Pets are often a large source of argument within any divorce, both in Maryland and throughout the country.
I want to take a moment and work backwards, addressing a few issues that become symptoms of a future divorce.
Let’s take a look at significant issues within a marriage where the couple has one or more pets. I often see that when a pet, especially the only pet, dies, the husband and wife are suddenly confronted with a great deal of free time. If they use that free time to do things together, that is often a very healthy marriage.
However, when spouses rush to get a new pet, there are three primary reasons: first, because they have young children and want to minimize the mourning period for their children; second, because they truly love owning pets; third, and most troubling, it highlights the fact that their relationship does not stand on its own, and their pet was actually a buffer that enabled them to not face the reality of their troubled relationship.
So, think of a pet/marriage check-up. As your pets age or recently die, think about the reason you are considering getting a new pet. Think about a period of pet free time, where you and your spouse can do something special together, like that month-long international trip, that does not require you to board a pet.
If, on the other hand, you find yourselves lost without a new pet, my suggestion is to get to a great, not good, couples’ counselor, and have an honest conversation about what the death of a pet means to the health of your marriage.