Ask Brian: I took my cheating ex-boyfriend's dog while he was in work
Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues
My partner of seven years broke up with me a few months back. We have lived together for almost six years years and had a dog together.
Back in January we had to move out of our home, but because I was sick my boyfriend had to look after the property hunt, arrangements for moving out etc. He found it very overwhelming and told me he was very stressed by the whole thing.
We moved into our new place but just a few weeks later he said he was done. He said that the move made him feel like I wasn't his partner and didn't have his back.
I took all the blame on myself, but had to stay in the apartment for a few weeks to look for somewhere new, which he was ok with. I wanted to find somewhere close so our dog wouldn't be unsettled by another new place.
The day I was moving out I found out he had been having a relationship with his ex.
At the last minute I took our dog and brought him to my family home, as I decided he needed a few days with my family while I sorted things out. He was in work at the time and I didn't tell him what I was doing.
My ex flipped and started resorting to intimating and bullying behaviour and threatened to call the guards. It got incredibly nasty.
I now haven't been allowed see our dog in the two months since this happened. He wanted me to sign some ridiculous agreement saying I had no rights to the dog, which I didn't.
He seems to have his own version of events where he's the victim in all this.
Am I wrong in thinking this is disrespectful? After seven years I think I deserve better than the way he has been speaking to me recently.
How can someone I was with for so long and built a life with change so dramatically? How can he be so nasty?
This is a very emotionally charged situation.
I think you need to separate the issue of the collapse of the relationship and custody of the dog.
If the dog becomes a tool for trashing out the relationship and what went wrong you will probably never get to see him.
I understand how frustrated you must be to see your ex rekindle an old relationship so soon after things finished between you, and possibly while you were still together.
But if you want access to the dog you'll need to put that to one side, you can't have your cake and eat it in this situation.
If you want to have it out with him and give him hell over getting back with his ex you can't really expect him to want to have any sort of contact with you, and that means no dog.
If you really want access to the dog you're going to have to learn to be civil, and bite your tongue. It's not fair, but it's the reality of the situation.
Have you got any mutual friends? That might be a good way to go about re-establishing contact and trying to sort some sort of access.
I think you know now it was a mistake to take the dog without talking to him, and that's where his reluctance is coming from - that you might take the dog and not return it.
All that being said - I think it might be better in the long run if you consider moving on without the dog.
It will be incredibly difficult for you to get over the relationship on if you still have regular contact with your ex. The dog only serves as a reminder of what once was.
The current situation is very muddled and will take an awful lot of energy to try and sort out - and it may not even work.
Your longer term well being is served by having no contact with him, and unfortunately that means the dog as well.
You did and do deserve better - however raking over it and continued contact with your ex isn't going to change anything.
You might never know his reasons for ending things, you might never know when he really rekindled things with his ex - you need to stop focusing on him and the 'what ifs' and start thinking about yourself.
Right now all your energy appears to be going on him, you need to re-focus on yourself.
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