Sex + Dating

How Pets Make You Better at Dating

pets make you better
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

There's no algorithm to predict when your ideal someone will come along.

It could be any day now, next month, or in five years. And no matter what dating app you download or how much you put yourself out there, it's painfully obvious that there's no magic formula for speeding things along. Bottom line, you need to be patient and just do you in the meantime.

Seems easier said than done, I get it. So I've gone ahead and figured out the best way to stay patient when you're eager to meet someone but have no control over when that might happen.

Get a pet! Not a fish. Not an ant farm. Not a robo-cat! I'm talking a real pet, who can love you and be there for you. The kind of creature you can love and nurture so you're set up to be a functional human when the right person finally does come along.

Nobody knows companionship like cats and dogs

The love of my life is Alba, my pet black cat.

Alba is someone I'm excited to come home to. I can talk to her about anything. When I'm sad (or happy, or tired), I hold her. She knows she can cuddle up with me whenever she wants. She's entertaining as hell to watch. We even share meals, since Alba loves herself some human food. I take great pleasure in taking care of her.

As far as friendships go, Alba and I have a good thing going.

And I've noticed something since this union: It's become a hell of a lot easier to turn down people who aren’t right for me. Experiencing unconditional love like this has made it impossible to put up with the slights and annoyances of mismatches. I don't stick around for wishy-washy commitment, a lack of enthusiasm, or temperaments not in line with my own.

When you have someone who is excited to see you every time you walk through the door, it's less attractive to be with a person who's lukewarm about things.

Animal companionship staves off loneliness

Granted, a relationship with a pet won't provide everything you desire out of a human relationship. I swear I haven't gone insane: I definitely (mostly) know Alba is not a person.

So, what if I pretend? Consider how fulfilling your platonic parent-pet relationship is, even if this level of commitment isn't the same as falling in love. Taking care of a pet will keep you from feeling sorry for yourself as you muscle through crappy dates and disappointing swipe culture.

If you can believe a pet is enough, at least on a temporary basis, then you'll buy yourself a healthy amount of time during which you can focus on finding the right person for you.

A pet needs you more than your people need you

A pet needs no one else in the world but you.

They rely on only you for entertainment, food, and love. You are their everything -- and that brings with it a lot of responsibility. This requires maturity. And planning. And commitment. These are all things you'll need when you meet the right person and convince them you're not a crazy cat guy.

Your friends might love you, but they have other friends. Your family might love you, but you're out on your own now (I hope). Only your fluffy, furry pet friend looks exclusively to you for a dimension of love they can't find anywhere else. And, bonus: If this is an animal you've adopted or rescued, you've literally saved its life.

Go ahead, bask in this incredible power.                   

A pet allows you to feel more comfortable with being alone

Patience does not imply forever, of course. I'm not saying you'll get a pet and never crave human love again.

That would be weird, guys.

But you should trust me on this! Providing great care for a pet sets you up in a fulfilling relationship better than anything you thought you deserved. Alba loves me no matter how mopey, unshowered, or selfish I may be sometimes. Love doesn't walk into your life every day -- but that cat does.

Ultimately, it's better to be alone than with the wrong person. We all intellectually know this, but god damn it is hard to act like we believe it. Having Alba has allowed me to hold out for the right woman whose life will work with mine (MUST LOVE CATS). Plus, this feline is providing me with companionship so I'm not testing my patience all alone.

If while you're waiting people accuse you of turning into a crazy cat or dog person, just remind them of this: It takes someone who's nuts to find a crazy thing like love.

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Alex Rosenfeld is a writer currently based in Camden, New Jersey. He loves his cat very much. Follow his furbaby adventures on his WordPress site and Twitter @personalexy.