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June 2, 2013
Dog and Cat

Dog and Cat

Keeping to the theme of yesterday’s post, I decided to put together a different aspect of how humans and their domesticated buddies from the animal kingdom interact.

Are your lovable four-legged creatures interfering in your love life? If you answered “yes” or “possibly,” join the growing number of couples who have a difficult time keeping their pets out of their bedrooms, both literally as well as figuratively.

Dr. Joel Gavriele-Gold, a psychologist and author of “When Pets Come Between Partners: How to Keep Love — and Romance — in the Human/Animal Kingdom of Your Home” says one of the hugest issues among couples who have pets, revolves around their pets sleeping in their bed.

Yet more than 33 per cent of pet owners admit to allowing their pets to sleep in bed with them.

In reality, the issue is most likely not really about the pet at all. Sometimes, people say they feel that they compete with the pet for attention, but seriously, how could someone feel that way, if their relationship with their mate was strong and healthy? There must be other things going on and other things missing for there to be feelings of jealousy toward a pet.

If the couple is expressing sincere, positive feelings toward each other, often enough, there would be no jealousy. Both people would feel secure in their relationship with each other, and feelings toward their furry friends would be kept more in proportion – not given the power to cause feelings of jealousy or resentment.

Sometimes, couples argue about caring for their pets. In these cases, the issues of control is most likely masqueraded beneath the outward issue of control. One person wants more cooperation and involvement around the house from their significant other, and instead of being direct with their mate about their needs and expectations, they insert their animals in to replace their own needs and complain about their partner’s lack of responsibility for their pet.

Dog in Bed

Dog in Bed

Couples sometime fight about how much to feed their pets. For example, one person may believe the animal should have a more regular feeding routine with a consistent time and measured amount of food, while the other person is more flexible and feels a varied feeding schedule is best and they don’t overly concern themselves with overfeeding.

So, the way people deal with each other about the care of their pets, may reflect some of the differences in their life. Caring for pets may present a view of the types of compromises and conflict resolution skills needed for the couple to work together on.

It is helpful to the relationship to look beyond the pet-conflict to the deeper issues. This can be done by asking yourselves and each other what it would be like for you both, if the animal wasn’t around. Would you be direct and forthcoming enough with your partner to communicate your need for more of their attention and time? Would you be honest enough to ask for their cooperation if you felt you weren’t getting it when you needed it?

Cat Under Dog's Ear

Cat Under Dog’s Ear

By keeping the channels of healthy communication open and dealing with the real issues in your relationship as they arise, you can make sure your home is a happier place for you and your four-legged companions too.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

  1. Sue permalink

    Good job, Judy!!!!!!

    • Hey you!

      I’m working on another site too…hopefully will have it all up and running in a week or two. I’m glad you liked it! I try and blog every day so keep posted.

      Love ya,


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