First off, this doesn't pertain to anything related to furry but I do hope that you can still provide some advice for me.
I am a 20 year old college student (soon to be 21) and I find myself suck in a situation that is in between my work life and my relationship life. I'm working very hard to achieve academic success as a full time student as well as working a part-time job at the same time. I'll be leaving my job soon but I'm also close to completing my Associates Degree, and once I finish that in another year or I'll try to transfer to a 4-year school.
I haven't been in a relationship for about a year now, and I haven't had a care in the world about having one until these past couple of weeks. I don't do online dating and I'm also very picky about who I choose to date. I know I have been isolated a lot from friends and family because of all my work but as of lately it's been growing desire of mine to open up to a relationship.
However I fear that because of all the things I do I wouldn't be able to devote myself to a committed relationship with someone. I feel that I don't have the time or energy. I also feel that the timing is bad because even if I did find a person I would probably have to leave them to go to the 4-year school.
My question is, should I try to open myself up to a relationship or should I just wait until I reach the 4-year school despite how I feel about wanting a companion?
* * *
Your letter is a good complement to one I wrote just a couple days ago (http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2013/05/is-it-okay-to-be-single-and-happy-about-it.html). In that letter, the person wasn’t looking for love and was just content to be single for the time being. In your case, you seem to have some desire for a relationship but worry that you don’t have time for one.
Have you ever heard the expression, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”? If all you do is work, study, eat, sleep, and poop, you’re going to head for a stressful breakdown or just become totally exhausted and numb. The difference between you and the other letter writer is your desire for a mate. Both of you live active lives, and I advised him not to worry about finding a mate since he was perfectly content to be where he was in his life at this time. But, if YOU have a desire for a relationship, then just because you have a busy life you shouldn’t close the door on what could be something amazing.
You don’t have to go out on the hunt for someone to date, but don’t turn away someone who shows an interest just because you are busy. Like I implied above, everyone needs a break from work and school once in a while. You will actually be more effective in both if you have taken some time to relax and have a little fun. What better way to have a good time than to spend it with a new love interest?
Therefore, keep yourself open to a relationship. Keep working and studying hard, but if you happen to meet someone who has that special spark and the chemistry is right, don’t say, “Sorry, I have no time for love right now, I need to study.” And, if it works out, it doesn’t mean you have to constantly entertain your new mate. There is something lovely about just being in the same room together, even if you are in bed and you are reading a school book. It’s being together that matters.
I happen to be the only fur in my family. The rest of my family hates furries so I have to hide the fact that I am one. As a result, I often feel disconnected from my family and suffering from clinical depression just makes it worse. I feel like I have to hide who I am in order to get any acceptance from them. I love being a furry and wouldn't want to stop, but at the same time if it makes my family life miserable, is it worth it? Any advice would be appreciated.
* * *
You may have already read some of my letters in the Coming Out Furry category in which I talk about how telling your family you’re furry largely depends on their attitudes. Well, you already know their attitudes, which are, sadly, very negative. So this is a good opportunity to discuss what comes next in more detail.
Papabear recently had a bad experience that is relevant to this conversation. Someone I care about who has been a big part of my life recently learned that I was a furry by stumbling over some stuff on the Internet about me that talked about my real name (I don’t hide on the Internet, but I don’t advertise my human identity, either). Now, “Pat,” as I will call him or her to protect their identity, is a lovely person but very normal and straight-laced and I didn’t think that Pat would handle the news well. Because I still wanted Pat in my life, I decided not to divulge my furry side in this case.
Apparently, Pat has taken this news very badly and hasn’t talked to me since finding out. There could be two reasons for this: 1) Pat is disturbed by furries and doesn’t like that I am one, or 2) Pat is upset that I didn’t explain I was a furry and was hiding something, feeling this is a violation of trust. If the reason is #1, then that pretty much explains why I didn’t tell Pat because I didn’t want to lose the friendship. If the reason is #2 and Pat is fine with my furriness but upset about my failing to reveal this side of me, then I’d have to say that the identity card always has two sides to it. If Pat is trying to take the moral high ground, I happen to know that there are a couple of secrets in Pat’s life that were hidden from people important to Pat. Perhaps I was wrong to conceal my furriness, but it was a judgment call I had to make (and, once made, can’t reverse) and that, at the time, I thought was correct.
So, why am I telling you about my life as an example? To show you the two scenarios of coming out. Number 1 is the most obvious one, but number 2 is more subtle. Your family might see your hiding your furry side as a violation of trust, even though I’ll bet you $100 and a couple of pots of honey that they have secrets of their own.
You ask whether being a furry is worth it, then. That depends on you. There is an increasing number of furries in the community who have only joined the fandom because they think it’s cool in an outrageous way and they want to be part of something different. These are the people who eventually abandon furries because they have “grown up.” They are posers. If you are a poser, then no, it is not worth it for you. Go do the stuff the other “normal” people do and forget about furry.
Then there are the real furries. These are the people for whom furry is a part of their being, their essence. They will be furries their entire lives. That’s me. I was a furry before I knew what the heck it was (and before the modern fandom was even formed). And once I learned about furries I was like “WOW! There are other people out there like me!” And I never looked back. Have I had to hide it from some people? As you saw above, yes, I have. Does it upset me some that I did so? Yes, it does, but here’s the thing: I am a furry, but I am many other things, too. I am a son and a brother; I am a writer and an editor; I am a friend and a lover; I am a seeker of spiritual truth and a lover of animals; I am an artist who is fascinated by science. These are all things I can share with people who cannot handle the furry thing.
You are more than just a furry, Nite. When you are with your family, be a son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew. Hopefully, there are things you like to do with your family that don’t involve the fandom, like maybe going fishing, or to a concert, or shooting hoops, going to church, or playing video games. These are all things you can share with them.
The point is we are not simple creatures with one pair of genes. We are all complex individuals with many things to offer to the world. Think of yourself as a chameleon who can do more than change color. When you are with your family, your chameleon form takes the shape of a family member; when you are with other furries, suddenly you grow fur and a tail. Take the case of Pat again. Pat might be under the misconception that all the other things I revealed to Pat were somehow a lie because they didn’t involve my being furry. But that’s not true. All the other parts of me are just as real as my furry side, and that included my friendship.
Take this lesson in life with you: as you grow as a person, don’t be a judgmental jerk like your family. Accept people for who they are (and learn to forgive) and you will have evolved beyond the gene pool from which you emerged.
I hope that helps. Bear hugs to you!
I spent ten years in a dreadful emotional roller coaster of a relationship, but I have been a free man for over two years now, and at the risk of spewing a corporate jingle, I'm lovin' it.
I have a few ... *ahem* friends with benefits at the moment, but I'm not actively looking for anything more permanent. This surprises some people, but I don't feel any particular pressure to catch myself a husband or two any time soon. If the Universe decides to drop one in my lap, I won't complain, though.
Am I perhaps overreacting to the previous decade, or am I just being lazy? ;)
* * *
It is actually the more well-adjusted person who can live happily alone in his/her own skin without the need for a mate. Personally, this bear has times when he enjoys being by himself and even gets a bit irritable when he doesn’t get the chance for some “me time.” (Yogi is great about this, actually, and gives me some space when I need it).
Although statistics and studies show that married couples tend to be somewhat more happy than singles, that doesn’t guarantee matehood will make you happy, especially considering that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Here’s an interesting article on the subject: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/married-people-happier-than-singles.htm. Also, people who have been through a divorce (e.g., me) have a harder time being happy, so, if you consider that, then getting married gives you a 50/50 chance of later becoming much less happy than the average person.
I find your attitude about this very refreshing. You are living your life on your terms and letting love find you rather than desperately seeking it out. I’ve always felt that the more desperate we are to find a mate, the more unappealing that makes us to potential mates. A couple of examples: before I met my mate and he was working in a news room there was this woman who kept hitting on him. He told her she was gay (it wasn’t a secret) and to leave him alone, but she was convinced she could convert him (she was also after his salary, I think). She kept hanging on him like some kind of leech, and her desperation made her look pathetic; thankfully, she eventually gave up.
Another case: again with a homosexual person—in this case, my sister. She was at a party once and, because she wasn’t squirting hormones of desperation out of all her pores like the other young women at the party, the men were drawn to her, chatting with her, and having a good time. She had about half a dozen surrounding her at one point because these guys found her appealing, which she is: she’s pretty and she’s intelligent. I’m sure there were other women there, too, who were bright and lovely, but they were on the prowl. It’s a turn off. I also recall a tenant my mother had named Susan. Susan was getting up in years and her “biological clock” was ticking. She wanted kids badly, so badly she started sleeping with almost anyone. These guys saw an easy mark and they would sleep with her and dump her. Sad.
Ironically, Papabear believes there is actually a higher chance of your finding a mate if you are not actively seeking one out. The reason is that, unlike other people, you won’t be looking in the wrong places, such as bars and online chat rooms. Instead, you will be out living your life, doing things you enjoy, where you are more likely to meet other people who enjoy the same things you do, which can lead to new friendships and even love.
I don’t think what you are doing is an “overreaction” to your split with your previous mate because it doesn’t sound like you are avoiding dates because you are afraid of them; rather, you are enjoying the single life, which is a healthy thing. You are not being lazy, either. If seeking out love sounds like a job to you, then that is a pretty strong clue you are not in the mood for it right now, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Enjoy your single life, your FWBs, and just being yourself. You have nothing to apologize for, you have no duties to fulfill to your fellow man, you are not obligated to have a spouse or devoted significant other. The only thing you should be concerned about is whether or not you are happy, and it sounds to this bear’s ears as if you are happy.
Well, I see you have been without a letter in some time, so here is one.
I’m more asking for advice for the issue and am kinda worn out of friends and family giving me the same advice of how I’m young and I can leave an impression later on in life. The issue is not at all furry and actually it was only brought back up due to a new furry friend and I talking.
(Now I’m in no way suicidal.) My greatest fear is that if I died tomorrow the world would not care at all, and the only ones to notice would be bill collectors.
Now, yes, my 3 real family members (lots of extended family hate me) would be sad. To make things a bit more interesting, there is also a bit of self-hate working at this, for in real life I hate what some call a "god" persona, something that could be called equal to cocky but less attitude and more self-righteous. But thanks to this I feel where I’m at in life is useless and not where I should be at all: a 20-year-old man taking room at his parents’ while going to a very low standard college while going to work. Now, with that, I know these are no easy feats for a lot and actually I know that these should actually bring me pride, but why?
If I just vanished to say right after this letter what would anyone remember? I can think of nothing... Just that a guy living at home with his parents, poor job, cheap education disappeared.
Well that’s the issue... A guy with a god persona fearing that if he were to disappear nothing or no one would care.
Note: although this is in some ways depressing I’m not depressed. Nor am I suicidal or wanting to disappear. Just wanting advice. Will I take your advice and run with? I don’t know.
Waiting to hear back,
* * *
Hi, again, Glitch,
Glad you’re not depressed. Your letter reminds me of a person I mentioned in conversations with a couple of my friends recently. Do you know who John Muir was? He was a nineteenth-century naturalist and one of the founders of the environmental movement in the United States. He helped create Yosemite National Park and founded the Sierra Club. Yet when I mentioned him to my friends they had never heard of him, nor even the Sierra Club (of which I’m a member).
Now Mr. Muir died only about a hundred years ago and his renown is already fading. But what lasts is what he did to change the world, such as preserving Yosemite, which represents a kindness given to both our planet and us. Now, let’s look farther into the future, much farther.... Eventually, this country will cease to exist, our species will go extinct, our Sun will swell up and burn the planet to a cinder, our Sun will die, the fire will go out of the galaxy, the universe will spread out into nothingness, and all life and memories of life will be gone. Not to panic you because all this will happen hundreds of millions and billions of years in the future, but even a lasting legacy (for example, people still remember who Julius Caesar was) will eventually become meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
This is not meant to depress you, just to put things into perspective. So, what is the point? Depends upon your philosophy. If you believe that when you die you’re done because there is nothing after death, then the only thing that really matters is the here and now, not your “legacy” and whether others besides bill collectors will be concerned for your demise. The point then becomes to be happy with your current life and not worry about what happens afterwards or whether or not you have done anything “important.” What things give you pleasure now? Enjoy the good things in life, the big and the small pleasures of it. Enjoy that delicious, perfectly prepared slice of pizza, the warm sun on your face filtering through a green canopy of leaves, the sounds of the surf splashing upon a rocky coastline, the gentle touch of an infant’s hand upon your index finger, the buzz of a bee gathering pollen from a flower, the victory dance at the end of a hard-won football game. It’s all good, as they say.
What if you believe in an afterlife, as I do? That there is something beyond matter and energy in the universe and that that is more real than the stars, planets, dark matter, and galaxies that fill it up? If you are a Christian, then what you do is emulate Christ’s life and, hopefully, go to Heaven where you will have an eternity of bliss (or be bored out of your mind by harp music and the lack of fashions beyond white robes and sandals). So, what is important is good deeds and kindness to others, not fancy diplomas and CEO desk jobs.
My belief is that we are all small bits of spirit that each help to make up a Great Spirit, and that everything we experience during our lives helps to contribute to the evolution of that great, encompassing consciousness. Therefore, everything we experience is significant. It doesn’t matter if you have a “menial” job sweeping floors or run Microsoft, have a GED or a PhD, they are all valid experiences that contribute to a greater understanding of existence. And the greatest lesson to be learned is to always be kind and loving to other people, because it is that love and kindness that bonds us little spirits together into one Great Spirit. And that’s not just the love for other people, but for all the spirits throughout the planet and anywhere else they may be found. These things are far more important than college degrees and moneyed jobs.
In short, your life is important not so much for what you do as for who you are. I would much rather know the poor beggar with a heart of gold than the rich man who fires thousands and impoverishes their families for the sake of a stock portfolio. Good people are rare delights in this money-obsessed world.
Be a good person and you will be a worthwhile person.
Hi, Papa bear,
I’m a 35 year old in a relationship with my mate and she is 23. Here is my question.... How do I control my feelings and my jealousy when my fiancée talks to other men when I have been hurt so many times? I don’t know what to do or think. Please help me with this situation.
* * *
Good question. Though it’s too late now, Papabear has always thought it was rather ill-advised for an older man to date or marry a woman in her early twenties for just this reason. I have a friend who is my age and, for the longest time, he kept dating women in their twenties when he himself was middle aged. He had several relationships like this and they all failed. Eventually, he found a lovely woman his own age and they are now happily married. Why the lack of success with younger girls? Well, mostly because I believe couples with this big an age gap have trouble relating to each other. Secondly, there is this jealousy thing. I’m not saying this is necessarily true with you, but most men your age or older who get involved with young ladies do so for one reason: they are pretty, vivacious, and energetic in bed. Shallow? You betcha. Because the man knows that he is involved with his young woman because he wants her for sex, he naturally translates this motive to all other men who are potential competitors and emotions are stirred in ugly ways.
So, the first thing you do is examine your own motivations for being in this relationship. Are you in it for the sex and because she’s good looking (aka she’s a “trophy”), or do you have deeper, nobler reasons for being her partner? If the reason is the former, then I explained why you are jealous and you kind of deserve it. If the reason is the latter, then more advice follows.
If your love for her is genuine and deep, then you have to understand that the essence of any good relationship is trust. You also have to remind yourself that this woman is not the person who hurt you in your other relationships. If she has done nothing to cause you to be suspicious other than have a friendly chat with people of the opposite sex, you need to cut her some slack because half the population is male and there’s no way you can isolate her from interaction with other males. Realize that that would be an unrealistic goal, and you’re half way to getting over your jealousy.
The next thing to do is to give her every reason to love and adore you so she has no reason to stray. This is actually easier to do with women than with men, as women are naturally more monogamous than men (not to say some women don’t stray, but they tend to be more faithful). Treat your mate well. Spend time with her, care about her interests, listen when she talks to you (I mean LISTEN, don’t just nod your head), don’t ignore her by spending long nights out “with the guys,” and value her as an equal partner and you will help solidify your bond, making it much less likely she will look somewhere else.
Lastly, have confidence in yourself. A big part of jealousy is not the suspicion that one’s mate is unfaithful but, rather, that you are not good enough for her and because you think you are undeserving you fear she will want to find another guy. Your ego has been bruised by past relationships, so you need to give your ego a boost. This might sound a bit shallow, but one way to boost your ego is to take care of yourself: good grooming, wearing nice clothes that show you care about your appearance, taking care of your health, eating well and exercising all go a long way to making one more confident. Even little things like improving your posture and walking with more confidence can help. In addition, play positive music when you listen to tunes and do fun, active things like dancing with your mate.
When you do all this, you will be having so much fun and having such a good time with your mate that jealous thoughts won’t keep plaguing your mind.
I asked you once before about a dream I had and you gave some interesting responses. I had another dream recently and I want to see what you think
I wasn't in my body in the dream, and I could see myself and my dad. For some strange reason we saw a robbery happening; my dad borrowed a gun from someone who said it was a fake. and he shot the robber. A cop nearby said he was under arrest for using the gun, and my dad said, "It's a fake, look." He aimed it at my head and shot me, 4 times, and after he was arrested, he wasn't even upset that he had killed me.
That is the dream, does it mean anything? And if it helps at all, my dad and I have never gotten along well.
* * *
Hello, again, Kumori,
Yes, that last bit of information is rather key, indeed. Clearly, your father shooting you several times and not regretting it is illustrative of what you think he feels about you. Now, you’ll recall as well that your last dream that you shared (http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2012/11/numbers-play-important-role-in-this-furrys-dream.html) also involved someone being shot. That time, it was another furry and not you. Also, in that dream, the key numbers were 1, 2, 3, and 5. Notice which one is missing: 4, which is the number of gunshots in this latest dream.
In your first dream, the gunshot was a call to action, to do something for furries, in this case. In this dream, you are a victim, BUT, interestingly, you are observing yourself from outside the scene, and while you are being harmed by your father, it is happening at a distance and you are not, in fact, ACTUALLY being harmed. Now, while the fact that you see yourself being shot reveals a sense of vulnerability, the second fact that you are watching your father’s actions against you and you are not being harmed represents a position of strength. In other words, your father may try to harm you but he can’t actually hurt you, because, get this, his actions are fake to you, like the gun.
The number 4 is a number of strength, and also indicative that you are “looking from outside the box” (four sides), which parallels the fact that you are observing actions from the outside in your dream.
The number 4 is completing your sequence of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 that was begun in the earlier dream. The dreams are indicating your emergence from a violent, unpleasant situation by becoming goal oriented and emerging victorious over a situation in which your father can no longer harm you (and the fact that he kills the robber shows that he IS a threat, but you can overcome this real threat—the robber’s death analogous to the furry’s death in the first dream, too).
So, although this dream at first seems disturbing and violent, it is actually a positive, life affirming dream for you in the end.
Hope that helps,
I keep finding that I react to music strangely. It seems to be that long on key parts that are just a pitch I can't describe. It's interesting when I hear them I somehow get magically obsessed to hear the song over and over and over again (like 50 times in a row) like I have been hypnotized or something. What do you make of this? If you heard something similar I would like to know your thoughts on it.
Lots of huggles,
Kim The Jindo
* * *
I love off-the-wall questions like this one! Thanks for sending it along. I don’t believe what you are experiencing is all that unusual, honestly. There were many times when I was younger that I would become obsessed with favorite songs and then play them over and over and over again, too. I don’t do that any longer, but I think it is perhaps more common for younger people than older people. I mean, I still have my favorite songs that I like to hear from time to time, but I don’t play them repeatedly.
The same phenomenon could be said to occur with movies. Perhaps you have done this as well? Watched a film over and over again until you know all the words in the dialogue for a full-length movie as well as you know the lyrics to a two-minute song? And, I’ve done this with favorite television shows, even today. My current favorite is “The Big Bang Theory,” many of the lines I can recite because earlier seasons are in reruns (fave: Penny seeing the “time machine” in Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment and saying it “looks like something Elton John would drive across the Everglades.” Brilliant.)
I don’t think you are by any means alone in your obsession with some favorite songs. The songs you particularly enjoy may be speaking to you somehow on a very personal level, perhaps even teaching you something, for even music without lyrics has something to say to the spirit, and one does learn best through repetition.
I would be willing to wager that if you asked some of your friends if they did the same thing, they would say “yes,” and you could talk about that and find out more about each other by sharing the music you enjoy and learning about new artists from your friends.
Life is to be enjoyed, and surely one of the most wonderful aspects of our lives is the enjoyment of music.
I think I may be becoming asexual. I've tried had having relations on both sides. Only to either not feel right, or feel taken advantage of and get hurt. I am tired of living a lie to myself and others. But now, I feel I have no where to turn. I am so confused and yes, even you can say desperate at this time trying to find the answers in my life. What I thought was the right path has not only hurt me, but probably hurt others as well. I mean, I don't mind a cuddle or two from either gender. It is just that I cannot bring myself to have any intimacy with either one, any more. I just wish there was some "Asexual Awareness" group I could contact. I do have a few souls that have expressed interest in me, but I am afraid once I "come out" as asexual that I would lose them even more as friends, and be ridiculed. So scared, Papabear. Please Help. Thank you for taking this letter.
* * *
First thing’s first: one doesn’t “become” asexual any more than one “becomes” gay. You are either asexual or you are not. You need to determine whether you think you are asexual because you honestly don’t have much of a sex drive, or whether you think you are asexual because you feel rejected in your relationships and are using asexuality as a defense mechanism not to be hurt by other people.
But if you are sure you are asexual, there is a place you can go to for some perspective. It’s called the Asexual Visibility and Education Network at http://www.asexuality.org/. There is a lot on their website that explains asexuality that you can read and might help you understand yourself better. You can join AVEN and get some community support, as well.
Sexuality is an important part of most relationships, but only if you have a libido for it. It is certainly not the only feature of an intimate relationship. 98% of any good relationship is simply enjoying the other person’s company. You can also be physical with a person (kissing, hugging, cuddling) without being sexual. According to the AVEN site, it is possible for asexual people to have successful relationships with normally sexual people, but you would probably be better off finding someone for whom sex is not very important. Heck, you don’t even have to come up with an asexual person example to see that women can be very loyal to men without sex. For example, if a man is impotent, elderly, or has had a prostate operation and can no longer have sex, good wives and girlfriends will still stick by them until the end. These situations are rather analogous to being asexual.
And, too, life is more than having an intimate relationship. There is also friendship. You expressed fear that if you came out as asexual you would lose your friends. Are you saying all your friends will only like you if you have sex with them? Then you need different friends! I’m sure not all your friends are like that. A good friend will want to hang out with you because they like you for you! So, certainly being asexual should not preclude the possibility of genuine friendships and camaraderie.
So, to summarize, contact AVEN for some support, keep your friends close to you, and don’t give up on relationships. They are still a possibility in your life.
Hope this helps. Good luck, Foz!
Dear papa bear,
You told me to keep you updated on how things were going with me so…here it is.
In short? Not well. My mental state has deteriorated since I last emailed you about my struggle with depression and while some things in my life have improved, many have not. Some have even worsened. I'll try to summarize best I can to avoid a long, boring wall 'o text.
There are other little things like my complete lack of self-esteem or self-image but I feel this has gone on long enough. I have no idea how to fix what's wrong with me, I cannot go a single day without a fantasy popping in my head involving killing myself and/or others.
I may be able to tell you all this in an email but I have had no such luck actually talking to someone about it. I'm terrified of the ramifications psych help could cause to my reputation and/or career.
Please, how can I do this? Every day it feels like I'm closer and closer to just snapping, my temper has gotten so much worse and I've harboured more and more dark thoughts.
* * *
[Note to readers: you can see previous letters and my replies to Towyn here and here http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2012/09/conservative-furry-is-tired-of-being-yelled-at.html]
I’m sorry to hear you have had a setback. Last time you wrote me, you were feeling better about things. You don’t mention in your letter whether or not you have tried the things I recommended, including 1) exercising and trying to live a healthier lifestyle, 2) contacting a suicide hotline, 3) exploring the option of a military career, which can help toward school, 4) exploring local government education programs, 5) exploring your spiritual life.
I would also add, since I didn’t do this the last time, that you could contact Boys Town (http://www.boystown.org/) which offers free online counseling and other help. I think it’s a crime that your mother has turned a deaf ear toward your needs. Usually, the problem is a child NOT talking to a parent when he or she needs help, but in this case you ARE reaching out to your mom and she has brushed you off. Pardon me for saying so, but that is a bad mother you have there. She should be ashamed of herself.
As for your political opinions, we addressed that as well in a previous letter. What are your feelings about what I said at that time?
Have you tried any of my suggestions, repeated above? I cannot help you if you are unwilling to help yourself. Helping yourself takes some effort. There are no magic wands or miracle elixirs I can give you. You need to try some or all of the above in order to make your life better.
I hope you will. Good luck!
Dear Papa Bear,
I have an issue with believing and trusting others with what they tell me. I don’t know if its me being so gullible or foolish. I want to believe those that seem so genuine. do you believe them and hold them to what they say even after a year or do you just give up and let go? I have felt so many things for those that have done this sort of thing to me. but to feel I have to constantly remind some one of what was agreed upon long ago, makes me feel like a nag. but then it upsets me that they cant remember what was said. for once it would be nice if they would remember and have "THAT WANT" to do and not feel like they have to do just because to get them to shut up and leave them alone. I’m really at a loss as to how to handle it. I feel when I speak my mind they feel it to be swat or a lash out at them. I gave up on that, you cant get any one to respond to hostilities. I don’t react to them well.
So what would you do?
Honestly feeling left out to dry,
* * *
Speaking as someone who has sometimes had to renege on a promise, even a promise he wanted badly to keep, I would say that, in my case, it happens because circumstances or life changes interfere with my plans. Things that I wanted to do or had full intention of doing sometimes get left by the wayside because other things have come up. For instance, in my case, my partner got a serious foot infection and was in the hospital for two weeks and then needed home care for two more months. This put a kink in a lot of things, including his birthday party.
Sometimes, yes, people make false promises they have no intentions of keeping. Other times, however, people just aren’t able to keep those promises, or they have to delay them for a considerable amount of time. As a businessman (putting social settings aside for a moment) I deal with this a lot. People often promise to do things for me, or return calls or set up meetings, etc., and then I don’t hear from them. In one recent case, I finally called a business client, who then apologized and explained that her husband had had a serious fall and she simply forgot about our online meeting.
If you contact someone about an appointment and they give you a reasonable excuse and a heart-felt apology, you should accept that and move on without bringing it up again incessantly. On the other hand, if you figure out that people are just putting you off because they don’t honestly want to see you, then take that as a hint they don’t want to see you and find other people to hang out with (or, in the case of business, look for a new client). Obsessing about such things will just give you indigestion and heartburn and make you feel like crap. Posting about it constantly on social media sites will also lead people to perceive that you are a whiner, which is a big turn off for many people.
As someone who has been turned down a lot (e.g., 100 rejection letters for my first novel), I can understand the pain of feeling rejected. Usually—and many people don’t get this—the rejection is more a reflection on the laziness/selfishness/stupidity of the rejecter, rather than the rejectee. Since I’ve met you personally, I can say that this is the case for you. You are a very nice person, and it is the person who breaks a date with you who is the cad, not you.
[And, note to readers—yeah, actually, this is, in part, about me not keeping a promise with Coony to visit him. Nope, I certainly am not perfect myself—far from it. Indeed, I’m a very very flawed bear, but I always do apologize when I get things wrong, especially if I hurt someone’s feelings. Sorry, Coony.]
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.