You adore your dog. But does your new love interest feel same way about Fido?
Successfully married couples often tell us that dogs enhance their love and make them feel more secure in their relationship. In fact, the thousands of happily married couples we have interviewed over the past 33 years are more likely to have dogs than not.
Those happily married couples with dogs report that dogs enhance their relationship in four ways:
1. There is a genuine connection between the pet and the owners. Most people with dogs consider their pooch a member of the family and have learned how to tend to their dog's needs with loving attentiveness. This is a skill that transfers over when building a love relationship with a fellow human.
2. Dogs bring amazing healing to human hearts. This ability is especially powerful when people are physically ill, injured, lonely, or depressed. Intuitively, dogs provide their owners with soothing calmness in times of stress, comfort in times of sadness, and companionship in times of loneliness.
3. A dog loves you unconditionally. A dog doesn’t love you "If you do something he likes," "If you feed him," "If you let him sleep with you in bed," "If you comb his fur," or "If you take him to the vet." He just loves you unconditionally. People in relationships should learn this simple lesson from dogs.
4. A dog is always faithful. No matter what the circumstances, you can always count on your dog to remain a faithful companion. If humans showed this same loyalty to each other, they would be one step closer to having a successful lifelong, loving relationship.
While dogs can enhance the relationships of successfully married couples, those four-legged friends can also interfere with a relationship that is just beginning and isn't fully established. Here are four ways dogs can disrupt your happy relationship:
1. You love your dog obsessively. Doting on your pooch and his needs instead of fostering your new relationship interferes with building the deep bonds needed for a lasting love.
2. A pooch can ruin your sex life. You love your pooch to pieces but when a 100-pound Golden Retriever wants to get in bed between you, it definitely hampers your romantic inclinations.
3. Your dog may act jealous of a new person. Avoid being overly concerned with the jealous reactions of your dog. Instead, encourage your new love to lavish attention on your pooch, so it doesn't feel slighted and looks forward to the extra attention that comes when your new partner is with you.
4. Your date doesn't like your dog. It becomes a definite problem if your date starts picking on your dog by pushing or kicking your dog away and stating, "Get away from me, you're messing up my pants." Trying to have a serious lasting relationship with a non-dog lover can create enormous challenges. Remember, dogs have an intuitive sense about people. If your date says he or she is a dog lover and your dog gurgles, continues to bark or growl, or hides, it's important to take note. That action may truly be one of the best character references you'll ever get!
Many dog owners in search of true love want to find a mate who is a dog lover as well. Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support, so it's usually a deal breaker if the other person doesn't like or get along with your dog.
It's important to observe how your new love interest treats and talks to dogs that are not yours. A true dog lover will treat all dogs with respect and love, not just your dog because he or she wants to win you over!
One cautionary note — just because your new love is a pet lover, doesn't mean that you have found the right person to marry. Ask other important compatibility questions and remember to always be in search of the truth. Focus on the inner qualities of your new love to evaluate if they're really the person you want a relationship with.
May you find the love of your life, who also loves the dog in your life. If you do, your life will be greatly enhanced.
Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz are America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts and the authors of the best seller, Building a Love that Lasts. Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy.