Is It Really A Breakup? Shared Pets

This mostly comes up if you live together, though some people share pets without living together. Common sense dictates that, with rare exception, if the pet belonged to one of you coming into the relationship, it should leave the relationship with that person, even if it now feels as if the pet belongs to both of you. With a mutually acquired pet, if he has broken up with you, etiquette dictates that the choice is yours. So if you feel that having the pet around is going to make you feel better, keep it and say that in a month you will be willing to discuss a more joint arrangement.

Don’t leave the door open for a lot of contact around the pet anytime soon and don’t use the pet as an excuse for contact. You need some time to start feeling better before you are in touch and certainly before you make any kind of permanent decisions about the pet. Of course, if you always hated the dog because it slobbered, or the cat because it shed, or the lizard just because, make him take it no matter how inconvenient it is for him.

You may worry that the pet will miss your ex. Don’t. Remember that you are a little sensitive and emotional right now. Your pet will be getting a lot of love from you and will be happy giving you a lot of love. Keep in mind that your pet is not a person and, while sensitive, will make the best of the situation. Especially if you are the child of divorced parents, know clearly that your pet is not going through what you went through back then.

After her boyfriend left, my friend Hannah called me, crying, about how their dog, Rocco, was upset. Maybe Rocco was a little upset. Hannah sure was. Give yourself and your friends a break and try not to project too much of your own sadness onto the pet.

I have never ever encountered a pet that didn’t weather a breakup just fine. In hindsight, Rocco never had it better because Hannah started letting Rocco sleep on the bed and was home from work for a week snuggling with him.

©2003 Delphine Hirsh

Excerpt from The Girls’ Guide to Surviving A Breakup a book packed full of information to keep you going when he gets going. Order your copy today! Delphine Hirsh is a veteran of many breakups and is also a consultant to heartbroken friends nationwide. A thirty-two-year-old native New Yorker and a graduate of Princeton University, she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband.