I haven't needed advice for a while, but something has come up recently that's really weighing me down, and I can't talk to hardly anyone about it.
I made a friend through the Internet by random chance... I found a livestream where she was drawing, and I loved her art and started keeping her company during her streams. She's a great artist in my opinion, and watching her draw makes me super happy. When she started actually talking to me like a real friend, it made me even happier, since I'm always bad at making friends online, they just assume I want free art or cybers or something else, but I don't.
We started talking so much, I feel like I've known her forever, and I am always happy to talk to her, then sad when I can't because she's not around. She feels the same way, and it's really awesome to have made such a fast friend, we're both really grateful that we met.
However... we've both noticed recently that there are thoughts in both our minds that aren't appropriate. We've been able to talk about them openly, and are fairly comfortable with the topic, but we've both agreed we can't ever let anything... um... physical happen between us because it would just cause problems for both of us. Despite agreeing to that, we both still think of each other as attractive women and like to compliment each other (a little flirtatiously at times). We're both married, and have each been through a sort of phase like this in the past, but now it's more like an actual attachment.
To each of us, our friendship comes first. It's strangely strong for having only known each other through the Internet (though we hope to meet someday and get to say hi in person), and our dedication to keeping our friendship safe by avoiding physical complications (not to mention cheating on spouses, which we both view as a big no-no) is strong as well.
I'm just worried though... I know it's wrong to think of someone besides my spouse with any kind of lust in my heart, but is it still okay for me to be friends with her? I don't want to lose this great friend, least of all over something we've both agreed is off-limits, but it's just so easy to talk with her about anything and everything. She never looks at me really weird if something personal comes up, and I'm grateful to have someone I can truly open up to about everything without fear of their reaction. Even if it's a comment about how attractive she is in a certain outfit.
In case your curious, I don't have the courage to explain it to my husband because he has a bad habit of hearing the worst parts of a sentence and tuning out the rest, so trying to make him understand would be next to impossible. He would hear "I think she's attractive" and totally skip over "but we're just good friends and would never do anything together. I love you and could never do that to you."
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It is the standards of Society that restrict us, "permitting" us to only have one person to love who is not a blood relation. Papabear, for one, feels that the human (or furry) heart has the capacity to love many people. This does not mean you have to have sex with everyone you love, certainly not, but we allow ourselves to feel guilty and restricted by society's conventions, which results in our missing out on deep friendships that could be much more than, "Hey, let's go out for pizza."
Such friendships—and they should not be restricted by gender, either—are what I have found in the furry fandom and in the bear community. I have some bear friends who mean much more to me than what the word "friend" means alone; this does not mean they take any priority over my mate, whom I love dearly, but it does mean that I have a deep bond with them.
You should be permitted to enjoy such a bond yourself. To my ears, it sounds like both you and your artist friend are mature enough and responsible enough to handle this relationship. I'm assuming that your fear is that the two of you might find yourselves alone together at some point and express your affection physically. All you really need to do to make sure that doesn't happen is to not check in to a "no tell motel" to be alone. Also, your husband sounds like the jealous type, so I would just avoid language like "I think she's attractive," just in case, while you're around him.
You are an intelligent person and you know enough not to give in to your baser desires if you can anticipate and dislike the consequences (i.e., hubby finding out and divorcing you, which you obviously don't want). If you lived your life by other standards and had a more chill hubby, things might be different, and I, Papabear, certainly would not judge you on such behavior. But that is up to you.
The question is whether or not you trust yourself and your friend not to get physical. If you do, then please do continue the friendship.
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