Dear Mr. Knightley,
My fiancee is a dog person. I am not. Probably because I’m slightly allergic to them and probably because I was bit by one when I was a kid. So she has this german shepherd named Tag. He’s friendly and lovable, at least thats what everyone tells me. Because you see, Tag hates me. I mean, completely hates me. I don’t know if he’s just protective of her or whatever but he barks at me constantly and growls at me and won’t let me come near him. She says he just has to get use to me, but we’ve been dating for over two years and he still acts the same way. Now I’m fine with us keeping the dog, as long as it stays outside and everything. But she won’t even hear a word of it, because she treats it like its a person. I mean, she lets him sit on the couches and sleep in her bed. Which will definitely be a problem very very soon. I think it just has to go. She says that Tag is like her baby and she can’t just give him up. And then she gets all angry at me saying that I am trying to make her choose between us. What am I supposed to do? I mean, I love her. I really do. And I am willing to work and try to make it work. But the dog is the problem and I feel like she’s not even willing to think about the consequences for me. Is there anyway of fixing this or should I just suck it up and try to get by?
– Inthe Doghouse
Your situation is definitely going to require a lot of finesse on your part. You obviously love this woman and want to make her happy, even if the situation is somewhat uncomfortable for you. And she probably wants to be able to keep Tag and you at the same time. The first step, would be communicating. Its essential that you are clear that you are not trying to keep her from Tag. And that you are willing to make some sacrifices. Setting her at ease will then open up the channels for finding compromise. It does not have to be an either-or situation. There are in fact several different options.
If you allergy is not too severe, you may be able to treat it with some simple allergen medication. This takes care of at least part of the problem. You may also attempt to reach a compromise with your fiancee in that, maybe Tag can be allowed in the house, but not on the couches or beds. Or something to that extent.
As long as she knows you are making the effort to accommodate her and Tag, she will most likely also be willing to accommodate your concerns as well. Instead of viewing this as a burden or obstacle, see this as a perfect opportunity for the two of you to practice communication, problem solving, and compromise for your coming life together. With the right mind set this can become a positive bonding experience.