what the duck' and it would make me laugh and think of my mom and I just really got a kick out of it. I was really upset when I realized it was ruined. I just said, 'oh no, he broke it.

I really wish I would have taken it from him sooner.' And this tension grew and grew. My bf said that they're dog toys, it's not that big of a deal. I said I was just really sad because I loved the interaction I had with that toy.

My boyfriend said something like, 'your dog could come over and poop on the couch and if I had to throw it away I wouldn't be as upset as you are about this toy.' I said, 'maybe next time you could just bring some toys for your dog.' Bf said, 'he doesn't need toys' (as his dog was chewing on the ruined toy).

This ridiculous contention continued, and I indicated that I just would have appreciated if bf had intervened, because yes they're dog toys, but they're MY dog's toys. Bf said he'd never been to anyone's house where the dog toys weren't for all the dogs.

This all culminated in me losing my temper a bit and telling him he consistently abdicates responsibility for his dog and this is no different and he drove off. He told me, 'I can't deal with this, I'm too busy saving lives every day, I don't have time for this crap.'

I'm having trouble sorting out is whether I overreacted to a guest dog destroying my dog's favorite toy (or rather, the owner not intervening). It's a silly thing. It's just a squeaky toy. But if I were a guest at someone's house with my dog, I wouldn't let the dog play with the 'house toys,' particularly if the toys were dramatically for different sized dogs.

But also I'm wondering if that's not normal dog owner behavior and I'm being really weird about this because I do spend SO much time with my dog and we've been through (and come out on the other side of) some behavioral issues. Maybe I'm just sensitive?

Was I unreasonable for being upset? Maybe it's time for this relationship to end. However if it turns out I was behaving kind of poorly here, then I'd rather try to remediate the situation since we are really well-matched.



Neither of us want kids, just dogs.

He’s also told me how guilty he feels for how little time he spends with his dog, so that’s a trigger for him, it’s not just this unsaid thing.

In general I’m with him because we are so good together. It’s so easy, and we laugh. He makes me feel cared for, like a warm blanket, and he has always made me feel really present and visible. It always feels like he can read my mind; if I’m feeling a little down, flowers show up. If I’m stressed, he suggests a wine bar. Which is why this was so startling.

We talked a bit last night but both agreed it wasn’t productive. We’re going to talk today. I think his behavior was petulant and dismissive. However I also recognize that he can’t read my mind and so suddenly I was upset. We were both tired and hungry. I’m going to give him the opportunity to resolve this (while also taking the opportunity to assume the correct amount of blame myself).

If he can see where it went wrong and acknowledge all the bad, I can respect that. But I’ll be very mindful during our next conflict. And of course, if he doubles down, well… not worth it. Time to write my novel. Maybe I’ll create an update post when the dust settles.



He did apologize, kind of. But it was just sort of shitty, and it made it seem like he was deigning to listen to me. But okay, whatever. I mean red flag but in for a penny, in for a pound. The next month was fine. Stable.

But tonight he drank way too much, again, (I was driving so I was sober) picked a fight and stomped off again. Long story short, I texted him and told him that we needed to call it quits because I had to be with someone who was willing to have a conversation when there was contention rather than with someone who storms off.

Then, just about a month ago, the very best friend I have ever had came back into my life after 15 years. We grew apart just because of geography and because that's what happens sometimes when you're 20 years old and go different ways.

I haven't passed a day without talking to him since we found each other again. I don't feel that sense of hopelessness any longer, like, 'welp, at least this poorly-fitting shoe is better than being barefoot!'

I had no idea what I was missing was this unconditional friendship and was therefore trying to force a relationship into that mold... no wonder it imploded. We were obviously not a fit for a number of reasons, but I didn't help matters by stringing him along because I selfishly needed a playmate.

The TL;DR is that I ended the relationship, but it's okay and I'm in a much better spot thanks to a friendship I didn't know that I still needed.

Here's the original post. This post has been edited for length.

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