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Doggie visitor on regular basis

  • 15-08-2021 1:25pm
    Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭

    Hi there, would really appreciate some outside perspective on this. I'm basically asking if I'm being unreasonable or if I need to lighten up, or if I do indeed have a point.

    My partner has a daughter who is 10 who he shares access with his ex wife. She's with her Mum the majority of the time and in our house one night most weeks (2 nights on one weekend per month) with usually two full days on either side of the sleepover - especially during summer holidays. She was diagnosed as autistic about a year ago and this has made a lot of sense of her challenging behaviours over the years as long as i've known her. I think partner and ex were a bit slow to getting the diagnosis - I did my best to prompt an assessment as I have 2 kids and more experience of what behaviour is typical etc but at least they eventually got expert help and this has contributed to everyone's understanding of why she is the way she is. She's having a lot of intervention now to help her with anger management, coping strategies, avoiding meltdowns etc.

    A few weeks ago ex- wife and daughter got a new puppy. The mum works from home so it makes sense and it's actually a fabulous idea for the daughter as she'll learn to take care of something else and it'll be great company and just a lovely thing to have a dog. My issue is, it never occurred to me (or I presume anyone else, though I don't know..) that she would be unwilling to go anywhere without the dog now, incuding on overnight visits to our house. She's only had the dog for a few weeks and for the first while she wasn't allowed anywhere as she'd had her shots etc so it hasn't been a huge problem yet. My partner goes to their house to take care of her on his days each week (weekdays the mum goes into the office to give everyone space.) It's been okay but obviously not ideal. He wants his daughter in his own house. But I don't want a dog. If I wanted a dog, I'd have one already. we are a cat house and my two kids absolutely adore the cat and don't want her to be upset with a dog in the house. Tbh I'm afriad to even tell them this might be a regular thing as they'd be really really upset and annoyed. My kids are 18 and 24 but my son is autistic himself and very regimented in his thinking and won't tolerate upheaval / mess / chaos etc (part of the reason he likes cats and not dogs.) He's moving to the UK in a month so that's not such a huge problem but I'm just mentioning it because I want to make the point that I have a home which my partner moved into, we've had a lot of challenges getting used to having him and his daugher here as it is, and now a dog I didn't ask for is being thrown into the mix - with no prior consultation with me. What should I do about this?

    I suggested they come yesterday afternoon for a short visit with the dog to see how it went. It was actually fine, she's a sweet dog and all went well, including a walk. The only real problem was the dirt and mess as it was a very wet day and we're in the countryside. So there was a horrible wet-dog smell in the house and I couldn't allow them anywhere but the kitchen and porch area. My son was very bothered by the smell. I tried to introduce the dog to him and he just told me not to bring it into his room because of the smell. The cat just hid in my room under the bed (as she usually does when anyone but her inner circle is in the house anyway, to be honest.)

    So what would be a compromise here? I feel it would be fair for me to offer visits every few weeks in the day time but I'm really struggling with the idea of overnights. I'm a total control freak, which I freely admit, and I can't bear the idea of dirt and mess and dog hair. - never mind barking and jumping and other chaotic dog behaviour that I didn't sign up for. I'm not motivated to be too flexible here as I'm very annoyed at being taken for granted that I'll just agree to have a doggie visitor every single week for the next ten years. No one has spoken to me properly about it and I want to have a frank discussion with my partner about it but just need some perspective from others on the whole thing. Genuinely, should I just suck it up or is it okay that this upsets me? What would you do?



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,651 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    I think that while you own the property that your partner moved into, because you live there together it is now your shared ‘home’ (though your house legally).

    His daughter is as important to him as your kids are to you, and her needs are as valid. I think as it’s only one night a week, you should just do your best to accommodate it - do you have a garden where the dog could spend sometime outdoors with your partners daughter so it doesn’t have to be indoors the whole time she is visiting?

  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    'I'm not motivated to be too flexible here as I'm very annoyed at being taken for granted that I'll just agree to have a doggie visitor every single week for the next ten years'

    You're not really open to any suggestions if this is your thinking.

    Imo, your son is moving, so that's not an issue at all.

    You are a self confessed control freak who does not like dog hair or dirt or smells etc.

    I guess your options are put up with the dog for a day or two or put up with the meltdowns from your partner's daughter. Quick run around when the dogs gone with a hoover, you would hardly notice

    If it were me, I would go with the easiest and less hassle option, with the least amount of upset for everyone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,753 ✭✭✭mrslancaster

    What about the hassle and upset for the OP as she obviously doesnt want a dog in the house. Not everyone likes dogs, some people are nervous around them especially young dogs who might jump up on people. Young dogs chew furniture and dig up gardens too. All probably fine if you're a dog lover but OP likes quiet cats. Shared parenting arrangements have to consider everyone involved.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,766 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    I think this is one of those threads where it's going to be divided between posters who like/dont like dogs.

    Personally myself until I had kids I liked dogs thought they were cute etc. However after having kids, dogs break my heart (well irresponsible dog owners do) despite a huge amount of bins in the area there's still so much dog poop about that it ruins going for walks/park etc so now I'm in the dislike dogs camp.

    That said I would hate to see a child upset.

    I think your concerns are valid and no one likes to be backed into a corner, which I think you feel like is happening here.

    If it were me I'd be having a conversation with my partner and saying if the dog comes all traces of the dog have to be cleaned up by bedtime the night the dog leaves. If that doesn't happen the dog won't be staying again. Make it clear that you're unhappy with the dog coming as is the rest of the fulltime household but for the sake of his daughter you will all accept it once the place is tidied up.

    It's a shared household so compromises need to be made by all parties.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,505 ✭✭✭the_pen_turner

    your logic is terrible. your basing this on your son who wont live there in a months time . that just sounds like an excuse.

    you complain about the dog smelling up the place and making a mess but cats a just as bad if not worse. cats shed hair all over the place, they jump on everything and dont stay on the ground, they also stink up the place with their litter trays and often go on the floor.

    if the dog is dirty after a walk then wash it. it would be great bonding between you and the child or her father. and puts her on a path of showing respect for you property.

    it sounds like you are looking for reasons to prioritise yourself over your partner. you knew that his daughter was part of the package that comes with him just like your kids are with you

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,500 ✭✭✭BrokenArrows

    This is probably a good time to have the child realise that she cant take the dog everywhere. There has to be learned boundaries at some point.

    What if the mum wants to go on a holiday with the daughter and the dog needs to be left in a kennel. Its better the daughter get used to the idea now rather than when a holiday is due and is ruined because the daughter cant adjust quick enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,753 ✭✭✭mrslancaster

    Could the daughter bring the dog on the first day of the overnight stays, and Dad return it when daughter has gone to bed? This would mean a bit of extra driving for Dad of course but it would take the sting out of having no dog with her when staying with Dad. Daughter would look forward to seeing her little dog when she gets home to mum. Unless you live too far away to work around that.

    Then maybe you could compromise about extra visiting time for the dog when daughter is staying for a longer weekend visit as this is only once a month.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,746 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    I suppose this just highlights that you see his daughter as an occasional visitor to your home and not actually part of your "blended family". That's natural when she doesn't spend a lot of time with you, and not every family blends nicely.

    If you don't want to accommodate the dog, even though by your own admission the dog wasn't actually too disruptive and could be kept in a separate area of the house, then you are just going to have to be straight with your partner. His daughter has special needs and they will try do what they can to help her adjust and function as normally as possible.

    I agree with letting the two of them take full responsibility for the dog. Cleaning up afterwards etc. Part of owning a pet is being responsible for it. So she needs to learn to respect everyone in the house. And clean up before the dog leaves.

    I get the feeling though that you very much see your house as YOUR house. Your partner is just living with you, almost an outsider and his daughter even more of an outsider.

    How long are you together? How long are you living together? For approx 5 nights a month it doesn't sound like a huge impositions to help a special needs child to adjust and cope and learn certain skills. But, it does come down to how much a part of your family you view her.

  • Registered Users Posts: 35 BettyBlue22

    Sorry, what? The mother arranged to get the daughter a dog without your input as a blended family, and people here are blaming you for not being willing to just suck it up? I'm shocked.

    Why exactly should the animal be presented as fait accompli when the daughter stays if you already have family pets that will be discommoded? I don't care whether your son is going in a month or a year, his primary home is being upended because of a decision that has been foisted on you all, when it could have been discussed before the dog was purchased, and the ground rules could have been set collaboratively.

    Whether you love or loathe pets of any variety, indoor or outdoor, is not the point. And by no means would I be tidying up after the dog. If the daughter is unable to, it's Dad's responsibility, especially if you weren't consulted about pupper becoming a frequent housemate. You didn't marry or divorce his wife, and while some things are unavoidable, this absolutely isn't.

    I'd be spitting feathers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,505 ✭✭✭the_pen_turner

    i agree its bad form to just thrust this dog on the op . that is a **** thing to do.

    i can see why you are upset OP . you were not asked , it was just assumed.

    i think what BB22 is saying about not cleaning up after the dog and getting the fatehr to do it is only seting up other issues in your home. he is going to see it as him doing everything for his daughter and looking after his daughters dog (which he should mostly). . when it comes to your son and daughter and their needs along with your cat then he is going to see them as your responsibilities.

    looking after the dog an odd time would be well worth it to keep him on side with your families needs. you both need to see everything as a comined set of issues otherwise you will drive a wedge between you

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,746 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Sorry, what? The mother arranged to get the daughter a dog without your input as a blended family, and people here are blaming you for not being willing to just suck it up?

    The child stays with OP what appears to be a maximum of 5 nights a month. As the primary carer of my child I certainly would not be ok-ing it with my ex's partner whether or not I should get a dog for my daughter. I would communicate any issues with my child's father and I'd expect him and his partner to communicate between themselves.

    The issue here OP is you and your partner don't seem to be communicating very well with regards to this. It's perfectly acceptable for you to not want the dog in your house. But have you explicitly said that to him? From reading your post you speak a lot about how you don't want a dog, but yet it seems the only thing you said to your partner was to bring his daughter and dog over for a few hours.

    I think you were determined to not be happy with the pup, and you weren't! You said there wasn't really any issue, yet you then went on to list various issues.

    The only thing you can do is speak to your partner. But under no circumstances should the little girl's mother have had to consult you before getting a pup!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,651 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    In your thread from earlier in the relationship you opened up about how you weren’t feeling any affection for your partners child, and that you would avoid your own home as much as possible when she was around. It seems like there are deeper issues rooted in here than the puppy. It’s like you feel she is further encroaching on your peaceful home life that you have built for yourself.

    Of course a puppy is disruptive when you have cats. But this child, as you know, has additional needs and a bond with an animal is usually extremely therapeutic. So that should really rise above the inconvenience. However, as others have stated your partner should be going out of his way to ensure the impact is as minimal as it can be - cleaning up and ensuring the dog is clean and reassuring you, as it’s your shared home. If your accommodating this - he should be very grateful to you and not just take it for granted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    OP, maybe have another think about what exactly is causing you to feel like this.

    Your OP contains a lot of information, but also accusations, and I don’t think you even know what you are really annoyed about.

    You can house cats and dogs temporarily, just keep them in different parts of the house. Not great, but also not the end of the world. They also get used to it. This is not really an issue.

    From your OP it sounds like you do not like your routine to be upset, which I understand. However, it sounds like you expect acceptance of your way of life and needs, but you are struggling to extend this to others.

    Post edited by Jequ0n on

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,904 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    There's nothing wrong in wanting to have a conversation about it. You're right to want to broach the subject. I don't think you're being unreasonable, but you say yourself the one element about having a dog no-one thought about was that the child wouldn't want to go anywhere without it. So it's not as if this was deliberately thrown on you without consideration... No one saw this part coming.

    we've had a lot of challenges getting used to having him and his daugher here as it is

    I get where you're coming from with this. But I think you have to accept that there will be changes to your world brought by the fact that you're bringing another person into it and he has a daughter. It was always going to mean some sort of disruption to the life you've built. Is it possible you feel you've already brought so much to the table and you're getting pushed to take more and more? It doesn't sound though like it's been done to take advantage of you, or to take you for granted. The dog has been a good thing in the daughter's life and this one unforeseen element requires a bit of talk between the adults.

    Just have a think before you say anything - is it the dog you have the problem with or is it the lack of control over the situation?

  • Registered Users Posts: 939 ✭✭✭bitofabind

    I think YellowLead hit the nail on the head. I haven't read your other posts OP, but my instinct on reading your post was that you don't relate to your partner's child as a part of your family. If you did, you'd probably feel a similar empathy and tolerance that you feel towards your own son, who appears to have the same struggles as this child.

    This is not an ideal situation but IMO this is small change in comparison to the special needs both of these children face. The "cat people Vs dog people" is a mute point, as comfort zones are inevitably pushed and pulled when you are dealing with children with special needs. Compromise is the only way to survive. I'd be looking a bit more closely at what your own rigidity and intolerance represents. Is this really about a puppy potentially causing a bit of disruption in your house once a week at most?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,788 ✭✭✭ztoical

    OP looking at this thread and your previous thread about the daughter I feel you are directing a lot of the issues at the daughter when the issue is your relationship with her father. You don't appear to communicate very well as a couple. He has moved in with you but you treat him like a guest coming to stay in your house rather than an equal partner. Before he moved in you didn't seem to have any discussion about his child visiting/staying and how that would work. On your other thread you talked about avoiding spending any time with this child as you didn't like her behavior. Now she has been confirmed as being on the spectrum and has a dog to help with some of her behavior issues you are finding fault with the dog. The issue is you don't want your life disrupted, you've asked your partner to live with you but entirely on your terms. Maybe it would be good to step back the relationship a little, maybe he should get his own place again so you don't feel like your space is being invaded. I'm not saying you need to break up but it doesn't sound like you are suitable living together. It's not the norm but there are couples who are together but keep their own spaces.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,109 ✭✭✭wildwillow

    I have just read your other thread and can’t believe it’s almost 4 years old.

    I have great sympathy for you and think you were backed into a corner into allowing your partner move into your house.

    As someone else said, control doesn’t have to be shouting and fighting.

    You are remarkably honest about yourself and know how you need to live.

    I’ve lived alone since my husband died. We had a good marriage and I miss him terribly but will never again share a house. I love my space and enjoy my own company whenever I feel like it.

    I think you should return to separate houses, you need your own peace.

    The issue with the dog would be a deal breaker for me.

    Selfishness is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,746 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    OP, I hadn't read your other thread but from your first post here I sensed the feeling of you, your family, your home V your partner and his daughter.

    Have things not settled for you in all the time you've been together? Do you see your partner as your partner? His daughter is a very much, very present part of his life. She's only 10, so she's going to be dependent on him for quite a few years yet. Depending on the level of her disability she might depend on him into adulthood.

    You are not wrong in how you feel. You can't help how you feel. But I do believe if you have agreed that your partner live with you, knowing he has a child then keeping him, and her at arms length is very wrong. Maybe it works for you. But then again maybe it doesn't because you're here with an issue where you were opposed to something before even trying it. And by your own admission you're not motivated to be too flexible about it. So, you've already made up your mind and you're unlikely to change.

    You don't like his daughter's presence in your home. You're just about tolerating him by the sounds of it. So you absolutely do not want the presence of a dog belonging to his daughter. I wonder do you love him? Because there's little mention of that in either of your threads. He has lived with you now on reduced rent for a number of years, so has he a sum saved? Would him moving out to his own space, leaving you in your own space and continuing your relationship that way be a compromise.

    Every relationship needs compromise and a bit of give. Especially one that involved children from a previous relationship. If compromising your home is really that big an issue for you maybe the compromise is that he moves out to his own space and in that way your relationship is more likely to be happier.

    Edit: I also think it is very unfair on the mother, over 10 years after she split up from her ex, having never lived with him that she has to allow him access to her home every week to spend time with his daughter. That is really unfair on everyone involved, and surely cannot be sustainable in the long term. I'd hate to have my ex coming back to my house every week. She must be a very patient woman and one who will put her own feelings aside for the sake of her daughter. I don't think I could do it to be honest. I think your partner needs to find his own space, so he's not encroaching on you, or imposing on his ex.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 NeatFreak

    Hi Everyone, I'm the OP (I've had to create a new account as I'm locked out of my own one due to updating my email and a confirmation going to the old email that I no longer have access to - on a side note if a mod can recommend what i should do about that I'd appreciate it.)

    Thank you so much to everyone who has responded - most people have been very kind and understanding and open-minded re the situation. I suppose I just really wanted to see if anyone felt as I do about the imposition of the dog without any consultation and there are plenty who feel I should just get on with it and be accommodating but there are some who do agree I've been backed into a corner and it's unfair. Yes there is more to this than just the dog and it's a deep issue and as some very astute respondents have said it relates to my loss of control over the situation and my desire to be the mistress of my own home.

    A few people have suggested that it may not be the best idea for myself and my partner to live together and I agree with that. If I could choose, what I would love would be for him to have his own place somewhere in the vicinity and we'd see eachother a few times a week and then he'd be free to get as many dogs as he wanted and it would be entirely up to him. As Wildwillow explains, there are those of us who just shouldn't share our space - but of course we don't live in an ideal world and sometimes these things are forced upon us by circumstances. It's not always someone's fault.

    In the short term, I do want to be somewhat flexible and I'm hoping we can find a way to make things work as this situation is upon us now so we have to deal in the here and now. I talked to him yesterday and he says it's mainly overnights that she will be unwilling to be without the puppy. She will be going to school without it and it's not an official support / service dog. So I'll suggest they come on visits during the day and then go back home to her Mum's at night. I do agree with Big Bag of Chips, it's a massive imposition on his ex that he's there every week while she's out at work minding his daughter but that has been the case on and off for a while for various reasons, mainly related to how far away my house is (an hour's drive.) Eg on school days, it's really not worth driving an hour at 3pm to mine, to then take her back home for 6 or 7. It's just too much time in the car. When she stays over on the nights he has her often they have to get up crazy early to get her to school for 8:30 in Dublin traffic on a week day. It's really horrendous - but tbh I judge him for forcing that on his child. He was the one who desperately wanted to live with me and he's made all these sacrifices (and sacrificed the comfort of his child, truth be told) in order to make that happen. I do think it's time for a frank discussion re living arrangements into the future. I can't say I haven't tried after 4 or 5 years. Well, I've tried in my own way to the best of my ability. I know who I am and i know I find sharing my space incredibly difficult. This discussion has been helpful in forcing me to focus on the bigger issue again. But it's not true to say this 'isn't about the dog' at all - it very much is about the disruption of this, but moreso the idea that anyone other than me is deciding to bring an animal into the house, and that it would be just taken for granted that this could happen and I'd accept it. Thanks for understanding and for all the input.

    (Sorry again about the confusion with my username but I was trapped in a hellish loop where I couldn't communicate or respond to anything - still to be resolved.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13

    I’ll start by saying that I can’t think of an answer to your dilemma that is going be rosy in the garden for all parties involved, but that I understand where you’re coming from.

    I thought I remembered your old threads, so I had a look before your most recent reply, and my feeling was that he has been way too pushy all along about moving in and various (many) other things. I felt crowded even reading some of your old threads. So I can understand that the imposition of a dog feels like yet another scenario where you are feeling a bit cornered, and given very little choice. But he’s also (to me!) too full-on emotionally. Or needy. I’d point out though that I’m also someone who highly values their own space - physically and emotionally. Or perhaps not ‘emotionally’ - but a degree of introversion would make it difficult for me to cope with someone as full-on as him. Sometimes I just need quiet or me time, to regroup. I completely understood you saying that about after a work conference (although I’m not sure that I’d ask him to be out of the house, I’d probably ask for 2 hours to unpack and take a nap).

    You described very well how good he makes you feel, and the good times that you have, so as you’ve been together for so long now (7 years, I think), it sounds like you two have reached certain levels of compromise. For what it’s worth, i think you've compromised a lot to accommodate his life - but somehow I’m getting the vibe that you (and some posters) feel that that was simply to be expected of you. I think it’s far clearer if people read your old threads, that you really were pushed to jump into certain things long before you were ready to do so. But you have compromised on your preferences, and your ask for that is a bit of space. I think that’s ok. But at 7 years together, I’d expect you both to have more of an understanding of each other, and what each other needs - so that I’d hope that neither of you should really have to explicitly ask for what you need quite as much. The fact that you do does make me wonder about deep down compatibility, or whether your current arrangement has staying power.

    I’ve left the issues regarding his child until last, because I’m not qualified to say anything about that. I’m not sure that there’s any need for you to be a surrogate mother to her - which is probably the wrong phrase, but I remember reading about the US VP referring to her husband’s children as ‘their children’ and thinking how hurtful that must be to their mother. I don’t know what the right path is, but she has what sounds like a thoughtful and lovely room with you, and you’re trying to get her Dad to concentrate on healthy eating for her, which is good. I honestly don’t know if you restricting your time with her is a bad thing. My feeling is that short bursts of positive engagement is ok, and that her Dad is the one that she needs an ongoing steady relationship with - not you. But I’m not a parent, so my views are probably coloured by that. It doesn’t sound like you’re actively excluding her, but you are choosing not to engage with her too much.

    My summary is that I’m afraid I think that in many ways, your relationship is causing a lot of stress for you because you and your partner are very different, and at different stages of life. If the positives of being with him are truly worth it, then I’m afraid you might have to compromise your needs - but he does too. It sounds like you’ve never really had that discussion - and I don’t mean about his daughter, I mean about your lives together in general. In some ways I think it’s ‘easy’ to focus on his daughter, and the arrangements surrounding her, as being a source of stress in both your lives - but it sounds to me like a more back-to-basics thing that I’m not sure you properly discussed any of that before he moved in, and suddenly you had him living with you before you were ready for that, his daughter with her behavioural difficulties, him being more full-on than you’d like … and here you are.

    I don’t think your real concern is the dog, I think it’s just the last straw for you. Again. I think it’s time for a much more open communication with him (although being careful how you phrase anything about his daughter), and possibly some counselling for you so that you can work through your feelings. It seems to me like you’re in a cycle of compromising your needs, in order to keep this guy, and that there is a chance that this will start to impact on his daughter and your kids - and I’m sure neither of you want that.

    It’s a far from easy situation OP, I hope you can get some peace and resolution.

    PS: fair play to you for being so up-front and honest about your views, and your situation. I’m sure that’s not easy, but you seem very self-aware, and brave enough to put it out there

    Post edited by qwerty13 on

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,746 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    OP, you can send a mail to and they might be able to restore your original account.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,746 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    If I could choose, what I would love would be for him to have his own place somewhere in the vicinity and we'd see eachother a few times a week

    What's stopping you choosing?

    Of course you mightn't get a choice in him living close by in the vicinity, but you absolutely get to choose who lives in your house.

    I can't see the arrangement of him bringing daughter and dog over during the day and then going back to the mum's at night working. Does that mean he never again takes her overnight? Or does the mother leave her house on his overnights to give him the space up stay? Or does she accept that her ex is going to be staying in her home, with her and her daughter, every weekend?

    Its simply not workable. It's not workable for a number of reasons.

    -You are not comfortable with him in your house.

    -You don't like his daughter in your house.

    -You don't want a dog in your house.

    -Long term he can't be dependent on his ex to facilitate him in her house.

    I think it's time to stop being passive in your own life and speak up. Choose what you want. Voice it. And let the chips fall where they may.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 NeatFreak

    Thanks! I'll do that. hopefully it's resolved soon but I'll use the temporary account for responding today as I don't like to leave people without thanks when they've gone to the trouble of replying.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 NeatFreak

    OP here,

    Thanks again for the responses. Qwerty13 in particular, you're extremely astute and perceptive and I really appreciate your input. It's not even about not presenting an easy solution, it's just about me feeling understood and your words have done that for me so thank you. Most people here are seeing this dog issue as part of a much wider problem and of course you're right. My partner was away for a couple of days visiting his parents with his daughter and puppy and last night when I closed my bedroom door I got the most overwhelming sense of joy at being alone behind a closed door - something so rare that I absolutely crave - that I'm not sure I want that feeling to end. We have a four bedroom house and the thing that makes me feel quite bitter (when I'm feeling it at my worst) is that I'm the only one in the household who doesn't have a room to themselves to close off and be guaranteed not to be disturbed - the only one who wants such a thing I mean. My partner never wants to be alone and would always chose to be with me. 'Needy' i guess - as qwerty13 points out. Probably the right word.

    Things can seem so black and white for people - and I see it all the time on Boards - and even when it comes to the idea of love and what love is. To me it isn't an absolute. Someone asked earlier if I love him. To me it's about degrees. It's not a black and white issue: not loving him means one thing, loving him means I'm up for everything. But if I'm really honest, I often ask myself if I love him 'enough.' Enough for all the compromise.

    As to me choosing what happens, as Big Bag of Chips mentions, yes of course it should be up to me who lives in my house. That really all comes down to money and how hard it would be for him to afford a place on his own that would be big enough to have his daughter over. Now that she has the dog it couldn't even be an apartment I presume, so he'd need to rent a whole house. There's no point saying that the guilt around this is a factor for me - how could it not be? And it would absolutely break his heart to move out. But I suppose it all comes down to compatibility. He wants to be with me every waking moment that he can be - even after 7 years together. He wants to be in contact all the time, with updates on our every movements and he wants to be standing in the hall to greet me when I come back to the house, whether from a day's work or just the shopping. And yes I've become used to it to a certain extent but it's also incredibly stifling. I speak to him about it and he backs off but it just feels 'fake' - like he's pretending to be something he's not. He'll read upstairs instead of coming down to greet me, but it's not the same when I know he's waiting to come down and hug me. Not the same as knowing someone is off happily working on a hobby or doing their own thing, living their own life. He's kind and helpful and wonderful but he has attached too much importance to our relationship and it defines his life completely and that's a massive responsibility for me. I rarely get to feel alone in my own headspace, let along physically. A tiny example but i wonder what others think of this: if I sit down to watch a TV show he doesn't even like, maybe in the afternoon at the weekend, he'll come and sit with me and comment on the content of the show, just because he wants to be a part of the experience of it with me. He did this last weekend and I pretty much went into meltdown (albeit quiet meltdown) mode on the spot. This happens to me every few months where I just can't deal with it anymore as I have no space of my own and I feel so suffocated.

    In a way I've derailed my own thread by widening things out beyond the dog issue but I suppose it was a final straw type scenario. I'm already stifled and having the hassle and mess and noise of an actual animal added in on top of this is just going to break me. I'll talk to him tonight. I think it's time to have a general discussion about where he sees the future and if he would consider the idea of getting his own place. I want him to know I'm thinking about it as the right move for us, even if he isn't. Thanks again everyone. ElizaB

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,556 ✭✭✭✭listermint

    What are the actual positives of all of this. I've only read negatives about all of your interactions with your partner and his child.

    I can't tell from any of this but have you considered how the house will be once your children are gone (soon) and if your partner is also gone.

    It may not be as appealing as your mind has seemingly made it when all is said and done .

  • Registered Users Posts: 33 alpha2

    I think that's a good point. My husband is happy to be around me all day every day and never seems to feel the urge to go for a walk on his own just to have some solitude, whereas I need to be alone behind a closed door fairly often just to recharge. Living and WFH in a one-bed apt since March 2020 has been tough and sometimes I long for a week alone. But recently there was a chance his work might take him away for 3 years and facing the idea of years on my own felt very very different to the desperate need for solitude I get from being around someone 24/7. So while I completely understand your feelings, and just reading your posts made me stressed, perhaps you should consider whether you want to risk losing your relationship or maybe there's some way of negotiating a pattern of sharing space that nourishes you as well as him. (Edit for clarity)

  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ElizaBennett

    OP here under original name, thanks for the responses. That's a very interesting point about being careful for what you wish for. No one can really know what such a complete change might really mean. I don't know about 3 years but, in my heart of hearts, I feel certain that if my partner got transferred temporarily at work for maybe 3 to 6 months, I would be over the moon. That's the truth. Yes I would miss him in many ways but my over-riding feeling would be one of huge relief and happiness at the thought of a few months alone. I just wish we could take a break fully for a time period like that. So that I could pretend I never met him or his daughter, that neither of them or his wider family or dog or any of it was a part of my life at all. Just to try that for 3 months to know how I really feel. But life doesn't work like that. Teenagers who are dating can ask for a 'break' and reassess things, or just people in general who are seeing each other but not living together. You can't really ask the person you live with for a break - you can only decide to end things, or stay together, there's no in between, you just don't have those options when you're committed to this level.

    They came back from the grandparents and had had a pretty fraught time as there are already 2 dogs in that house so she was pretty upset with the noise and upheaval herself and actually wanted to go home on the first night but he managed to persuade her to stay. She'll be due here the weekend after this one and I haven't decided what to do. My big compromise was to offer to have them stay during day and go back to hers at night but there was at least one person on here who thought that wasn't enough of a compromise and that the dog should be able to stay over in mine. Basically that I should just do what they want. I'm also being judged for not fully embracing a relationship with her and wanting to hang out with them and take part in all their activities. It can't be both. If they're going to be at my house a lot with the dog - IF i can allow this with my own kids' agreement - then I'm not going to be here as well. There's no point telling me to find common ground and get involved and be the life and soul. It won't happen. I passed myself very well last saturday when they first visited with the dog. I played with the dog a little, asked loads of questions about her, acted really interested and friendly. I let them go on the walk without me though and was very glad when they left to go back to the Mum's. That's the most I can promise to do - and probably only on occasion, not every single week. I came on here to find out if the majority felt that was or wasn't too big an imposition and hoping to hear from some who would get where i'm coming from a little. it's been very useful so thanks for that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,244 ✭✭✭Tork

    Eliza, were you married/cohabiting before your current partner came along? Were you happy to live with them? If so, what's different now? Is there anything your current partner could do to change things and maybe help how you feel? What you're describing here sounds incredibly stifling and stressful. You sound like you're trapped in your own home in some ways. And although I'm sure your partner has a lot of good points, is this your gut screaming at you that this isn't the right relationship for you? Does he know how you feel about all of this? Does he ever listen to you properly? If circumstances were different, would you have had him move in with you when he did?

    It's pretty strong stuff to be saying you'd like him to get transferred away for a while. That's before we ever get to the problems you have with the daughter and the dog. Even accepting that people of a certain age tend to come with loads of baggage and you have to live with that, this seems to be a step too far for you. You and him need to have a very honest talk about where things are going. Otherwise, what you've told us is going to become a cancer in your relationship.

    Post edited by Tork on

  • Registered Users Posts: 33 alpha2

    OP, I've been thinking again about your posts and I have some further thoughts that I hope will be helpful.

    Firstly, I can identify completely with an almost frantic need for space and quiet and privacy. Sometimes I feel like the Incredible Hulk will burst out of me and start smashing things because I'm so frustrated at not having my own space!

    But last year I trained in mediation and it really helped me to see my behaviour in relation to others. The most important thing I learnt is that we are all responsible for our own boundaries and can't expect others to know them or, if they know them, to do the lifelong work of maintaining them. We each have to maintain our own.

    I wonder if - and I hope you don't mind me saying this - your self-esteem is an issue here. I notice that you cast your partner's desire to be around you all the time as "neediness" - i.e. they the only possible reason he could love being in your company all day is because there's something wrong with him. If you were told that it's not because he's damaged but because you're amazing and fun and great company, would your first reaction be to bat that away and say "oh no, he's just clingy"? Why would you find that hard to accept? (I can of course imagine that with the stress and frustration you feel at present, you don't see yourself as good company!)

    If self-esteem is something you struggle with, maybe that's also an issue in you establishing and sticking to boundaries. Maybe you feel guilty doing that because deep down, you don't feel your self worth is important or valuable enough for others to respect and accomdate your needs.

    You are entitled to space and privacy in your home. But your partner isn't going to realise that you need them unless you clearly articulate exactly what you need. Not just "I need you to leave me alone sometimes" but "I need an evening on my own in the house once a week...can you make plans for Wednesday so you're out and about and I get my space?". Once you've articulated your needs, it's your job to enforce and maintain those boundaries. Not your partner's. Yours. And you are worthy of that work! You owe it to yourself to insist on being treated in a way that makes you feel ok. Calmly and kindly, but insist nonetheless.

    I wish you the very best!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 235 ✭✭ElizaBennett

    Hi there, resurrecting this threat to give an update to anyone interested. I particularly want to thank Wildwillow, ztoical, Big Bag of Chips and Qwerty13 - but everyone else too.

    I finally got up the courage and told my partner that I won't be able to continue things as they are and, after four months of looking, he's got his own place and is moving there next week. I'm feeling very very good about it. I believe the relationship can continue and will even improve, but I'm prepared for what's to come, either way. I'm overjoyed at the idea of having my house back and being the only decision maker there. The dog was definitely the last straw and I'm not actually really glad this happened as otherwise we'd be trundling along, slowly doing more and more damage to everyone's peace of mind and ultimately damaging relationships, especially his with his daughter. The day will come (if it hasn't already) when she'll be asking him why he put her through years of having to some to my house with a less than ideal atmosphere at times, due to the pressures and stresses from all sides. Father and daughter can enjoy the peace of a home of their own, with no one else's feelings to worry about. And I can feel the same peace in my home with my daughter. I think it's a great outcome - the future of our relationship remains to be seen. But I feel a positive outlook on life for, frankly, the first time in years. When I got divorced I was so so happy - on top of the world, and really I took a backward step by letting my new boyfriend move in before I felt ready. I've rowed back on it all finally - it took far too long but at least I did it eventually.

    Thanks again for the considered responses and help with this - over a few threads at this stage!