When making a list of qualities you are looking for in a mate, don’t overlook some of the basic fundamentals of companionship you’ve enjoyed in relationships with pets.
Forget about those jokes (and the sometimes realities) of people looking like their pets. Forget about Dominatrixes (and Cosmo articles) which tell you to treat your mate like a dog — and to train your mate before he or she trains you. Forget all that stuff and think about what you can learn about dating and relationships from your pets. After all, pets are companion animals — and that companionship thing is pretty important when it comes to dating, relationships, and selecting a mate.
Whether you have a pet now or must recall your furry friend from your past, I’m sure you’ve experienced pets who were perfect for you and those who drove you crazy. Somethings (like being woken in the middle of the night by a cold wet puppy nose — or vicious needle-like kitten teeth — on your toes) are likely not to repeat themselves with humans (at least not without special circumstances — or, if you like such things, assistance), but you can still learn a few things about relationships from Rover and Misty.
Just how much time you spend with your pet — and what you do together — can give you clues to qualities to look for in a mate. Are you and your ideal companion animal more apt to get up and start each day with a 30 minute run, or more likely to snuggle together on the sofa watching hours of classic films on TCM? Or maybe your ideal companion doesn’t snuggle so much as “is around” while you lounge on the sofa… You share the same love of relaxation but you both appreciate your space; neither of you enjoys smothering nor being smothered.
I’m a very nervous person; little, jumpy, nervous dogs who bark a lot drive me nuts. I avoided committing myself to people who would similarly drive me nuts — and looked for people who didn’t mind my energy, nerves, and yes, my barking. (In my marriage, I’m definitely the vocal little bitch — but it works for us.)
If you haven’t any pets now, you might also consider “why you haven’t” as offering some meaningful insight into your relationship readiness, needs, & expectations. If your work makes pet ownership seem unfair (traveling too much, may relocate at any moment, or otherwise cannot take on the responsibility), then perhaps you aren’t ready for the responsibilities of human companionship either — well, you’re probably not ready for a live-in relationship at least.
If you think stray hairs on your sweater or the sofa are too distressing to even consider them a fair trade for any companionship, it won’t help any if the hairs come from a human head (or a human giving head); you aren’t ready for the give and take of a relationship.
If you think of a pet as “someday” thing, think about what sort of pet you’d be most likely to get.
More often than not, “Dog People” or “Cat People” are just more annoying labels we use to dismiss people but there are things we can learn about ourselves as dog &/or cat people — if we stick to characteristics, not amusing stereotypes.
“Cat people” often prefer cats because they are more self-sufficient and less needy than dogs. So if your schedule or personality means you won’t be home everyday at 6 PM to feed, walk, and entertain a pet, then it would be best for your ideal mate to be more self-sufficient and less needy too.
“Dog people” often say they prefer dogs “because they listen” or “they aren’t as sneaky as cats” — what I think they are trying to get to is that dogs are typically more likely to come when called and willing to spend time with you than most other pets.
If you’re a self-described dog or cat person, what are your reasons — aside from allergies, there’s probably a lot you can learn about who Mr. Right will (and won’t) be.