Are These Legitimate Deal Breakers?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2009
Are These Legitimate Deal Breakers?
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 11:02am

I've never been really "good" at dating, so I often seek other opinions about my experiences.  Here goes...

I went on my third date with a guy and we really seemed to be hitting it off well.  We decided to go hiking (something we both enjoy), and I informed him that I would meet him at the trail head with my dog.  I sensed hesitation which led to the discovery that he isn't a dog person.  He didn't say he hated them, but that he thought that keeping a dog in the house was disgusting.  Maybe I should have cancelled the date then, but I have a bad habit of writing men off for the smallest of infractions, so I decided to keep the date but still bring the dog (all 9 pounds of her) just to see the interaction between the two.

Needless to say, it didn't go well.  He basically ignored her at first (all she wanted was a friendly belly scratch) and reluctantly held her leash while I took a bathroom break.  My dog is extremely well trained and small, and she has converted "non dog" people to a comfortable tolerance level, but I could see that it wasn't happening and was up front and honest with the guy about how important the dog thing is to me.  I told him that it was totally OK if he wasn't into dogs, but I couldn't really seriously date someone who didn't accept my dog.  I compared it to not accepting someone's kid (which may seem extreme, but I don't want kids ever and choose dogs instead).

So, the date seemed to get a wee bit tense after that, but I didn't expect him to take a call from another woman during our date.  On our first two dates, I never even saw his Iphone, yet moments after our candid conversation, he answered several texts then actuallly answered a call (clearly from another woman that was not a family member or an emergency situation) RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!  He even ended it by saying:  I'll call you when I leave.  I was flabergasted!!  I didn't say anything, but I determined right then and there that we would NOT be going out again.

So, the date ended with a tense goodbye hug and that was it.  My question is:  the dog thing... is that a good reason to not date a person?  And the phone thing... did I over react?  I just felt like that was disrespectful.  I may have even considered giving the guy more time with the dog, but after that I was just over it.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 12:54pm

I am sorry how your date turned out but I have to agree with you.  If it were just one or the other (dog or phone call), I would perhaps give it more time.  Both issues together, onthe same date, I would consider them deal breakers.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 2:46pm

Well you have to decide how much you want someone who loves dogs.  My exH owned a dog when we first met & then he gave it away.  After we got married he wanted another dog and I wanted him to be happy so I said yes.  We adopted an older dog from a shelter.  Ironically the previous owner had been a woman so the dog bonded with me much more than w/ him--and I really didn't care for this dog, although I ended up taking her for a lot of walks.  I mean I don't hate dogs, but I wouldn't choose to have one myself--on the other hand if I was with a guy who wanted or already had a dog, I wouldn't stop dating him because of the dog--now if he expected me to be all lovey-dovey with the dog, that probably wouldn't happen, at least at first.  It also depends on the type of breed, for me.  The dog that my ex got was part German shepherd which is a kind I would never get--I go for the cuteness of some smaller dogs or something like a Golden retriever.  The problem is that we never liked the same kind of dogs.

As far as the phone call, I don't like it when I'm with someone (even a woman friend) and they talk or text if it is not their kid or an emergency--you're supposed to be paying attention to the person you're with.  But from hearing his part of the conversation, did it sound like a woman he was dating or something else?  I would think it would be very odd for a guy to be on a date with one woman and openly have a conversation with another women he is dating in front of her--usually they want to hide that, so maybe it wasn't a "date" type thing.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 3:01pm

Okay, the phone thing just sounds rude.  I could see maybe saying "excuse me, it is my mom and we have plans for later today." or something like that.  But it doesn't sound like that was the case.

I think that if your pets are as important to you, as a family member would be, then a long-term R will need to have some sense of acceptance, as you mentioned.  Hopefully, another 'dog lover' as yourself. 

I am not particularly a pet person.  Probably never will be.  But I do think that as long as my partner took responsibility for the pet, I could accept it.  And yes, come to love the pet a well. 

This may sound silly, do you socialize at your local dog park?  Or do OLD, "must love dogs."  Seems like there must be a way to meet someone who loves dogs as much as you do.  I wouldn't necessarily nix a guy for hesitation early in the R, but I do think it will become clear rather quickly where he stands. 

 If you dog is a kin to a child for you, then this will be very important. 

Avatar for purp2010
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2010
Sat, 08-10-2013 - 2:18pm

I'm thinking that as soon as you had the discussion about your pet he realized it wasn't going to work. So he closed off the date in his mind but couldn't physically leave the date at that point. Probably not easy when you are out on a trail.

He checked out. You probably should too. Doesn't mean either of you are right or wrong; just not right for each other. Don't bother trying to figure out motives and reasons. That kind of thinking just keeps us stuck.

Best of luck finding another dog lover. I am not a pet person, but it seems like there are lots of them out there. You shouldn't have too much trouble with that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2009
Sun, 08-11-2013 - 7:02pm

Thanks for the responses.  Well, my little one is a 9 pound Chiweenie and (in my opinion) the most adorable thing in the world.  She's also VERY well mannered (I can't stand bad dogs), so I'm going to agree that this guy may have checked out once the dog thing came into play.

As for the phone conversation.  I could tell it was a "friend".  He even said "I will call you when I leave," and cut the date shorter than the other two dates we've had.  So, I guess both of us got slighted that night... she didn't get a belly scratch and I didn't get a complete date.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 08-13-2013 - 3:05am

"I couldn't really seriously date someone who didn't accept my dog."

It sounds like when he heard that he emotionally checked out from the date/potential future with you. He may have also been offended and figured that he didn't need to be polite anymore; or maybe he was even trying to offend you in return, thus the phone use. Or maybe the kid/dog analogy made him think you were a crazy dog lady. If you two had been close to your cars he probably would have left shortly after hearing your feelings about dogs.

Being expected to like your indoors dog was apparently a dealbreaker for him. I think its a legitimate dealbreaker for you too since your dog seems to be your "fur baby". In the future you should probably let the guy know right away that you are a dog lover since your dog is part of the package with you. I like the suggestion about trying to meet guys at dog parks.

The phone issue was very rude and could have been a dealbreaker in a different circumstance. In this case I think there was no more deal by the time he got on the phone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2001
Wed, 08-14-2013 - 6:47pm

Yes!  Don't look back!  I am a dog person. Having, walking, taking care of and adopting them will be a part of my life for my whole life.  I can't imagine being with someone who just tolerates them.  I want someone who will enjoy them and love them.  It's a basic. Also, if you really get serious you want someone who will help you take care of your dogs when you are sick or in need.  No don't feel bad, it's a compatibility issue.  A pretty serious one.

I had a bf, a good man, who was not crazy about my dogs. He got all prickly when one of them liked him in a friendly way.  To me it wasn't loving at was cold. He wasn't a bad man but he wasn't exactly loving to the dogs as well.  Believe me it will just make you disappointed and sad. Besides, a person who doesn't like dogs?  Something is not open in the heart area.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 08-14-2013 - 9:10pm

What about people who prefer cats?  lol  I do agree that it's very hard for someone who is a real pet lover (of any kind) to get together w/ someone who would prefer not to have pets (like me).  Much easier to find someone who is on the same page, but then again, if everything else was really good, I wouldn't make that a deal breaker.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2013
Wed, 08-28-2013 - 12:20am


 I think it was probably inappropriate to confront him about the dog on the date, espesh. as he couldn't physically leave and was stuck there, and no doubt it made him feel very uncomfortable. It is clearly an issue that needed to be discussed, but that was not really the time or place.

Another thing - he is not 'wrong' for not liking your dog. I am sympathetic to this guy - I do not like dogs at all. I would never have them in my house. I just don't think they are meant to live with humans.

There is a different and equally valid perspective here. Just cuz the guy doesn't like dogs, doesn't mean he's 'not open in the heart area.' It doesn't make him 'cold. That's a bit fanatical. It just means he has opposing lifestyle views, morals, values. (It could equally be said that it is unethical to keep pets.) Basically, what I'm saying is, liking animals or not is not a clear cut moral issue like killing or stealing. Like having contradictory religious views - you can either accept it of the other person or you can't, if your views are too strong.

I think the thing is that when someone rejects a person's animal it is like a rejection of them and so they take it personally. Because it is a part of them and part of the lifestyle they choose. I get that.