A message to anyone I will ever be romantically involved with in the future:
I will always love my dog more than you. It doesn't matter how long we're together. It doesn't matter how close we are. I will always love my dog more than you.
"I suspect my boyfriend of seven months loves his 9-year-old dog more than me. I am 54 and divorced twice. He is 57 and has been divorced three times. I am jealous of the way he treats and talks to his dog. I have even told him so. Is it worth my time and energy to wait around for my boyfriend to start treating me better?"
In his response, Savage suggests it's not surprising, given the boyfriend's less-than-stellar romantic history, that he shows more affection to his dog - with whom he's been for nine years - than he does to his girlfriend of only seven months. He says - correctly, I might add - that the longer the girlfriend is in the picture, the more affectionate he will likely become toward her, but that she won't be in the picture long if she continues to waste time being jealous of the dog.
But what he fails to mention is that her suspicions that he loves his dog more than her are correct. Of course he loves his dog more than her. That shouldn't surprise her. And it should also not cause her to be jealous or worry about their relationship. But he will always love his dog more than her.
And frankly, why shouldn't he? That dog has been there for him through the rough patches. When it felt like the whole world was against him, the dog was the only one in his corner. That dog has never broken and will never break his heart. That's not what dogs do. They love unconditionally and they only ask for the same in return.
Anyone who knows me knows that Chester and I are a package deal. And I try to make that clear to anyone I date and anyone with whom I consider having a romantic relationship. He was there first and I won't - no, it's really that I can't - love a romantic partner as much as I love Chester. And I can guarantee you that any dog owner would say the same thing to anyone they were thinking of getting involved with.
But what is also true is that it doesn't make me any less capable of having long-lasting and wonderful romantic relationships and it doesn't make me any less capable of falling in love with someone. And it doesn't make my relationships any less meaningful or fulfilling.
All it means is that Chester is the top priority in my life. When I adopted him, I made him a promise. I promised him that I would take him in and provide for him and give him everything he didn't have before. And no matter what humans come in and out of my life, I'm going to keep my promise to Chester. And to any dog I may adopt in the future. And I will keep that promise even if it comes at the expense of romantic relationships. If that's a problem to a potential partner, oh well. The dog comes first. Always.
Long story short, if you suspect your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife loves the dog more than you, your suspicions are correct. But that doesn't mean they love you any less.
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