The love you have for your pet is unconditional, relaxed and wonderful. Bizarre as it might sound, let that relationship teach you about loving your partner too...
Don't be judgemental
When you first brought your pet home, did they stroll around and decide if it was decorated to their taste? Did they discover you'd downloaded the Meatloaf album and decide you just weren't cool enough for them? The answer, we guess, is probably 'no'. Animals don't judge, they accept you for who and how you are. Try to remember this the next time the person you're chatting to online turns out to like a different film, or your date turns up wearing a shirt you hate, or your partner flops in front of the telly to watch a Star Trek episode for the fiftieth time.
In the eyes of your pet you are the best person on the planet, ever. They always want to be around you, play with you or even just sit next to you when you're reading the paper. When you're on a walk, your dog doesn't run off with another dog walker and refuse to come back. Now we're not suggesting you follow your partner around the house and refuse to leave their side - that could be a bit creepy - but remind yourself you're with them because you love them and you think they're great. So even if it means turning down an exciting invitation from friends to see their parents instead, or putting up with their bad moods now and then; remember love means loyalty.
Think about each other
Animals have a special knack of zoning in for a cuddle when they know you're feeling blue. You're just as considerate to them too - you think about when they'll be hungry, if they'll need some time out to run around, or when they'll need a toilet break. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day lives, we forget to think about our partners' needs. But a little consideration can go a long way. Try making them a cup of tea in the morning or recording their favourite TV show if you know they're going to miss it.
One of the great things about having a pet is knowing that no matter what time of day it is, they'll always be up for a hug. Or, if you're really lucky, for a chance to lick your face. While that might not be quite the way you choose to show your partner affection, it's really important to remember to be tactile with each other. It doesn't have to be a big PDA, it can just be holding hands or giving them an extra-long hug when you say hello. Just as pets need human contact to feel loved, so do, well, humans.
Don’t forget to play
There are loads of fun things about having a partner, but sometimes we get so bogged down with relationship routines, we can forget that! Pets, on the other hand, are always up for playing games. So next time you start putting off going out with your partner because you have to do the chores or 'you feel a bit tired'; don't. Suggest an impromptu trip to the cinema, a meal out to a new restaurant or even a walk round the block. Whatever it is, just say yes to having fun.
Relationships can be a chore
Having said that, relationships and dating aren't all about having fun, and neither is looking after your pet. Behind the japes in the park, you still have to remember to buy them food and clear out their litter tray. Remember this the next time your partner asks you to come shopping with them or to go to their boring colleagues' party. Take the rough (er, ruff?) with the smooth.