Change is inevitable in relationships, let alone life itself.
The question is how much are you willing to change to please someone else?
When hatedogs on Reddit butted heads with his girlfriend over his fear of dogs, he drew a hard line in the relationship and it’s causing issues. Because of this, the original poster (OP) took his story to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to figure out if he was wrong.
“AITA for refusing to go to therapy in order for my girlfriend to get a dog”
This was his story:
“OK so I (25 M) am petrified of dogs. I was attacked by one when I was a kid about 7 years old that resulted in fairly serious injuries.”
“My girlfriend who I love deeply and I live with 27 (F) really loves dogs and lives with me. She wants to get one for our apartment which allows pets.”
“My girlfriend is really passionate about dogs as she volunteered at an animal shelter in high school and college.”
“Like I said dogs scare me like no other thing on earth, I don’t pet them, I don’t acknowledge them, If I see one I make sure to stay a couple paces away. If my friends have a dog I invite them over to our apartment or meet them at bars.”
“My girlfriend is dying to get a dog for our home and I have given her a hard no. She responded by asking me to go to therapy to get over my fear because it is irrational.”
“Look I can accept that fearing dogs is irrational at 25, I just got very unlucky when I was young to meet a very mean dog and I probably shouldn’t fear them anymore. It is also annoying and embarrassing to have a mundane fear at 25.”
Seems like they encountered a problem and came up with a solution.
“That being said, fearing dogs does not have a major impact on my life. Depression, Anxiety, Addiction, sure I would encourage anyone suffering from such serious mental health issues to seek a therapist.”
“I am not discounting the importance of mental health. That being said, Im not going to spend the money and time getting over a fear that has little impact on my life.”
“My girlfriend says my refusal to go to therapy is an indication, I don’t care about her desires. While I believe her lack of acceptance of my fear of dogs is an sign that she doesn’t care about mine.”
“Like my girlfriend hates Chinese food while I love it so I don’t eat Chinese food when we are together. Why can’t a dog be like that? Which one of us is being the AH.”
On the AITA board, people share their stories and explain their actions. Then the rest of the subReddit judges OP based on how they reacted.
This is done with one of the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
It was well and agreed that OP had no obligation to get therapy to get over his phobia. This is especially since it can be really expensive to handle these situations.
However, they also said the girlfriend wasn’t wrong to ask for it, or feel neglected in the relationship because of it.
Because of this, the vote was NAH.
“NAH, but the Chinese food comparison is very poor/not applicable at all. I see why she’s upset.”
“Is your only hang up that you don’t think the money is worth it to get over your fear? And clearly this fear is having a meaningful impact on your life.”
“If that’s the sole reason then maybe a very slight YTA.” – No-Chemist2719
“NAH but we’d break up if this was us. I would never be serious with anyone who refused to let me ever get a dog.” – bad_armenian_juju
“It’s not irrational to be afraid of something that has previously caused you harm.”
“It’s also okay to not want a particular type of pet, regardless of the reason.”
“She’s not an AH for wanting a dog, and you’re not an AH for not wanting one and not wanting to go to therapy.” – EngineeringOwn2299
A number of commenters got into debates about the nature of responsibility in a relationship.
Is it right for the girlfriend to expect OP to get therapy or dump him? Should OP have predicted this happening when OP started dating someone who likes dogs so much?
And did either of them ever communicate any of this when they got together?
“Here’s the difference, your girlfriend’s dislike of Chinese food isn’t because she was attacked by a Chinese person or a Chinese food delivery driver when she was 7. She just doesn’t have the taste for it. Why would it bother her if you ate it around her?”
“You can get over this or cope but you are choosing not to. If you have insurance then you can see a therapist at little to no cost. You’re calling it ‘embarrassing’ but also calling it ‘mundane.’”
“So you have to decide if it’s worth losing your girlfriend over a dog. Because it IS impacting your life.”
“YTA: But you’re not the a**hole about your fear – you can’t undo the past. You’re the a**hole about how you’re coping with it and how you’re justifying not moving past it when there are now inexpensive ways and means to do so.” – blockparted
“But shouldn’t someone go to therapy because the want to not because they are being forced to..if he honestly doesn’t want to go he get 0 benefit from it because he won’t be actually trying.”
“Also if the girlfriend leave him over a dog she isn’t worth dating.” – OneMikeNation
“You’re exactly right – he should only go to therapy if he’s ready to deal with the trauma. A dog attack at 7 years old is traumatic AF.”
“But it’s not that she isn’t worth dating, it’s more that they aren’t meant for each other. And that’s okay too.” – blockparted
“-Im not going to spend the money and time getting over a fear that has little impact on my life.-”
“This is where you’re wrong. It’s going to have a massive impact on your life. 9/10 dog lovers as passionate as your GF will choose the dog over the reluctant bf.”
“YTA” – PurpleWomat
“You might be right about the girlfriend choosing the dog over him, but how is he the a**hole? He MUST like dogs because his girlfriend does? That’s ridiculous.”
“Especially given the traumatic experience he had with one. Not everyone needs to want or like dogs.” – cycleski
“I get that he doesn’t like dogs. I don’t have a problem with him not liking dogs.
“I only took issue with him refusing therapy because it ‘would have little impact on his life’, mostly on the grounds that his gf is a part of his life and it clearly has a major impact on her…” – PurpleWomat
OP and his girlfriend should have had this talk much sooner. His fear and her love of dogs seems to be pretty important in both their lives.
It was bound to be an issue.
There may be nothing to be done. They may have to go their separate ways and there is nothing wrong with that.
But OP needs to decide if his relationship is worth more than his hesitance to go to therapy.