DEAR JANE: I forced my husband to RETURN our puppy after giving him an ultimatum – he will never forgive me
- In this Sunday’s agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green gives frank advice to a woman who fears she made a terrible mistake in her marriage
- She also shares wisdom with a woman who fears she married the wrong person
- Do you have a question for Jane? Email [email protected] or ask it below
- READ MORE: I’m terrified my wife has unknowingly joined a CULT
My marriage has very nearly been torn apart by a terrible set of circumstances and I’m not sure whether my husband and I will ever recover.
After years of my husband begging to get a dog, I finally gave in a few months ago – he promised me that he would shoulder a large part of the responsibility because I just didn’t feel ready to take on that kind of disruption to our lives. And I assumed he’d handle it himself as that’s what he always said.
So the puppy arrives and is adorable. Very cute – but very, very loud, energetic, whiney, messy. Within days she’d chewed through a pair of heels, peed all over my vintage rug, and – believe it or not – cracked a mirror.
She also howled through the night and, while my husband was attentive, there was no amount of white noise, television, or music that helped me sleep through that. After two weeks I felt like I was going insane. Our house was a mess and I was totally sleep deprived.
So I put my foot down and gave my husband an ultimatum. Me, or the dog. I told him how unhappy she was making me, that I was struggling to ever accept the lifelong disruption to our routine, and that basically she was driving me insane.
Dear Jane, I forced my husband to give up his beloved puppy because she was too much work – I don’t think he will ever forgive me
He agreed to return the dog to the breeder even though I know he didn’t want to. I thought we’d just return to life as usual. But ever since she left our home, he’s been miserable and, even worse, it feels like he’s directing the blame for that misery at me.
He’s been making a lot of unkind comments – like if I offer to do the dishes, he’ll say, ‘Only if it’s not too much work for you.’ He’s also replaced my photo with one of the puppy on his phone screensaver. We haven’t had sex since the dog left and he doesn’t want to even give me a hug or a kiss these days.
I’m thrilled that I have my sanity and sleep back, but it feels to me like I’ve lost my husband in the process. I never wanted a dog but I don’t want a divorce either.
Am I going to be forced to endure the hell of a dog for the sake of my marriage?
Puppy Love Troubles
Dear Puppy Love Troubles,
Unfortunately for you, a dog, or indeed any kind of pet is not, for most people, returnable simply because it’s harder to look after them than expected.
Put it like this, if your husband was desperate for a baby and you weren’t sure but you agreed to it to make him happy, and then found you were exhausted and run ragged and it wasn’t the Hallmark movie you expected it to be, you wouldn’t put the baby up for adoption.
International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column
I understand just how upset he is.
And I also understand that you were trying to make him happy, without properly thinking through what it means to add a puppy to your household. That you were completely unprepared for the work and disruption that comes with having a young puppy.
And by the way, that’s just the beginning. Dogs require commitment, and it’s a commitment that you weren’t able, and still don’t want, to give.
If you’re not a dog person, you’re not a dog person. You made a mistake that was truly unfortunate, without realizing the impact that it would have on your lives, and now it seems on your relationship.
Given that your last line is asking whether or not you will be forced to ‘endure the hell’ of a dog, I think taking this puppy back, or getting another dog, is the very last thing you should be doing.
I imagine your husband will be able to forgive you in time, particularly if you explain that you were trying to make him happy, hoping that you could put aside your own reservations and fears, never dreaming this mistake would impact your marriage so much. You can only explain and apologize. After that, it’s up to him.
Perhaps there is a compromise in another pet that wouldn’t be as disruptive, including perhaps a mature dog who is calm and trained, who might satisfy your husband’s need for a dog without turning your life upside down.
Although if you were to bring any other animal into the house, I would advise you to do extensive research, as well as talk to people who have those animals to find out exactly what is required, and whether or not you have the capability to take care of it.
You knew yourself well enough to strongly suspect this would be a problem. If there is a lesson in this, it is to ensure you don’t make this kind of mistake again. Marriages are built on compromise, but there is a difference between compromise and saying yes to something, when every fiber in your body is telling you to say no, in order to make someone else happy
I’m in a same-sex relationship and just over a month ago I married my wife. She is an amazing person; she’s kind, caring, and she literally will do anything for anyone no matter who that person is. But in spite of all of this, I know I have married the wrong person.
My last ex and I didn’t meet in the best of circumstances. She was my lecturer throughout my time at university and while we drifted apart during the three years that I was working a job elsewhere, when I moved back into town, the two of us bumped into one another and became friends. That then slowly progressed to dating.
There was an instant connection between us. Largely because we just have so much in common: we both have PHDs, we share the same interests, we like the same films, wine, books, TV shows, and so on.
Last night I was catching up with my friends, and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I was so distracted. Then it clicked: I married the wrong person. I ended up getting really drunk and going to her house to ask if we could talk. I told her I still have feelings for her and that I’ve married the wrong person. She confessed she still loves me – but when I tried kissing her, she slapped me away.
Now, my wife is out for the day and I can’t stop crying. I know I married the wrong person and that I should have married my ex but I don’t know what to do and how to deal with this.
Please help me Jane.
Dear Unhappily Married,
It may very well be that you should have married your ex, but you didn’t marry your ex, and in fact, your ex slapped you away when you tried to kiss her.
The thing is, that love isn’t enough. The fact that you think you still love your ex and she still loves you doesn’t mean the two of you should be together. I have no idea what your relationship with your ex was like or why you broke up, but you did break up, and you broke up despite having so many things in common.
Realizing on a whim that you made a mistake and should be with an ex strikes me as, well, whimsical. It isn’t based on anything other than a thought, and certainly has no basis in reality. What is based in reality is your marriage to your wife, who you describe as an amazing person, kind and caring, who will do anything for anyone.
I wonder how your wife would feel if she knew you tried to kiss your ex? I wonder how you would feel about causing her that kind of pain?
But more than that, I think of the old saying that the grass is greener where you water it, and that the key to happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have got. It sounds like the reality of your life – your wife – is actually very good, and should you choose to pour your attention and love into your current relationship, rather than into a fantasy of an ex lover, this marriage could grow into something stable, strong and real.
Jane’s Sunday Service: Because of our negative bias it can be so much easier to focus on what we do not have, what we think we want, rather than being grateful for what we have. The psychologist Robert Emmons once said this about gratitude: ‘gratitude is a sustainable approach to life that can be freely chosen for oneself. It is choosing to focus on blessings rather than curses, on gifts rather than burdens, and people report that it transforms their lives.’
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