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Pet Custody Problem with Ex - I got them and now feel awful. Was I too mean???

1315 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  stiletto
I have just had an awful situation involving an ex-boyfriend and 2 dogs. I ended up with the dogs but my ex is crushed and I feel like a horrible person. I would like to hear your opinions. Here's the scoop:

J (the ex) moved in with me right after buying a house. One of the big reasons for the house purchase was so I could get dogs and not have to deal with rental pet issues (we were broken up when I bought the house then got back together). About 3 months later, I took in a dog who was abandoned on my own initiative. I was the primary caretaker and spent about $1000 in vet bills. I love the dog and so did J. She was our little girl. About 4 months later, I decided that dog #1 needed companionship so I found another dog on petfinder. I spoke with J and he was on board but didn't take any initiative in getting the dog. I filled out the application, was interviewed, scheduled meetings, paid the adoption fee, etc... I was the primary caretaker for dogs and financial support for another 4 more months.

J began staying home all day to write his thesis for several months, then for another few months while unemployed. He was at home with dogs all day. We knew it was temporary while he found a job. I was still the responsible party. I made sure they had food, treated, picked up poop, got dog park passes, made sure their care was secured if we were out of town - even though he was home all day and not paying rent or bills.

Eventually, we broke up and he found another place. Personal and domestic (as you may be able to tell, he was on the lazy side) issues were a problem. He wanted to take dog #2. I reluctantly agreed, trying to be fair to J. J found a dog-friendly apartment close to his new job and paid the pet deposit and extra rent money. The apartment was more expensive than others and in a less desirable location. He moved and I kept dog #2 while he got settled. The move-out went smoothly. I even helped him pack up his stuff and carry it out with him and his bro and got him some nice housewarming gifts.

During the time I was watching #2 and he was getting settled, I changed my mind and felt it was in the best interest of the dogs for #2 to stay at home with mom (me) and sister dog. J and I discussed the situation amicably, then argued. He took dog 2 to try it out and see how the dogs would react. I decided I didn't want to split them up or let #2 go and told J to return him and get another dog. He wouldn't budge on bringing him back permanently and instead, wanted to have primary custody of #2 but we would get the dogs together every weekend. Obviously, this isn't healthy for a new break up. I grew upset that J wouldn't bring #2 back and felt he was being selfish. After attempted civil convincing, I lost my temper and did some mean name calling (e.g. selfish, lazy). I threatened to sue and meant it (I'm a lawyer). I told him that I needed to be #2'a primary caretaker but J could see them anytime he wanted. J gave in and brought #2 back and told me he never wanted to speak to me again. He was crying when he brought him back and was saying goodbye to the dogs. It was heart wrenching but I knew there was nothing I could do or say. He hates me now - I understand. I feel like a horrible, horrible person.

What do you all think? Be honest. Thanks for any input you may give.
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Thank you for your honesty, Warweasel. I agree - what I did was just horrible. I should have told him I was keeping both from the beginning and spared us all a lot of heartache, especially J. I had planned to keep my word even though I was regretting making the arrangement, then got over-emotional and pissed that he wouldn't return #2. I destroyed any sort of 'good terms' breakup that we had before this situation. It sucks. I know J is totally devastated.

You INTJs are always so logical - and that's a good thing. I try to be but at times, my emotions get out of hand. I have tried to work on that but need to do better. I am happy I have both dogs and do think they are now in the best situation - just feeling bad about how everything played out and disappointed in myself for causing it.
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Thank you for your support, Baldur. I was always the one ultimately responsible for them and did feel like I needed to do what was best for myself and the dogs in the end. Just wish I handled it better. Again, thank you for your response. Hope you are having a good day.
Also - love your profile pic. Greg House <3
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All - thank you for taking the time to respond to this. This is the first time I've started a post here and the feedback is great.

InTheRockies - You do raise a good point regarding the nature of break ups. Thanks for your insight and thoughtful words.

I thought, since this is a personality type forum, that I should mention my ex's type. He's an ESFP - a lot of frustration on both ends for a long time.
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