Relationship Emotional Support Dog Separation During Isolation

Status
Not open for further replies.

PenelopeB

Learning
Hey all,

Hope everyone is surviving the isolation alright and finding new coping strategies (feel free to share!)! Just looking for some advice on how to balance needs with everyone going on. My fiance is a first responder and has struggled with cPTSD since before we met. Nowadays he seems to be doing much better and there are even some days when it's easy to forget he has issues. However, throughout our nearly 4 year relationship he has LITERALLY spent less than 10 nights at my house, very often blaming my dog (who is allowed on the bed) and his discomfort outside of his own home as the reason. We have been in a long distance relationship for about 2 years now while I have been in vet school and because he says he is uncomfortable at my house, I have been the one to drive 8 hours every 4-6 weeks to see him and have had to drop my dog off at my parents' house and then drive the 1 hour each way back and forth every few days to see her and check in on her when I'm home for breaks or 3-day weekends since his place is not dog-friendly. He has been to my place while in a long distance relationship twice (once for less than 24 hours do to his scheduling a flight 3 days before the date and having to find cheaper tickets that fit his work schedule).

While my dog was not initially intended as an emotional support animal, I definitely have anxiety away from my pup and she has been a HUGE help in helping me stem my own anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. She and I have our routine and despite me being stressed, we always make time to walk a mile and just having a dog to take breaks from my school work with and have something else to focus on calms me down. She also has separation anxiety and has been acting out at my parents' house without me being around so it has put a lot of stress on everyone involved between that, not having her with me, and the extraordinary amount of time and gas money I've put into going back and forth to see her and still spend time with my fiance.

With everything going on due to the virus and my school switching to online learning, I chose to return to my home state before everything got bad (and before I knew that states would be mandating lockdowns) and have been bouncing back and forth between my fiance's place and my parents' place. However, our state is to go on lockdown tonight and I will not be able to go back and forth between the two places. I have already lost my normal routine, I can't really go outside on long walks to relieve my stress though being outdoors is usually my go-to "me" activity, I am stuck in a townhouse where the number of windows are limited and the blinds are very often drawn, and my very stressful vet school classes are still being held online. I begged and pleaded with my fiance to allow me to keep my dog here temporarily as his roommates actually told me that they would be fine with it without me even asking them and to help me deal with everything going on, especially because she is really what I need most to deal with my anxiety and I don't have access to therapy, prescribed medications, or other outlets right now. I told him that she wouldn't have to be on the bed, I'd keep an eye on her, I'd take her out discreetly, I'd keep her quiet (she's used to apartment life already anyway), and I'd give her her previously-prescribed anxiety medication to keep her quiet and calm. While I know it's a stressful situation for him too, he still has a work (which has always been his own stress-release and a major motivating priority for him) and he is in his own house with his own things and still on the same schedule. He is in his comfort zone and I am not and I think he expects me to just be fine because I've spent so much time at his place anyway over the last few years. At the end of the day, however, it is not home to me without my dog, my decorations and things, my routine, and an equal say in what goes on in the house (despite paying a prorated rent on longer school breaks for living here in addition to paying my own rent for my place at school). I have always had the option to see my unofficial emotional support dog whenever I want up until now and I may not see her for an indefinite amount of time while having to cope with the extra stress of isolation. Despite all this, he gave me a hard and solid "no".

I am between a rock and a hard place, freaking out, my heart has been racing all day, and I have had stress headaches the last couple of weeks without having my dog with me while trying to deal with everything else. I get that my fiance has his own issues and I have always tried to be very respectful of his space, his coping mechanisms, etc. Additionally, to be honest, his household has broken a ton of rules on the lease already (including having a full-time roommate who is not on the lease and who the landlord doesn't know about) so it feels like him putting his foot down on this one rule is simply because he doesn't want to deal with the inconvenience of my dog before we actually move in together. He is not a bad guy, but I am a vet student and he simply doesn't understand how important animals are to me and my well-being and the relationship I have with my dog. I need him to understand that he is asking me to choose between my own mental health and him and that I cannot be the one constantly making the effort and giving up my own comfort and sanity for him to be comfortable without him making some concessions for me as well. If he's not willing to give on this, it is also a major concern I have for my future with him since animals are my life, my passion, and my career. Any advice on how best to approach this and help him understand that this isn't just a "want" of mine or me being dramatic, but that I need my emotional support dog as much as he needs his own place, space, routines, etc. to deal with his cPTSD? Thank you so much!

Stay safe and healthy to everyone out there and thank you for listening!!!
 

Friday

Moderator
simply because he doesn't want to deal with the inconvenience of my dog before we actually move in together.
I’m kind of shocked that’s “the plan”, having read everything else. Have the two of you actually sat down and explicitly discussed the dog living with you when you move in AND he’s agreed? And you believe him? Because (actions speaking louder than words) not being willing to spend even a night with the dog on a regular basis, nor keep him with you during an emergency lockdown... you could knock me over with a feather if he’s onboard for the dog to live with the 2 of you full time at any future date, when every present situation is a hard no.
Any advice on how best to approach this and help him understand that this isn't just a "want" of mine or me being dramatic, but that I need my emotional support dog as much as he needs his own place, space, routines, etc. to deal with his cPTSD?
Get solid with yourself, first.

My dog was “just” a dog... and where I went? He went. Work, school, snowboarding, to the beach, camping, sailing, and most of my travels. (Not quick trips abroad, where he’d be in quarantine the whole time -or longer- but anywhere I’d be awhile.) I had my Jeep set up with a K-9 unit (temperature control for when the engine was off), and his soft sided travel crate all den’d up for him... so I didn’t need public access anywhere. If they allowed dogs? He came. If they didn’t? He chilled in the Jeep & I’d go out on my breaks and we’d tear around for a spell. The only exception to all of that was when my kid was in the PICU/children’s hospital for apx 6mo. Then, my parents took him, although I had a badass kennel on hot standby if they needed a break. Especially once it became clear we were going to be in the hospital for awhile, and wasn’t a short term thing I was asking of them.

There was never any question of convincing anyone “why” I needed my dog with me, at almost all times... because it wasn’t up for negotiation. It was happening.

I didn’t bring him inside other people’s homes, if they didn’t want him there. It’s their home. Their say. End of story. I just also wouldn’t be spending that much time inside their home, myself. Which also doesn’t mean “no” time ;) Just not long periods of uninterrupted time. I could sleep there, or spend the day there. But my dog, my responsibility. If I was awake? I was going to be going out to walk/pee/water/play every 2 hours. If I was asleep? The last thing I would do before going to sleep and the first thing I did on waking.

So, when I say to get solid with yourself first, before talking with him? Is to come to an understanding on how much say you’re willing to give anyone else on how much you’re “allowed” to be with your dog. And if you really want to give anyone that kind of power over your life.

Don’t get me wrong.... I can tooooootally see how this situation has developed very naturally/organically/byproduct of a long distance relationship. But in my opinion? If you’re looking at living with him, for a short time or forever? It’s time to fish or cut bait. Is your dog something he’s willing to have in his life, does something need to happen in order for him to be willing, or are you willing to give up your dog for him? <<< That’s how I would approach it / have approached it when it’s been broached to me. “How do we solve the dog problem?” I just entered into those conversations absolutely unwilling to negotiate getting rid of my dog. I didn’t enter into it looking for their permission to keep my dog, or attempting to justify why they should allow me to keep my dog. I was keeping my dog. So how do we solve that problem, so you’re happy?
 
Last edited:

Deanna

MyPTSD Pro
Hey all,

Hope everyone is surviving the isolation alright and finding new coping strategies (feel free to share!)! Just looking for some advice on how to balance needs with everyone going on. My fiance is a first responder and has struggled with cPTSD since before we met. Nowadays he seems to be doing much better and there are even some days when it's easy to forget he has issues. However, throughout our nearly 4 year relationship he has LITERALLY spent less than 10 nights at my house, very often blaming my dog (who is allowed on the bed) and his discomfort outside of his own home as the reason. We have been in a long distance relationship for about 2 years now while I have been in vet school and because he says he is uncomfortable at my house, I have been the one to drive 8 hours every 4-6 weeks to see him and have had to drop my dog off at my parents' house and then drive the 1 hour each way back and forth every few days to see her and check in on her when I'm home for breaks or 3-day weekends since his place is not dog-friendly. He has been to my place while in a long distance relationship twice (once for less than 24 hours do to his scheduling a flight 3 days before the date and having to find cheaper tickets that fit his work schedule).

While my dog was not initially intended as an emotional support animal, I definitely have anxiety away from my pup and she has been a HUGE help in helping me stem my own anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. She and I have our routine and despite me being stressed, we always make time to walk a mile and just having a dog to take breaks from my school work with and have something else to focus on calms me down. She also has separation anxiety and has been acting out at my parents' house without me being around so it has put a lot of stress on everyone involved between that, not having her with me, and the extraordinary amount of time and gas money I've put into going back and forth to see her and still spend time with my fiance.

With everything going on due to the virus and my school switching to online learning, I chose to return to my home state before everything got bad (and before I knew that states would be mandating lockdowns) and have been bouncing back and forth between my fiance's place and my parents' place. However, our state is to go on lockdown tonight and I will not be able to go back and forth between the two places. I have already lost my normal routine, I can't really go outside on long walks to relieve my stress though being outdoors is usually my go-to "me" activity, I am stuck in a townhouse where the number of windows are limited and the blinds are very often drawn, and my very stressful vet school classes are still being held online. I begged and pleaded with my fiance to allow me to keep my dog here temporarily as his roommates actually told me that they would be fine with it without me even asking them and to help me deal with everything going on, especially because she is really what I need most to deal with my anxiety and I don't have access to therapy, prescribed medications, or other outlets right now. I told him that she wouldn't have to be on the bed, I'd keep an eye on her, I'd take her out discreetly, I'd keep her quiet (she's used to apartment life already anyway), and I'd give her her previously-prescribed anxiety medication to keep her quiet and calm. While I know it's a stressful situation for him too, he still has a work (which has always been his own stress-release and a major motivating priority for him) and he is in his own house with his own things and still on the same schedule. He is in his comfort zone and I am not and I think he expects me to just be fine because I've spent so much time at his place anyway over the last few years. At the end of the day, however, it is not home to me without my dog, my decorations and things, my routine, and an equal say in what goes on in the house (despite paying a prorated rent on longer school breaks for living here in addition to paying my own rent for my place at school). I have always had the option to see my unofficial emotional support dog whenever I want up until now and I may not see her for an indefinite amount of time while having to cope with the extra stress of isolation. Despite all this, he gave me a hard and solid "no".

I am between a rock and a hard place, freaking out, my heart has been racing all day, and I have had stress headaches the last couple of weeks without having my dog with me while trying to deal with everything else. I get that my fiance has his own issues and I have always tried to be very respectful of his space, his coping mechanisms, etc. Additionally, to be honest, his household has broken a ton of rules on the lease already (including having a full-time roommate who is not on the lease and who the landlord doesn't know about) so it feels like him putting his foot down on this one rule is simply because he doesn't want to deal with the inconvenience of my dog before we actually move in together. He is not a bad guy, but I am a vet student and he simply doesn't understand how important animals are to me and my well-being and the relationship I have with my dog. I need him to understand that he is asking me to choose between my own mental health and him and that I cannot be the one constantly making the effort and giving up my own comfort and sanity for him to be comfortable without him making some concessions for me as well. If he's not willing to give on this, it is also a major concern I have for my future with him since animals are my life, my passion, and my career. Any advice on how best to approach this and help him understand that this isn't just a "want" of mine or me being dramatic, but that I need my emotional support dog as much as he needs his own place, space, routines, etc. to deal with his cPTSD? Thank you so much!

Stay safe and healthy to everyone out there and thank you for listening!!!
Best approach is to break-up with him. He really needs how to learn to come to you. Ugh! And him not liking your dog and using every excuse in the world to have to not be responsible, while you go to school on the side! Bah!! Get another one that is more supportive. He needs to be glad that I am not his girlfriend! I LOVE cats!!! He would be secondary on my list 'especially' the way he treated you. There is no excuse!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Your both irresponsible. To start with I'm shocked that you give your dog medication. Dogs don't need medication. They need, love, food, walks and confident leadership. Your partner sounds like a complete idiot. Why are you even going through this nightmare. Your just as irresponsible as your partner. Did you say this is a service dog? If so you should be ashamed of yourself.
 

PenelopeB

Learning
Your both irresponsible. To start with I'm shocked that you give your dog medication. Dogs don't need medication. They need, love, food, walks and confident leadership. Your partner sounds like a complete idiot. Why are you even going through this nightmare. Your just as irresponsible as your partner. Did you say this is a service dog? If so you should be ashamed of yourself.

No, I did not say she is a service dog. She is an emotional support animal and I clearly understand the difference having dedicated 7 years post-college of my life to studying animal welfare and health. For her prescription, I sought the advice of one of the 50 leading board-certified animal behaviorist veterinarians in the country who recommended and wrote the script for me, it was not my decision, and that was only after trying alternatives and providing a schedule and routine to try to help her. I have also spent almost all of my free time playing with, walking, and caring for my dog who I regard as my own child. I came on this forum looking for advice, not judgement. If you have advice to offer, I will gladly listen but in a stressful enough situation, please keep your judgement on my character and my role as a dog mom to yourself
 

PenelopeB

Learning
Best approach is to break-up with him. He really needs how to learn to come to you. Ugh! And him not liking your dog and using every excuse in the world to have to not be responsible, while you go to school on the side! Bah!! Get another one that is more supportive. He needs to be glad that I am not his girlfriend! I LOVE cats!!! He would be secondary on my list 'especially' the way he treated you. There is no excuse!

He is not all bad but thank you for validating how I am feeling. I’ve discussed the “coming to me” issue with him many times and it’s something he has recently stated that he will try to work on. He is also well aware that my fur baby is not going to be leaving my life and if there is ever an ultimatum, she wins. There are a lot of things he’s given up on (for instance, job opportunities that would require him to move around as he knows that I want to be well-settled in an area near my family with my own practice one day) so he has compromised on other issues. I think the biggest part of this whole thing is that he doesn’t understand the human-animal relationship and he due to his cPTSD he becomes very closed off and has a hard time sometimes empathizing with other people.
 

PenelopeB

Learning
He is not all bad but thank you for validating how I am feeling. I’ve discussed the “coming to me” issue with him many times and it’s something he has recently stated that he will try to work on. He is also well aware that my fur baby is not going to be leaving my life and if there is ever an ultimatum, she wins. There are a lot of things he’s given up on (for instance, job opportunities that would require him to move around as he knows that I want to be well-settled in an area near my family with my own practice one day) so he has compromised on other issues. I think the biggest part of this whole thing is that he doesn’t understand the human-animal relationship and he due to his cPTSD he becomes very closed off and has a hard time sometimes empathizing with other people.

With that said, maybe I can more strongly show him to that I am not the only one who thinks this way about a pet and that she is my non-negotiable as other people have also been non-negotiable about their pets! Thank you!!!
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
actions speaking louder than words) not being willing to spend even a night with the dog on a regular basis, nor keep him with you during an emergency lockdown...

Just quoting this because I have a feeling you needs to really hear it and actually listen.

how much say you’re willing to give anyone else on how much you’re “allowed” to be with your dog. And if you really want to give anyone that kind of power over your life.

He has you doing a lot. What is he doing? Not what does he say he’s doing, or what he’s going to do
What is he actually doing. You’re paying two rents? Some of the time. Paying a fortune and cost in time driving to him. He
Won’t let you take your dog?

it’s something he has recently stated that he will try to work on

Oh well if he says he’s gonna. Honey I wouldn’t hold my breath.


There are a lot of things he’s given up on (for instance, job opportunities that would require him to move around as he knows that I want to be well-settled in an area near my family with my own practice one day)

That’s not giving anything up. He should WANT to be in the same area code as you. That would be the easiest thing in the world.

You are a god damn catch, start behaving like it.

This isn’t PTSD or cPTSD this is something men have suffered with for hundreds of years. Selfishness and a thought that the partners in their lives should bend and mould into their lifestyle. They shouldn’t give up anything and you should be their everything.

Even if you’re right (you’re not) and it is his cPTSD. You can’t pour from an empty cup, you absolutely must take care of yourself first before you can help anyone else. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else put theirs on.
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
If this was me but it isn’t and I don’t know the nuances to your situation. I love my parter we’ve been together for 9 years, but I’d spend quarantine with my dog. I wouldn’t need to choose that’s maybe why we’ve been together so long. Btw I’m the one with ptsd and I know he puts up with a lot but he knows I’m great full and I compromise just as much as he does. Actions and words.
 

siniang

Not Active
Just as a reminder, him having a cPTSD diagnosis is not a blanket excuse for anything.

You say you need and want pets. You already have your answer. So that is your package.

He does not seem willing to accept that and take you as your package. It doesn't matter whether your dog is"just" a pet or an ESA. He's not willing to accept that YOU come with pets.

Think about this. Maybe you should use the lockdown time to spend time apart and really consider what kind of life you could have together. Yes, relationships also mean some compromises.... but some things are just not open for debate, plain and simple. And for me that would be my pets. Or a different example: relationship where one partner wants children and the other doesn't wouldn't work either.

And just quoted again for emphasis:

How do we solve the dog problem?” I just entered into those conversations absolutely unwilling to negotiate getting rid of my dog. I didn’t enter into it looking for their permission to keep my dog, or attempting to justify why they should allow me to keep my dog. I was keeping my dog. So how do we solve that problem, so you’re happy?
 
Last edited:

Deanna

MyPTSD Pro
He is not all bad but thank you for validating how I am feeling. I’ve discussed the “coming to me” issue with him many times and it’s something he has recently stated that he will try to work on. He is also well aware that my fur baby is not going to be leaving my life and if there is ever an ultimatum, she wins. There are a lot of things he’s given up on (for instance, job opportunities that would require him to move around as he knows that I want to be well-settled in an area near my family with my own practice one day) so he has compromised on other issues. I think the biggest part of this whole thing is that he doesn’t understand the human-animal relationship and he due to his cPTSD he becomes very closed off and has a hard time sometimes empathizing with other people.
Yes, that's true. He is closed off and has a hard time sometimes with people, that have dogs, because he hasn't been through that kind of relationship with an animal yet. I was the same way!! I just got a cat a couple of yeArs ago and no one could take her away from me now.. But I have that strong bond with her. Your boyfriend hasn't been thru that, yet. That's why he can't relate.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top