I've read a few of your columns and you seem very intelligent and helpful, so here's my situation...
I live with my family, which I feel I'm too old for anyway but I can't get away. My mom had A LOT of problems when I was a kid and my grandparents raised me. They were both amazing as parents and I love them so much for everything they did for me, but about six years ago they moved to Florida and I was left to live with my mother. She loves me dearly and feels terrible for not being there most of my life but she has a lot of problems.
First, she worries too much and is very vocal about it. It's hard to explain what it's like but when she talks about things there's a sense of urgency in her voice, like I'm supposed to find a way to fix it. She loses things all the time and has woken me up at 6am on multiple occasions to help her find her keys/a lighter/her work badge, etc. My sister, her boyfriend and my nephew live with us as well. As much as I love my sister, her and her boyfriend are terribly irresponsible people. He is on disability, which I understand completely, but they spend all of their money on video games and all this other frivolous stuff and leave mom stuck buying diapers and food for the baby towards the end of the month. This has gotten to the point that I've spent the last of my money a few times on things the baby needed less than a week after they bought 6 *new* video games! It goes beyond all of that though, I also take the brunt of all the fights in the house. My mom has admitted that because my sister closes up when she's upset my mom is more willing to come to me about problems and in the end she just ends up taking out her problems with my sister on me. I feel like a punching bag in the family but any time I try to move out (or even talk about moving out of state)my mom starts crying about how I'm the strong one that keeps the family together and telling me how much she needs me to help out with things. I'm not entirely financially secure enough to move out, which brings me to point #2...
My mate and I have been together for 2 1/2 years and things were kinda rocky (read: he still had another girlfriend) over the first few months. I'm finally getting over that to the point that I understand the situation and am not constantly waiting for him to cheat on me. We live 400 miles apart and he's just finally looking into moving out this way, but even then, temporarily and with a roommate (mutual friend) and not directly with me. He's been talking about wanting to marry me for almost 2 years now, but hasn't actually invested in the ring. He also pretty much sucks at the whole romance thing, but honestly our closeness and the other ways he shows me kind of make up for it. Otherwise we have a really good relationship and even my mother (who has a very low opinion of men due to a really bad track record) say's it's obvious that he's head over heels in love with me. I seem like the only one who doubts it. Maybe I'm paranoid, or maybe it's just because of the past but I feel like he isn't as serious as he says. I don't think he's cheating, in fact, as much as we talk on the phone he pretty much couldn't be and he calls me most of the time. I guess I just feel like he's not as sure about getting married as he says he is. I'm scared that if I totally believe him and leave myself vulnerable I'll get hurt. I don't have the best track record either and before him I had never dated anyone for longer than a year and a half.
I don't know how much sense this makes, but hopefully you have some sage advice, cuz I feel like I'm losing my mind.
Thank you in advance,
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So, there are two situations here: your family and your mate situation. Papabear has said it before and he will say it again: the path to happiness must be bordered by people who reinforce that happiness. Papabear has seen it over and over where furries write to him about how they love their families, friends, mates, etc., but how these people are very negative influences on their lives that make them feel awful about themselves.
Despite your love for them, you must either remove them from your life or, at minimum, distance yourself from them to gain some perspective and relief from the constant burden you are feeling. Papabear has been having a bad time with this himself, lately. There is a woman in his life who he thought was a friend but instead has proven herself to be the epitome of evil. She will stop at nothing to hurt me for her own selfish purposes. I have been struggling with this for several months now, and it has brought me to the point where I have curled up into a ball and gone into convulsive fits of crying. It has been even worse because for the past two weeks I have been in a different state to try and deal with this and can’t be with my mate, so all we can do is cry together over the phone. Thankfully, I am rooming with friends, two of whom (furry names Viperman and Bobby), cuddled with me last night and did their best to comfort the bear. These are true friends. I was going to stay here longer to try and resolve the issue, but I simply can no longer bear it and am flying home in a couple days to be where I belong, in the arms of my loving mate, Yogi.
I’m writing this as an example to you, Affexion. You don’t have, apparently, people like this around you who can boost you up. It is what you truly need.
You say you cannot get out of your home, but hint that you are old enough to do so (older than 18, yes?). What you need to do is whatever you can to get out of the house you are living in and away from a family that is sucking the life and joy out of you. This doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them; it does mean you have to protect your own health and sanity for your own sake. Do whatever it takes to do this. Do what you can to find at least a part-time job, and I would suggest looking for roommates and working out a deal with them to share expenses.
Closely connected to this is the issue with your mate. Given what you have written (and I feel you have already concluded this) living together is not an option. You love this mate of yours, yes, but he is another person like your family. This is not surprising because most people select mates who in some way remind them of their lives with their families. Instead, try to get an income—any income—and start a focused search on one or more roommates with whom you can live. To do this, you will need to be brave and knock down that wall that says “I can’t do this” and do it anyway. This should be your top priority.
I wish you luck.
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