Dear Papa Bear,
I'm going to a furry con next year and for fun I thought I'd share a room. I found someone in a Facebook group I'm part of and we quickly made plans. However, in my excitement that I finally found someone didn't really look into the guy until after the initial arrangements. Turns out based on his Facebook likes he is a diaper fur. Now normally I am a very open minded individual and not much bothers me when it comes to people's kinks but diapers by their very nature disgust me and I don't if I could stand to be in the same room as the guy. Just knowing someone puts what I consider to be one of the most disgusting objects in the world on their body makes my skin crawl.
How do I explain to this guy that I just made this arrangement with that his fetish makes me physically ill and I'm going to have to back out on our deal?
Is there still a way I can make this work? I feel like such a tolerant ass and I know he going to hate me.
Typhon (age 32)
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This is a lesson in checking people out before you agree to room with them, isn’t it? But now that you have told this furry that he can room with you, it would be quite dishonorable of you to tell him that you changed your mind: be a man of your word. It’s your fault you didn’t check out his background more thoroughly and not his, and you might ruin his plans to go to the furcon if you back out now. Not cool.
Now that you have made this deal, it doesn’t mean you have to have an uncomfortable time of it. As I understand it, most diaper furs wear these garments under their clothes anyway, so you’re not going to see anything. Just to make things clear, though, you should lay some ground rules about sharing the room (many of which should be agreed upon with roomies at furcons as a matter of course, anyway).
For example, you can tell the guy you are a bit shy and to please change clothes in the bathroom and you will do the same. Tell him you have learned he’s a diaper fur, and that while you are not going to forbid him from being himself, you would like him to please be discreet about it because it is not something you are into. To reciprocate, ask him if there are any things that bothers him and agree that you will not do those, either.
In addition, request some standards be put in place: promise him you will not be messy and ask him to do the same (this should cover things like leaving diapers around; ask him to please dispose of stuff or keep it packed away). If food is eaten in the room, clean up after meals. Don’t leave wet towels everywhere, etc. Depending on what your idea of fun at a con is, you might also request “please do not bring hook ups to the room—I don’t want to walk in and see you having sex.” Or some such thing. Now, if you plan on doing stuff like that yourself, you can do a simple signage system, if you know what I mean (you’re 32, so you probably do), so that if someone is using the room for naked fun, the other promises to stay out (within reasonable hours, of course).
In short: don’t be a jerk. Don’t go back on your promise (as long as he honors his to pay for his half of the room), and don’t say things like “your desire to wear diapers makes me physically ill.” Be respectful, but ask for his respect and consideration in return. Since you’re both paying for the room (I assume), he also has the right to ask for some space and consideration, too.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll actually like this guy and become friends. If not, consider it a lesson learned and be more careful next time you arrange for a roommate.
Have fun at the con!
Hello, and thank you for reading my letter. I have a bit of a potential roommate problem that could either turn out to be nothing or get worse over time. It’s not so much the roommate behaving badly, but rather a confusing emotional situation that I just don’t know what to do or feel about. So, one of my roommates and cousin, Anna, and I have been living together for four years now, two of which were at my parents’ house after she needed a place to stay when she dropped out of college. We got along great and were pretty close, even though we came from two very different backgrounds. Two years ago, we decided to move out and live together in another state to go to college. It was challenging; Anna got very depressed during that time because she couldn’t get a job for about a year, and there were some tense times. But hey, that’s part of growing up and it would be dumb to expect that we would get along happy all the time, so it didn’t bother me. In the end we were still tight and grew as people.
Then, about two months ago, Anna got a message from one of her friends at her old college whose name is Ray. He got a job in the area and wanted to room with us. Another thing: Anna is seriously in love with this guy; Ray knows she had a crush on him, but I don’t think he knows she flat out loves him (being aromantic, I didn’t really get it). I didn’t mind him living with us; Anna’s feelings for Ray didn’t affect me at the time, and a third roommate would lessen the financial burden, so I agreed.
Ray and Anna come from similar backgrounds; they’re basically both wilderness people who grew up in small towns, while I’m a city person and a big city nerd. Even though there’s some overlap of interests between the three of us, it was clear Ray and Anna had more in common than either of them had with me. Again, I expected this and wasn’t really surprised when she started favoring his company over mine. She even said as much, but not in a hurtful “you’re not good enough” way. I like being by myself anyway, so it was okay. For a while.
Here’s the thing with Anna: she’s kind of a control freak and gets irritated easily. She insists on doing everything herself because she feels she has to take care of people (I had to argue with her just to get litterbox duty, something I never thought I’d be vying for). She’s a very kind and good person, but sometimes she expects me to “read her mind” and doesn’t always understand why I would do things differently from her, and it irritates her very quickly. I, on the other hand, am very laid back and can tolerate an unusually high amount of bullcrap, but I do have trouble remembering certain things and interpret instructions weirdly sometimes. So, misunderstandings sometimes occur. Before, the argument would happen but we would talk about it later and everything would be good. Then after Ray moved in, something changed.
As nice and chill as Ray is, I’ve found he can’t tolerate other people’s way of life very well. He frequently complains about how people move too slow and are too lazy, and he’s kind of a know-it-all. Anna has started to agree with him more and more. She’d be in worship mode, and even said that he is definitely smarter than both of us, which rubbed me the wrong way. He is very smart when it comes to wilderness stuff and utilities, but not so much at city culture or my field of study, which is art. So saying he’s smarter than both of us is pretty stupid, since me and him have completely different sets of knowledge. I’m pretty sure Anna’s doing this because she wants to impress Ray, but it’s having a bad effect on me since I am a slower paced person, so I can’t help but think some of these complaints are subconsciously directed at me.
On top of that, Anna has been snapping at me more and more. Her job has been frustrating her lately, but she never snaps at Ray, only me. I also get the feeling she thinks I’m stupid because I don’t get certain things right away, and I recently caught her complaining about me to Ray after I had a frustration attack, which really hurt me. I confronted her about this, but she assured me that she was just venting, everything was okay, and that she doesn’t think I’m stupid. I want to believe her, I really do, but there’s been this growing feeling that it isn’t true. It doesn’t help that I was a bit sheltered growing up, and many of my relatives also thought I wasn’t smart enough to make it on my own, so I’m particularly sensitive to this and Anna knows it. I doubt she’s being intentionally malicious, but her personality and Ray’s influence are clashing with mine. And while I have friends who are more like me, I don’t see them very often because of school, while Anna sees Ray every day, so I’m starting to feel isolated as well. I knew adding a third person would change the dynamic, but I didn’t think Anna would be more hostile toward me.
Anyway, I’m not sure I have a question but rather I just need general thoughts and I guess rant to someone. I don’t want to confront Anna because it has led to her either a) say everything’s okay and I’m right back to being paranoid, or b) she gets even more irritated with me. Or am I completely overreacting and should just wait to see how things turn out?
Thanks again for reading,
Thunderbird (age 24)
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So, let me see if I understand this. The point of contention seems to be about chores and tasks around your home, who does them, and how? Is that a big part of it? Also, I am assuming that the three of you split rent and utilities equally, which means that the three of you should be treated equally. Another part of this seems to be that Ray and Anna are Type A personalities, while you're more of a Type B (more bear personality, as I like to think of it, while I would call them more squirrelly hehe). Am I correct those are the main points?
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Thanks for replying back!
It's more about our split in personalities than chores, though how we do chores differently does ruffle some feathers on occasion, but that part isn't a huge deal. More of a side effect. And yes, we do split bills equally. The only difference between me and them is I don't have a job right now and family has been helping me out. I've been looking, but all the jobs I've gotten offers for are either full time (because of school I can only do part time) or across the state, which is a good six hours away. Usually it's both. Jobs I've submitted for weren't interested. My previous job was a very specific position (automotive assistant quality manager) which a lot of people around my area don't need. I do think I have a chance with art commissions in the near future, so that's something.
Tangent aside, our main issue is our personalities. We are very much like bears and squirrels, though in Ray's case, he seems like a bear on the outside but definitely a squirrel on the inside. Anyway, Anna kind of naturally molds her personality to whomever she's around at the time, but her default personality does lean towards Ray's. I have tried to mold my personality more towards Ray's to be more accommodating, but that just made me miserable and confused. The more I think about it, the more I think Anna is becoming exhausted from constantly having to switch between Ray’s and my personalities. I've been trying to tell her that she doesn't have to do that, but like I said, it does happen naturally with her and she doesn't realize it. I just wish she wouldn't snap at me all the time, or at least snap at Ray every once in a while to make it even.
* * *
I think I get it now, yes. It sounds almost as if Anna is suffering from what psychologists call “mirroring” or “the chameleon effect,” a type of borderline personality disorder in which the person’s demeanor and attitudes change according to the people they are around and trying to please. This is usually the result of low self-confidence, which, in Anna’s case, might be influenced by her earlier bout with depression. Her anal side (being overly controlling about chores) is also her attempt to find order in a world that she finds chaotic. People without confidence in themselves find comfort if they can at least create some kind of order in their world to cling to. This must all, indeed, be very exhausting for her, which causes her to lash out at you. Too, as you observed, she is gravitating toward Ray as someone who could be more of an anchor in her life because he has a similar background and a job.
This doesn’t excuse her behavior toward you, of course. She probably isn’t overly conscious of what’s going on inside her head and is not intentionally doing anything to hurt you with remarks such as saying you’re not as smart as Ray. Judging by the letter you wrote me, you are not a stupid person. Indeed, you are insightful and articulate (e.g., correctly observing that different people have different areas about which they are knowledgeable). Another part of the problem is that you are an artistic type, while Ray and Anna sound more as if they are pragmatic types. It can often be hard for the pragmatic to understand the artistic.
Papabear surmises that, although the three of you inhabit the same house, you are not actually living together, if you see what I mean. Living together in close quarters can build up a lot of tension and disagreements and bitterness if you just see one another as “that person I live with” rather than as friends and companions. You probably won’t all live together forever, but for now you are together, so to be happy you should act like a cooperative unit of three people rather than as three separate individuals who just happen to occupy the same residence.
Hope that helps,
Dear Papa Bear,
I wrote to you before about a topic I'd rather not bring up again and your advice really helped. And now I'm hoping you can help me again.
I'm stuck in a depression that borderlines suicidal (not exactly there yet) mainly because I'm not happy living where I currently am. I plan to move out soon, but at the current moment I have nowhere to go. My parents don’t want me moving back in with them, and plans I had made with 2 different furs fell through for reasons I won’t get into. According to my therapist, I'm not mentally fit to live on my own and I don’t really get along with anyone outside of the fandom. My problem is that if I stay in my current living situation any longer I will reach the point where I'm winding up in an insane asylum because I’m either plotting to kill myself or my roommates. They stress me out to the point where I can’t function in society, and they make me feel like ... well ... they make me feel like I'm worthless ... especially since one has the worst self-esteem issues I've ever seen and the other is constantly criticizing me for not doing anything exactly the way he wants it because of his OCD. And it doesn’t help that they smoke weed on a regular basis (one more than the other). It doesn’t help that I have a mess of mental disabilities that hinder my thought process (bipolar and schizophrenia to name 2). I'm so stressed out that I feel like I have a rock in my throat that will never be removed. I tried to talk to my therapist about this but all I get every time I talk to her about it is that I should try to work things out to the best of my ability, which I do with no results. I'm wondering if you know any resources for furs looking for roommates or any resources for furs that are in a state that I'm in. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
* * *
Whenever someone writes to me and feels they might be suicidal, that letter goes to the top of the pile. First question: have you tried calling a suicide hotline? Calling one doesn't mean you're about to kill yourself, but even if you're just contemplating it, you should call. They have excellent counselors online.
1-800-273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Second, fire your therapist and find someone else. Just because this person is a therapist doesn't mean they are a good one. Just like a doctor, it can be worth shopping around for one who works for you.
Next question: are you on any meds? If so, it might be a matter of adjusting dosages or switching medications; if not, you might want to explore that option.
Next: are you obtaining any help from government sources? It sounds like you could qualify for disability SSI. Are you receiving any currently? Obtaining some financial support may help lower stress.
Next: you need to try to change your environment. Clearly, your current one is detrimental to you. I don't mean go rushing out the door (and, Mom and Dad are not an option), but just start looking for a new living arrangement. Even just the process of knowing you're planning to move and that you aren't trapped can elevate your spirits.
Finally: don't forget to lean on your furry friends for comfort and emotional support.
I hope this helps. If not, feel free to write again and I will try my best to help out! If it gets really bad, you can call me.
* * *
Hi papa bear.
I got your response to my letter and I spoke to a suicide specialist. They seem to think the same as you that I need a change in environment. And to answer some of your questions, yes, I receive SSI at the current moment but it constantly gets lowered because my roommates keep making changes to my living arrangements (as I am currently not paying rent); plus, recently they had me apply for food stamps ... so that docked me down another 100 dollars ... and as far as my meds: I receive meds for all my ailments (including my HIV that I wrote to you about at an earlier date.) But I really wanna live with someone who can understand what I'm going through as far as my social life. My furry life is important to me. It’s really all I have. Which is why I was asking about resources for furries searching for roommates and such. My fur parents were one of the furs I spoke about in my last letter, but they can’t keep me at this current moment.... I was hoping you could help me in any way you possibly can. Sorry for sounding needy, but this depression is really killing me. Hope to hear back form you.
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It might be a good idea to talk to your therapist about antidepressants. It really sounds as if you might need them. I don’t like telling people they should go on medications, but in this case it might be very important to do so. Ask your doctor about mood elevators.
You need to take a step back and realize, too, what you’re asking here concerning roommates. You are looking, ideally, for someone to live with who is not only a furry but who is willing to live with someone with HIV and whatever other ailments you have, is living off SSI and food stamps, has a history of depression, and might be suicidal or even homicidal. It is kind of a tall order. If you go on a roommate hunt, would you hide these facts and then divulge them later (or at all) to your new roommate, or would you confess them up front in hopes of finding a saint willing to live in the same apartment or house as you? Just be aware of what you’re asking here. I really would recommend you get your emotions in order first before looking for a new roommate. That might sound like putting the cart before the horse, but it will greatly increase your chances of changing living arrangements.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t know of any furry roommate matching service. I think it would be a great idea, though, for someone to create one, and I sent an email to my advertiser FurryMate to see if they’d be willing to set one up.
Other than that, what you can do is go to all the furry social sites out there and announce that you are seeking a roommate in your area and just see what happens. Word of mouth can spread like a virus, and there very well could be someone just like you in your area looking for the same thing.
And to readers of this column, if you are seeking a roommate or know someone who is in Missouri, please contact me and I’ll forward the information to Smokey.
Wish I could be of more help, but hopefully I have given you some nudges in the right direction.
I believe I should start by saying, I am a college student who lives in the dorms and I have made various friends and I had constantly been picked on, as well as my other friends, but I have learned to just brush it off...
Here is my concern: My roommate is one of my very close friends, who has a bit of a tendency to get mad quickly, especially when it comes to me. My fear is that he managed to sneak a switch blade into the dorms! I am afraid he is going to hurt someone! He usually comes into the room when [he] is mad and yells, but my other roommate and another close friend has had to hold him back on a couple of occasions BEFORE he got the blade.
I have asked him several times to take it back home, give it to me to put away, or at LEAST to leave it in the room, stating my fear that his short fuse is going to cause him to make a grave mistake...
Every time he blows me off saying "He isn't stupid" or "He wouldn't do that," but I can see in his eyes every time he gets mad... His hands quiver over his pocket when he is in the room...
What can I say to make him listen?
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This is something that you should not handle yourself. Go to your RA and tell them about what is going on. You should trust your gut on this and not second guess yourself. If you feel he could potentially be dangerous, take it to someone who can do something about it.
I know you say this guy is a friend, but I would also suggest you find new living arrangements. This is not something to treat lightly.
Let me know how it goes.
* * *
Thank you very much for your advice; it really did help. I talked to my RA and we all sat and had a talk (and let me clarify when I said "especially when it comes to me" I meant when people pick on me and what not). Luckily, as extreme as the college can be with stuff like this, it went smoothly, and instead of expulsion he is going to be placed in anger management classes. When his temper isn't flaring (again let me say this much when I FIRST arrived he used to be worse with his temper) he is a really nice guy who would go through heck and back for people close to him... Smart too...
So let me just say it again, thank you very much PapaBear.
P.S: Lots of hugs from this fluffy wolf
I just recently lost my Grandmother, who I had been living with since mid 2011. Since her passing, I have found it awkward to stay in the home for long lengths of time. I now spend more time with my boyfriend than I do at home. I can't move in with him because his place is small and I would have to sacrifice too many of my personal belongings. I've been looking into apartments in the area and have found a nice one with no bad reviews. It seems perfect; it's within our price range, and I would even get a 5% rent discount every month because my employer is on their preferred list.
The problem is, when I brought it up to my boyfriend, he said he "tried them and it didn't seem like a good deal." Referring to when he moved into the area. Papa, the apartment is $545 a month without the 5% discount... he currently pays over $700 a month for his place. I'm not sure what to do. We've been dating for 8 months. Is there a way to change his opinion or is it a lost cause?
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Hi, Ingavar, and welcome back :-3
My sympathies on the loss of your grandmother.
As for moving arrangements, a couple of options: 1) you could move in with your boyfriend and put your excess belongings in storage until a later time (I’m assuming the two of you would split the rent and utilities?), 2) if you can afford it, you can move into your own apartment by yourself and continue to date your boyfriends; then later talk about other arrangements, or 3) you could stay at your grandmother’s place.
You’ve only been dating this guy for eight months. Moving in together at this point is a bit premature, anyway. What if you did move in with him, or he moved in with you, and then you broke up for some reason? Living together is a real test of any relationship, and is often the cause of young couples breaking up before they have a chance to really get to know each other. If that happened, you would find yourself looking for a place of your own anyway.
I’m not sure why staying in your grandmother’s home is so impossible. Is it unaffordable for you now that she is gone? That I can understand. Is it just the “creepiness” factor? If so, give it time and I’m sure you can get comfortable, again, especially if you redecorate and make the place your own.
If your boyfriend doesn’t understand the math involved with the two apartments, it could be he simply doesn’t wish to move, which demonstrates a certain resistance toward accommodating his life to better suit yours. In other words, he would rather inconvenience you and also pay more money than move into a suitable, cheaper place for the two of you. I don’t know about you, but that sets off a signal flare of warning in this bear’s mind right away.
Before making any decisions, you need to have a long chat with your boyfriend and see where he is in the relationship. Could it be you might be assuming he is okay with the two of you living together? Perhaps you are being presumptuous and he is not ready for it and is feeling pressured. Therefore, if financially feasible, Papabear recommends your looking for living arrangements elsewhere until you and your boyfriend have a more solid and committed relationship.
Let me know how it works out.
I have written to you before, but I am in need of more advice. See, I am mated to this wonderful guy in Wisconsin (and have been since almost three years back.), and I myself live in Denmark, Europe.
In November-ish, 2011, I met another fur in Denmark whom fell head over heels in love with me and he still has a really deep crush on me.
Now, I've lived in Denmark since late 2010 together with other furs (I moved there from England due to homelessness) and the other furs have moved out, and since early December 2012, that fur that has a crush on me have moved in as I asked him to. (I have had a depression since 11 years of age, I have a hard time keeping positive if left alone for too long.) And since then, I have felt worse and worse, as he keeps getting either pissed off with me or really depressed/annoyed with me, because he knows he can't have me. I am stuck here and right now, I don't know what to do. I mean, I have to move to Sweden later this year as I am a Swedish citizen and I will be marrying my fiancé. But what to do about my friend, I would hate to lose him as he can be rather sweet. And what to do about him the last time here? Please answer this.
* * *
I understand that you asked this person to live with you because you didn’t want to be alone, but as you found out you were asking for trouble when you knew that this guy had a crush on you but you already gave your heart to another. It’s not at all surprising that he is upset with you; he probably thinks you were leading him on by your invitation, even though you weren’t. You knew that, but he didn’t.
Sometimes in life we make mistakes, and there is no magical elixir that can make them *poof!* disappear. You made a mistake and now you find yourself in a spot with no easy resolution.
I assume that your friend knows you are moving back to Sweden, yes? To be with your lover and get married, right? Since it is already May, that can’t be too far off. The best thing you can do for now is always be kind, considerate, and honest with him. He needs to be mature enough to recognize the reality of his situation and that he cannot have you as a mate. With luck, he will understand and you can keep him as a friend.
We cannot control the actions or emotions of other people. All we can do is be kind and honest and hope they will manage the rest.
Good luck with your future move back to Sweden and congratulations on the forthcoming nuptials.
My question is a bit of a touchy subject. Recently we helped a fellow fur out by providing a place to live, as he was getting evicted from his prior residence. We were taking a chance, being that we did not know him very well, and now we wish we had.
A couple weeks after he first moved in we noticed something was a bit off. He admitted to us quite plainly he had stolen food from his previous roommates. I was none too happy and immediately told him if I ever caught him stealing from us, that he'd be out. Not long after this incident he made a sexual pass at my mate, right in front of me. I told him not to grab my boyfriend's ass, and that was his one and only warning.
Today he told me he threatened a small neighbor kid by saying if the kid's dog (a pit bull) came near him again it would die.
I am at a loss as what to do. I no longer feel comfortable with this fur in my house. I do not know how to break it to him that he might need to leave, especially since he traveled thru multiple states to get here, and I do not want to see anyone out on the street.
* * *
This is a good example of the danger of letting someone into your home whom you don’t know well. It was nice of you to take that furry in, but generosity can only go so far. You need to have some respect for yourself and your own sanity. Therefore, if this arrangement isn’t working out, you are the lord of the manor, so to speak, and have the right to tell him to leave.
However, before you do that, let’s look what we have here. First there was his confession that he stole food at his previous place. However, he has, as yet, not stolen from you, and you made it clear this wasn’t acceptable. Secondly, he grabbed your mate’s butt. You put a stop to it and, I surmise, he hasn’t repeated the act. Finally, there was the dog incident, which is disturbing. I hope you told him that what he said was inappropriate and potentially criminal.
So, basically, this furry has got no social skills to speak of. Likely this is because either he was poorly raised by his parents or he has a mental or emotional problem. This shouldn’t be your problem, but you have made it your problem by bringing him into your home. You are right that it isn’t very kind of you to just kick him out onto the streets in an area he doesn’t even know well.
Do you like the guy, despite his flaws? If so, he is worth a bit of effort. I would suspect your initial deal with him was that this would be a temporary arrangement, yes? You can patiently explain to him what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and if he improves, then you don’t really have a problem, and, eventually, he’s moving out anyway.
If you don’t like the guy (behavior or not), then you need to move on this more quickly. Start working on plans to get him out now. Locate a friend or family member who will take him in and figure out a way to get him there. You don’t have to toss him on the street, but you should figure out something quickly. You don’t have to necessarily tell him you are doing this because he’s a buttmunch, just tell him that your financial circumstances have changed and you cannot afford him to stay much longer. Again, assuming you weren’t inviting him to live with you forever and ever, this is not a betrayal or a matter of you going back on your word.
I'm writing to you trying to find confirmation on how I'm feeling about my relationship with my roommate.
My roommate and I are both furries, bi and have been friends for about three years. We became closer as friends when he became homeless and I was moral support for the transition. Once he was able to find a place, I helped out by purchasing furniture for the apartment and generally checking in with him by text and weekly visits once I was back in the area.
During the following school year, this closeness on my part turned to attraction but when I told him how I felt, he turned me down saying I wasn't his type. When I asked if we could go out and give it a try anyways, he began to make up excuses. Finally he admitted to being attracted to someone online and had begun a long distance relationship with her. During this time his personal life improved as while he talked with her, I was still a source of companionship. But then the stresses of life began to drive a wedge between us and he became withdrawn. He later told me that he was having problems with his roommate and keeping up with bills. I helped him out twice with making rent.
When issues with his past roommate became too much for him to handle and began to worry me to the point of fearing for his safety, I helped him get settled in my apartment which I had reserved for the next school year with the understanding that he would watch it for me and take care of things as needed as I was studying abroad for the summer.
During my time away, he let his homeless friends use the shower and kitchen, sleep on the porch, his ex-(now evicted) roommates spent the night, one without his permission, nearly getting him and me also evicted and let people I didn't know stay and rifle through my belongs I had moved in before my trip. Because of this when I returned I found 100 dollars in money missing, movies and clothes gone and entire bin of my belongs missing. When I asked him what happened he admitted he had let them say and told me that they had gone through my stuff.
He apologized but I felt that his behavior put me in a difficult as now I had to kick the homeless off my porch and try to sort through what was missing. His lack of effort to be "the heavy" and to have general respect for the person he lives with by laying down the law with his guests caused issues with my family who considered kicking him out.
I still have a soft spot for him. He's smart, funny and easy to be around and live with mostly. He does however smoke weed even though he knows that the smell gets everywhere and my family and his are against it, spends his money on weed instead of paying for rent or food first (I've covering rent for three months now and buy groceries cause he does want to). He spends most of his time playing video games and talking to his girlfriend online. She and I aren't on good terms either as she cheated on her last boyfriend with my roommate and has another guy lined up for when she goes to college and breaks it of with my roomie.
Whenever I try to talk to him about this, he says he's trying and that I need to understand it's hard for him. He says he needs weed to relax, he loves his girlfriend and needs to drive 9 hours, taking of work to do so, to visit her. I think he's allowing himself to go down the same path that resulted in his original homelessness. Our friends in the college and neighborhood do to. My own friends think he's a hopeless cause and I've been told to be careful lest I get dragged down too.
I still care about him deeply. I won't say I love him, but it's close. I don't want to send him packing because in a way he saved me from a deep depression after some of my high school friends betrayed me after I went to college. I'm scared that if I turn my back him, he'll revert to his past behaviors and wipe up in trouble much more quicker than if I'm watching out for him.
What complicates this more is that I've been getting mixed messages from him on a more intimate level. At a party one night, he mentioned being cold and wanting to share his bed with a friend and me. That morning however when he woke up, he freaked out to find me next to him. When we eat out he'll brush his foot over mine multiple times and get embarrassed when I point it out. He's even began to flirt with me somewhat when he drinks. It's a little awkward, especially if I return the flirt he gets bashful or tells me to knock it off.
All in all, I'm tired of taking care of someone who is only a year younger than me. I'm trying of his games when I just get brushed aside so he can skype his girlfriend. Whenever I try and talk to him about how I feel, all I get is a insincere apology and nothing more. His words means very little to me has his actions never back them up. I don't trust his word at all so when he actually keeps it I'm surprised.
Thanks for your time and thought,
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My Dear J-Chat,
I believe cases like yours are what may have originally inspired a phrase that is now abbreviated as “WTF,” or, in more polite language, “Are you kidding me?” You are being used and emotionally manipulated by a derp, or, in more psychological terms, you are empowering someone to take advantage of your ersatz codependency; that is, not a codependency as one might find in a marriage, but one in which there isn’t even an actual commitment of any sort between the two of you.
Not only is this guy taking advantage of your good heart, generosity, and extreme tolerance, but he makes these gestures toward you to encourage you to believe there might be a possibility of a loving relationship only to pull out and, as you noted, hang out with his girlfriend, who is also a user who switches boyfriends according to what is convenient to her needs at the time. In addition to this girlfriend, your roommate hangs out with other losers and users who then in turn use you.
You make excuses for him. Boo hoo, he had a rough time. Wah wah, he needs his weed to get over his stress. OMG. If he’s so smart and funny, why doesn’t he use those smarts and charisma to get a life?
He has taken your money, taken your heart, taken advantage of your trust to trash your apartment with his loser friends, and all you get is a wan smile, a lame apology, and insincere footsie action under the table.
Look, I try very hard in my column to sympathize with other people and understand their viewpoint and position. The vast majority of those who write me have serious problems and are genuinely trying to solve them and become better people. You, J-Chat, are a good person to a fault. You have given and given and given and are selflessly concerned about your roommate.
Your roommate, on the other hand, makes me want to barf up the salmon I had for dinner.
He might be charming, but he is not a good person. I tell you this from an objective viewpoint, which is why, I hope, you wrote to me—to gain some perspective.
Charity is a wonderful thing. Giving and living for other people is why we were put here on Earth, I firmly believe. But we can’t do that when our own well-being is destroyed by the recipients who take our charity without appreciation and who do nothing to try to be better persons themselves. A user, by definition, is someone who takes and doesn’t give back. A person who coasts through life, leeching off the good will of others who, if they don’t wise up, become suckers.
Time to wise up, J-Chat, and open your eyes to the fact that this guy will suck the very life out of you without a hint of regret. Don’t worry about what happens to him if you are strong enough to cut the ties. I’m sure he’ll find someone else to use.
Sorry to say that, but you did ask. Please take my words in the spirit they are intended: to try and help you.
I hope it works out for you.
It's a common theme in my life that I'm too passive to react to negative situations that people place upon me; indeed, it is a daily occurrence and I am oft filled with regret for not speaking my mind. The background is as follows:
To be short, it isn't so much that I'm weak in my compliance, but that my reluctance isn't a part of me. I find myself being too nice to people and gain nothing from it. What is the point of being nice to others when it only becomes a detriment? How can I go about being assertive while maintaining a passive politeness about me? It would probably be easier just to beat someone with a stick and use that as an example for others, but I'm not allowed to do that.
So, what is a tactful approach to these situations?
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It is possible to be polite to people without being a doormat (and without using a stick LOL). Your question, “How can I go about being assertive while maintaining a passive politeness about me?” is phrased somewhat incorrectly. "Polite" doesn’t have to be used in conjunction with "passive." Indeed, you can be very assertive while also being polite, such as, “I really enjoy your company, but when we go out to dinner together tonight I must insist we go Dutch. Everyone will pay for his or her own meal.” Or, “It helps that you take out the trash and make your bed, but if we’re going to be roommates we have to split the chores 50/50. Otherwise, I think we need to find new roommates. And you can yell all you want, but volume alone doesn’t win an argument. You know I’m right about this, so do your share and I promise to do mine.”
You don’t have to raise your voice, you don’t have to use swear words, just explain in simple, clear terms what your position is and don’t waiver. In fact, asserting your position in a calm, cool, and collected manner is much more effective than yelling; if done properly, it can even be a bit intimidating (evil chuckles).
If your current friends only want to be with you when you are paying, and if you refuse to pay and they leave you, then that is the very definition of “users.” You know this, and I know this. It is, frankly, better to be alone than to be around people who just want you for your money. You need to have enough self-respect to see this, and I think you do.
Work situations are a little different from friendships, of course. If your boss tells you to do something, you had better do it unless you have a darn good reason not to, like you just got hit by a bus. On the other hand, if you have a better way of doing something to get a goal accomplished for the company, you should propose it to your boss, which would hopefully impress him or her that you are trying to do what is best for the company and are showing initiative.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say “it isn't so much that I'm weak in my compliance, but that my reluctance isn't a part of me.” I’m sorry, but that makes no sense to Papabear. You are, in fact, being weak by letting people walk all over you, and your reluctance to say “no” is part of you at this current time, so the statement rings untrue to this bruin’s ears.
Now a part of your problem might be in how you try to stand up for yourself. You might be strong in your words, such as “No, I don’t want to pay for your meal,” but if you say it in a very soft, timid voice with your shoulders hunched and your eyes looking at your shoelaces, it won’t come off strong at all. Body language is very important in communication and can send a message 180 degrees the opposite of the words that come out of your mouth.
If this is the case, you might benefit from a very famous book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. A lot of what the late Carnegie says in his book seems pretty common sense, but many people don’t realize some very basic facts about dealing with people. I think you might benefit from it, and you could probably even borrow a copy from your local library so you don’t have to buy one.
I hope this helps. Feel free to write again if you have more questions. Good luck!
I have a friend who will be moving in with me soon as a roommate, there is only one problem he's my ex. I’m worried that old feeling will hurt him or us. I am confidant in myself being calm about our break up since it was nice and easy and very understanding (though mostly my fault). The thing that worries me the most is his family they are very conservative and sound as though they barely accept his sexuality of being gay. I want to help him and I kind of have by giving him some confidence to get out from under his parents thumb, but the problem lies in the fact that with him living with me (since I now kinda see him as a goofy lil brother) he will become a little dependent on me since his parents have always been there for him (he’s now in his early 20s). I’m not entirely sure how things will play out and I can't tell him that it won't work as roommate because he has nowhere else to go and I am in such a financial bind right now I can't be too picky about my roommate (there are other reasons as well but that is the biggest one.)
So yeah that’s all I got thanks again.
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Papabear thinks it is great that you are still good friends with your ex and that you want to help him grow as a person and gain his independence from his parents. That said, I would not recommend that anyone become roommates with a former lover. The potential for hurt and misunderstanding is just too great—you are walking into an emotional mine field, Okamiketto. Furthermore, you could inflame the sensitive issue between your friend and his parents, who don’t understand his being gay and more than likely know that the two of you were lovers at one point. They likely won’t buy it when you tell them that the two of you are just friends now. Thirdly, you are already concerned that he might become too dependent on you, which is a problem emotionally as well as financially, since you admit your piggy bank is a bit low right now.
Papabear is very familiar with furries who have broken up and then moved in together as roommates and it got very ugly. Hurt feelings and past arguments inevitably flared up, and now they hate each other’s guts. Papabear would not want that to happen to you and your friend.
You say that he has nowhere else to go, but it would be far better if you helped him find other roommates to live with, while still being there as a supportive friend. As for you, there are lots of young people looking for a place to live who would be happy to be your roommate, I’m sure.
That might not be what you wanted to hear, but my suggestion is for you not to be roommates. Doesn’t mean you can’t be there for him in other ways, but living together is a bad idea.
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