(Note: This is a follow-up from a letter published in 2014)
Hey there, Papa Bear!
[There are several topics in this letter that I feel will be kind of strange or even verging on the unbelievable for your followers, because there's a lot of heavy Christianity in this letter. However, it is a huge part of my letter so I really cannot hide the truth of what really happened, and I can't really change the story because it is what it is. So I please ask for respect and discretion as always from everyone, since I know Christianity can be a touchy subject to many. I know you're open minded and respectful, so I thank you in advance for not judging me. Also, I would like it if my letter remained anonymous.
I don't know if you remember my case, but I want you to know that my sad story had a beautiful ending that I want to share with you and everyone else.
I will briefly summarize the events in my lasts letters to you a few years ago. The gist of it was that my boyfriend, and later fiancé, was a ladies's man, and it put me through a lot of emotional turmoil. He had changed, and he had improved immensely although not entirely, only to fall into the same pattern again. I called him Lion in my letters to you, and I remember clearly that you told me to dump him because he wasn't going to change, and that he was going to continue this behavior. I remember you told me amazing advice, and I followed most of it, except the aspect of dumping him, and I will explain below why.
I will speak to you in an entirely Christian perspective, so I apologize if I mention God a lot in this letter, but in my opinion, He was and is the most pivotal, important part of the story so it wouldn't be the same without that element. I respect everyone equally and I know that you're really open minded, so I come to you without fear of judgement. You're awesome, Papa Bear!
So, it all takes off right after you told me to dump him. I spent the couple following weeks heavily considering it--after all, why would I keep on holding to a man that had clearly said that he didn't love me anymore? I had found out every little lie he told me, and everything began to crumble. Things began to turn volatile. I succumbed to a big, severe depression where I felt like literal death. We had to cancel the wedding two months and a half before the set date, because he was left without a job, and because of the problems we were facing. He was now left with nothing--a crumbling relationship, jobless, with debts, and with an emotional problem that was crushing us both.
We tried to break it apart, we tried to move our separate ways, but for some reason, we couldn't. Every time I tried to, I froze. And, every time he tried to, he froze as well. We can't explain it, but it was as if something was avoiding our separation. I didn't want to end things, because I loved him with every fiber of my being even if he had taken my heart and shattered it twice, but for my own sanity I had to. Things had taken a turn for the worse. We fought every day, we argued like crazy and we began to walk into a dead end. Our fights were mostly about this Foxy person I had mentioned in my other letter, and I told him several times that she would be his demise. She had a son, and a toxic relationship with her son's father that would affect him as well. I knew that he was going to be in a life where he would be miserable. And, I loved him. I didn't want to see the man I love succumb to a life that he does not deserve, even if he had given me a moment in our relationship I did not deserve.
My heart was torn. What could I do? I don't have the strength to dump him, and I know he didn't have it either. He can't be like this. After everything we've been through, I know who he is. He wasn't being himself. Everything seemed too off for me to actually believe it. Call me a fool, if you want. Call me naïve, but I wasn't going to throw away four to five years of a beautiful relationship and let it fall to the dust. My heart was shattered, I began to get sick, until my hyperthyroidism problems started to affect me again due to the intense stress and agony I was going through. And... after hitting a dead end, all I had left was to pray.
I didn't go and dump him, I didn't want to fight anymore... so I just prayed. And prayed, and prayed, and prayed... And I know God heard my prayers. I began to focus on myself. On my self love, on my Bible reading, and I began to grow as a person. My mind began to feel healthier, and even if my circumstances began to get worse and worse, all I did was pray. I began to change tactics because something in me changed... my heart felt heavy, but my soul felt at peace. And thus, I began to change tactics--I became the loving partner I always was, even if he wasn't responding at first. Until he began to observe my change in behavior. At first, he couldn't understand how I could be treating him like this after he did what he did. He thought he didn't deserve my love. But, I told him, I know you don't deserve it, but I still want to give it to you, like Jesus did with us. We didn't deserve His love, but He still loves us all the same.
That shocked him. I kept praying, and growing stronger spiritually and mentally. My heart was shattered in pieces, but I could feel myself much stronger than before. One day, I was sitting in my car, listening to the radio [a Christian radio station] and I laid down in fetal position in the back seat, and I began to cry at lunch while I was working. I cried so, so much, my heart felt burdened and weary. Suddenly, someone began to talk in the radio, and he said, "Hey, there is a person listening right now that cleans their church every Saturday (And I did clean my church every Saturday back then!), you have cried so much in silence. God has seen every tear, and He wants to tell you, that your blessing is on it's way, and you will see it with your own eyes very, very soon."
The VERY SAME DAY, he came to my house after months of me barely seeing him. He threw himself at me, crying like a small child. He was crying so, so much, Papa Bear, and I began to cry as well. Confused, I asked him what was going on. He told me that he was sorry; he told me that he didn't know what got into him, but that he was lost. It was as if he really had no idea why he did what he did, or why he did any of it in the first place. He told me that he was sick and disgusted at himself, that he was tired of the life he was living, and that he wanted to change once and for all. He told me he felt his heart was torn into two, and that he felt destroyed. He spent all day crying, and so did I. He told me he was desperate, and then he told me that he was tired of everything. He wanted to make things right, and he told me that he would spend his entire life treating me like I deserved, because I had been nothing but good and graceful to him. He told me I showed him what a real Christian was--a person that gives love, without expecting love in return. A person who loves someone who is entirely unworthy of their love. Just like Jesus did, and still does.
We went one night to see the movie War Room, and, it spoke to both of us. We were going through what the main characters in the movie were going through, and we ended up crying and hugging each other in the middle of the movie. A couple of weeks later he confessed to me a lot of things. He told me that he had fallen in love with this Foxy person, and that for some time, he was blinded. He told me that he saw her as amazing but he was so, so wrong. He told me that after the illusion wore off, he began to see her for the serpent she truly was. They fought every day, and she was incredibly abusive and manipulative. He confessed to me that he was wrong, confessed to me that he had been unfaithful to me with her in many aspects, and also told me that he had been unfaithful to me in other occasions before Foxy. He confessed everything he did to me, and he wept like a child. He told me, however, that in the midst of it all, whenever he went, he saw things that reminded him of me. Every time I gave him love, he felt unworthy. He told me that my change of heart won him over and made him realize that he was throwing away a treasure he had to grab a piece of coal. And, little by little, he began to open his eyes. He began to see the huge mistake he was about to do, and he understood that sometimes, God destroys our plans before we destroy ourselves. I forgave him, but gave him an ultimatum that this was his last chance, and I meant it. I told him this in a serious tone, and he understood. This is where things began to improve... a LOT.
He became a much better version of himself than he ever was. For the first time in five years, I saw that his change was genuine. He felt as if all of his emotions came back, and he told me that he felt that his heart had been restored. He told me, however, that he needed time to heal, and I told him that I did so too. We worked on our relationship, and we both began to seek God with all of our hearts. He became a faithful man, and all of his fears and doubts vanished into thin air, and he became a better, much more mature version of himself. I also matured a lot, and we both feel closer than ever, and as if nothing had ever happened. He got a new job where they treated him like royalty, and they still do. Things began to improve, and we both began to seek God in prayer and Bible reading more and more, and amazingly, growing closer to God made us grow closer together as a couple.
One day, we were spending some time with his family from his mother's side, and there was this man that they didn't know about looking at us. I recognized him, but it had been years since I last saw him. He's a kind man of God with a humble heart, but he's terminally ill with cancer. He's also almost blind, but he still goes into little adventures, of sorts and goes to shopping malls and the like, to try and not fall into depression due to the short amount of time he has on this Earth. My fiancé had left briefly to search something for me, and this man had approached us and sat down with us. He began to speak to us, and then to me, and told me, "Where is your fiancé?" How did he know? I didn't have my ring on at the time, since I forgot to put it on that day. He hadn't seen me since I was 15 years old, and by that time, I was still with my ex-boyfriend. I am now 23 years old; back then when we encountered this man, I was 22.
He proceeded to describe him exactly as he was, and then when my fiancé arrived, this man began to confirm everything about the wedding to us. He even told him, "Get married, son! You will be happy. God will bless your marriage, because he has already blessed your union. He has corrected what was twisted, and he has brought you back home. You will have everything your heart desires. A family, a home... happiness. So take the leap in faith, because God is with you." And, my fiancé began to cry in the middle of a shopping mall. And, to make things even more amazing, this man ended his statements with, "Ah, Lord! What a beautiful cruise they will embark on for their honeymoon!" and, we were BLOWN AWAY. How did he know we were going on a cruise?! No one had told him anything!
A month later, on August 27th, 2016, we got married. The wedding was beautiful, emotional, and we were so, so happy. In our honeymoon--which, of course, was in a cruise--, we spoke about everything that happened. We were so overjoyed that we spent almost our entire two week honeymoon crying--tears of joy and tears of healing. I told him how I felt about everything, and he told me what had happened that made him return and details he hadn't told me about when he first confessed. He told me that he had tried time and time again to dump me, but something stopped him. He tried to make up excuses to not be with me, but every single time, I did something that he thought he didn't deserve. He felt angry, he felt confused, and he told me that he even hit himself in the head several times and tried to rip his hair out in frustration because he didn't know why he had done everything he had done and he began to heavily evaluate his life. He told me that he reached a dead end, and even attempted to commit suicide once by driving at full speed until something stopped him and made him stop the car.
He told me that he got angry at God, but why? He was the one wrong here. And, day after day, he was confronted with his own reality and he told me that he had no idea why he had done something he knew I didn't deserve. Until one day, he found something hidden in his old car one day that he went to check up on it and clean it out a bit. This part may be incredible to you, and even unbelievable, but it's what we went through and it helped us explain a lot. He found two voodoo dolls, filled with needles. One was a faceless male doll, and another one was a female doll with my exact same hairstyle. He immediately threw them away in horror, and he called me, and he didn't know that, at that exact time, I was praying, telling God to reveal everything that was hidden. We had been subject to witchcraft by a family that do not like us one bit due to a long history of envious and malicious intents from their part, and they had gone far enough to voodoo us to see our downfall.
But, now we're happy. We both closed that chapter in our lives, and he is now a man of God, changed, reformed, and he is now the current Youth Group Leader/Pastor. He even has gone far enough that he now preaches, and everyone around us has seen that he is a new man. He is a true testimony of how someone can truly change if they really mean to, and even if they have their ups and downs in that changing process, it is entirely possible. I gave him an ultimatum, however, like I mentioned earlier. I told him that this was his last chance, and I didn't care if we were going to be married for 1 month or 20 years. If I saw another slip like the one he had, I would divorce him without qualms, ifs or buts. And, he told me he learned from his mistakes. He told me that if he didn't learn, he would be the most dumbest and stupidest man alive and that I was free to divorce him. He told me he knew I didn't deserve what he put me through, and now he spends every moment of his days trying to make himself a better man, and to make me happy in every way possible. He's not perfect, and I am not either, but I couldn't be happier with how things turned out.
It was hard for me, but I proved to those who knew about what was going on what was going on what it means to be a true Christian. To be selfless enough to love and not expect anything in return--to cross oceans for someone even if that person won't cross a puddle for you. Because life is not about what you are given; life is about what you give. And I gave my all, and I trusted God, and everything turned out for the better. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.
I think God allowed everything, from the postponed wedding to the entire situation, to bring out in him his rawest, darkest secrets and to confront him with himself. So that he himself could see his true colors, and to confront him with his own reality, to later redeem him and transform him into a new man. God loves him, as he loves me, so he didn't want him to succumb to a life of depression and aimless living. So, he allowed this painful situation to expose the worst in him, to make him new again, and to then bring out only the best in him that only He knew he had.
I just wanted to update you, and I feel this will be my last letter to you unless I want to update you on how things have been since the last time we talked. I know things will be better, and I feel it in my heart. I am crying as I write this, because my heart is so, so thankful for everything the Lord has done, and for the pieces that completed the puzzle in that confusing time. You were one of those pieces, Papa Bear. I want to thank you for all your advice, for everything you do, because you played a really important part in my decisions and for that I thank you. Everyone, you can call me naïve if you want, or that I don't have self respect, but I feel quite the contrary, and I really don't mind what others think of me as long as I feel happy. Maybe you won't believe in him anymore, Papa Bear, and that's entirely understandable and I won't hold anything against you... After all, I wrote to you in desperate times, and I know you wanted for me what seemed to be the best option at that time. But I wanted to let you know that after all I went through, I finally feel happy, fulfilled, and at peace with the world and myself.
I know that you may not believe things that I mentioned here, and I feel like so will others who read this letter, but I can't change what happened and I can't cover up the details that make what happened so amazing. My heart is beating fast as I'm about to send you this letter, and while I always have a fear of judgement, I know that this place is a safe spot for a large group of religious and non religious points of view so I want to thank you for being so kind and open minded.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to send you another letter in the future filled with great news and a message of hope for others out there that need it.
* * *
Yes, I remember you. You last wrote me three years ago. Thanks for writing again. Thank you for your compliments about my being open-minded. As a preface to what I'm about to write, let me say a couple things. First, about Christianity. Faith is a powerful thing, and, as you know, it can be both constructive and destructive. When it comes to finding one's way to God, I am of a mind that there are many paths to the truth. People take certain paths, often, because of how they were raised and because of the culture within which they live (e.g., it is unlikely that someone raised Southern Baptist in Texas is going to convert to Islam--unlikely, but not impossible). So, I have no problem with your Christian faith. Secondly, about the Voodoo thing. Since I have not had much exposure to Voodoo or its beliefs and rituals (though I have edited books about it), I will reserve my judgment.
Back to the issue at hand: Lion. You will recall that back in 2014 you celebrated renewing your relationship with him despite his philandering ways, and believed that he was now faithful and committed to you. I quote your words: "He has changed DRASTICALLY, he hasn't returned to his player and ladies' man ways of the past, and we're saving up for marriage. He has stopped and cut short all communication with all the girls that he used to talk to, and he has really stopped his wandering ways. He has regained my trust, yet I always do keep an eye on him just in case. But he has really improved and he has proved to me in many ways that he does love me and that he has changed. He respects me completely [in all aspects of the word] and has shown that he wants to take things seriously now. I feel that we are going to be a long-term relationship and I couldn't be happier. He is the most caring, loving and gentleman Lion I could ever ask for."
Apparently, after that, he continued with his old ways for about two years, until he lost everything, correct? Then you told him about Christ and His forgiveness and he became all blubbery and cried and cried and got your sympathy. So, you reaffirm your relationship. Then, one day, you are visiting relatives and meet this mysterious man who is a man of God and is blind or nearly so. You are mystified by how much he knows. I have to stop there: if this guy is at this family function and knows your relatives, I would surmise he talks to them and they talk to you and that's how he knows about your fiance. You seem befuddled how he knows you are engaged, even though you are not wearing the ring. If he is blind, how would he know if you were wearing it or not? It doesn't matter; his information came from your family members. No mystery there. He encourages you to get married, and you do so.
Now your husband is youth leader/pastor espousing the Word of God. He promises he will never break his word again. You say that if he does so one more time it is over.
Sweetie, when reading what I'm about to say, keep in mind that I am an outsider who has not been living your life and who does not know Lion intimately as you do. Nevertheless, you asked for my advice and I will do my best.
It is always possible for people to change--for better or worse. I know from my own life that I have changed tremendously. I truly hope this is the case with Lion.
However, I must go on history. Based on history, I will be really blunt here and say that I feel Lion is full of shit and is manipulating you not only with tears but by feigning a belief in Christianity. Why would he do something so awful? Because, as you said, he had lost everything, including the girl he was doing and his job. He had nowhere to go, so he runs to you saying he is sorry and even playing the role of good Christian. You make this possible because of your continued codependency on Lion and lack of self-worth that you can do better.
(I suspect you are writing to me not because you wish to update me so much as you wish to get some validation, no?)
I know that's painful to hear. And, as you did last time, you can completely ignore what I say. My advice is free and sometimes worth the money.
Again, I cannot definitively say that my suspicions are true, but I am using my bear senses here. I fervently hope that Lion's faith is real and that you two have a wonderful marriage for the rest of your lives.
If he does cheat on you again, I beg you: keep your word and dump him and don't let his tears or his faith of convenience sway you ever again.
Wishing You Happiness,
OK so first I've contacted you I believe three times before. The last time I really felt like I had wasted your time with since there wasn't really an honest question in it now that I look back on it, and I do wish to apologize for it.
But now I've been facing another problem. One with a friend I met recently. This is basically what my problem is.
1) The one furry I actually get to see IRL, and we're really super close friends.
2) He's really sensitive and gets depressed
3) He has an unrequited crush on me
4) I can't seem to get him to accept I'm not interested in that kind of a relationship
5) He feels dependent on me, but it's kind of my fault for letting him be
6) He gets depressed in roleplays easily, but he sets up really depressing events himself. I understand just avoiding role play but it seems like it just is part of the ways we chat, it's automatic
7) I want to make him happy, but he can't accept where I draw the line on what I'll do for him
8) Anytime i mention this he talks like he's suicidal
9) He used to have a GF but she was forced by her parents to cease contact since they didn't like the fandom
10) I've been on the other side of the unrequited love equation, I did manage but nothing that worked on me seems to work on him
I really could use some help, how do I get him to accept I'm not going to take that kind of relationship?
Anonymous (age 16)
* * *
No need to apologize for the earlier letter. As for this one: is your friend getting any help at all for his depression? Neither one of us is a psychologist or therapist, and it really isn't our job to attend to his mental health. We can be supportive, though.
* * *
Yes, neither of us are trained professionals, and as for if he has seen any I'm not sure. But with how he is I don't know if it would be easy to ask him either. If he hasn't though, I do want to make sure he gets help, or minimally some other friends for when I can't be around, and other things so he becomes more independent and doesn't have such a low self asteem in the future. But my issue I'm asking about and need help with first is how to approach someone like him with such topics. Because he takes so sensitively for some of the things I say, he worries about everything, and easily interprets a friendly joke for something deeply offensive. Like for instance, he told me he loved me more than he knows. Then I said:
"That scares me a little, you already have told me at such high levels. I think you know how much you love me, you tell my every day XD"
Well me saying it "scares me" kind of made him start worrying a bunch. Maybe I need to be more cautious about how I word things but idk.
But also, like I said, although I do "love" him (like he was my brother, in that kind of manner, and a lot), he wants to try and take it to a romance level that I don't want. At the same time, I still would like to be friends with him, and even if I would just forget that and let him go, I can't for fear of what he'd do to himself.
Convincing him to accept how things are for our relationship is something I'm not sure how to do. But I need to know how to approach him with any topic like that without him freaking out.
Hope I cleared up a lot things.
* * *
What you are experiencing is a case of emotional blackmail. This can be done in a number of ways, including some you have mentioned, such as threatening or implying one will commit suicide if not paid attention to or insisting that they love you when you don’t love them back, thus making you feel very guilty.
First thing to come to terms with is this: you are not responsible for his emotional problems. You are clearly a good and caring friend, but you have to keep your own emotional state stable and not allow yourself to feel bad or responsible for what is going on in his brain. I’m assuming he is about your age (teen) and that he has parents or other family, and it is THEY who really should be dealing with this first. Offering support is great, but you are not the primary caretaker in this.
Once you get over that emotional burden, you are better able to speak frankly to this kid. When you do, he will probably respond with the usual drama—depression, “woe is me,” even suicide threats. Remember, these are just tools to manipulate you. They are inspired by his lack of self-confidence. He is afraid of losing you, and the way he deals with this is through threats and appeals to your good heart.
The undercurrent of all of this is, of course, low self-esteem. Instead of addressing the symptoms (e.g., how to respond to his appeals for love and his neediness), what you should try first is to help him improve his sense of self-worth. There are lots of sites you can google about improving your self-esteem, as well as some things I have written here in this column.
Try coaching him in these methods to make him feel better about himself. The goal is to make his ego strong enough so that, when it’s time, you will be able to speak to him frankly about sensitive topics without him collapsing into a defensive ball.
Give it a try. Good luck!
I've always been a furry since I was little, but only now am I getting a fursuit. They'll be finishing it next week, so I'll have it soon. Since my fursuit will be of the pokemon Solgaleo,my suit is a kid icon. I'm thinking of going to a children's hospital to visit kids in a fun pokemon suit. But I'm not sure what to do. How would I act around the kids, what would I say?
Jaelyn (age 13)
* * *
Since you are 13, I kind of doubt a hospital or other company or organization will permit you to visit kids in fursuit, even with your good intentions, unless you were part of some formal organization or other, such as a church or other nonprofit.
I admire and respect your desire to put your fursuiting towards a good cause, but would recommend you wait awhile (until you are 18). In the meantime, get some fursuiting and live performance experience while in fursuit. It's not as easy as it looks, and when you are old enough to do some charity work you will be able to perform much better.
When that time comes, here's what you do: go to the hospital where you wish to fursuit and find the Volunteer Services department. Make an appointment there and then explain what you wish to do. Hospitals will have guidelines for how their entertainers must conduct themselves with patients, and these policies might vary from hospital to hospital. Give the Volunteer Services coordinator a clear idea of what you wish to do and why. Hopefully, they will be open to it, but if they say "No, thanks," you can always try a different hospital.
I don't want to beat around the bush. I am, obviously, a furry and I got a girlfriend and she is not ok with it. This bothers me a lot, but I never say that to avoid further, sometimes even embarrassing, discussions.
To give you some background: I always loved cats and by pure chance I discovered Nekos which in term led me to the furry fandom quite quickly. The first time I joined a furry chatroom was about two years ago, but I haven't gone to any furry conventions yet. I already was in a relationship with my girlfriend at this point. I didn't think the fandom would stick on me like that, but I quickly found friends and I'm friends with them to this date, although we live on different continents and rarely do something together outside of the chatroom.
And I yiffed and yiff to this day, though less frequently than before.
I admit, I shouldn't. To my girlfriend, it's cheating, to me it means nothing. I also know that she thinks of people yiffing left and right when she hears the word "furry" and a friend of ours, also a furry, is a good example of this. When we discussed about them, i tried to defend me and the fandom, but I can't make her change her opinion on them.
But I do love her! She means more to me than anyone else and leaving her is not an option for either of us, but I don't want to torture her or me by keeping it secret. I'm certain that I can change my behavior about yiffing, which would make the situation manageable, but I cannot change her.
I don't want to betray my girlfriend and/or myself. How do I convince her that furries are not a group of people to hate?
Fia (the Braixen) (age 18)
* * *
Your girlfriend, like many other non-furries, believes that the fandom is about kinky, weird sex. You and this other friend, by apparently indulging a lot in yiff, have reinforced this conception she has.
Since you assert that you love your girlfriend and don’t want to lose her, and since you also say that you are willing and able to cut down (or perhaps eliminate entirely) your yiffing behavior, I would start there. I would then recommend you try to expose her to all the great stuff in the fandom that has absolutely nothing to do with yiff. To change her views about the fandom, you see, she needs a lot of evidence to contradict what she has already seen and heard about furries. Here’s a pretty good article about misconceptions and the fandom published in the UK’s Guardian.
Because you started off on the wrong paw, you’re going to have to do some damage control, and this will likely take quite a bit of time. Be patient and diligent, and hopefully she will come to see that the fandom isn’t just about fuzzy kinkiness.
When I was trying to figure out my gender identity, I finally settled on 'agender' because it felt right. I can't explain it...but I suppose it's the same as knowing yes, you are male, or female, or etc.! It's a gut feeling, IMO.
This isn't a letter about gender identity at all, though, heh. I bring this up because of the term 'furry.' I have two fursuits in the works, I'm wild about animals, and I like some furry stuff, but I really don't identify as a furry. The term doesn't feel right to me -- not because of the fandom's reputation (I'm past caring about that) but because I just...well, don't identify! The same gut feeling as when I figured out my gender identity.
(This is also not to say that furry is a gender identity or anything. Just using a comparison.)
However, I'm reminded of that old saying: "If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck..." etc. I like fursuits and some furry stuff. Does that mean I owe it to myself to take on the furry label? I always considered myself just a person who likes costumes, animals, and good art. I also have plenty of hobbies outside the fandom, so it's not like I can't read a book or watch a show if there isn't a talking squirrel in it.
I've had a friend tell me, "Well, if a guy liked only guys but refused to say he was gay, wouldn't you raise an eyebrow?" The answer to that is no: I respect people's labels even when they fly in the face of my own reality. Thing is, other folks are probably gonna think I'm in denial, and I'd hate to be seen as dishonest or immature.
Sorry for the long, winding letter, and thanks for all you do,
Wee Lioness (23)
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Here’s a little secret: Papabear hates labels. People are much more complex than that, and trying to fit someone into one category or another can be an exercise in futility. For example, I could say I’m a gay man, but being gay is just one aspect of a much more complex personality. I’m also a furry, but I don’t go around introducing myself to people as a furry. I’m a writer and editor, too. I’m an amateur philosopher. I’m a brother. I’m a boyfriend. I’m Caucasian. I’m American. I’m a Virgo. I’m a spiritualist. I’m an empath. You see where I’m going with this. You know what I say when I introduce myself to people? “Hi, I’m Kevin Hile.” I’m not a label; I’m me.
Just because you like some furry art, fursuits, and some of the stuff associated with furries doesn’t mean you are now required to participate in any furry community activities, nor are you “denying you’re a furry.” The talented woman who made my fursuit, Beastcub, is not a furry, but she loves making fursuits for people. Maybe you’re like that. It begs the questions, doesn’t it, as to what really makes a furry? Obviously, it’s not what you wear or what you call yourself that matters. It’s what you are comfortable with, and if you don’t want to call yourself a furry, then don’t call yourself a furry.
First of all, thanks so much for writing this column. Early last year, I found out that someone dear to me is a furry and I immediately had a lot of questions and concerns, but this column addressed them all, clarified the fandom for me, and really helped me accept it as not a problem. So again, thank you!
I'll try my best to phrase this as one question only while also including enough details, so it will have a lot of moving parts, sorry!
Me: a straight, female, non-furry who used to have a lot of misgivings (prejudice, even) about the fandom but did more research and has come to understand that it's not what I was worried it was.
Him: a bi, furry male who is kind, smart, diligent, sweet, good-looking, funny, etc., etc. I think that he has a bit of a preference for males, but I don't think us women are completely out of the question. (At least, I hope!)
We met a little more than a year ago through work, where he was my direct supervisor and so any socialization/fraternization would not have been allowed. I developed a crush on him pretty quickly that turned into full-blown feelings before too long (two or three months, I'd say), but I didn't say anything due to company policy and I think I kept it to myself pretty well. We pretty much always had fun chatting at work, and that's when he started dropping hints that he's a furry. I honestly think that he did so based on some things I said that may have sounded like I was a furry (referring to the public at large as “humans,” that kind of thing). It didn't take me long to put two and two together and I realized, “Holy cow, he's what???” Cue initial freak out and worry session.
But I knew him well enough to see that the things I thought I knew about furries were simply incompatible with the good person I was certain he was. So either he wasn't a furry—which he definitely was—or I was wrong about furries. So I decided to really learn the truth about things, and a day or two of proper research (and finding this column!) proved to me that I was incorrect to freak out. Hooray for knowledge combatting prejudice! I was able to stay friendly and close with him at work and the fact that he is in the fandom no longer bothered me.
He left the company for better and brighter things, and I hoped that would be my chance to ask him out, but a) he's really shy, and b) I'm a total chicken (in the figure-of-speech sense), and so it seemed like I would never see him again. But we kept in touch via text, and eventually he revealed to me that he’s in the fandom. So now I know that he knows that I know that he's a furry. Phew! Many failed attempts at planning outings together later, we've hung out a handful of times over the course of the 6 or so months since he left our company. I even went to a (non-furry) con with him in town and got to see him in his fursuited glory—it was pretty awesome!!!
That being said, none of our outings have been dates, even though most of them have been one-on-one. Virtually all of them have happened because I planned them and made them happen. I've told him he could invite his friends to some of them, but he never has. I did meet some of his fandom friends at the con, but it was fairly awkward—almost like he was embarrassed with them about me, or maybe vice-versa. We talk often about the technical aspects of his fursuiting (I'm a tech nerd, and I like problem-solving), but pretty much not at all about deeper matters (his relationships within the fandom, his experience of his furriness growing up, that sort of thing).
I guess the heart of my question is this: Why aren't these fun mutual activities turning into dates? Do I stand a chance of being his girlfriend, or am I disqualified because I'm female/straight/a mundane? Or perhaps he feels embarrassed to hang out with me and his friends at the same time because I'm a mundane? To be clear, I would be 100% fine with being just friends with him. He’s an incredibly awesome person who would be well worth hanging out platonically with, so I'm scared to come right out and address the matter head-on for fear of losing my chance of being just-friends with him. Surely he can tell that I'm okay with his furriness by now, so does he think I wouldn’t want a more-than-friends relationship with him because of it?
I would love to know where I stand with him and if I have a chance of being more than friends, but don't know how to proceed.
Thanks so much, Papa Bear!
MundaneButCrazyFurHim (age 25)
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My my, I am so glad that my column answered your questions about the furry fandom and you are more comfortable with it.
Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Papabear has no idea what is going on inside the mind of your furry friend, but his shyness likely hampers his ability to tell you whether he likes, dislikes, or is indifferent to you. However, he seems agreeable to spending time with you, so it is probably safe to assume he at least likes you.
I don’t think it’s fair to accuse him of not wanting to date you because you aren’t a furry (many furries such as myself have romantic relationships with mundanes), and if he is bi there is no reason to assume he is avoiding something more because you are a woman (lots of bi people decide to have serious relationships with one sex or the other).
You have also done a lot to make him feel comfortable about you, mostly about his being a furry. Have you also reassured him that you’re okay with his being bi? That seems to be the one element of the equation that has not been thoroughly addressed. Here’s a good article that might clear up some misconceptions on the matter.
I would like to suggest you spend at least as much time learning about bisexuality as you have about his being furry. Show to him that you are just as comfortable about that as you are with his being a furry. That might be what is causing him to pause.
I hope that helps.
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