Q: I'm mostly venting here and checking to see if I'm the one who is in the wrong. Two years ago, my wife was asking to get a dog and I told her I didn’t want one because they are too much responsibility. I told her I knew I wouldn't want to bring a dog out at 10 at night, as we live in a condo without an elevator.
Well, my wife got a dog that we have had for almost two years now, and it is driving me nuts. I pay many of the bills for the dog, and the dog is often left with me while my wife is out. At night I have to go out with my wife and the dog because she is scared to go out alone. Any time we leave, our schedule is changed because we have the dog.
We have been arguing about it lately and she has me feeling like I'm in the wrong because I complain and moan about the dog. What is even more frustrating is that lately she has been trying to twist the situation and tell me that I never told her that I didn't want a dog.
It is so annoying to be fighting over a dog, but I've got some animosity built up about the situation.
Am I in the wrong here?
– Dog Days
A: Based on what you've told us, you're right and your wife is wrong. But so what? Even if you're 100 percent right, you still have a dog that needs to go to the bathroom at 10 p.m.
It's time to have a calm, respectful, loving conversation with your wife about the bickering. Explain to her that you don't want to whine about the dog all night. You just want a better system for managing the problem. Do you need a dog walker? Is there any way to make the late-night walks more fun? Can you talk to friends with pets about their routine?
Tell your wife that you also want more empathy and gratitude. You might have a better time dealing with the dog if you understood what your wife was getting out the experience. You'd also love to hear her acknowledge your help. As in, "Hey, thanks for accompanying me outside with the dog. I know it's annoying, but it means a lot to me." Sometimes all we want is a thank you.
You're pretty much stuck with this dog. Forever (in dog years). Instead of rolling your eyes and getting angry, talk to your wife about how to improve the experience. Tell her that you just want to make this work.
Readers? What happened here? Is he right? How can he talk to her about this? Is the dog a symptom of bigger problems? Ever had issues with a partner's pet? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.