Life looks different after divorce. You’re facing a long transition into your new life and you may be grieving over the loss of your marriage. When it all feels a little hopeless, you may consider the possibility of getting a pet.
But is it a good idea?
Consider these factors if you’re questioning whether a new pet will help you get through your divorce:
In the wake of a divorce, getting home to feed your pet might be what pulls you through the day — just be sure you can stay committed to the animal for the next 5,000 days. Cats and dogs can live for over fifteen years, while birds can live well into their twenties. Sending an animal right back to a shelter isn’t fair or humane, so be sure you can commit to feeding, training, exercising and bonding with your new pet.
Stress and Anxiety
A pet can reduce blood pressure and stress, lower the risk of a heart attack, improve exercise habits and lessen the likelihood of depression. The unconditional love of a pet may help you come to terms with the end of your martial relationship. If you’re sorting through pet custody issues with your ex-spouse, a new pet may also help fill another void.
However, if the stresses of the divorce has made you impatient or irritable, try other healthy ways to cope with stress before adopting a new pet. Pets take a tremendous amount of patience and training them can be frustrating. It’s important that you’re able to love your pet unconditionally in return.
If you and your ex-spouse have a child together, you may consider adopting a new pet to lift your kid’s spirits. A pet can serve as a distraction from the emotional upset of divorce by helping children feel safe, giving them something to care for and making their new home more positive.
However, even if you are ready to commit to a new pet, it’s important to assess whether your child is also in favor of the change. If you notice your child being resentful of change or struggling with aggression, it may be in the child’s best interest to avoid major changes.
Divorce is a complex and long process. It’s important to be honest with yourself about whether you and your children will benefit from adopting a new pet during divorce. In the meantime, talking to an attorney may help the logistics of your divorce become less overwhelming.