I’ve written to you a few times before and look forward to your warm advice every time. I should also say that I have talked to therapists and extremely benefited from the experience. Anyway, here is the real content of my letter:
How do you escape the ghost of your lost love?
Six months ago, the man who I thought was my soulmate broke up with me, and I lost the life we built together. I lived with him, and his other partner (F), and every other weekend we would house the children each of them had from previous relationships. It was everything I ever wanted: a life living with the man I love, kids, a home, a daily routine. We had been together for two years including a three month or so break, when he broke up with me the first time. But it all came crashing down when he met someone new and wanted to replace me. After fishing for excuses and blaming being rid of me on something he forgave me for five months prior, I overheard a conversation between him and his other partner about how much he was in love with the new boy. How he never loved anyone more, besides herself, and this new relationship scared her. Time and time again he threw her concerns aside and failed to comfort her about it. He crossed many lines between all of us dating this new flame, and the fact he wanted to give this new person, who frequently lied to him, everything I ever wanted, while pushing me out of the picture was too much.
I loved that man more than anyone and everything I had ever known, but in an instant I hated him more than anyone on the face of the earth. I had already started therapy prior to the end of the relationship in an attempt to save it, and through the months since I have gone through many stages of grief. I still hold contact with his son, a child I will always consider my own. We have phone calls during the week and play games together. His mother and I are good friends, and we’ve even arranged visits to play at the park.
Just like the first time he broke up with me, I tried to date. The first time, I was completely incapable of getting him out of my head, and gave up dating. I had accepted the fact of being alone until my wish was granted and he returned to me. This time though, my hatred for him kept the thought of him away. And now six months later I find myself happy with another man. My boyfriend is amazing, he’s kind, listens to me, even remembering many off hand things I say. He’s romantic, takes initiative, and is always happy to hear me go on about the little things I adore, and does the same when I want to be enamored by his voice. I could go on about all the big or little things he does that have won me over, but I should address the issue instead.
Lately, I feel haunted by the ghost of my ex. Sometimes when I’m cuddled up to my boyfriend or when he kisses me, I pull away and expect to see my ex’s face. I almost want it. Especially when I’m intimate with my boyfriend, I get flashes of being intimate with “Him.” I thought I hated “him,” and when asked what I wanted: “to no longer be a part of his story.” But now I’m having dreams/nightmares about him coming back to me. Dreams that bring me to tears, or chill me to the bone, and I don’t know what to do.
What do you do when you love someone so deeply that you wouldn’t hesitate to die for them, and then it’s just gone? I feel trapped between the ghost of a man who hurt me deeper than anyone else, who used me and never truly loved me, and a man that does love me, and may even marry me one day. I’m afraid this haunting will continue to affect my relationship, as I am hesitant to bring it up to my boyfriend. He’s been the most understanding person in the world to talk to given his own history and hauntings of his own. But, it’s just all so intense and I feel disgusted and ashamed every time I see my ex in the tender moments I try to share with my new love. I know what he did, why do I feel this way? Why can’t I keep hating him and move on in my life with someone else?
Any advice you may be able to give is always deeply appreciated.
* * *
When we have a powerful, deep relationship with someone, that person and all they represent will have a lasting impression on us even after they are gone from our lives. This is not a bad thing, since we learn a lot about love and ourselves through relationships--even the ones that have ended. Your first love will, thus, be in your head for a long time, if not forever.
When you kiss or hug or are intimate with your current beau, these physical interactions are sensory stimuli that can elicit powerful memories. As a for instance, it is like when you are going about your business and, suddenly, you smell apple pie and it brings back a strong memory of your mother and suddenly you can see her quite clearly in your mind's eye. In the same way, the sensation of a kiss brings back a memory of your first love. This should not make you think that you would rather be with him than your current love. It's just the way memories can work sometimes. Also, it doesn't seem like it has been very long since the first relationship ended, so your memories are still very present in your mind.
The people we meet in our lives become a part of us. I still often think of Jim, even though he has been dead for eight years now and I have my husband of four years, Michael. the good news is that Michael is not jealous about this and is very understanding. Your new love sounds like a kind person who will understand, too. Your thoughts of Love #1 do not mean that you are going to try to go back to him or anything like that. We both know that despite how he hurt you and how you say you "hate" him now, there is still a lot of love there and a lot of fondness for the life you had with him. That doesn't mean you actually want to go back to him.
The good news is that love is not a limited resource. Just because you still harbor feelings for your first man doesn't mean this will limit the amount of love you have for Love #2. In short, it's okay to still feel love for #1 despite how it ended. Treasure the fond memories you have. Permit yourself to admit there were good times and this will bring you closure and self-acceptance. Then, recognizing you are in a much better relationship now, allow yourself to enjoy it! Remember the past, learn from it, and then live in the present.
I've been talking to this guy, and he's really sweet. I'll call him Jay. We've been chatting online every day, and we plan to meet each other at MFF later this year. He seems like he genuinely cares about me, and I care about him.
I'm a freelance furry artist, and I have a day job working retail. My life isn't glamorous, but I make enough to support myself and do some fun things here and there. He's a civil engineer and can afford to travel across the country to furry cons multiple times a year. This wealth discrepancy between us has unearthed some old feelings within myself I thought I was starting to overcome.
I've struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, and for a while I felt like a worthless loser, regardless of how good I'm actually doing in life. Authority figures in my life told me I would never make it as an artist. Consciously, I know they're wrong, but I still can't help but remind myself of their words from time to time. It's not that I envy Jay, either. I know I would be miserable working in a field like that. I guess my problem is that I feel out of his league in that regard. I don't feel good enough for him, even though he's never talked down to me. I worry that if we did get into a serious relationship, I wouldn't be able to pull my weight financially, and I would feel like I'm just taking advantage of him. I value my independence, and I don't want to feel like a parasite.
It's no secret people in STEM tend to look down on people who work in creative fields. Not all of them do, obviously, but if you spend time in those circles, you'll come across it from time to time. Jay has never said anything like that to me, but I live in fear he might secretly feel that way.
Again, I consciously know I'm overthinking a good situation. But these old feelings of inadequacy are coming back to haunt me.
Is it better to just not? Should I nip this relationship in the bud, or should I just go ahead anyway despite my insecurities?
Thank you for your time.
* * *
Thank you for your poignant letter that, I am certain, speaks to many of my readers.
I will start by saying what you likely already know: A person should not be judged by the contents of their wallet or purse but by the content of their heart.
We live in a world--especially in America--that values money and beauty over heart and character. That is sad. And, I know, it is easy for me to speak in cliches, but I want you to know I do empathize with how you are feeling. I have been on both sides of this coin: Sometimes, I have been the one earning more than my partner, and other times I have earned less. For the most part, I have been the one doing the supporting, and I have taken great pride in that. The times when I earned less, well, you can give in to this sense that it is emasculating.
Right now in my life, I am earning less than my husband, Michael. This is largely because I am going through a transitional phase in which I am getting away from my freelance editorial work and starting my own business, which, currently, is not taking in any money. So, I have had to lean on Michael to handle a lot of the bills. A big reason this bothers me, I'll admit, is the stigma I often see in the gay community about a young(er) male who seeks out a sugar daddy to support them. Such people are often considered users who only glom onto their daddy bear in order to get their money. This is rather like the gold digger stigma some young women endure.
Of course, Michael totally understands why my income is currently low and is completely supportive of my starting a new business venture. That's because he's a great guy. That's why I married the big lug.
Here's my question to you: Do you consider yourself a good judge of character? In other words, do you think Jay is a good guy who likes you for you and not for how much money you earn or that you don't work a STEM job? If so, then give the man the benefit of a doubt that he is not going to be an elitist snot and dump you because you're an artist who works in retail. Those feelings of inadequacy are not coming from Jay; they're coming from society and your own insecurities.
Don't screw up what could be the love of your life because you don't think you're good enough. That is self-defeating.
Glomp onto Jay and allow yourself to love him. And, importantly, talk to him about your life and relationship, but don't say things like, "I think you might dump me because I don't earn much" (that would be insulting to him). Say things like, "I think we complement each other well--you're the engineer and I'm the artist--and I think we're good together and I care about you. How are you feeling about our us?" In other words, acknowledge your differences, but never ever do so in a way that might make him feel you are insecure or jealous of him. If Jay is a man of character, what he will want is a partner to share his life with, not someone who has a hefty bank account balance.
I hope things go well when you finally meet in person.
Lately, I've had an issue on my mind. It's not exactly pressing, but it is something I'll have to confront and decide on eventually. But given I've been stuck for months on it, I figured it's time to reach out to a third party who's totally uninvolved. I remembered hearing about you on an old podcast, so I thought I'd give you a poke. I hope you don't mind giving me your opinion.
I'm in a happy, long distance relationship. The problem, is that we have a very good mutual friend, us three hang out pretty much all the time.. and well, the thought of becoming a poly relationship is always lingering. My partner is, presumably, willing, and our mutual friend has expressed interest in it.
Trouble is, I'm not sure if I could handle being in a poly relationship. I mean, with how close we all are we might as well already be in one.. but I'd have to come out as poly to my dear mother (my father's not in the picture, if that has any relevance). She's not one of those super strict and traditional parents, but I really would worry about if she'd think of me differently, as well as the rest of my family. I'm a lot more open to things, but my family, while they're relatively progressive, they were all raised on traditional values. I don't think they'd insult me or anything like that, but disappointment still hurts.
In addition to family stuff, I would worry about if we could give each other the attention we needed. Like, the last thing I would want is for one of us to feel like a third wheel or to get jealous. I don't *think* it would happen, but, I worry. Especially because, if our relationship were to fail, our mutual friend would have left their current partner for nothing.
Lastly, and this might sound odd, but I have several friends who would likely be upset that I'd be a poly relationship for this friend, but not them. They're definitely "would date if I were single" for me, but, well, I just don't think a poly relationship would work with them in the current situation. That probably wouldn't stop them from being upset, though.
The current status quo is nice, but.. I know I can't, or at least shouldn't, delay answering this question forever. As much as a definite do or don't would be nice, mostly I'd really like to know your thoughts and reasonings, maybe what you would do.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for reading.
* * *
As I've told others who write to me, traditional, two-person relationships are tough enough without complicating things further with a third or fourth person. So, no matter what you do, you are in for a challenging time.
There are two important things you need to do here. First, you must realize that this is your life and your relationship choice. What your parents, family, friends, and coworkers think about your personal life should not factor into your decision. If we all let others rule our lives, we would die having never lived true to ourselves.
The second thing is communication between you and your two partners. For polyamorous relationships to work, everyone everyone everyone has to agree to what the rules are. You must all be sensitive and giving to each other's needs. There must be ZERO jealousy involved. No selfishness. Once jealousy creeps into any relationship, there is trouble a-brewing, and that goes triple for poly relationships. If you are uncomfortable or unsure about being poly in any way, then my recommendation is this: Don't do it.
All that said, I'm curious about the living situation right now. You say you are in an LDR with the first BF, but is this true with the third person? Are you all living at a distance that makes it impossible to live together? If so, then I would say right now that a poly situation is not feasible. To have a true poly relationship with three or more people, you need to be living together. There are furries who read this column who will disagree with me, but I stand firm on that point.
Until the time you all three are together in the same home, the entire issue of being in a relationship is moot.
Let me know if you have further questions.
I am having some complex issues with my long term relationship, and I was hoping you might give me your opinion or perhaps your advice. Sorry in advance for the length.
First, I want to say I love my partner James. I’ve never loved anyone more in my life. He was the first person I came out to, and he told me on the spot that he “wasn’t sure if what [he felt] was love just yet, but there is definitely strong attraction [towards me].” We promised that if we were ever single at the same time that we would date. I went through several traumatic relationships that left me with more baggage than I could imagine. But he was always there for me, he helped me feel like me again. After a particularly nasty break up he put my shattered pieces back together, and in that moment I felt like I finally wanted to try with him.
It’s necessary to mention that when James and I started dating it was as a closed polycule of three; James, myself, and my existing partner Rile. Things went well for a while, the three of us even started living together when Rile’s home was undergoing renovations. Everything was great until Five months into dating, when James woke me up to break up with me. Much, much later he told me that he was frustrated by being in a closed relationship. Two depressing months later we got back together under two stipulations, being an open relationship, and having his privacy. We agreed, being poly it was easier to understand certain needs. For me I just wanted my two boyfriends and nothing else.
Rile started spending a lot of time away from home after we all moved back in together. He thought I started falling more in love with James than him. Much complication aside Rile and I parted ways, and I felt myself shifting more towards closed monogamy. All I wanted was James, and for him not to slip away from me. I started to think that him finding someone else would drive a wedge between us, and I would end up feeling just like Rile had towards me. I spoke with James about it, he promised me time to figure things out, but being closed was only temporary as it was one of the conditions of us getting back together. It was appreciated but not the reaction I hoped for or needed in that moment.
He seemed genuine about giving me time to figure out my sexuality, that is until I heard a notification and wanted to bring him his phone. That’s when I saw all of the dating app notifications. You name it, he had it. I just fell to the ground and stifled a pained moan. He had been cheating on me. He promised me that he never did anything in person, but that he did cheat by talking to others and leading them on sexually. He told me that leading people on gave him a sick kick, but it wasn’t entirely sexually motivated. He even admitted that doing so behind my back gave him a thrill. (This was 10 months after getting back together Nov 4th.)
He told me that if I wanted to break up it was entirely understandable. He also offered me a proposition; though it would be hard for him, he would try to be monogamous for me. That I would be able to look through his phone anytime I wanted to, that I was encouraged to for us. He showed me proof that he had deleted every dating app and his entire camera roll. This was after promising to show me every message he sent another person. Somewhere along the way he decided to change that and delete everything before showing me the phone. Probably to save me from my own anger, and increase the likelihood of me staying with him.
All of this sounds terrible and makes him seem like an awful manipulative person, but I do have genuine romantic feelings for him. Through our years together in and out of relationship, we have shared so very much, and I would be honored to call him my husband one day. For a while after that we were fine, and monogamy was followed through on as promised. I still wanted to check his phone, but I never found the courage to overpower the social awkwardness to ask.
When I did finally check up on him using his Facebook and Twitter accounts. I saw countless RP’ing convos, and more "lead on" conversations as he claimed them later. In particular there was where he told an old friend “I’m stuck in a relationship I can’t get out of.” When I confronted him he said that was mad that he made that promise to me initially [Nov 4], but had grown to support the decision since then [Dec 1], and that this whole thing was a slip up. Again he promised to let me see each convo, and instead blocked and deleted them, before I could see everything. We agreed that he could still RP as long as he told me or asked me.
I checked his open phone another night and found many more RP sessions he didn’t tell me about. In particular I found a conversation where he texted/rp’d? about cuckolding me by having sex with someone else in front of me. This seemed to be (out of character speak) too, he and Vlad constantly specified about talking when I wasn’t around which made it all worse. He claimed that it was just RP, not real, and not sexual, even though he sent messages about riding his dildo to the convos with Vlad. He promised me that he RP’ing with Vlad in particular was off limits, which I know now didn’t stand. I keep seeing messages from Vlad on his phone.
There was even a time where I made an RP account to test him, he took the bait and started RP’ing me while laying in bed next to me pretending to sleep. When I confronted him and told him it was me, he immediately refused to RP with me, and still refuses today.
Lastly, there is the issue of his sex drive. The first and only time we have had sex, aside from two botched attempts, was our very first date years ago. James has been going through a dry spell as he calls it, where he wants desperately to bleed me dry every day, but now is embarrassed and unmotivated due to his lack of a sex drive not aligning with his desires. I have always tried to be understanding of this issue when poaching the idea of sex. But the way he has shot me down countless times now makes me feel disgusting and unwanted. My will to try having sex with him is completely broken, to the degree that I openly fear discussing any of my own sexual desires with him. On top of that is that I am a switch, he is a firm bottom. The few times I slip into a submissive mindscape I want or need him to take on the role of a Master. Recently, I slipped and called him Master, to which he promptly refused to ever accept the title. Hearing him say that broke something very deep inside me, and I haven’t been able to think of him the same since. I love him with every part of me, beyond anything or anyone I have ever known.. and yet, I don’t trust him.
I can’t stop invading his privacy, I am constantly checking his phone, Facebook and twitter. It constantly seems like he’s covering up his mistakes as soon as I find them. I feel sexually unwanted, due to his “dry spell”, and constant RP sessions with everyone other than me.
I feel disregarded and hurt for my occasional need for him to take on a “Master’s” role. Some nights I go to bed distracted by how much I love him, or from us just having a good day. But there have been just as many times I have stayed up unable to sleep next to him.
I don’t want to leave, I don’t want a break, I don’t want to be broken up with.
I want him all to myself.
I want to stop feeling like the bad guy.
I want to stop feeling ashamed of what I want out of this relationship.
I want to be able to trust him again.
I want to be able to call him Master when I need to.
I don’t know how to tell him any of this. I don’t know where to start at this point. I constantly fear that I’ll reach his limit of how willing he is to work anything out, and that he’ll break up with me again. I fear that he will see the real depth of how much he has hurt me, and how much he continues to hurt me, and that he will panic. I’m so scared that one day he’ll wake up and think how much better I would be without him. I’m utterly terrified.
Please let me know what you think, and how you think I could move forward.
Thanks for listening,
* * *
Your relationship with James is severely broken, as you know. This is a case in point in which, when two people are not sexually compatible, it can easily spell doom for that relationship. This just happened to someone very dear to me who is now getting a divorce after a long, monogamous marriage because the other person wanted to suddenly go poly and began ignoring her spouse in favor of the new third party. Poly relationships can work. Open relationships can work. But ONLY if everyone is on the same page and there is no jealousy and mistrust. Reading your letter, there is mistrust all over the place; there is lying; there is cheating; there is bad communication; and there is sexual frustration because you are, frankly, incompatible in the bedroom.
The biggest mistake that people in an incompatible relationship try to do is make the other person change or (incorrectly used) "grow as a person," which just means, "change so that they do what I want." Look, Lindell, you have four choices here:
Of these choices, the only one that has a chance of helping you and James to find a satisfactory sex life is the fourth one. Now, is sex everything in a loving partnership? No, it is just one facet, though a big one. Sometimes sex is not a factor at all, but that is usually not the case with young, healthy couples such as yourself. The reason you are fighting this inevitable conclusion is that you want to keep James in your life because other than this one issue, you love him. I can certainly understand that you don't want your partnership to change. For the most part, it's comfortable and familiar and cozy.
I wish to stress that you are not the "bad guy" and you shouldn't feel "ashamed" for what you want. There is nothing wrong with the things you want; it's just that the things you want do not coincide with what your partner wants.
Your letter likely helped you work out some of the thought processes and emotions running through your head. Hopefully, my reply will help you wrap that process up and finally come to a conclusion as to what you should do.
Hope that I've helped you figure it out.
Heya Papa Bear,
I saw this page when I was browsing Furaffinity, so I thought I'd give it a shot. So for some background, I've met a girl on a video game who really liked my personality and she asked to be my girlfriend. I didn't want to be rude or defiant, so I quickly said yes. But later she tells me that she lives in a different state (Ohio), and that she is two years behind me, which is not the legal consent age in her state. So my question is should I carry on and meet someone else that is of age, or should I go the extra mile and wait two years for it to work out? I Hope this message finds you well in these trying times, and have a Merry Christmas!
Jackthefennec (North Carolina, age 18)
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You jumped the gun a bit here, my fennec furiend. Saying "Yes, I'll be your boyfriend" because you "don't want to be rude or defiant" is a terrible reason to say yes to a serious relationship invitation. Now, if she meant simply "let's be friends," that's fine, but gf/bf territory is what was implied, apparently. Jumping into a serious relationship is something I see writers to my column doing all the time. There's an old expression: "Look before you leap." It applies here. It's nice that you have pleasant chats online and may have some things in common. Those are good qualifications for an online friendship. But not for an emotional relationship and certainly not for a sexual one.
As for her being 16 to your 18, I doubt it matters. You live in completely different states, and I seriously doubt the two of you will meet in person in the next couple of years--do you? But let's say that COVID settles down and the two of you decide to meet at a furcon. That would be a great way to get to know each other, but again, I recommend you take it slowly and don't jump into bed. That said, the age of consent in Ohio is 16, so you don't have to worry about the legalities. DO worry about the consequences of sex in a world of STIs, high living expenses, and the costs of raising children.
You are making a pachyderm out of a mouse. Chill, relax, work on building your relationship with this girl. Get to know her. You have plenty of time. I'm gonna sound like an Old Papabear here, but you cubs rush into things too much. Not everything is a must-decide-now-this-very-instant deal. Don't force things. Allow them to evolve organically. And don't freak out if the relationship ends at some point. In fact, it would be unusual for an early teen crush to succeed. This is a time for you to learn about relationships--and don't forget to simply enjoy life in the moment.
Hope that helps.
I've been a long time follower of your advice site, and have asked a couple of questions a couple of times. This time I have a little bit of a problem with my current mate. You see both of us are into kink and we've indulged in some things a couple of times, but breakdown in trust and communication on her part made me feel uncomfortable about bringing up things that are part of me.
Example, I was and still am questioning my gender and when I brought it up to her (a trans woman herself) she met it with disinterest and a small trace of hostility.
Example 2, both of us are into gaming, it was something we bonded over. But when I was getting into Warhammer 40K and learning the lore, of course I wanted to share it with her so we could share this too. I was met with a roll of her eyes and sigh with an exasperated "Oh god." Also try to share MtG (Magic the gathering) card game with her but when I'm playing online I'm cut short when I talk strategy to myself, it's the way my brain works.
There's so many more examples of why I don't bring anything up to her anymore or even try to share interests. So you can see my hesitancy to bring up the subject of something so personal as a kink. Just to put it out in the open, I'm into leather and pup play. I think of it as a big part of who I am and I want to explore that side of myself. I was thinking of just buying a pup hood and tail plug just to get it out in the open, like ripping off a band-aid. There would be no hiding it and it would bring up my kink, but there's also the risk of her throwing it away or me having to return it.
Now please don't have a negative view of her, we get along just fine otherwise. I love her and she loves me. We're friendly with each other, game with each other, joke, play around and everything that comes with a relationship. It's just my trust in bringing up things to her is a bit wounded.
What can I do? She's a sub too so I think that would be a problem, but we're poly so I think she would approve of me finding a handler/trainer, in theory.
* * *
Many people believe that when you have a mate you should share all your interests together and do everything together. This is not true. It is okay for a couple to have different interests and explore different sides of themselves while also sharing other things. To be compatible does not mean you have to be clones of each other. In fact, it is better if you are not. Imagine doing everything together and having the exact same interests and activities. What would you talk about at the end of the day? "Hey, this morning I...." "Yeah, I was there, remember? I'm ALWAYS there!"
When I was married to Janet, she was way into crafts, including cross-stitch and quilting. I was never into that stuff myself, but I supported her in her interests, sometimes going shopping with her, but never to a quilting convention (yawn). It was great that she loved that stuff and would go on a trip by herself or with a friend and have some fun outside the marriage. Later, when I was with Jim, his passion was radio broadcasting and sound editing. I learned some of this myself and even, briefly, hosted a radio show on his station. But I was not passionate about it. I supported his love for the radio and did what I could to help. Now I am with Michael. He is into playing the organ and piano. Here, we have a little more in common as I am learning the piano, but really am not all that interested in the organ. I am having his mother's piano refurbished as a present this year.
In return, my spouses and mates have also supported me in my interests. One year, long ago, my wife paid to send me to a writers' conference in Maui. Later, with Jim, he was very supportive of my being a furry, as is Michael. Michael is helping me start my publishing business, even though he is not a publisher or writer himself.
And so, you see? Partnership is about complementing one another, supporting each other in the things that you love and do as hobbies or for a living. You don't have to do everything together. So, let's take your interest in pup play and leather kink. Does your girlfriend have to do these with you for you to enjoy them? No, she does not. Now, that said, she shouldn't be rolling her eyes and being dismissive of you. She might not like such things herself, but if she loves you she should be supportive and encourage you to explore this side of yourself.
You sound like you two have a pretty good relationship. I think, though, that you should talk to her about this and say something to the effect of what I have said above: she doesn't have to like EVERYTHING that you are into, but it hurts you when she looks down at you or judges you for liking things she doesn't like herself. (Is there stuff she likes that you don't? You can use that as an example of what she should do for you).
With patience, love, and understanding, I'm sure you two can work it out, and this whole experience can help you grow closer as a couple.
I've always dreamed of settling down with a furry partner who loves me for who I am inside. Since Pounced was shut down, where does one go for furry dating? I'm getting older and I feel once I hit 40 it'll be game over for my chance to find love in the furry community. I seen a few places advertised, but I want to avoid scams and just try someplace thats actually popular, full of real people and not bots. Can you help me?
* * *
As someone who is over 40 himself, don't write yourself off just because of your age. I have found love three times in my life: Once when I was in college, once when I was 41, and again when I was 51. Love has no age. There are many lonely, older furries out there who would love to have what you long for: a mature furry mate to share their lives with.
Going on dating sites is one way to look, yes, but that is rather limiting yourself. My advice to those seeking a partner is to find groups on the Web with members who share your interests and, perhaps--but not necessarily--demographics. For example, if you are on Facebook, I would invite you to join my Greymuzzles group, where you will find lots of furries your age. If you have other interests in life, seek out groups that share that interest. For example, maybe you are super into model trains. There's a group for that. Or perhaps you love Schnauzers; I'm sure there's a group for that. Not just on Facebook, but on the internet as a whole.
You could also seek out groups that actually meet in person (after this virus thing eases off). I recommend checking out the Meetup website. Here, you can type in a location and an interest and search for local groups of people who like the same things you do (including furries).
Finding a fellow furry is great, but you don't have to limit yourself to only furries. I mean, the real point is finding someone with whom you can share your life, right? My late husbear, Jim, and my current husband, Michael, are not furries, but they are totally fine with my being a furry and both Jim and Michael have joined me at furcons.
Cast your net out wide upon the waters and you will catch fish. Do not be too picky or demanding, but also don't allow yourself to be a tool because you are desperate for a mate. It's a tough balancing act, but if you temper your search with love and compassion, I think you will find someone.
I haven't ever really cared about being with anyone I've always just kind of accepted I'll be alone however these last few years I've been feeling really alone I really want to be married.
Now there's someone I really like and he likes me but right now it's to soon he has a lot of stress going on in his life with his ex and he doesn't want to upset his family by telling them he's bi and the stress that I add by trying to make us a couple to fast he's also requested an open relationship and I don't know how I'll react to that I don't want to restrict him so much that he starts to resent me but i feel like I might lose him to someone else.
I guess my questions are how long should you wait for someone? And how do you make an open relationship work when you want a monogamous one?
Zoey (age 29)
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Oh, this one is easy: if you want monogamy and he wants an open relationship, and neither of you want to change your mind, then that's it; you're done. That relationship will not work. Monogamous relationships can work fine; open relationships can work fine. But for either to work, BOTH parties MUST be in agreement.
As for the it's-not-the-right-time-for-him thing: in my experience, when a love interest says stuff like "there's too much going on in my life right now" or "I need time before I make a commitment" or "I can't upset my family" then you are on a path to nowhere. This is called "leading you on." I've seen it happen to people over and over and over again. This happens either because the other person is really not all that into you and doesn't want to "hurt your feelings" by forthrightly saying "go away," OR! They want to have their cake and eat it too, meaning they don't want to upset their current status quo but they also want you to be the "something on the side" when it is convenient for them and only them. If you accept either of these things, you are allowing yourself to be a tool.
Have a little self-respect and don't allow yourself to be used. Dump this guy. You are only allowing him to pull this crap because you are becoming desperate for marriage. And another thing: don't be in love with the idea of marriage; be in love with a person. Many people marry because they don't want to be alone, but if you leap into a marriage because you like the idea of being married more than you like your choice for a partner, then that marriage will end in heartache and disappointment.
Zoey, I'm glad you wrote to me. You need to stop and reflect on your life and your motivation. You need to work on your self-respect and also not be afraid of being alone. When you are confident, have self-respect, and can be independent and not need to lean on others just to get by, that is when you will exude attractiveness and that will bring love to your door.
If someone truly loves you, they won't make you wait.
Where can I find myself a mate that is a furry and is around my age? I broke up with my boyfriend months ago and I've been craving to have another mate ever since. I feel so alone at times without a mate. I can't stand it.
Codes the Fox (Illinois, age 16)
I just joined a furry online community and I don’t know where to start. I wonder if you have any tips on how to make friends. This website is all local furries in my state, and I have a few friends who don’t mind furries but I want to make friends who are in the fandom. Can you help?
Sahara Fox (age 15)
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Dear Codes and Sahara,
I grouped your two letters together as they are related, so I might as well answer you both with one reply.
There are two ways to meet furries your age: 1) in person, and 2) virtually. In person means getting together with people at furcons and furmeets, or, sometimes, on a one-on-one basis, but that last one is more typical after you’ve already met them at a social function. Now, Codes, you are in Illinois, which means you are not too far from the biggest con currently running in the United States: Midwest Furfest in Rosemont just outside of Chicago. You might also be interested in Indy Furcon in Indianapolis. Sahara, you didn’t tell me whereabouts you live, so you might check out FurryCons.com, which is a great way of finding conventions that are active near you.
If you are looking for something smaller than a convention, then we’re talking about furmeets. There are a couple ways to find meets. One is the website MeetUp.com. Go to the website, set up a free account, and search on subjects of interest. For example, you can type in “Illinois furries” and see what comes up. If you don’t find a group near you, you might make bold and start your own furgroup!
Also, at your age, when you are still in high school, you might even locate some furries at school. There used to be a great site called FurryMap that posted locations of furries all over the world, but, unfortunately, it recently ceased operation. You might also check out cosplay, sci-fi, anime, manga, animation, comic books, and fantasy groups as members of those groups sometimes are also furries.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Amino sites offer lots of furgroups to join and make friends on. Amino has several specific groups; for example, I am on the Bear Furries Amino group. Facebook also has a lot of specialized furry groups, such as furries who like gaming, Christian furries, furry bara groups, furries who are car or train enthusiasts, and so on.
Search social media but narrow your focus not just to furries but to furries who share some of your special interests. Then join discussion groups and chat up the members there. If you do that, you are bound to make some connections with people with whom you have things in common.
Once you have made contact with some people like yourself, the best way to make friends is to make sure it is a two-way street. Show an interest in their lives and don’t just make it about yourself.
If you are looking for more than just friends but mates, my advice is to always start with a good friend and, if the chemistry is right, that friend will become a wonderful mate. Don’t plunge into a relationship with sex and matehood expectations. That usually ends in disaster as one discovers that the person you had some great sex with turns out to be an unpleasant person as a companion. Friends first, then mate.
I just graduated high school four months ago, and all I can say is that I'm glad to be rid of that place (it wasn't horrible, but if I were asked to either repeat the entire experience or wear high heels for a week, I'd personally choose the high heels).
But besides that, I've started an online college about a month ago; a new class begins every month/four weeks, and this class is where my question/problem stems from.
This class had an assignment where we had to team up with another classmate or group of classmates and play something online. And while the person I teamed up with had a different instructor, we had the same class subject (I hope I explained that well enough). We got each other's discord and steam, set a date to do the assignment, and the rest is history.
He and I played a game for about 10-ish hours, and it would've been lasted longer if I didn't have something to do the next day/later that morning. At the end of that session, he asked if we could play again, and (shocked, might I add) I said "sure!" After that, I almost immediately thought, "Wow ... I like his voice." And HERE is when I started to process this question I'm about to ask you, but we'll get to that.
We did end up playing again just this past Saturday into Sunday. About 11 hours this time. It was definitely a lot more chill since we didn't have to be formal for the class anymore, and I certainly enjoyed it. Once again, at the end of the session, he said, "If you wanna play again sometime, let me know," and I said, "absolutely!"
Now just about 2 hours ago (I'm typing this up at about 5 am) HE asked if we could play again Wednesday (I said yes).
So, if I may assume, we both like each other's company (obviously, but I need to get all points across) to some extent, we do know each other (both first and last name because the school doesn't allow aliases or usernames), and we've talked a fair amount about ourselves for me to gather a fair amount of other info (can't say it here, gotta keep it vague on the off chance someone actually finds this, but I CAN say that we're the same age).
Now I'm old enough to know that Disney romances don't happen just like *snap* that, and if they do, that couple is REALLY lucky. Not only that, but this is also JUST me. While I do know that he does seek the opposite gender (ooh, ooh! That's ME!), I don't know if he's looking to be IN a relationship, and with ME no less. As well as there also being the factor that we live across the country from each other (personally, distance isn't an issue, but I'm also getting my hopes up here lol; I'm also but of a hopeless romantic, so that doesn't help too much either).
So, while I don't mean to be all over the place with my set up/story, I need someone's opinion on this. And with this comes my question: Would it be wrong to think like this? To like someone based off of their voice, personality, and a slightly vague description of their appearance? Or should I process this a bit more, and maybe bring it up in the fairly far-off future to him?
Daisy (age 18)
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It is certainly not wrong to be smitten by a guy after talking to him some, playing a game, chatting as you get to know each other a bit. It IS unwise to go from that to "I want to have a serious relationship with you right now!" Or, worse, "Let's sleep together!" (and, since you're far apart, that does include having virtual sex, FYI).
Ah, youth! So impatient! So quick to fall in love ... and just as quick to allow your hearts to be broken.
The wiser course is this: take it slowly! Yes, definitely explore this relationship further because that's the only way you'll ever find love, but please, take baby steps. This relationship is just beginning, so just focus on spending more time together, talking more, getting to know each other. Too often I see people leaping into bed with one another, "committing" to each other, and then, a few months later, when something happens and you realize you actually are not as compatible as you thought, the entire thing comes crashing down, and you are devastated. If you break up with a casual friend it is not nearly as painful as breaking up with your "first true love." You see?
Be friends first. Do not even utter the words "boyfriend" or "commit" or "serious relationship" yet. Take your time to form a stronger bond. And, if it works out, and you really do fall in love, you will have fallen in love with a good or even best friend, and that is the best kind of love of all.
Explore a relationship before you plant your flag in it ... or put a ring on it.
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.