Ask Nicci: Don’t let relationship go to the dogs

From the April 12, 2012 edition

I have been seeing this girl I really like. Things are great with us; it’s our dogs that are the problem. We met at a dog park the dogs were an icebreaker and common ground in the beginning, but now I am seeing her lack of discipline/training with her dog. Even worse, our dogs do not get along. This may sound ridiculous to non-pet owners, but if our dogs can’t get along, then how can we make this work?Major

Dating as a pet parent definitely adds a few non-negotiable items to your dating checklist. For instance, someone that does not like animals or is allergic need not apply.

If you or someone you are dating is a pet parent, the management and discipline of the pet is very insightful. Ask any dog owners and I’m sure they will tell you their pets are like their children. You wouldn’t allow your child to misbehave around other kids, so why would you allow your dog?

You really need to work on the human relationship first without the distraction of the pets. Extract yourselves from situations where the dogs (or pets) are involved. If there is something worth exploring in the relationship, then at least when the pet problem becomes an issue you will be on more trusted ground when you discuss it.

I have a girl friend that would be my perfect match if only she felt the same. Not only is she not interested in me, but she knows I like her and flirts with me only when she’s drinking while we’re out watching bands or hanging in our group. I have essentially become her personal friend with benefits. I know she just uses me, but I like her. Is there something I can do to shift her perception of me?

Oh, the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in when we fall in love with someone we can’t have or are the victims of bad timing!

The reality is the good guy doesn’t always win. For the moment I think that’s good, because my instincts tell me this girl isn’t much of a prize. I can tell you that it is time for action. Make your move and express your feelings to her as soon as it is appropriate. Life is too short to wait around for her to come around, and you never know who you could be missing while your “friend” is wasting your time.

We all deserve to be with someone that reciprocates our feelings, but sometimes we can’t help who we fall in love with. What we can control is when to move on when situations don’t benefit us. Get back out there and find your girl: the girl that will appreciate you, not the girl that makes you feel unworthy.

∙ Nicci Sprouse is the owner of a local dating service. Send your questions about love and relationships to get in touch through her website,