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

Dear Christine, A Reader in Rochester

  • Posted on July 9, 2018 at 10:12 am

Hi Dr. Christine, My partner and I have been together 19 years and overall we’re both happy together. Lately, though, I noticed she is asking me to pay the utility bills she always pays, saying she has no money. I pay a set, agreed upon amount for rent and living expenses, and we both do the chores and shopping. She does the upkeep and maintenance on the house, which is in her name only. She was burned in a prior relationship and she has always said she will not ever consider adding me to the deed. I’m confused because she has a good job and makes more money than I do, and I don’t know why she wouldn’t have money for the bills she’s used to paying regularly. I don’t think she’s gambling or using drugs, but I can’t figure out what is going on. Any suggestions? A Reader in Rochester. Dear Reader: You raise several important issues. We gays and lesbians do not have access to the legal rights that married people get through their wedding license, such as joint home ownership or rights of survivorship to a house, should the owning partner die. We also cannot get half…

Dear Christine, Snooping in Southfield

  • Posted on July 2, 2018 at 10:27 am

Dear Christine,  I think my girlfriend is cheating on me. We have been together for 4 months, and everything is going well. But sometimes when I’m on her computer, girls message her about the great time that they had the night before, when it was supposed to be our apart night. I can’t help but see the messages because they pop right on the screen. The other day, I was sending an e-mail from her computer, and I accidentally stumbled on a hot and steamy e-mail from another girl, and I recognized her e-mail from the messages. I want to confront her but I’m afraid that she will think that I am snooping, and/or that I am over reacting. What do you think? Should I call her on it? How can I without her thinking I’m a snoop? Am I a Snoop? Dear Snooping in Southfield, This is all about boundaries. Has your girlfriend given you permission to go on her computer, and is she aware that when you or anyone does, these messages from other people pop up? If she has given her permission and is aware, then you are not a snoop and you have a legitimate right…

Dear Christine, All My Heart in Allen Park

  • Posted on March 31, 2018 at 9:45 am

Dear Christine, I am in a 11 year lesbian relationship (33 years old) and have met another woman(34 years old) ONLINE who is in a 15 year lesbian relationship. We have been carrying on an affair for a year via ONLINE and phone calls everyday, but have never met. Both of us are totally in love and are planning to met within the next 3 months. We have even planned on leaving our current wives (obviously something is missing from both our relationships) once we meet and make sure we are physically compatible. We have never met but LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. Am I crazy for even thinking of leaving my girlfriend of 11 years for a woman I’ve never met? I love her heart, mind and soul……All my Heart in Allen Park Dear All my Heart,  I think this is another question that the writer wrote knowing in her heart what the answer for her is. You have thoughts that you might be crazy for thinking of leaving your girlfriend of 11 years for someone you never met? Does your girlfriend of 11 years know this? Is she aware that something is “missing” from your relationship? Have you…

Dear Christine, Angry in Ann Arbor

  • Posted on December 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

Dear Christine

About two months ago my partner went to First Wednesday (at Rosie O’Donnell Bar) with some friends. I couldn’t go because I had to work late. Anyhow, the group met a new young woman who is just coming out as a lesbian. After getting to know this person, the friends and I are seeing something just a bit off about her. My partner, however, has taken quite a shine to her. I think it’s a crush even though this person is 18 years younger than her. I’ve told my partner that I am not happy about it and she says I’m wrong about the crush and she just sees someone who needs her help. There has been quite a bit of communication between them and I’m angry. Do I sit quietly and let this play out? Do I have a choice? We’ve had some heated arguments about this with no resolution. Just when things seemed so great!

Thanks, Angry in Ann Arbor

Dear Angry, Many couples I work with never really have a complete conversation about what the boundaries are in their relationship. They might agree if one of them “cheated” that the relationship would be over. But rarely is “cheated” defined clearly. They might also agree if one “hits” the other, it’s over. But what level of abuse is intolerable?

Women have close emotional relationships with friends and that can lead to “emotional cheating” which may not involve any physical or sexual contact, but can lead to a sense of violation for the partner (you). In this day of social media, people can have long distance affairs through text, FB, DM, Snapchat, etc, etc and never be in the same state! And long term relationships have suffered and even ended from such “emotional cheating.”

Your partner may be in denial about her crush and has reframed the interaction as helping her friend. You can’t “make” her see the emotional violation. You can keep flagging it and discussing boundaries and what consequences follow. You may not have included this sort of behavior as being a violation of your couple’s boundaries, but you can now. And then you need to let her know this is your new non–negotiable. And tell her the consequence of crossing a non–negotiable. And let her decide whether or not she agrees. Worst comes to worst, you may end up ending your relationship over this, if you two cannot see eye–to–eye about what is a boundary and what is a violation. I worked with a couple of lesbians together 20 years, who always agreed that if either one was going to cheat, they would respect the other enough to call and tell that one “I’m not coming home tonight.” One saw her partner fall in love with a younger woman at work over 3 months time. She tried to talk to her partner about it and was rebuffed. Then that call came one evening. The partner left at home was done and made it clear that their relationship was over. After a month, the other partner came to her senses and asked to get into therapy to repair their 20 year relationship. They came to a couple of sessions, but the one used therapy to be clear with the other that a non–negotiable was violated and their relationship was over. They sold their house and went their separate ways.

Another couple would stay in therapy and try to figure out where their relationship went south and mend the issues that allowed for one to become emotionally involved with someone outside the relationship. So, you need to do what is in integrity to you. Suggest neutral support, like a therapist, to help you two communicate with each other through this. Schedule time together as a couple in which you can talk seriously, but also time to have fun, too.

Christine C Cantrell, PhD
Licensed Psychologist

Guilty in Grosse Pointe Shores

  • Posted on August 2, 2016 at 9:44 am

Dear Christine, 

 I’ve discovered evidence that my long time partner is cheating on me.  We’ve lived together for 15 years and a few days ago she left her email account open.  We normally respect each other’s privacy but I went and looked at her emails. I guess I’ve been suspicious.  I found more than I wanted to find. She’s definitely being intimate with someone else. Someone I don’t know.  That night I tried to get her to talk a bit about our relationship, give her an opening to confess. It didn’t work. I haven’t told her what I know. She’s acting like nothing is wrong between us. We are still very close and she tells me she loves me all the time.  Should I tell her I know?  It would mean admitting I peeked.  Part of me wants to ignore it and hope it blows over.  I don’t know what to do.  Any thoughts? Advice? 

Thanks, Guilty in Grosse Point Shores

Dear Guilty,

I am sorry to hear of your discovery of infidelity.  You’ve been suspicious.  Something hasn’t been right. Perhaps your partner wanted you to snoop to learn the truth.  Cheating trumps snooping, every time!

Healthy relationships are based  in trust.  The truth is often painful.  Couples often work through infidelity, but the slow drip of dishonesty will end the relationship. You need to understand why she lied and broke a fundamental boundary.  Tell her you read her emails.  She can then give her side of the story.  Then both of you decide if there’s enough worth working on.  If something has been missing in the relationship, this is the best time to get everything out in the open and discuss it completely.  Then, get counseling to rebuild the relationship or figure out how to part peacefully. There is no need to make any decisions immediately.  You have been together for many years and have a lot of memories, emotions and intertwined lives.

Keep healthy boundaries and don’t contact the other person or vent on FaceBook or tell friends all the gory details. They may feel a need to take sides and then be angry with you if you stay together, after all.  If you don’t have a neutral friend who can listen, they try psychotherapy.  Take your time to figure out what you really need and whether this is going to work for you as you learn the whole truth.  And take care.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD

Suspicious in St. Clair Shores

  • Posted on March 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Dear Christine,

My husband and I are very active in the LGBT community.  Our daughter came out years ago and we fully supported her and we have been involved in our local PFLAG, marched in parades and made many friends in the community. We are almost as involved as if we were members of the community.  Perhaps too involved.  Though we are close friends, we don’t feel like a married couple anymore. I’m actually worried that my husband is now leading a double life.  He’s become very close to one of our gay male friends and I’m suspicious.  We haven’t been intimate in over 3 years.

I  brought it up last night and it didn’t go well.  My intention was to plan a romantic dinner and try and get our intimacy back.  When I realized he was avoiding my attempts I confronted him about our friend and he just got angry and walked away.  We haven’t spoken since.  He won’t talk to me at all!! Should I have reason to worry? 

Signed, Suspicious in St. Clair Shores

Dear Suspicious,

I think it’s important to trust your gut feelings, but you need to check them with reality.  To assume means to make an ASS out of U and ME.  I wish that you had sat your husband down for an honest conversation about your marriage minus any romantic dinner first.  In that conversation, it’s helpful to make “I” statements rather than “you” statements.  It’s your safest ground, to speak of your feelings, your needs, what you’ve noticed you no longer get from your marriage.  Then, ask him what his experience of the marriage is, listening on many levels, not just to the words.

Stay away from the “we” statements, even if it seems silly.  A good start is to say what you did:  “I don’t feel married anymore.”  Try not to say “we haven’t had sex in 3 years” but rather “I miss being intimate with you.  I realized the other day that it’s been 3 years since I’ve felt that closeness with you.”  Yes, having sex takes two (well, not always) but each of you needs to speak for your own self, not for the couple, or he’s going to feel like you are speaking for him and that may trigger more resistance.

After you both have had a chance to express your observations, feelings and needs, then is the time to ask a question.  Which question depends on what was said by each of you.  Starting with an accusation, which BTW begins with that “you” statement, puts him on the defensive, cornering him into denial, no matter what is going on.

Try psychotherapy if he won’t talk to you again.  Perhaps a neutral party could help the two of you restore communication and figure out what is going on and what you both want moving forward.  If he won’t go to therapy with you, try going alone.  You need support in figuring out how to approach your marriage and some communication tools would be helpful as well.  Good luck to you.

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

Sneaking Around in Southfield

  • Posted on December 6, 2015 at 5:00 am

Dear Christine, 

I am a 37 year old lesbian who has only been deeply in love one time when I was 23.  She loved me too and it was so intense.  She had a lot of pressure from her family and religion and eventually broke my heart and hers and she left me and married a man.   I have tried to move on and I just haven’t been able to feel that strongly about anyone else.  Recently I met someone who I could see myself growing old with.  There is love and comfort although not the same deep passion I once felt.  I am on the verge of having a good life with a good person and then,  “the one” finds me out of the blue.  She is married, has 3 kids, super active in her Baptist church, and apparently has never stopped thinking about me either.   She will not leave her husband, tell her family or let on to anyone at all that she still loves me but wants to see me “privately”  We did spend one amazing afternoon together and the passion is still there.  Unlike her, I can’t keep the wife and have a mistress. I know this sounds nuts and in my mind I know the right answer is to not be tempted by empty promises.  Do I choose a life sneaking around to have the love of my life in bits and pieces, or do I choose safe and comfort even if I may never feel the intense kind of love again.   I seriously think I may make the wrong choice.  Thanks for listening and if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. 

Signed, Sneaking Around in Southfield

 

Dear Sneaking Around,
Wow! Look what you have created!  Yes, you are in charge of your life and you can make your life work for you the way you want, or you can drift from one happening to another, being victim to other people’s actions.  You didn’t expect your ex to reappear, but here she is, creating earthquakes in your otherwise calm life.

How wonderful that you have had that incredible passionate love experience at least once in your life.  That’s an amazing feeling, but you know by this point in your life, it never lasts.  It is hormones, chemistry, timing and is fleeting.  It’s also a lot of projection:  putting your hopes and dreams of the perfect relationship on a human being you don’t know well who is frail, contradictory and has faults that you are not seeing or acknowledging yet.  The Japanese call it “love psychosis” and if it lasts 3 years, that’s unusual.  During that passion, you have an opportunity to form a deeper emotional connection with that person from shared values, trust, honesty, openness and vulnerability and mutual goals.  Or the passion fades and the relationship cannot be sustained.
So, your choices at this point are:  What sort of relationship do you want?  Passion that is hidden?  Being someone else’s mistress? Cheat on your partner you are growing old with?   Trust your ex who broke your heart  and promises nothing of substance now?  Honesty with friends and family who care about your happiness?  Or sneaking around, taking whatever crumbs of passion your ex has for you, all the while keeping a huge secret from your partner, and everyone else you interact with?  And if you choose your ex, what happens when her husband or your partner learns the truth?

It’s all in your hands.  Who you choose reflects your values and your character.  Be fully yourself and be confident in your choices.  Write me again and let me know what you decide.
Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

christineccantrellphd@gmail.com