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I Refuse To Become Your Dog's Stepmom: Why Sharing A Pet With Your Ex Is A Dealbreaker

I have to preface this with a confession: I am not an animal person. Before you burn me at the stake, it’s not that I hate animals; I just never really cared for them. My dad was not a big pet person (he kept very clean house), and while the rest of my siblings always begged and pleaded for cats or bunnies, I was totally fine with keeping our home a pet-free zone. Even now that I’ve been living on my own for about five years, I’ve never had the desire to have a pet keep me company. I’m also not a plant or a kid person, though, so I guess you can say I was never really interested in taking care of something else. So when someone like me hears about people who “share custody” of a pet with an ex, you have to excuse me while I scoff in utter disbelief… twice.  

I’ve been someone who has had a hard time letting go of exes in the past. I don’t know if it’s my Capricorn sun or my deeply rooted emotional issues, but I’ve been that person who keeps holding onto things from past relationships. But now that I’ve grown out of it the idea of being with someone else who is holding onto a past relationship is not just a red flag; it’s a total dealbreaker. And yes, sharing a pet with an ex definitely counts as holding onto the past. 

steve satc
Image Credit: HBO

Now, I’m not devoid of feeling. I understand that if you spend time with a pet, taking care of it and keeping it around, you’re bound to develop emotional attachments to it. Hey, I’ve developed emotional attachments to pairs of jeans, so I get it. But if you decide to break up with someone, I think you need to battle it out and decide who gets to keep the pet — especially if you’re trying to move on with someone new. When Miranda and Steve broke up in Sex and the City, Steve got to keep Scout (and this was a couple who still lived together for a few weeks after they broke up). Only one got to keep Rufus when Paulette and her man broke up in Legally Blonde (i.e., “I’m taking the dog, asshole!”). So when it comes to you and your ex, it’s time you pick who wins. 

And it’s totally fine if it’s you. I’m not a pet person, but I wouldn’t not date someone because they have a dog, cat, or even a ferret. But if you’re sharing that ferret with an ex, we have a problem. 

I’m not saying that it’s easy to just hand over a pet to someone else. But think of it this way: If I’m interested in dating you and I find out that you are making a choice to keep someone you used to date in your life because of a pet, I’m turning around and never looking back. 

“Co-parenting” is for parents, and as much as you think your pet is “your child,” I’m so sorry, but they’re not. And if you’re scheduling pick-ups, drop-offs, and play dates with someone you used to love and fuck for anyone besides your literal kid, I want nothing to do with you. 

Suppose you find someone who will love and hold you — despite you splitting an animal with an ex — good for you! Who gives AF about what have to say? But if you’re reading this and have a strong desire to ask me out, it’s time to drop that dog off to your ex and never pick him up again. 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.