You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'bisexual'.

Dear Christine, When to Call it Quits in Westland

  • Posted on May 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

Dear Christine, my girlfriend has dumped me so many times – the day i went to mexico, two days before christmas – etc.! and i take her back every time. she said she left because a)i would not tolerate her excessively close relationship continuing with her ex and b) because i have teenage kids whom she did not like (she has no kids). now we are back together again, she said she was making the big commitment this time and no more running away, but i feel like something died and i can’t really get behind it emotionally. we have not had sex for almost two years! she is my first girlfriend. i hesitate to let her go, she’s a good person, but i don’t even want to hold her hand! i think something dies inside when you get so many hard hits. should i just cut her loose? another aspect is that she is not educated like i am, so i get frustrated that she cannot understand what i am saying…plus she is the perky type which i find irritating. did i answer my own question?? when to call it quits in Westland Dear When to Call it Quits, Most…

Dear Christine, Mom in Metamora

  • Posted on April 30, 2018 at 7:01 am

Dear Christine, I am a straight married woman seeking answers concerning my 13 year old son. My husband and I have suspected he might be gay for a few years. In fact, I know he is because of a note I found in his pocket to a boyfriend. I didn’t share this with my husband. We haven’t approached him about any of it and I am dreading that he may come out to us soon! You see, my husband has threated to reject him, find him a medical “cure” or give him an ultimatum, “Be straight, or get out” While doing some research online, I came across your column, I am furious with my husband’s beliefs and I am quite certain I would divorce him if he ever treated our son this way. So far, I feel I’m in a holding pattern waiting for the shoe to drop. What can I do now to prepare for what I’m sure will be a crisis in my house? Sincerely, Mom in Metamora Dear Mom, Your letter is heartbreaking.  You and your family are feeling torn apart, almost, waiting for your son to announce his orientation.  Being proactive is a good start for…

Dear Christine, Perplexed in Pittsfield

  • Posted on February 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

Dear Christine

Could someone be completely gay from 13 to 18? so I mean always liking the same sex and not liking the other sex, and only getting turned on by the same sex, and have done things like anal and liked it… then at 19 onwards turn straight and not like the same sex and just get turned on by the opposite sex? can that happen because of hormones? so is there such a thing called the gay phase between. 13 to 18?

Perplexed in Pittsfield

Dear Perplexed,

The really interesting thing with human beings is that there is no “normal” nor only “one way” that someone can and should be. We are each unique beings, and we experience our sexuality differently, and that means there’s no one mode of self–expression is “right” or “wrong.” What someone else may do might not seem interesting or remotely possible for you, and that’s ok too. There are people who experiment with their sexual attractions in ways you may never choose to. A friend of mine was a radical feminist lesbian in the 70s and 80s. She used to organize Take Back the Night walks in the community we lived in back then. In the 90s she met a man and fell in love with him. They married and had 2 children and they are still together. Go figure! Some people go both ways, others only go one way at a time, and some find their own way to be. So, remember, just because a friend does something, don’t assume that’s how it is for you or for anyone else. That’s how that person is. You may feel one way today, and in a decade you may feel totally different. Or not.

Life is a journey of self–exploration. As much as I thought I knew myself in my early 20s, my early 30s taught me that I had pushed away a lot of parts of myself that I hadn’t been ready to confront, and for me, one of those things was my sexuality. I dated only men in my teens and 20s, but in my early 30s, I was falling in love with women and wondering how this could be. It took a few more years of looking inward, noticing my feelings and my patterns, some of which I had ignored for years because they weren’t acceptable in my family and in my church. Could all this change again? I guess it could, because at 40, I was amazed at how much the same I was as at 20, and yet how entirely different too! I am guessing 80 holds surprises for my self–awareness and identity as well. I’m content to live my life until then, exploring whatever comes up, not judging it, but just looking at and allowing it to be. Let it be. Christine Cantrell

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Reasonable in Rochester Part III

  • Posted on December 3, 2017 at 7:48 am

By Christine Cantrell, PhD, LP www.christinecantrell.com christineccantrellphd@gmail.com Dear Christine, I wonder if you have any good articles or references about transgender or more specifically, non-binary people that describes the uses of pronouns. We have a situation in our Indivisible group that people have taken offense and some are not understanding about pronouns. Sincere leaders are trying to mend fences and have withstood some kind-of mean attacks and their apologies weren’t accepted. We can’t get anything done if we can’t talk to each other. What would you suggest? Signed, Reasonable in Rochester, MI Dear Reasonable, This is a complicated topic, so I will answer in three parts. Part 1 is on Gender Identity Part 2 is on Transgender Issues. Part 3, today, will explore Pronoun Issues Part 3 When I was in elementary school in the ’60s, the school secretary was “Mz Smith,” with a distinct southern accent. The title “Ms” was popularized to signify a woman so that her marital status (Miss or Mrs) wasn’t known or wasn’t a focus of the interaction. In 1972, The Us Government Printing Office approved this title for official documents. You can’t go wrong with Ms, so that has become the standard default title…

Orlando: Coping with Trauma

  • Posted on June 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

The mass shooting in Orlando, killing at least 50 of our queer brothers and sisters, injuring 53 more is a horrible, unspeakable trauma for the GLBTQI… community.  I want to share some ways to cope with trauma and tragedy that I am doing. * Take care of yourself:  be alone, if that’s what you need, or be with loved ones.  Get hugs, kisses, cry together, hold each other.  Pride celebrations this month, and candle light vigils and prayer services offer community opportunities. *Grieve however you need to.  Be angry.  Be sad.  Withdraw.  Jump into action.  Cry.  Scream.  Sit quietly.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve. *Focus on what helps you.  Today, I am focusing on the individual people who were senselessly murdered, getting to know their names, who they were, what they were known for.  I am holding each one in my heart and mind.  Meditate on them, pray for them, their families and loved ones, for us. *Ignore those infuriating things you can’t do anything about:  the media, the glorification of the shooter, the  manipulations by politicians, the ignorant and cruel comments you may hear on social media or from people around you. *Breathe, deeply.  Focus…

Terrified in Toledo

  • Posted on April 24, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Hi Christine,

I’m 22 years old and haven’t come out to my parents yet and I need to. I’m terrified because I know they are anti gay.  That’s why I’ve waited so long.  I’m trying to decide the best way to do it.  Should it be in a public place?  Should I have a friend with me for moral support?  Should I email them while I spend the weekend out of town?  Yes, I’m that nervous.  I don’t want a scene that I’m afraid is coming. Is there a good way to break this news to them that will be less shocking for them and feel safe for me?   I hope you answer, thanks,

Signed, Terrified in Toledo

Dear Terrified,
I feel for you, wanting to come out and just be yourself, but your parents are anti-gay.  Are you living with them now?  Are you financially dependent on them?  Is there a risk that they will kick you out or disown you, take away your transportation, cutting you off financially?  If those are possibilities, make sure you have a safe place to live, even in temporarily.  And make sure your support network of friends know what your plans are and will be able to be there for you.

I can’t really assess the best approach for you, as I’ve never met you or your family.  But I encourage you to trust your own gut feelings here.  Do what makes you feel safest.  If going out of town for a weekend to let them discover and digest an email feels right, then do that.  That will minimize a scene, as you won’t be physically in the same place when they find out and they will have to process it some before you see them again.

Meeting in public, like in a restaurant or a park, can be helpful to minimize the risk of an outburst. However, some people will still make a scene.  If you think they might make a scene, it might be wise to have a friend with you for your support.  Make sure you have your own transportation (or a friend’s) to and from that public place too, so you aren’t stranded.

Some friends of mine, Mike and Jan Neubecker, have a gay son, Lee.  He finally came out to his anti-gay, Christian parents by leaving a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays  http://www.pflagdetroit.org/) brochure in his dad’s sock drawer.  Mike, the dad, found the brochure after Lee had come home from college one weekend, and he flipped.  He and Jan tried to get Lee into reparative therapy, to “make him straight” but finally realized that wasn’t working.  They joined PFLAG and educated themselves.  They learned that their son was gay because that’s who he is.  It wasn’t their fault as parents.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault.  No one is going to burn in hell.  They had grieving to do, because they had assumptions such as they thought their son would never marry and there would never be grandchildren.

Well, now Mike and Jan and proud grandparents of a sister and brother that Lee and his husband adopted several years back.  They are a close family and travel together and have fun on holidays.  Mike and Jan became active in PFLAG Detroit, and later founded PFLAG Downriver for many years.  They have retired, and have moved further down the river, but are still actively involved in regional PFLAG activities and agitating for understanding and knowledge about gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.  He has been a part of the PFLAG Speakers Bureau for years.  In fact, Mike has taken a Methodist Lay Preaching class, so he could talk to churches about his son and the importance of love and acceptance in families and in the church.  Then he took a comedy class at The Royal Oak  Comedy Castle.  He’s got a wonderful set I laughed through on his graduation night performance.

Your parents might not be ready for you to refer them to the love, support and education that PFLAG meetings provide, but PFLAG will be there, ready for them anytime.  Sometimes parents go into the closet when their son or daughter comes out.  You’ve been struggling with this information about yourself for a while, so give them some time and space to process all of this.  Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes months or years, but many many families come around to loving and accepting their gay or lesbian child, once they stop blaming themselves or fearing you might be headed to hell, or worrying that they’ll never have grandkids.

Write again, please, and let me know how your reveal goes.  The bottom line, is take your time and do this when you feel emotionally safe, financially prepared and ready to deal with whatever happens.  Sometimes it’s better to do it and deal with whatever happens, rather than wait and wonder.  Trust yourself in this matter.
Take care,
Christine C Cantrell, PhD,

Psychologist

 

Labeled and Mislabled in Livonia

  • Posted on April 11, 2016 at 5:48 am

Dear Christine,

I have a question. Do you have anything to say about the misdiagnosis or misclassification of a bisexual person as  either heterosexual or homosexual? I dated a small amount of women and had a small amount of sexual experience with women, but it has always felt much better to me thinking about men than women.  I went to therapy because of depression and family problems, I first presented myself as heterosexual, then bisexual, then homosexual.  I consider my self as a “Top.”  The therapists told me gay top men are rare and you are not officially gay until you went all the way with a person with your own sex. I have terrible experiences with psychiatrists forcing me to like women, saying as a top I should be heterosexual. I would not say have zero attraction to women, sometimes I can be very attracted to them but I have always felt better and more comfortable about men in a sexual way. My first sexual experience with a woman was at 20 something, my first sexual experiences with men started at 30 something. I want to lead a homosexual lifestyle that values monogamy and integrity. I might date women as small amount (but I never want to have sex with a woman in the traditional way). At most I could give a sensual massage to a woman.  I want to lead a homosexual lifestyle, I still call myself bisexual but for most part I would rather avoid women sexually.

Signed Labeled and Mislabeled in Livonia,

Dear Labeled,
It sounds like you have been through a lot of therapy, and maybe not the most affirming, helpful types.  Since homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality are all healthy, normal ways of being, I prefer not to “diagnose” or “misdiagnose” anyone’s sexuality.  Sexual identity is very personal, and each person  expresses themselves uniquely.  Some people only have same sex partners but do not take on the label of gay or lesbian or homosexual.  That’s understandable, because labels are political things, and if you use a label, it is notifying other people about an aspect of you that you want them to understand, and if you use “gay” they will understand you to prefer same sex partners.  If you use “straight” they will expect you to be a heterosexual.  If you are more comfortable with bisexuality, which assumes some openness to both sexes, fine!  Be you, completely you!

In my humble opinion, being a “top” or a “bottom” doesn’t make you homosexual, or not!  What you feel and what you are comfortable with is who and what you are, not a position. Years ago, I had a gay couple come to see me and they told me that they were concerned that I would not see them as a couple because they did not live together.  Their last therapist told them they had to cohabitate or not be able to say they were in a committed relationship.  This was obviously long before gay marriage became legal.  There are lots of couples that are in committed relationships (same sex, opposite sex) but don’t live together for a variety of reasons.  Where you live, what position you prefer, none of that really matters to anyone except you and the person you are in relationship with!

If a therapist or a psychiatrist is forcing you to “like women” I’d encourage you to get a second or even a third opinion.  A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or licensed counselor worth their salt ought to be open minded enough to help you discover who you are, not try to make you fit other ideal of theirs.  You are hiring these folks to help you, not to make things worse for you!  Pick a therapist who gives you the space and safety to explore who you are without pressure and without judgement.

Remember to be honest with yourself, first and foremost.  If you are attracted to someone and want to have a romantic relationship with that person, present yourself honestly with that person.  If you want monogamy and integrity, make sure you tell that person exactly what you need and expect.  Find out if that person is looking for the same qualities and characteristics you have.  And enjoy!  And have fun!

Feel free to write again with more questions.  I hope this has helped you.
Christine C Cantrell, PhD,
Psychologist

Pity Party in Plymouth

  • Posted on February 24, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Dear Christine,

Hi, I have been reading your advice and it all sounds good. I decided to write for some myself. I am getting older and I feel completely out of the scene I am overweight and feel unattractive. I have been single for six years now and miss having a relationship. I also live in the burbs and feel so disconnected. so I am feeling kinda disenfranchised, pathetic and lonely. Okay enough of the pity party but seriously how do you get back in the game with out looking too much like a goof (although I kinda like that look) I don’t want to be 80 and alone! not that I am that old yet but it could happen.

Pity Party in Plymouth

 

Dear Pity Party in Plymouth,

The best way to get back in the scene is to start liking yourself. Find things you like to do with you, and then find friends who can do those things with you, sharing in the fun you’re having with yourself. Meet new friends through activities and events that bring people together. Check out the listings of what to do on GOAL, and other gay/lesbian websites. Drop by Affirmations in Ferndale, join a softball league or golf outing. Do things that you enjoy and you are bound to find people that also enjoy these events and will find you easy and fun to be around. Look for friends first, not a relationship first. Once you’ve asked a friend enough questions to find out if they fit your needs, your non-negotiables, perhaps a relationship will follow. Don’t force it, don’t be desperate, but instead come to enjoy your own company and find interests in the community that will get you out and mingling with other people with similar interests and values.

Christine Cantrell, PhD, LP

Damaged Goods in Detroit

  • Posted on January 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Dear Christine,

I am a 28-year-old gay man. I came out when I was 18 and since then I’ve enjoyed a healthy, active dating life. I’ve always been comfortable with my sexuality. Three months ago, however, I tested HIV-positive and since then feel like I have to come out all over again. I haven’t been able to start dating yet because I’m afraid of how people will react when I tell them about my situation. And I don’t know what the rules are. What do I tell people? When do I tell people? And, if safe sex really is safe, do I have to tell them at all? And mostly I’m afraid (although I know it sounds crazy) that no one’s ever going to love me again.

Damaged Goods in Detroit

Dear Damaged Goods:

I hear you, coming out all over again, now as HIV + being just as confused and uncertain how to tell others as you were to tell people you were gay 10 years ago. Trust your instincts with people, and tell those who feels safe to you. There may be some rejection from some people, but if they were people you wanted to date or be friends with, they’ve actually done you a favor. They are not the kind of quality person you deserve in your life as a friend or lover. Keep in mind that in many states it is illegal to not disclose your HIV+ status and put someone else at risk. Honesty really is the best policy, and telling someone right up front, before making a date, will save you investing time and energy into a potential relationship that isn’t going to go anywhere, anyway.

The truth is, you are not damaged goods. You are not your illness. You are a human being, complete with all kinds of love, compassion and feeling, and you have much to offer the world, and the people you date. If someone rejects you because of HIV, know that that is a statement about them, not you. HIV requires you to face your fears and be honest with yourself on a whole new level. Those who are willing to have unsafe sex have little self respect are not are not capable of a healthy relationship. We each have to have with self respect before we can be present to someone else. When I was researching my PhD dissertation “The Experience of People with HIV+/AIDS with Multiple Losses”, I interviewed a number of people who amazed me by describing how much improved their relationships are since they were diagnosed. The diagnosis cut through a lot of BS, and people who connected with these co-researchers were quality people, who enhanced their lives. In fact, one of my interviewees, Jim, asked himself in front of me if he could do it all over again, would he choose to have HIV or not? I waited, holding my breath, and finally he said “Yes, I would choose to have it again. Through HIV I have met so many wonderful people around Detroit and the US, and I have grown and healed so much spiritually, that I would definitely choose to be HIV again.” He went on to find a committed relationship with a man and was surrounded by a loving community of friends and colleagues.

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

Not Quite Out in Oxford

  • Posted on December 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Dear Christine:  

 My girlfriend and I have been together for a year, and maybe I moved in too fast(second date…) but I’m having a hard time with her relationships with her family. Her two daughters live with us half of the time and half with their father. I am very close to the girls and they talk with me all the time, and tell me that they love me and even come into our bedroom at night to kiss their mom goodnight, and me! My girlfriend isn’t gay, and she’s isn’t comfortable telling the girls, or anyone else in the family, that we are in love and we are a couple, and with the girls, we really are a family. Her family is involved with Christmas, and last year, we pretended I was just living there for a while, to help them out. She wants me to move out of the bedroom, so her sister and brother-in-law can have her bedroom when they visit for Christmas. That’s the living end for me! I’ve been out and proud for over 20 years, and I just feel like a maid. I’m “the help”, helping with the household, cooking, driving kids around etc, but not given the respect of being family! My girlfriend has been telling me all year that she wants to tell her family, but that she’s not ready. I’m afraid she’s never going to be ready, and I feel like I’m going crazy. Help! What do I do to not feel like a maid, but be a part of this family? Signed,  Not quite out in Oxford

Dear  Not Quite Out in Oxford,

The holidays are such a stressful time, even without the pressures of coming out to family! Sounds like you have a very loving and good relationship with your girlfriend and her children, and that’s wonderful. Since you’ve been out forever, and she never saw herself as lesbian before, it’s really important to give her space and time to figure out how to acknowledge this relationship with her family. I would be surprised if the kids haven’t figured out that the two of you are a couple, saying good night to both of you in your bedroom! Kids are pretty sophisticated and aware these days. They may not know the labels, but clearly they feel connected to you, and treat you like family, not a maid. I’m not recommending you move out of the bedroom for visitors, as I don’t recommend a couple in their own home give up their private space to others. One example of why, is the story I heard recently. A man stayed overnight at a friend’s house, and she let him use her bedroom. He opened a bedside drawer, looking for a clock, and he found some handcuffs! Clearly, she hadn’t expected him to go in the drawer! He found it very embarrassing to see her the next morning, thinking “Good morning Mrs. Handcuffs” but tried to keep cool and be appropriate. When he thinks of that friend, the handcuffs are the first thing that comes to mind. So, keeping your privacy is important, both yours and your girlfriend’s. Keep talking with your girlfriend about her process, but back off of any ultimatums. Listen to her thoughts and feelings, and trust the love that you and she and her children share. Love conquers fear, always. Trust your girlfriend’s process and hopefully she will tell her family directly, soon.

Good luck!

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD.
Psychologist
christineccantrellphd@gmail.com