Moving in with your partner is a huge step in your relationship. You learn a lot about each other in a very short time period. But what about moving in with your partner’s pets?
Throw one or more pets into the equation and the living dynamic is suddenly a lot more complicated. Especially if you’re not a “pet person.”
Tips for Surviving Moving In with Your Partners’ Pets
While we can’t promise it’s easy, we can give you some tips that will make moving in with your partner’s pets a lot easier.
Talk About It Before Moving In
Moving in with a partner is a huge commitment for both parties. There are plenty of things you must discuss before you ever start packing your stuff. Pets are one of these topics, especially if you’re not used to living with animals.
Some of the key things you need to ask are:
- How much work is involved?
- How are the pets likely to react to someone else moving in?
- How much time do they spend with their pets?
- What compromises are they willing to make on your behalf?
It depends on what type of pet they have, but you will potentially have to make some huge lifestyle changes that you otherwise wouldn’t if it were just you and your partner.
So, it’s better to know as much as possible ahead of the move. Also discuss some of the worst-case scenarios, just in case it turns out to be a nightmare for everyone.
Spend Some Time Building Trust with Their Pets
Most pets form strong bonds with their owners, and they see new people entering their ‘‘pack’’ as a threat at first. It’s takes some patience and a little effort if you want them to warm up to you.
Spending quality time with their pets – and bribing them with treats and new toys – is the best way to get on their good side. Ideally, you do some of this bonding before you move in to lessen the impact when it happens. Accepting the fact that you’re never going to reach an equal status with your partner in their pet’s eyes is best. A close second can be just fine.
Make Sure Your Role Is Very Clear
As part of the discussions before moving in, you need to define your role in regards to your partner’s pets. It’s natural to assume that you divide a lot of the household chores when you two live together. If this means walking their dog or cleaning out the cat litter tray, is that something you want to help with?
Pets are not easy. They require lots of care. If you really don’t like pets, make it clear you don’t want to look after them. It’s not an unreasonable request. You might have to shoulder a few other chores to make up for it, but this is part of the give and take of living together.
Be Patient and Understanding
You might end up sharing your home with a pet that never warms up to you, even after putting in loads of effort. We hope not, and it’s unlikely, but if this happens your best course of action is to be patient and understanding.
If your partner’s pet doesn’t like you, it’s almost certainly because they feel threatened. They don’t like the change to their routine and sharing their owner with you.
Animals don’t hold personal grudges or blame people. They simply react on their instincts and to the environment around them. If you can understand this and not hold it against them, even if they are causing a rift between you and your partner, you’ll find it a lot easier to live with your new animal roommate. Make it even easier by learning more about both pets and relationships.