Hey Papa Bear.
I have had a great relationship for 4 years with my boyfriend. We shared everything. We watched things together. We also like furrys. We even planned to go live together.
However. A month ago he decided to dump me. I have lots of support from my friends. But I am still so lonely and scared. Especially at night. I fear and dislike being alone. I have no one to call. No one calling me.
I believe in true love. In staying with a special someone for the rest of your life.
But maybe I am being naive.
So my question is this:
Thank you very much Papabear!
Just typing this has helped a little.
Anonymous in Belgium
* * *
I'm so sorry for your break up. Did your former boyfriend ever give you an explanation why he left you? Understanding this would go a long way toward taking the next step in your life.
I understand feeling lonely and scared. When my husband died in 2015, I was alone for quite some time, but then Michael came into my life. He was already a friend when my husband was still alive (actually, my piano teacher), and about a year and a half after Jim's death, Michael decided to divorce his husband and move in with me. But that wasn't the first time I was alone. The first time was when my wife divorced me (long story from a time when I didn't realize I was gay) and I had to get by on my own. I don't really like being alone, either. After Jim died, I kept the TV on all the time, even when I wasn't watching it, because I hated the silence. The other thing to do is to try and be with people as much as possible. Socialize, visit family, even invite friends to your home for a sleepover. Anything to not be alone.
That said, don't discount the value of occasionally being by yourself for a little quiet reflection. But don't be afraid to ask people to visit you. Keep the door open.
Meeting furries is pretty easy. I mean, you must know about social media, and there are all kinds of places to chat online. To get some in-furson experience, if you haven't already done so, go visit your furry friends at the Belgian furcon Flüüfff in Blankenberg @FlüüfffCon. Always a great way to have fun, going to a convention. There is also a bimonthly furmeet in Liège https://www.ouftimeet.be/ if you can travel there.
Now, about meeting someone special. Here, I can only speak in generalities. First of all, be genuine. Don't try to win someone over by being what you are not, because if you try to impress someone with falsehoods or change yourself to accommodate them, you can't keep it up forever. Secondly, always be kind and considerate of other people. Third, don't allow yourself to be used by other people because you are desperate not to be alone. If you keep those things in mind, eventually, real love will appear.
So a few months ago I realized I was atheist. I haven't told my mom, but I'm getting signs that coming out could be bad.
I am really worried because I have heard of cases of being thrown out, disowned, and many things. I don't really know anyone real who I can talk to about this because my entire school is Christian. One morning we were taken to this place, which no one knew where we were going, and made to pray and say Bible verses, but I just kinda stayed quiet. I've only found one person that's atheist, but their parents are atheists, so I don't know.
Mozzy (age 11)
* * *
Exploring one's spiritual beliefs is a lifelong process for many people. Others allow themselves to be indoctrinated into their family's beliefs and never question them. It is good that you are openminded and questioning what may be out there, rather than blindly following what others tell you to do. I encourage you to continue to explore your spirit now and in the future. Do this by reading. READ READ READ READ. Read what atheists have to say, but also read Christian, Jewish, Muslim philosophers. Read about Zoroastrianism, Hindu, Buddhist beliefs. After a while, you will notice some consistent beliefs. There are some wise words said in every religion, but there is also a lot of intolerance.
I know people who are atheists. My sister is one. My mother is really an agnostic. My father was Southern Baptist. Of the philosophies I have explored, I have been most drawn to Wicca and Buddhism. In the end, I take a little bit from each philosophy and form my own conclusions as best I can.
The danger of what your mother and your school does is that they seek to control people and not allow them to be enlightened on their own. Most people do this out of fear. The Church is good at making people fearful by threatening them with Hell and Damnation unless they do as they are told (while priests and ministers often misbehave hypocritically at the same time, you might have noticed).
The problem is that you are 11, which means you have little power in how you lead your life right now. Now, about your fear of being kicked out if you tell Mom you are an atheist: the law is on your side here. It is illegal to abandon a child under 18 in this country. However, threatening your mother with a lawsuit or prison time does not make for a comfortable living situation.
Therefore, the wise thing to do is just do as you are told for now. Read in private as much as you can. Nod when your mother tells you her beliefs about God and Jesus, and just go along with it until you are able to leave the house and support yourself.
I know, that's not a pleasant prospect, but telling Mom you're an atheist will likely make life very unpleasant for you. In your own best interest, I advise you to just keep quiet about it as you are doing now.
Who knows what the future might bring? Heck, you might eventually decide to be a Christian again (not unheard of), and if you do, yours will be a much more genuine faith based upon your own thoughts and feelings rather than someone else's. And, if you decide to convert to another religion or just be an atheist, that's fine too because there is something in this world that is more important than what we believe or what religion we practice. What is important is how we behave. Being kind to others and to the world and to ourselves is the best way to honor any god, or even a world without gods.
I am not sure if you remember me. I wrote to you previously in regards to my issues with depression and self harm and suicide. And thank you, by the way, for answering me so thoroughly. It really meant a lot.
Apologies in advance if my letter is at all poorly worded. I am very tired as I write this. But I will do my best to communicate my thoughts.
One thing I mentioned in my previous letter was that I do not often express my emotions to others. This is due to my severe trust issues that sourced from crucial moments in my past. Today I would like to talk about this a bit.
To put it as simply as possible, my relationship with my parents as a child did not encourage emotional expression. If anything, it punished it. As such, I often feel very alone. Starved for attention, even. However, I find it very difficult to accept the sympathy of others. I think that I would like to be loved, but I would be too uncomfortable to suddenly receive it after such a long time without. My thoughts are a bit too jumbled to put into words at the moment. But I think I am afraid of love. Somehow.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's true. Love and being loved are the two most terrifying concepts for me. I guard my emotions so fiercely. It is frightening to imagine allowing someone to know you so personally that way. Having them dedicate a part of their lives to you, and yours to them.
If ever I find myself caring deeply about someone, I push them away. Because I cannot handle emotional intimacy. And because I do not want to drag them down with me. Considering my current mental health state. I want to protect them from myself, and myself from the inevitable emotional intimacy.
Another part of me has become complacent with my own isolation. Which I do not believe is healthy. Most of the time I eschew personal subjects in conversation and avoid talking about my true emotions. This has all become very natural to me now. To refrain from expressing the emotions I view as weaknesses and disregard them entirely. To be untrusting in order to protect myself. If ever I make a mistake and spill my sorrows to someone, I later become wracked with regret. Wishing I had just kept my mouth shut. So, as I'm sure you can imagine, that intimacy I mentioned earlier is almost nightmarish to me. And yet a part of me craves it. Despite the major negative effect it seems to have on me. From here stems my confusion. I can assume that I am drawn to emotional intimacy due to the lack of it in my childhood. But as a result of that same lack of support I received, emotional intimacy makes me very uncomfortable. It is confusing and saddening to me. That I am somehow unable to accept something that I need most.
Truth be told, I think I'm an irredeemable pathetic excuse for a human being. And I don't even think that I deserve to be loved. But love and support seem to be two necessary factors for lessening my suicidal depression. Both of which I am severely lacking. So I am not sure what to do. At all.
I do not exactly have any specific question for you, but rather a request for advice. I'm not sure where to begin. Any wisdom you may have would be very welcome.
* * *
(Sorry this is late, hon)
What you are experiencing is a direct result of the fact that your parents were emotionally distant from you. It is in our infancy and childhood that we develop our ability to bond with others by first bonding with our caregivers (usually parents). When that is not provided for any reason, it is like not being exposed to a language as a child, making it extremely difficult to learn to speak to others as an adult. Once our brains have stopped growing and establishing their synaptic connections, then we are kind of set in our ways, so to speak. Extreme forms of emotional disconnection stemming from childhood are called Reactive Attachment Disorders.
This does NOT make you an "irredeemable pathetic excuse for a human being." It makes you a damaged person, but it is NOT your fault any more than it is the fault of someone who lost a leg in an accident or who is blind or deaf. You were not only, apparently, deprived of emotional connections as a child but, indeed, punished for being emotional. Naturally love and friendship and other forms of intimacy freak you out now! You were never taught how to be emotional and how to bond to other human beings.
Are you doomed to be like this forever? Well, while it will be a struggle for you, I do believe you can regain some of the emotional attachments and trust that you have lost. The first thing you have to do is rediscover joy in your life. Pursue any little things that bring you happiness, such as music, movies, games, connecting to Nature, adopting a puppy or kitten. In fact, that last one would be a very good thing for you. Although I like kitties, I would recommend a puppy. They form such loving, trusting bonds to their owners that some of that love is bound to rub off on you. You will learn to love the puppy, and that will help reestablish an emotional education for you.
Second, if you can, seek out some counseling. Now that you know what you are dealing with, you can seek some guidance in leading you back to an emotional life. Please note that expressing emotions is not a sign of weakness or unmanliness or anything like that. It is the confident person who is unafraid to show how they feel.
Third, start keeping a personal journal. In your journal, which you should work on each day, write down what happened to you on that day and then try to express how you felt about each experience. This will help you identify emotions and what triggers them. You see, what we are trying to do here is to reestablish the broken synaptic connections in your mind that, over time, will make it easier and easier to feel again and to recognize what you are feeling.
Fourth: exercise. Exercise? What's that got to do with emotions? Nothing about your body works in isolation. Mind and body are one, and a healthy body, a feeling of connection to your body, actually fosters emotional and mental health, as well.
Fifth, start putting yourself out there. You are correct that social isolation is not healthy. When you are ready (and don't push yourself), start going out, even if it is by yourself. Go to a baseball game and try to strike up a conversation with a fellow fan; go to a church and say hi to the people sitting in the pews; go to a flea market and talk to the people selling their wares. This way, you can start working on your conversation skills without much worry because, hey, they are just passing acquaintances, so no pressure.
Once you start feeling more connected to your emotions again and have worked on the art of conversation a bit, then it's time to look for a more personal interaction. Perhaps it is with a fellow furry, or perhaps someone you meet at a bookstore. Dip your toe in the water, start slowly, and work at your own pace. This will take time, but you can do it.
Have you ever wondered about how the future of this fandom and community will go? Naturally, I probably get mixed and very complicated feelings about it, especially when looking at it from a retrospective, a la historically & even demographically. Certainly, other parts of the world expand, and that can go for the same for furries, right? Whether it's obviously online, or actual evolution in the real world, much of it has been propelled with its arts.
Now, I'm a rising professional Illustrator, and I also have a very close knack with my painting skills (there is however a difference between an expert and a master though), but this certainly does hold well with furries also loving video games since it is a big form of art. Computers, science, and art go hand-in-hand these days so I can only wonder what kinds of new ideas would come about directly for the community.
If fursuits have established being able to wear an aesthetic, functional character to portray as, alongside furry cons, what if there were established living complexes, or perhaps stores, parks, & restaurants exclusive to that? Granted, it has been loosely looking like that especially with furries living with and amongst each other, but imagine how more concrete their roles would be in combination to their creative living.
Anyway, there's nothing too concerning from my side, but it does foster a grand set of foods for thought. Not like I'm trying to help making a furry nation come true, as way-out-there as that sounds, but I do think about these things from a more analytical & chronological point of view. Heck, here's an intriguing question for you: What was the fandom like in the '70s, '80s, & '90s?
* * *
Yours is a question that has been of increasing concern in the furry community these days. There are two main reasons for this: 1) the Old Guard--the furries who started the modern fandom in the 1980s--are getting old and being replaced by younger furries with no connection to or understanding of the fandom's roots; and 2) the community has grown from a few dozen to tens of thousands all across the globe, making any kind of cohesion problematic.
I've heard people propose an idea such as yours before—forming furry communities. That's no more viable, though, than having a Trekkie or Whovian community. People don't form communities based on interests (hippie communes of the 1960s might have inspired this idea, but they don't last); they form based on shared religions, ethnicities, nationalities. Furries are far too diverse a group to live together in a cooperative. Even if they did, not really sure what the point would be, so let's just table that idea.
Instead, let's address where furries are going as a more intriguing mental exercise. There are some interesting trends I see in development right now, including:
So, the growth of the fandom means that it will be seen less and less as being an underground phenomenon and more as a mainstream one. That's both good and bad, really. Good in that it will become more accepted, but bad in that money tends to poison the free spirit of a fandom.
Growth poses another problem, however, one that raised its nasty head at a couple of conventions recently, including Rainfurest and Rocky Mountain Furcon: Because there are so many furries now, there is also an increase in the number of people who are furry for the wrong reason. Bad eggs. These are immature little twits who do things such as destroy hotel property because they do not behave well without parental supervision. This is an issue that is probably being discussed at Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable meetings. Let's hope they come up with some proposals and suggestions for furcon organizers to prevent problems caused by furries themselves. I'd still like to see some kind of formal, worldwide furry association form (I tried to do this a while ago, but simply didn't have the time it required to pull it off) that would help bring furries together.
Another area of influence is technology. If you think the Internet and social media are an influence now, just wait for the next 10-15 years. Virtual reality will begin projecting itself into reality, which is going to offer an alternative to fursuiting in the form of retinal projections. Think of it as an advance in Pokemon Go. Furries will wear transponders that can send information to other people wearing them as well. Each person programs an avatar into their transponder so that people looking at them and wearing a special headset will see the furry as they wish to be seen. That is, the avatar image is projected into the other person's eyes and overlays the first person's body. Voilá! Virtual fursuiting.
Will this make fursuits obsolete? Not at all. As with any other new technology, it will add another option for people. Fursuits themselves may improve with the development of new, cooler fibers, new building materials, cheaper and easier to assemble electronics and pneumatic controls. Meanwhile, virtual reality at home on the computer will improve, making online roleplay and gaming more realistic, especially with the future addition of adding tactile stimulation.
As such technologies develop, they might afford furries employment opportunities beyond gaming and the arts, though mostly in the field of technology.
In short, the furry fandom is experiencing growing pains, and with growing pains come both challenges and opportunities. How those are met will depend entirely on the members of the community.
Well, I just moved which has been quite hard on me. On top of that I just started my freshman year of high school. Now I feel like I don't have anything in common with anyone there and even if I do they all hate me. This mentality may have been founded in the fifth grade where I realized, or maybe imagined, that my "friends" weren't really that. I felt excluded and like they all hated me. I never really felt connected to any of them and was really awkward around them; of course, my fifth grade self didn't realize that but now I do.
Time skip to eighth grade. That had probably been my most enjoyable year of school in a while. I really connected with my friends there--they weren't the same ones in elementary school--despite my small issue at the beginning of that year and (not major) self-harm fits over the course of that year. Anyway, I really liked them. I never invited them over, though, because thoughts that everyone hated me still lingered. The best part of that year, I'd have to say, was going on the 8th grade trip. No thoughts of them hating me, just fun.
Anyway, that was the summer we moved, this summer. It got really bad when we moved. "Everyone hates me!" "I hate everyone!" Things that make me seem like an emotional teenager. But that's when it got really bad. I started actually drawing blood in my self-harm escapades and have thought about suicide in a positive way on way too many time for it to be healthy.
My parents are amazing and have a lot of stress on them right now (we're still remodeling our house so we're renting right now). Honestly, I don't know how my "depression" or whatever this is even started with such great parents. And if I'm being completely honest the only thing that has stopped me from suicide is them.
On a side not,e I'm also very socially awkward and don't enjoy being around people too much.
I know I need to tell my parents about this, but how? I don't want to put stress on them. Plus I don't even know what I'm going through...
* * *
I am SO SORRY this reply has taken so long, but here are my thoughts now....
First of all, just a quick check: do you suffer from some form of autism (e.g. Asperger's) or social anxiety syndrome? If so, that, of course, could explain why you have a hard time being with people.
I suspect that's not it, but just wanted to check to be sure. I'm also concerned about your self-harming, which needs to be addressed, and your thoughts of suicide (suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255; this national hotline is staffed with professional counselors to help you any time of day or night).
I understand how hard it can be in school to socialize. I was pretty much an outcast myself and had a hard time making friends. My family moved a couple times when I was a kid, and it took me years to develop friendships, if at all. But while you say you don't enjoy being around people, you also say that your happiest times in school were when things were going well in 8th grade and you had a lot of good social interaction. Seems to me you DO want to socialize, but the process intimidates you.
The first thought that came to mind was trying to look outside the school environment to make friends. You could explore volunteer work, or get a part-time job, or join a club, or get active in your church. Such places have very different social dynamics than schools do and it might be easier to get out of the clique mentality that exists in schools.
Another thought is--if you would rather avoid people for now--try and do something with animals. Do you have a pet? Bonding with a pet can be very therapeutic. Or you could--similar to the above--find an organization, zoo, nonprofit, or whatever that helps animals. Working with and playing with animals does a lot for us in developing empathy and affection with another living being. And this could help, in turn, form an entryway that will lead you to better relationships with human beings.
Here's an article about human-animal interactions and their benefits in young people.
I'm glad you have good parents. Talk to them about what you are feeling. Do NOT think that you are bothering them or stressing you out. They LOVE you and are there for you. To break the ice, maybe start by asking them if you can have a pet--if not now, then when you move into the real house. When they ask you why you want a pet, say because you want friends in your new home and an animal is a good way to start.
Please write again if the above was not helpful.
It is obvious to me that you write words yourself meaning they are in your own words from the heart. I find that so important and yet so rare.
After reading a few of your responses to other individuals' letters, I felt I would value your advice on the situation I'm about to explain to you that I'm currently in. You mentioned often talking about psychotropic drugs which I think your experience in that area gave you an open mind therefore you have unique perspectives that you wouldn't find elsewhere. Which is what I believe I need in order to help me make this important decision soon.
[(Real quick, I just ask that you remove my name from this letter. I included it for your knowledge in case you like to calculate numbers and astrology and what not. But I ask that if you post this on your site or elsewhere, kindly remove my name :) thanks so much. OH and just forewarning that I am completely frank in this letter to you. If you don't mind that meaning there is sexual situations I bring up. Just wanted to warn you so you I don't throw you off being so blunt ;) thanks ahead of time)]
... I was born on December 28, 1987 around 7:14pm (I don't trust the time on my birth certificate to be 100% accurate so I just say "roughly"). I was born at C.H.O.M.P. [Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula] in Monterey California, and according to my mom, the doctors thought she was late so they induced contractions to force her body to give birth to me. Though my mom totally disagreed with the doctors, explaining to them that she knew the exact day I was conceived and she still had a good month and a half to go. The doctors quickly won her over because of "paperwork." My mom decided to trust the doctors decision and the next day I was born. So it was always from day one that I was going to be pushed in directions against my will. I was born premature (go figure) as I came out of my mothers belly I was blue and covered in white powder. I wasn't ready to face the world but there I was.
Fast forward to the past few years. In 2011, I married the man of my dreams. We both had very promiscuous pasts, and so when we found each other and wanted to settle down was a miracle in and of itself. The past 6 years have been an incredible journey of soul searching with each other. We managed to peel away the layers of indoctrination and survived starting our lives from scratch to rebuild what we know to be true based on our own research and experience rather than trusting men just because they are experts or "we've just always known...". There were many times personally that were extremely emotional and hurtful to me but I fought through them. Now we come to my dilemma which I am needing some sage advice on.
The past year, I can't get my husband hard, the times that I do, he goes soft real quick and we never finish. I've always preferred the guy to cum fast as it was an indicator to me that I was doing my job. I could always take care of myself so when it came time to do the dirty, I wanted him to get his. That's my goal. It was never an issue until the past year or so. But I'm a fighter and don't give up easily. so I did some research and tried new things, old things, simple things, lots of things to see what would get him going again. Nothing seemed worked. So the sex just started to dwindle. Which was no real big deal as I prefer him to be satisfied and come quick as opposed to drawn out hours of sweaty itchy skin irritated attempts. So if he wasn't getting off then might as well not do it. No harm no foul. As the intimacy dwindled, our friendship doesn't seem to be affected. We work together from home and our work relationship is far better than our sex life. Which doesn't bother me that much lately since our sex isn't something to get excited over. Frankly, I have always had a connection with a close friend of both of ours. The past two years the sexual tension increased between this guy and I (he was born June 28 1979, a Cancer) and I finally did something I thought I'd never do. The night before thanksgiving, I stopped by his work and had the best quickie of all time. Since then we've done it 3 times. Every day I get more and more this feeling like I'm being held back from living and doing what I want and desire in life. Having tasted something I want more, someone I fit with more, someone who gets turned on by just being around me and vise versa, I'm feeling an urge to end something and move on, but which is it? Am I supposed to end the good feeling that makes me happy? Or end it with the one I promised 6 years ago never to leave?
My heart wants something different than my husband wants. But I don't want to make a huge deal out of it. Although I realize I did just commit adultery which makes it a big deal by default. If it's time for me to move on, which I strongly believe it is, which direction am I moving? Thanks for your help :) please don't think of me as a worthless selfish whore cuz I already feel like one and recognize what I did was not generally acceptable. I get it. But I did what I did and even if I hadn't slept with him, I had this feeling of disconnection from my life's desire long before that happened. This just jump started my and probably prematurely induced my decision time. But maybe prematurity is in my blood ;)
* * *
While the majority of letters I get here concerning infidelity are still from men, women going astray is on the rise in America, and, according to this article women "cheat" about as much as men do these days. I am not going to judge you--especially since, as a bear who is in an open relationship, I don't have a paw to stand on. Human beings are not as monogamous as some other species (e.g. bird species such as swans and bald eagles mate for life with no problem), and polygamy is a more natural state for us. Usually, the logic I hear is that since males can fertilize more than one woman at a time, it makes sense that they are "unfaithful" and want to have sex with many women, while women can only be pregnant in a linear fashion, so it makes sense they are more monogamous. In the article referenced above, however, women apparently are better at multiple pair bonds than men. So, go figure. Monogamy among Homo sapiens is really more a matter of culture (social pressures, religion) as a normative force than a matter of biology.
Don't beat yourself up about that.
That said, I'm wondering if you actually gave your husband a fair chance before you ran off for your fling? A couple things might explain his tumescence problem: 1) He might be experiencing health issues that make it difficult to get hard; you don't mention anything, but is it possible? Being flaccid can result from diseases (diabetes, heart trouble, depression, anxiety) and/or the medications used to treat them. 2) You say you want him to cum really fast and if he doesn't then you lose interest. Well, maybe he needs more time. Maybe he wants to enjoy a long time with foreplay to get aroused; maybe he can still get hard, but you're in such a hurry that he feels pressured, leading to anxiety and trouble performing. 3) He might not be getting aroused if you are doing the same things over and over in your attempt to stimulate him. To be blunt, your overtures might be getting boring for him. The solution to this problem is to try new things--new positions, new role playing, new fantasies--to bring back some excitement and novelty to sex.
Should one of the above be the problems be the issue, and should you be able to resolve it, would you go back to him? You know, there are more things in life than sex, and if this guy is a great husband and the only issue is sex, you might want to give the relationship more effort before abandoning it.
Another possible solution: You mention that you were both very active before you met. Have you talked about mixing it up with a threesome? Group sex? Even possibly a polyamorous relationship? There are many possibilities in this area.
I also find the paragraph about your premature birth an interesting, and telling, addition to your letter. I had to pause a moment and think why you included it. It is important how you write, "So it was always from day one that I was going to be pushed in directions against my will. I was born premature (go figure) as I came out of my mothers belly I was blue and covered in white powder. I wasn't ready to face the world but there I was." Then you go into how you were married, etc. I have to think that, for some reason, you felt pushed into getting married and now, in the interest of not feeling controlled by others, you are deliberately sabotaging your marriage by having an affair. Thoughts?
You might not want to "make a huge deal out of it," but, sorry, it IS a huge deal because you're talking about a break-up. You need to consider this long and hard (pun intended) before you take the next step. Is sex the only thing important to you, or do you want something more out of life? Is this problem with your husband ONLY about sex, or are other things going on that you're not telling me? Have you even TALKED to him about this problem, or are you just keeping quiet and having sex with this other person?
Look before you leap, hon. While you deserve to be happy, be considerate of your husband's feelings, too. If you truly love your husband, don't you think you should consider his feelings more? Doesn't he deserve to know what is going on with you, the woman he loves?
I hope this helps clarify some things for you.
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.