Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

It's the dog or him

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Guest has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, 21 February 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

After the heartbreak of many failed attempts at IVF, my husband and I are having to come to terms with being unable to have children. However, in December we made a decision to get a dog and have fallen in love with him. George, our Bichon Frise, has enhanced our lives in a way I had never thought possible. The problem is, I never want to leave him, he is my life, I adore him and cannot trust anyone to look after, him which is causing problems between me and my husband. I do not want to socialise anymore, prefering to be with George. We had previously booked a holiday for July this year, I have told my husband to cancel it. He is furious and has now said its him or the dog. What do I do?

Patricia Marie says...

It is vital you and your husband establish some boundaries and limitations. Yes, do enjoy your dog, he is helping to fill a void in your life, however, he is not leader of the pack. You and your husband have a relationship to safeguard and nurture, which you cannot allow your dog to dominate. You have both come through a painful time together, and it would be unfair to let your dog come between the bond you clearly share with your husband, and would like you to consider his point of view.

Your dog has become a substitute child, and you are not allowing him to be what he is, a delightful pet, and for all your sakes needs to be treated like one, so you and your husband can get to enjoy him without further resentment. You both deserve the forthcoming holiday, and there are many reliable dog sitters about, who you could share your anxieties with, and perhaps come up with a plan to make the separation easier to cope with.

The emotional pain of failed IVF treatment can cause much anxiety, and feel you could benefit from some counselling, which would help you come to terms with the fear of loss and separation. The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area.

Got a dilemma, please email
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows
0 votes
  • Print

Recent posts

I attract the wrong type of ma...

Dear Patricia Marie, I feel that I am almost giving up on the gentleman species. I am thirty going on fifty! The type of men that I seem to meet are n...

Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]




What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter