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I'm a 45 year old man currently dating a 44 year old woman for about a year and a half. I've never been married, she has, once, and was divorced about 6 years ago. We have had a great relationship: caring, trusting, full of mutual respect and love. She's a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for five years: This has never been an issue--I applaud her for turning her life around by quitting drinking and I'm always supportive of her in her efforts.

Unfortunately, we have had one issue that has caused some 'friction': She has a dog who has some aggression issues and he and I haven't always gotten along. I've tried to deal with him and there are good days and bad days and he really needs some training and discipline, both of which my girlfriend has failed to provide. Also, I must add, I never grew up with animals and I'm not much of a pet person, although I do not dislike animals. My girlfriend and I have come to understand that this is as good as it is going to get as far as how I feel about her dog and how her dog feels about me.

Well, we both feel like we are at a point in this relationship where we are thinking about the future: we currently do not live together--she has a house and I'm in an apartment about 30 minutes away. I'm the one who stays over her house most of the time because of the dog situation: my girlfriend can't stay over my place at the drop of a hat--she needs to make arrangemenst for someone to watch the dog and when that happens, it's her parents who take the dog in. There are times, honestly, when I wish she didn't have this dog and I feel like he is a roadblock for us to move forward in our relationship. And it's sometimes stressful for both of us: She worries how I'm going to react when I come over her house and if I'm going to be resentful about the dog. Yes, sometimes I am, but I'm at the point now that I know he's here to stay. And yes, I understand that no one should ever ask a person to give up a pet to keep a relationship going: It's not 'me or the dog'. Would I like it to be like that? Well, sure, I'll admit that I feel like I've done everyhting I've could for this woman: I've treated her like gold and she is number one in my life. She and I have gone through some difficult things together (she suffers from depression) and I have been there for her.

Look, I'm not perfect by any means: I admit to getting upset at her because her dog needs training but she doesn't have the time or money to follow through on that. She also works at home and she's with the dog 24-7--no wonder she and the dog have separation issues!

Anyway, I've been noticing that when I see her, mainly on weekends, she doesn't seem to be really excited to see me like before. I've straight-up asked her about this and she said this is her 'track record' sometimes. She doesn't know why, either. The last relationship she was in the man had a dog and that wasn't an issues, they got along well and they even moved in together but she eventually turned him away and they grew apart.

This past weekend, she mentioned to me that this last boyfriend moved in with his current girlfriend (she sees this guy in her AA meetings) 'along with their two dogs'. She just had to add that bit of information to tell me that 'other people do it'--meaning, move in with their pets. I got upset with this comment and thought it was unnecessary and that she was stirring the pot. She later apologized.

I then asked her why she didn't seem 'into us' like before? I alsom mentioned to her that i was 'all-in' and have never felt less than 100% into our relationship. All I wanted to know was how she felt about me and the future and she said she didn't know. I became uspet because she then said that she has this love for her dog in her heart that takes up so much of her heart that she doesn't know if she could learn to give that to a person: She admits she needs to think of her dog as just that--a dog. She does not want to love it any less--she just wants some normalcy. I was dumbfounded by this--and a little hurt, to be honest.

I said to her, and now I look back on this and feel like a fool, that she needs to take a few days to figure out what she's feeling about me--she owes me that much out of respect for me. She said she needed to talk with her therapist in a few days because she needed to get her feelings straight. Well, now I'm thinking: if a person can't say what she feels about another person, good or bad, after a year and a half, I mean c'mon now, this doesn't look good for me, for us.

So, I've been waiting around, hoping for a call, an email, any contact, yes, I'll admit it, her telling me just how she misses me and that she wants a life with me. Believe me, I so want to talk to her, I miss her so much. It's affecting my sleep, my work, everything not having contact with her and I'm the one who suggested this. And I did give her the space I thouht she needed because I really do care about her and love her so very much.

Thanks for letting me vent here--I've kept this to myself and didn't know where to turn. Any thoughts are appreciated...

[QUOTE=gf419;4091425]Yes, I'm still here and again, I say thanks to everyone who has offered their advice to me, although I do not agree with alot of it (!), it is still appreciated.

My girlfriend and have met halfway here and we're not giving up on anything. I'm not asking her to get rid of anything: All I ask her is that she wants me like she always has and if she not 100% into what we have here I need to know it. If she's not happy or if I'm not happy, we'll tell each other. We're just trying to keep being respectful to each other.

And I must ask one thing to everyone here and it's not to cause a big commotion but here goes: Please tell me when your pet, if you have one, can engage with you, like we are doing now, by intellectually and thoughtfully sharing ideas and emotions by communicating as we are now. Yes, a pet can be like another 'part of the family' or like a 'child' but it's still an animal.[/QUOTE]

They can't. And they aren't like children. I have a child and I hate it when people say that a pet is like their child. Pets are animals and children are human beings. With all due respect to pet lovers my child is no dog!
Been awhile since I've logged on here but I just wanted to update a few things:

I paid for the dog training but it hasn't worked because my girlfriend just was consistent with it.

Up until last weekend I was just content (and happy and grateful) to be with with my girlfriend and enjoy her company. Her dog got aggressive with me and it upset me and her. Not going into details here but it was quite a surprise to me how the dog acted.

My girlfriend seemed distant last week and very unaffectionate, which is unlike her. I sat down with her and asked her what was wrong and she said that because I don't get along with her dog, don't love her dog, it's stressing her out and thus her feelings have changed for me: She said she doesn't feel the way she used to for me and does not feel the same as I feel for her. Well, that hurt to hear that, believe me, especially when I asked her why she suddenly felt this way and she gave me thinly-veiled reasons when the real reason, which she eventually did admit to, was how I'm uncomfortable about being around her dog.

Her dog became bigger than both of us and the relationship. I tried to get along with him, I really did. There was too much to accept with him and maybe another man who has had dogs would function better than me, I don't know. Thing is, my girlfriend has dated many men with dogs and there were other issues which caused those relationships to end so who knows at this point?

So, it's been a week since this break-up and I'm experiencing my first weekend with her in almost two years. Yeah, it's tough because we just ended things last weekend pretty abruptly but hey, we've been trying to work this out for quite some time now.

What hurts me most is that I was there for her 110% of the time: I was there in the middle of the night if she called because she was down (she suffers from depression), if she was having a bad day, I'd surprise her with flowers, I always kept things positive around her because she was at times fragile and vulnerable. I think, 'Doesn't that matter?' I also think, that does anyone in her 'camp', so-to-speak, want her to be with a guy who would respect her, help her, take care of her if needed, and just treat her like she deserves? Her dog is most important to her, I see. It's like her child, I know. He gives her comfort and love but in my opinion, you do not choose an animal over a human being.

I'm sure I'll be told differently about that but again, it's my opinion, not everyone's. No one here knows how good we were together and to throw it all away over a pet is ridiculous.

So, I'm just still processing this right now. Not contacting each other, at my request because I'm not one to want to be around someone who doesn't have the same feelings for me anymore.

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