When Couples Break Up, Who Gets the Pet?

Whether
it’s divorce or simply going your separate ways after a long-term relationship, there are lots of things to sort out when that final break up happens. For couples that have shared the company of a pet in their relationship, however, there is a one big, extra consideration to take into account.

Who
gets the dog, cat or exotic iguana when things go south? Would you even let your partner see your favourite pooch once they were out the door?

It
seems there’s a difference between the hypothetical and the actual here when people answer surveys. ExoticDirect conducted a study and while nearly 80% of those still in a relationship say they would allow access, that drops dramatically to just 21% when the question is given to those who have already split up.

The
truth is that most of us don’t realise what sort of effect breaking up will have on our outlook and how we will view our favourite pet. What’s more, we tend to look at things from our point of view exclusively rather than our partners.

With
1 in 10 pets having to be rehomed after a relationship breakup, it’s worth couples paying more attention to what may happen if they split up and actually discussing it beforehand. Of course, getting a pet is often seen as a starting point for a much bigger commitment – having children.

These
two things are viewed slightly different by psychologists, however, who make the difference between a constrained commitment, where you have no choice in the arrival, and a dedicated one where you actually chose to bring a pet into the home. Indeed, having a pet in your relationship is often an indication that it is on firmer ground than you might think.

While
pet ownership is great for a couple in a pretty stable relationship, that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong for one reason or another at a later date. While about 40% of people end up sharing a pet because one person in the relationship already has one, 60% get one once they have been living together for a while.

Managing a Relationship Split When You Have a Pet

If
a couple is parting on reasonably good terms, it should also mean they take a rational decision on who looks after the pet. It’s when things are acrimonious that trouble can begin to brew.

The
pet may be seen as a chattel rather than a living thing by one partner or another. It might be possible, of course, to split your pet between two homes, especially if it is a dog. With other animals, however, it’s a lot more difficult and it makes sense for someone in the relationship to take charge and make the commitment’.

The
truth is most pets, like children, benefit from a stable environment. It’s important if you are contemplating having a dog or a cat, to have that grown-up conversation about who gets custody if the relationship fails. Even then, the reality is that opinions and emotions can change quite rapidly during a breakup and not always in a positive way.

If
you are in relationship that is currently about to break up, it’s important to think about the animal’s welfare rather than your own or your partners. Think what is best for your dog, cat or other pet before you make any decision that may have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedin