Love/Relationship Columnist
My Wife Loves Our Dog More Than Me
Sep 27, 2010 - 6:02:31 AM

( - It’s very much in vogue to have a small dog these days. Women carry the dog in a small bag and go everywhere with them. They dress their dogs in cute pink clothes, have sunglasses for their dogs and don’t leave home without them. If they go out to eat, the dog comes. The dog is taken on dates and also has a place up near her pillow to sleep. I love dogs. I have an Irish Wolfhound (I like big dogs) and although I don’t take him with me on dates or to bed, he is part of my family. Men are growing tired of their wives’ affection for their dogs, especially since it means less and less for them. I have had more men tell me in the past month that their wives’ dogs get treated better than they do. Men are mostly jealous of the affection the dogs receive from their wives. Men tell me that when they do get a weekend alone without the dog, it is not uncommon for their wife to have to call home and check on the dog. When she gets home from work, the first thing she will do is grab the dog and kiss him. The husband looks on with disdain as he can remember when it was him who got the first smooch. What’s going on? Why are women turning to their dogs instead of their husbands?

Purina did a survey using 1000 women who own dogs. They asked these women if their dog or husband gave them more affection. They also asked which one was a better listener. Dogs scored higher on the listening scale than a third of the husbands. Affection was tied between dogs and husbands. How is this possible? Are these men not home, or are they clueless in regards to what their wives need? I understand why a man would be upset, especially when his wife wanted the dog to share her pillow instead of her husband. It may be wise for men to really watch this interchange between their wives and their dogs. Maybe husbands can get better ideas of what their wives need. In the survey, women reported these tips which may help.

1. When they talk to the dog, the dog sits and looks at their face. Sometimes the dog’s expression changed as did the women’s when she was talking. Women reported that their husbands rarely look at them when they talk, and when they did many times they were expressionless. Men seemed annoyed that their wives would mute the TV when they need to talk.
2. The dogs seemed excited to see the women. Women reported feeling needed and loved. Some of the women said their husbands never seemed happy to see them, even after an extended absence.
3. The women said the dogs were rarely moody. They rarely had to seek care for the dogs with depression. Wives reported that their husbands were grumpy and irritable especially in the morning before work.
4. The dogs liked to cuddle at night, something most of the women really loved. Husbands on the other hand seemed to have a goal in mind, which does not involve feeling warmth or cuddling with their wives.

I prefer my husband to any dog I ever had. He has arms to hold me and a sensual voice; he smells nice, and can communicate with me in a way my dog could not. If you are in a marriage where you feel second to your spouse’s dog, I would encourage you to take a long, hard look and thank the dog. For one thing, if it weren’t for the dog your wife could be in the arms of another man. Secondly, begin taking time for your spouse. If a dog can get that close to your spouse without using words, arms, or your ability to engage at your level, imagine what you could do with a little bit more attentiveness. –Mary Jo Rapini

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Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is featured on TLC’s new series, Big Medicine which completed season one and two. She is also a contributing expert for Cosmopolitan magazine, Women’s Health, First, and Seventeen magazine. Mary Jo has a syndicated column (Note to Self) in the Houston Chronicle, is a Love/Relationships columnist to and “Ask Mary Jo” in Houston Family Magazine. She is an intimacy and sex counselor, and specializes in empowering relationships. She has worked with the Pelvic restorative center at Methodist Hospital since 2007.

Mary Jo is a popular speaker across the nation, with multiple repeat requests to serve as key-note speaker for national conferences. Her dynamic style is particularly engaging for those dealing with intimacy issues and relationship challenges, or those simply hanging on to unasked questions about sex in relationships. She was recently a major participant in a symposium for young girls dealing with body image and helping girls become strong women. Rapini is the author of Is God Pink? Dying to Heal and co-author of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever. She has appeared on television programs including Montel, Fox Morning News and various Houston television and radio programs. Keep up with the latest advice at

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