First off, I feel like I should give my biggest condolences to all that's happened to you. I've been very worried about you and your health after all that's happened, and I see you as very admirable for continuing this when things look so bleak. You are so strong, and someone I really look up to. I've come to you a lot for even silly little things, to some of the darkest moments of my life. I've come to you multiple times in my life under many names, for many years. Each time, I have taken your insightful responses to heart.
Anyway, let's get to the letter, I guess. I think I've got a crush. A bad, bad crush. On a girl. And I need someone to tell me to stop before I dig a hole and get trapped.
Travel back two years, and I'm a tiny furry just entering highschool. I get my first furry friend, let's call her Shibe. (That's the nickname I call her!) Now, Shibe and I get pretty close, and I developed a crush. Shibe's my first crush, so I couldn't put a label on the feelings, and I was all around confused about what to do or what I wanted from our relationship.
Since I didn't know anything about crushes, I start dating this guy instead. My heart was never in it. I would always doubt our relationship, I didn't even feel close enough to him to let him hug me. He was a boyfriend for the sake of having a boyfriend, y'know? No matter how I looked at it, my heart was set on someone else. It was set on Shibe. The boyfriend and I realize this isn't working and pull a 'just be friends'.
Now, I wimped out on confessing to Shibe when I connected the dots, and never made a single romantic move. Shibe's bi like me, so I knew there could be a possibility, but I'm terrible at emotions. Before I work up the courage, she gets boyfriends. One lasts for only a few weeks, and the second she still has (has lasted a few months). So now I have another excuse not to say anything- she's got a boyfriend. I love that he makes her happy, but you have to understand how it hurts.
I keep my mouth zipped. Some more time passes by, and we get... very, very, close. I'm not sure how it happened, but Shibe and I's relationship got very physical. I don't just mean hugs- I mean cuddling, hardcore cuddling. Obviously, nothing sexual. I'm loving it, unlike with the boyfriend, who I couldn't even hug. It gets stronger in nonphysical ways, too; she's constantly complimenting me and supporting me more than she ever has.
She spent the night at my place a while back, and she was really comfortable with even more physical attention. We even fell asleep cuddling! She's always telling me she loves me, and when we were making some eggs that morning, she joked that 'hugging while making eggs is very romantic.' How does she expect me to take this? Just gals being pals? No romantic tension at all?
I feel like she's teasing me. I can't take this anymore- I love the physical and emotional attention, but it's going to be awkward for me thinking of it as strictly platonic, and I know I don't have enough self-control to not let something slip if it continues like this. I am moving in a couple of days to Utah, so I'm hoping that once I'm away, maybe the feelings will die down and I can return the affection with no romantic connotations when we meet up face-to-face again.
The move will certainly affect our relationship, but I'm out of the house in a few years, anyway, so I doubt it'll dissipate. My only hope is that somehow, my romantic feelings for her dull down into strictly platonic ones.
I want to at least be friends. Does this all make sense? I feel like I'm blabbering incoherently, heh. What in the world should I do? Shove it away? Wait for a good opportunity to tell her all this?
Your faithful corvid, Genesis.
* * *
You're the same furry who wrote me the following, yes?
In that letter, I didn't see you saying you were bi; and what happened to that love interest? Anyway, as is evident from that letter, love relationships seem to come and go, and this is common for people as young as you are. It will likely be some time before you come across someone that you are ready to settle down with. Shibe is your first serious interest in a woman, and there will likely be other women before, as noted above, you find someone truly special (or maybe one of each sex, who knows?)
I apologize that this letter will come to you after you have already moved. How did that go? Perhaps you should update me on your current status because if I write some advice now it might be too late or irrelevant. Again, very sorry.
* * *
Hi again, Papa!
Er, yeah, I was pretty vague, wasn't I? Sorry about that. I'll agree it was a teenager-ish, naiive thing for me to hold on to the relationship with Wolf, who is, as you probably guessed, the guy in the letter. Yes, the relationship lasted about two years, and I did end up meeting up face-to-face with him, but as time went on, I realized everything about my desires- spending more time with him, watching movies, wanting to talk to him, was actually normal, platonic things I got confused about. Not exactly daydreaming about him as much as I thought I was. Maybe I was wrong, and they were romantic? He was the one who brought up how platonic our relationship was and called it off, so perhaps I'm just trying to protect myself from being hurt? When he broke up with me, though, I saw it coming. We're still friends, we just acknowledged we made a mistake.
Honestly, I don't have my story straight. I don't know what romance feels like, so I just take a good guess, and that confuses me. Heck, is my infutation with Shibe the same way? I don't know. What does a crush feel like, anyway? For all I know, I've never had one in my life. Also, I didn't mention I was bi in the last letter because it wasn't really important. I've known since about twelve years old? Honestly, thanks for trying to make a coherent story in your head from my mess of one. I don't know what I'm feeling, simply because I have never felt it before.
I have moved. We're keeping in touch though, me and Shibe, and we plan to meet up Winter or Spring break. Thanks for your concern.
Thanks again, Genesis
* * *
Well, a few things to answer to here. I'll go through the list (I'm German and enjoy lists):
1. Yes, being bi is relevant. How could your sexual orientation NOT be relevant when talking about affairs of the heart? If there is one frustration I have as an advice columnist, it's people second-guessing what I should and should not know and withholding information. Sigh. I've had people withhold things ranging from being abused by parents to having autism. Usually, they say they did so because they considered it "irrelevant," but, really, it's because they are embarrassed to share personal information, which is why I try very hard to reassure people they will be anonymous. Papabear can only give you good answers if he has all the puzzle pieces.
2. Why were your feelings hurt with Wolf if you actually did only want a platonic relationship? Wolf was correct to break it off in this way because he sensed, correctly, that you just wanted to be friends. Don't feel bad about that. Good friends are worth their weight in diamonds.
3. If you fear rejection and your feelings being hurt, you will forever be doomed to shying away from relationships that could become something that is once-in-a-lifetime. To find real love, one must take risks.
4. How do you know when it is romantic love? Great question! As the Greek's understood, there are many different kinds of love, which is why they had several words for love instead of just "love." There is love between a parent and child, love for a friend, love of God, love for a pet, sexual love (lust), and then there is romantic love. I have been very fortunate to experience romantic love twice in my lifetime: first, toward my now-ex wife (but still friend) and then for Jim.
Romantic love is when your heart melts just looking at the object of your affection. It is when the mere thought of that person brings a smile to your face. It is what the owl meant in Bambi when he said you were "twitterpated." Romantic love is when you can't wait to be with that person, when just sitting in the same room with them makes you happy, even if you aren't doing anything in particular. There were so many little things about Jim that just made my heart flutter. Mostly, it was his joy with life and how he was still a little boy inside. It's not about sex at all. It's about how being with that person just feels like it was meant to be. It feels right. You don't have to second-guess them because you know what they are thinking and feeling.
I hope you experience that someday, but don't rush it. Don't force it. Let it come of its own accord.
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.