Are pets keeping people single?
Having spent a bit of time dating lately I've noticed there are people who's pets have become an impediment to them getting in a relationship. I've also noticed a lot of people getting pets lately.
If we are being completely honest about things the dating landscape in 2023 wasn't great (hopefully 2024 is better!), so any time you miss out on a good relationship prospect sucks as it can take a long time to find these in the sea of low quality that's out there. So if your goal is to get in a good relationship it makes sense to do things that help you be more attractive to the potential partners that have what you are looking for. It also helps to get impediments to forming good relationships out of the way.
None of this article is to say that there's anything wrong with animals. If you love animals and pets then you might do well to date someone else that loves animals. But you want to know what you are getting yourself into before you get a pet, not afterwards. Getting a pet is a serious matter and not something that should ever be done on a whim.
If you have pets you have a responsibility to look after them. Far too many people I'm seeing these days like the idea of a pet and get one without seriously thinking through the consequences.
A large consequence of having pets is a reduced freedom to do things spontaneously. If you have a pet you have a moral and ethical responsibility to look after it properly.
Lets say you meet the man or woman of your dreams and they say "hey do you want to get dinner tonight?", if you have a dog at home and the dog needs to be fed and walked then you'll have to say no to the invite. This is a subtle way in which people's dating prospects can get reduced.
Lets say you are dating someone and they offer to pay for a holiday overseas to your dream destination. What do you do with the dog? Can you find a house sitter? If not who's going to pay for a kennel? Having a pet makes the logistics way harder. Increased frictions or costs like this lead to more difficulties in forming relationships.
Part of why this is such a problem is due to hypergamy. Women in particular like the idea of "dating up", the idea of dating a man who has the means to say go on that dream date or vacation or day trip is appealing. But if your pet means you can't go then that can be a major issue. In all honesty I'd not feel great inviting someone to a fancy restaurant to then get cancelled on on rejected because they have to walk a dog for example. To be clear I don't think being a responsible pet owner reflects badly on someone, quite the opposite, but being responsible does directly reduce flexibility with some pets. I don't want to have to compete with a pet for schedule time because I just don't have enough time and energy to spare right now. But this is where the hypergamy thing is difficult, most highly successful people will not have all the time in the world to be flexible. This is usually because you have to invest time and energy to be successful in what you do. If the demographic you want to date are successful hard working people who are therefore somewhat time poor then having obligations that consistently reduce your flexibility to plan could be a serious problem for you finding someone from that target demographic.
About 10-20% of the world's population is allergic to cats or dogs.
This means that if you get a cat or a dog you could immediately cut the dating pool by 10-20%.
Personally I wouldn't date someone if they had a pet I was allergic to, this is a hard pass for me. I imagine if I had a pet that someone else was allergic to it would be a severe impediment to me having a relationship with them.
Unhealthy relationships with pets
When people do things like treat their pets as though they were their kids this is a major red flag. I have a whole article about this in the works.
Poorly behaved pets
I saw an extremely clear case of this with someone who had a beagle. Unfortunately the dog was extremely poorly trained and this caused all sorts of problems. This became the problem of whoever they dated too if the dog was at the house. The dog would do things like scratch furniture, sometimes howl uncontrollably, bolt after things and jump up on tables and make a mess. Unfortunately the owner couldn't be reasoned with when it came to any of their pets behaviors. She had a breakup with the guy she was seeing and I know the dog was a factor even if nobody said anything about it.
Perhaps the most disgusting thing I ever saw regarding pets was a neighbor who trained his cat to shit on the floor in the bathroom. This sort of thing alone could make someone completely undateable in the eyes of the vast majority of people and rightfully so. Imagine you are over at his place and you go to the bathroom and suddenly out of nowhere you notice you stepped in cat shit... Disgusting. This is an extreme case to be sure but you don't want anything like this going on.
In most cases poorly behaved pets are really a reflection on poorly behaved people. If you get a bad sign with how someone treats their pets you really don't want to ignore it.
Lack of compatibility with other people's pets
Say you have a pet dog and you meet someone who you think is perfect, but they happen to have pet cats. Perhaps you both love cats and dogs. What do you do if you want to move in together? What if the pets don't get along? What if the pets fight?
Perhaps the biggest issue with having pets before being in a relationship is that you need to find someone else who likes pets but also someone else who doesn't yet have a pet. If the other person has a pet then you run the risk of the pets not being compatible. In any case this reduces the pool of people who you can date, and perhaps does so substantially because pets may not be able to live in the same place successfully.