Dear Jeanne,

Can we talk animals in the bed?

Seriously, my boyfriend cannot sleep without his dog in the bed with us. It has been that way since we first started getting serious (sleeping together) and it’s something that bothers me and I cannot tolerate any longer.

After a few months of it bothering me, I finally spoke with him about it last week. He doesn’t understand why it bothers me and thinks I am being childish.

I like his dog, I just don’t want him to be in bed with me when I sleep overnight there.

This might be a deal-breaker, as it bothers me that much. Any suggestions?

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Dear Dog-Liker-But-Not-Lover,

I totally get it, and I know many others who feel as you do. That being said, there are plenty of others who are on the “pet-in-the-bed” side of things and feel as your boyfriend does.

Two camps of thinking on this and this can come up early in an otherwise great relationship. It is an obstacle to be navigated.

A question for you is this: are you looking for a life partner or just a fun time for now?

If it’s just the fun time, then a situation like this becomes a deal-breaker at some point, when it ceases to feel like fun. You might be at that point of this dating-yet-intimate relationship.

If you are pursuing a boyfriend relationship that is a step into a life-partner relationship, then something like this can certainly be a deal-breaker for you both. As much as chemistry drives most relationships in the early stages, compatibility takes a bigger role in a life-partner existence.

You say that you finally spoke about it last week (after months). This would be new information for him and he might be processing it. That said, he might not be interested in changing his living pattern and doesn’t intend for his dog not to be in his bed at night.

I do believe that clarifying what level of relationship you are pursuing is important for you here.

If it’s just for fun with no long-term plans for riding off into the sunset together, then this might be the “not fun” part that introduces the end of this dating sequence.

If you are seeking a life partner, then compatibility is a huge component in that equation. If he is inflexible on this, then that is important to know. If the relationship is too soon to really know if he is inflexible, then you have the choice to stay and see or release him to his better fit of a partner and you to yours.

I encourage you to know this for yourself and then to discuss it with him (your values, likes, dislikes, etc.). I want to applaud you for giving a voice to this thing that bothers you, which allows him to know and to choose his response.

Harboring irritations will not lead to a happy, mutually fulfilling relationship. Knowing what is important to you (and he to him) ultimately will rule your relationship and should be discussed. From there, you will know.

As always, should you need any clarification on this, do reach out to me.

Much love,