Dating a jealous non-furry

Question

I have a mate who isn't a furry, and gets jealous when I participate in fandom events or do things with other furs. What should I do?

Received via Telegram from Sammy Wolf

Answer

Dating non-furries can be complicated, especially if your non-furry boyfriend or girlfriend is not particularly fur-friendly. I haven’t dated a non-furry since becoming a fur — I find it is much easier to meet people for whom I am a good match through the fandom. However, I do understand where some complications can arise.

It is certainly possible to make dating a non-furry work, if they are at least tolerant of the fact that you participate in the fandom, but that does create the potential for jealousy (of losing you as a mate to a furry) and envy (of the time you spend with furry friends, doing furry activities, such as attending cons or meets).

If your mate is expressing jealousy or envy, as it sounds like he is, I would recommend asking him to unpack for you the emotions he experiences regarding your participation in furry; ask him what it is he is afraid of, and how your participation in furry affects him. Essentially, try to draw some “I statements” out of him. Then, once he's expressed himself, ask him what it is you can do to help him feel better about your participation in furry. You might offer to schedule a special date with him after a furry event, or you might offer to give him some one-on-one time prior.

If your mate is less envious of the time you are spending on furry, and is more jealous, worried that you will fall in love with a furry instead of him, ask him how much he trusts you. If there is a trust issue underlying his jealousy, try to work through that with him. As a stopgap, if it makes you both feel more comfortable, offer to check in with him while you’re at a furry event, perhaps sending him status updates occasionally to let him know that you are still thinking about him.

Whatever you do, make sure you do not come across as accusatory or resentful of his emotions. Resist the urge to invalidate his feelings and tell him he shouldn’t care at all about your participation in furry. Instead, be as empathetic as possible. Tell him that it is totally okay that he’s feeling jealous, and that jealousy is a natural emotion. Don’t tell him he’s “wrong” to feel jealous, or that he is being somehow “unfair.” Instead, validate his emotions rather than attacking them and focus on how you can make him feel better.

Remember, emotions just are; he isn’t feeling jealous on purpose to spite you, but rather is feeling insecure about something. That’s assuming good faith, of course — if instead he’s blowing up at you about furry events to try to control you and prevent you from going, that is emotional blackmail, and shouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstances. Asking him to unpack his emotions as I described above should help you tell the difference.

Viro the Science Collie

Viro Science Collie is a PhD virologist and medical writer, experienced in teaching, technical communication, and writing for the public. He has been active in the furry community since 2012 and has been happily and ethically non-monogamous for much of that time. His interests include non-traditional relationship structures, technology, biological science, and tennis.