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.
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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.
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