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breaking up after 7 years - dog in the middle


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Hi everyone


I've found a lot of valuable advice in this forum so I would like to thank everyone who has helped me understand and grow and above all be on the path of healing after a break up.


I had been with my ex of 7 years when I (the dumpee) had decided to eventually break it off as I wasn't feeling loved and getting the attention I deserved.

We had been together since 19 (we're now both 26) and we've had 7 wonderful years. Even though it was both our first serious relationship, we had an amazing time, a really strong bond and great chemistry. We've never had serious issues, sex was great, the passion was great until not long ago (perhaps 1 year ago) he started showing interest in third people. There were third people involved in the relationship towards the end, but there's never been cheating or an affair or anything like that...


It's been about 3.5 weeks since I told him I can't take this anymore, I can't not be loved the way you used to love the way you used to pay attention to me etc etc.


Finally, after 2 weeks of no communication we met up and he told me that I need to let go and that he wants to be alone and find himself, soul search and gave me 3 reasons of the break up:


1) he wants to be single (since he never enjoyed the single life - so immature if you ask me )

2) he feels he no longer loves me the same way he used to

3) he feels he cannot kiss me anymore


Anyway to cut the story short, I can somehow understand 1) as it was always bothering him ( I guess not to the extend it was enough to break up)

2) and 3) are a result of him having fallen in love with someone else - even though he admitted to me he no longer feels anything for them now


I guess the important bit here is that he awoke a dead feeling that we both hadn't experienced since year 1 of our relationship - the feeling of infatuation which is temporary. And together with him always wanting to be single he feels like this is the right thing to do.


While I understand the reasons of 1), I think 2) and 3) are an extension of 1) as well as the fact that after 7 years of a great relationship (or perhaps 6 years), we got used to each other, we became too comfortable, taking each other for granted etc etc. I'm not to say we were perfect, we've always had issue, but we would always overcome them as we had been both incredibly strong and always there for each other.



He's told me that right now he would be perfectly fine if we were to be just friends - meaning that he doesn't want to lose me one way or the other....he's also told me that he believes one day we will be together again etc etc, but at the same time he's also told me he's taking a big gamble with me too knowing that he could lose me for real in the process.


So this is the summary of what's happened - having read lots of stories/threads etc, I have understood that most break ups happen for a reason, and that it's highly unlikely that he will ever return no matter how heart broken I am and would do anything to have him back. To me he was the ideal partner, and person to spend the rest of my life with...whatever the case, after reading so many posts and threads, I am starting to consider if I would ever take him back in the future (if and when he returns)...


Anyway, what I really wanted to find out is what do people do when there's a dog in the middle - we didnt share a house but would always sleep together at nights (our houses are literally 2-3 mins away from each other) - and I want to strictly abide with No Communication in case he realises that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, or he realises that he lost me for good...or that he realised what he had only when it was truly gone?


We haven't spoken for about 4 days now, and haven't seen each other since the 28th of December.


The timing this has happened is to my advantage as he will be travelling to India with work for the next 6 months and therefore he will have loads of time to think and rethink and play and do whatever it is he wants to do without having to commit to anyone.


(Just so that you can imagine the extend of him taking him for granted...he also told me that he wanted to say goodbye to me before leaving for India...)


Thoughts/advice regarding no communication with a dog in the middle? He's not going to India until the end of February so between now and the end of February, there's a month and a half.


Neither of us wants to the give the dog up as we both love him to bits and would die without him - so that option is out of the question. We kind of agreed for each one of us to have him a week long each, but as I'm the heartbroken and incredibly hurt and still coming to terms with the break up, I want to make sure that I dont want to see him/talk to him at the end of each week.




I guess what I also want to ask, could a dog bring a couple back together after time apart and thinking?


Does the fact that we had been together for 7 years increase the chances of him coming back?


Like I said, Im starting to question my decision as to whether I would even accept him back because of what he had done - but I feel he was so worth it that I would be making a mistake not to (I guess it depends how much I will have moved on in my life and the reasons he comes back....). Put otherwise - I wouldn't accept him with my hugs open - I guess a door will be open and every single day it will be shrinking and shrinking until I finally move on and find someone perhaps better than what I had.

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No, neither will die without him but one of you will be sad. And your 'custody' arrangement for the dog really won't work when you move on to new lives with new partners etc., and may be quite confusing to the dog who has no clue why each of you disappears every other week, and will worry him a lot more than just getting used the one person being gone.


When I divorced we had 2 dogs which I kept... the dogs looked for my ex out the window for a couple weeks wondering where he was, then they adjusted. And if he did stop by for business related to the divorce, they'd happily greet him, then just lie down and go to sleep like he was any other guest visiting, so they adapted and adjusted. If you do the 'one week on/on week off' method, the dog will constantly be looking for the 'missing' person rather than accepting the situation with the one person gone from the 'pack'.


So i think you need to try to keep the dog, and instead of him taking the dog every other week, let him visit now and then for a short visit with the dog, and then get himself another dog when he's in a stable position to have one rather than travelling.


The length of time you were together does not dictate whether he will come back or not. And in fact, it is very common for the '7 year itch' to hit and couples to break up, where they've gotten bored with the relationship and grown apart and feel there is no spark at all left and they want to find someone new. if there was a 3rd person involved, i'd be very surprised if he wasn't already sleeping with her and planning life with her as his GF.


So i think your task now is splitting up any joint property you may have, and making an arrangement for you to keep the dog, and for him to visit for a while until he is used to not having the dog around and/or gets a new dog with his new GF. For the dog's sake you need to create a stable life rather than a constantly changing 'pack' where the dog is always looking for the missing person in the mix rather than having a stable 'pack' where you come home every day and he is not looking for the other person.


A dog does not have the exact same mentality as a child, and will get anxious if his alpha is missing every other week (whether that alpha is you or your ex). If your ex leaves and you don't share the dog, even if the ex is viewed as the alpha at the time he leaves, the dog will start viewing you as the alpha once the ex is permanently out of the house other than for a visit now and again, and his security will be tied to you coming home every day rather than disappearing every other week.


You also don't want to be in the position of watching your dog go leap into the car that contains your BF and his new GF, or having the GF show up to pick up the dog when your ex is busy. That is too painful, so you just need to be practical and put the dog's best interests first and keep the dog and let him adapt to that and get a new dog if he is in a position to have one.

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Sadly he compares a dog with a child, and when I told him that this arrangement wont work especially when we have new partners, his backfire question was 'What do people do when they have children?'. He also told me that when he's at the stage of dating someone new the first thing he will say to them is ' I have a dog and I'm sharing it with my ex'.

He's asked me not to bring up the dog again as a problem of this break-up. So I'm not sure what I'm going to do. The truth of the fact is that he's going to India for 6 months so inevitably the dog will miss one of us anyway. Not really sure how to go about this anymore. Till India, there's 1.5 months left - I guess after 6 months - we can decide what will happen to the dog. He's only going to be 4 years in April.


I'm not sure he's gotten bored of the relationship, or maybe it's me being in denial - I think it was more of the fact that he had urges inside him to be with someone else (purely because he has not experienced that since the age of 19). Not necessarily because I wasn't satisfying him - I think it was just influences through social media and generally the notion of what you can't have is better than what you have.


He has explained to me, that I have been the perfect partner and he would do anything to be with me again - in fact he even said while in India, the fixture of us will be at the forefront of his mind - whatever that may mean.


While I don't want to keep on hoping whether he will ever come back, whether it's because he thinks he will find something better, I genuinely do believe that what we had was truly special and incredibly unique.


And I do believe one day he will come back craving and begging or maybe not. I don't know. Truth is no-one knows. I'm of the opinion that the spark faded because of the 'getting too comfortable' syndrome. You usually don't end up spending 7 years with someone if feelings and spark and passion didn't exist in the first place.


I doubt he wants to commit to anyone right now, like I said his primary reason for living is because of the urge that has slowly been eating him since he was 19. In fact he would always bring it up lightly to me that neither of us has experienced the single life of London. But to me I never took it seriously and I thought it was just talk...and of course because he experienced infatuation again..he thought the love he had for me is less than how much he loved me before ( I think this is utter BS)


I guess, after 6 months in India, a lot of the questions will be answered, but before that, I need to know how best I can establish NC with a dog in the middle...?


While I appreciate your comments lavenderdove, I am not sure I wan't to go into a bitter fight with my ex regarding the dog since he's already told me he doesnt want me to bring it up again.



I guess to put things into perspective this was the final message I sent him:




Also there's one more thing that I wanted to say last night and I forgot. Regarding loving me again... Im not sure that will ever come back.. I think ultimately it boils down to what makes two people happy. Love is always there just not at the right levels. The feeling of being in love just doesn't exist after 7 years. It's a bond and a love that you find so important and needful that you don't want to let go. I guess for you its not as important as other things right now

And I do hope one day you will realise that I really do. After all like I said I do believe in us. And what I just said to applies for me too. After 7 years I don't think I am in love with you. I do love you and it's so important to me that going back the feeling that you perhaps re - experienced with someone else is not important. There are more important things in life when you reach the 6 or 7 years. Happiness. Whether that person makes you feel good. Whether that person makes you laugh, secure, complete etc etc. It's about a list of things and qualities that for me you still tick. And I like to think I still tick for you too - but I think you just need to see it in some other way. Whoever you ask will tell you that after year 1 or year 2, there is no such thing as being in love. It's all about love and what makes you happy and secure about that person. If it's one lesson you're going to learn from all of this - this is the most important. Like our parents, like any other couple who reach 7 or 8 Years or 10 or 20, love is there, maybe even in the way that you feel it for me. And in fact I might be feeling it for you the same way you feel for me too.

At such maturity in the relationship you start to look about whether this person is right to settle down with, for reasons I explained above. And perhaps you might feel you're not ready because you want to experience the single life which has been eating you slowly since 19 before its too late.

Anyway I just thought this is something important that we both overlooked - and if it's something I want you to take away is this. And remember you will never feel something more about me no matter how much you fight it - now, in the future or in another life. It's what you make of with the love that you can give to me and the love I can give to you. Like your parents, your mum and dad or anyone else, they choose to be with someone because of who they are, what they are to them etc. So always remember that, in case there's a slight chance you'd want to reconnect with me in the future, which you know I would give my anything to have right now.

Ok enough said I think I said it all.

Goodnight and I love you x just as I know that you love me too - you just need to see that your love is enough too - but I think you don't because sadly you experienced the butterflies and the head over heels feeling with someone else.

I hope one day you realise that and you come back to where you belong; to me

Goodnight x




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>>You usually don't end up spending 7 years with someone if feelings and spark and passion didn't exist in the first place.


Honey, please try not to kid yourself. People can and do break up and divorce all the time, and feelings do fade and people can grow apart. Your feelings may still be very strong, but if he is dating someone new and left you for her, then obviously his feelings for you are not longer the same.


the best way to go NC if you are determined to try to share the dog is to only communicate about the dog. As in establishing a set time every week where the exchange is made, then just exchange the dog without conversation or comment. Or arrange for a friend to meet up with him to trade the dog until you feel your feelings are such that it won't bother you to see him or him and his GF together.


btw, i'm a bit concered that you are deferring to him... as in accepting it when he says 'don't bring this subject up again' as if he owns all the power and you have to just comply with it. Who has legal ownership of the dog? If it is you that bought the dog or adopted it, he has no rights to the dog if you choose to deny him them... and you can go to court to get a decision if both your names are on the ownership of the dog and if he contests it. He's not the best 'parent' for the dog if he intends to trek around the world for 6 months leaving the dog behind and the judge woudl see that. He does NOT hold all the power unless you just blindly give it to him.

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Whoever is in the best position to care for the dog, gets the dog. That's it. The dog is not a child and you can't treat him as such. Since your ex is going to be gone for a long time and looks like he has his mind set in play mode, you get the dog for all kinds of practical reasons and that's that.


As for your ex arguing, don't think he doesn't know that the grass might not be greener after all. It's his way of staying in your life, while having his freedom too. It's extremely selfish. He wants to know that in case things don't work, he can always fall back on you. If I were you, I'd slam the door in his face and be done. When you break up, you do lose the person you were with. Those are the consequences. Your ex doesn't want consequences, he wants you in his back pocket until he meets someone else and ever then, he'd probably like you in his back pocket still. It's very comforting to have a safety net. The whole problem for you in this set up is that the chances of him coming back are almost zero. All he is doing is feeling comfortable moving on and making it really easy on himself.


You don't want to set your foot down, because you are still hoping you'll reconcile. That's understandable, however, the sooner you find your spine, the better you'll be off and might even earn his respect again. As you wrote, you started to take each other for granted, and he is still taking you for granted and treating you like a doormat. He is not afraid to actually lose you because he doesn't think you have it in you to drop him.

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@DancingFool you're probably right - he has asked me though to let go and move on with my life. He doesn't expect me to wait or whatever.


- He's not going to India backpacking. He's going to India with work.

- We're both legal owners of the dog.


I guess for the sake of the dog, if he's not willing to give him up, then I will have to

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He had an affair. He fell in love with someone else and I agree he probably slept with her. I am sorry but you need to take off your rose tinted glasses. He is not long term material. When everything was good between you he was great-best bf ever but as soon as things got a little comfortable, stale or boring-instead of trying to fix it and make it better-he allowed himself to get too close to someone else which ultimately destroyed what you had.


Hes emotionally immature and also quite insecure as he wants to "experience the single life". You should have dumped him years ago when you knew that he craved this. Some people are not cut out for ltr coz they like the idea of ONS, NSA etc there are men who don't want this or crave it-never have. There the only ones any woman should marry coz they truly are a one woman man and trustworthy


You need to kick him out of your life, slam the door in his face and close it forever. He is being extremely selfish expecting you to wait around for him and allowing him back in the future-if he decides he made a mistake. People do not leave you if they truly love you, they know your enough and are not going anywhere. So stop daydreaming.


You are worth more than this and deserve better. He is an a**hole and hes proved that for the past year. Let him go. You keep the dog. Hes gonna be gone for 6 months-the dog is yours


Put your foot down and tell him you want no contact and he can go and buy his own dog

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