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

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, 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, Finding a Donor in Dearborn

  • Posted on March 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

Dear Christine, Hi there, My partner and I have been together 8 years–our anniversary is this week– Yeah!!! Celebration time!!! We’re ready to start our family, and decided to go the “known donor” route so the child would be able to have some awareness of who their biological father is… Here’s the problem: none of the men we’ve approached (and don’t misunderstand, they’ve all been pretty together, gay positive men) have been able to “handle the idea”. They say things like “How could I handle having a child, but not really being a father”, or “I would feel too responsible to the child”. Geez, where are all the totally irresponsible men I dated before I figured out who I really am? They were only too happy to let ME worry about contraception back then. Why have the rules changed now? Talk about irony. We spend half our fertile lives before we’re mature enough to know who we are and what we want trying NOT to get pregnant and the other half trying desperately trying to. Sometimes, life sucks! Finding a Donor in Dearborn Dear Finding a Donor, Congratulations on your readiness to start a family! Yeah, the timing isn’t so…

Dear Christine, Ready in Redford

  • Posted on March 11, 2018 at 7:13 am

Dear Christine,

I’ve come across your columns on line and enjoy them. While I see you mostly seem to deal with LGBT issues, I assume you work with straight couples in your practice too.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 5 years. He spends a couple nights at my house, I spend a couple nights at his, and we spend a couple on our own. We tell each other I love you all the time. He’s never mentioned marriage though. We were only 22 when we met and now at 27, I feel like I want to be married and start a family. I’ve been old school, waiting for home to ask. Any ideas on how to get him to pop the question?

Signed,

Ready in Redford

Dear Ready,
Thanks for  following my blog and taking the time to write a question.  I do work with all kinds of people and relationships, not just the LGBTQIA… population.  Your situation sounds familiar.  You’re in a long term, serious relationship and after 5 years you are ready to make a legal commitment, marriage.  But you don’t know where your boyfriend is on this topic.  I’d suggest some direct conversation about what you need and want in a relationship, as those needs and wants probably have changed over the time together.  Do you really have no idea where he stands on marriage after 5 years together?  Have you ever talked about what you want in the future, careers, kids, finances, where to live, what to live in:  apartment, condo or house?

You both were young when you met and have grown up with each other in a way.  Now you sound ready to take another step.  A healthy relationship allows you both to feel emotionally safe enough to honestly explore your thoughts and needs about the relationship.  If you just wait for him to “pop the question” you may wait forever!  If you bring it up, then you both get a chance to share your hopes and dreams, your fears and also your non-negotiables.  Non-negotiables are those things that you must have or you cannot have in a long-term, committed relationship.  Perhaps you don’t want to live with someone who smokes, or who uses drugs, or who doesn’t keep a job.  Those are important boundaries to communicate so that you both know what you each need.  If he needs to smoke, and you need him to quit, it’s probably a losing battle for you.  He needs to find it in himself to quit, and if he quits for you, you retain the credit and/or blame of his ability to quit or relapse.

Non-negotiables will cut through the chatter and help you both see if you are headed in the same direction with your life goals.  For example, some people do not want to have children at all.  If you know your boyfriend is like that, don’t think that you will change his mind or convince him to eventually have a baby with you.  My parents’ best friends had two daughters that the couple both wanted.  The wife, however, wanted a 3rd baby and knew her husband didn’t.  She tricked him into getting her pregnant and he never would have much to do with his son.  That son had a lot of issues as he grew up feeling ignored and not wanted by his father, and by high school was into drugs and the wrong crowd.

You have invested a lot in this relationship, but the only way to know if he wants to keep investing in it with you is to begin to have conversations about what you need.  If you cannot have this direct a conversation, that might tell you something about how emotionally safe you really feel with him.  If you don’t risk, you won’t ever what you really want.  Take a risk and have a heart-to-heart talk about the future.

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

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, Intoxicated in Inkster

  • Posted on January 22, 2018 at 10:35 am

Dear Christine,

I’m really worried about my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for about 6 months and he has recently taken a part time job at night working as a bar tender at a local gay men’s bar in Detroit. He’s loving it but my problem is, he comes home intoxicated the 3 nights of the week that he works. I said something to him but his response was that he’s never had a drinking problem, which is true, so why am I concerned? Maybe I’m wrong but having too much to drink, 3 nights a week, to the point of being clearly drunk, is too much. I also worry that he will get pulled over one night and get a DUI.

I really like him a lot but this could be a deal breaker. Do you think I’m being overly concerned? To be honest, I also worry that he will meet someone else hanging out with all the single men at the bar.

Thanks, Intoxicated in Inkster

Dear Intoxicated in Inkster,

Your questions are on target and you have good reason to be concerned. When you date someone, there are boundaries to what we each can tolerate or boundaries keeping out certain behaviors or choices that we cannot live with. Since you have spent 6 months in this relationship, you have invested quite a bit of yourself, and I hope you have had conversations over time with your boyfriend about your limits, and his boundaries with you.

I’m not sure that the intoxication issue, either the amount or frequency, was ever addressed in your relationship before your boyfriend took this bar tending job, and if not, it needs to be discussed fully and honestly now. If his being drunk three times a week is a deal breaker for you, then so be it. Boundaries aren’t about right and wrong. He may be completely fine with his level of drinking and frequency, and that’s fine. Only it’s not fine in a relationship with you! Once you identify these non–negotiables, telling each other them is crucial. Only then can you both make clear decisions about whether or not to continue the relationship. You don’t have to agree with each other about issues, but you do have to respect each other’s position in order to make the relationship work. I’ve never dated anyone who smokes, though I have plenty of friends who smoke. It’s not that smokers make bad dates or lovers, but I don’t want to put myself in harms’ way by dating a smoker casually. What happens if we fall in love? And smoking is one of my non–negotiables? Now what?! Do I make quitting a pre–condition of moving in? When dealing with addictive materials, it’s best if the user decides to quit for himself or herself, not for their boyfriend or girlfriend. If your boyfriend quits this behavior because you are pushing him to do so, it will probably lead to resentment and the relationship will start to disintegrate. If he agrees that his drinking is a problem to him, then he will have to decide to quit and maintain his sobriety, and that’s something no one else can decide or do for him.

Good luck with the conversations ahead. Sounds like some honesty needs to come out, both ways, as you are unhappy, and it doesn’t sound like you trust him in the bars with other men, or alcohol. Once you know each other’s non–negotiables, it’s much clearer what your next action step needs to be. It’s still emotionally hard, but at least you know you are not settling for someone who is not compatible with you.

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

Click here to email Christine.

Pushed in Pontiac

  • Posted on October 2, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Dear Christine,

The woman that I just met 6 weeks ago is possibly the best thing that’s happened to me in a very long time. However, she seems way too concerned about the future. She constantly wants to discuss, Where will we live? When we should move in together?  Basically, she talks a lot about what our future will look like together.

I on the other hand am more concerned about really getting to know each other and protecting my heart. She’s ready this early to go all in and I am just a little scared and cautious.  Our histories are similar though. We’ve both been hurt and abandoned by those we were closest to in our lives.  I want to assure her that I’m excited about where this could go and I’ve tried but it’s never enough and it’s exhausting.  Reassuring her is getting in the way with the fun of dating and falling in love. I’m not going anywhere but how can I convince her without actually marrying her, which in no way would guarantee forever based on both of our pasts.

Thanks, Pushed in Pontiac

Dear Pushed,

It sounds like a lot is going very well for such a new relationship.  But, it’s also WAY too soon to be talking about marriage to reassure her of your commitment.  Neither of you is knows the other well enough to take that step yet!  That’s what dating is for!

A healthy relationship will allow each of you the space you need to explore the possibilities of what might become as you get to know each other.  Each of you needs to accept where the other one is without pressuring the other to be different.  If you think about some habit you’ve tried to change about yourself (flossing daily, losing weight, for example) you know how hard it is to change yourself when you are motivated and see the value of that change.  It’s almost impossible to change someone else, particularly if that person doesn’t see any need for change.

So, what that means is that you can’t change her neediness for you to make a life-long commitment after only 6 weeks together, and she can’t change your need to take your time and protect your heart until you are more certain that she is “the one.”  Talk to her to help her understand that her pushing you for a premature commitment or marriage could spell disaster for this fun relationship.  The best rule I’ve found is that of the lowest common denominator.  Whoever needs to move slowly, safely, must receive that space and time to feel safe in the relationship.  Just because one is ready to move in with the other doesn’t mean the other is ready to lose her own sacred space.

Keep talking to each other.  Help to her understand what you are feeling and where it is coming from.  If she just can’t hear you and insists on marriage now or never, then take care of yourself first.  You HAVE to live with yourself.  You choose to live with others.  If you aren’t comfortable with being pushed to make a choice you aren’t 100% sure about, then speak that truth.  If that ends the fun dating relationship, then so be it.

It’s ok to have boundaries.  Boundaries are what make it emotionally safe for emotional, social, sexual and physical vulnerability.  When you both have enough experience to validate trusting each other, then the love can blossom.  And you both will figure out what the next step is in this fun dating relationship.

Take care,
Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

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Deal Breakers and Dating in Dexter

  • Posted on September 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Dear Christine,

I am recently dating someone that I really like.  I have a list of deal breakers that she actually got annoyed with me when I listed them to her on our first date.

Deal Breakers = No Smokers, No Drug Users and No Alcoholics. Those are the big ones.

On a lesser scale, must have a decent job, be fairly intelligent, no fussy eaters and must want kids in the future.

We have two little glitches. One, she doesn’t think I should have voiced my deal breakers so early in a relationship. Two, she doesn’t want kids and I really do. I always have hoped to have at least one child, perhaps two.

So the following questions are, is it ok to let people know what I want and expect in a relationship?  Can you change another persons expectations for the future?  Can I get her to change her mind about kids when she seems pretty firm?

Deal Breaking and Dating in Dexter

 

Dear Deal Breakers and Dating,
Keep dating!  It may seem too early to bring up deal breakers early on, but it sure saves you time and heart ache!  Now you know that this woman is definitely not a keeper for a committed relationship including children!  Time to move on.

One of the advantages I found of dating once I reached my early 30s is that I no longer wanted to play “the game.”  I didn’t want to try to change anyone else, but instead, I wanted to let dates know who I know I am and what I need to make a relationship work.  For me!  The might have been fun in teens and twenties, but it grows old.  You may have offended her by getting serious too quickly, but you also learned that she’s really not into kids.  And you are.  You both now know that about each other and you haven’t wasted 3 years living together and fighting all the time.

Have you ever tried to change something about yourself?  Like lose weight? Quit a bad habit?  How did it go for you?  Was it quick and easy?  Did it just take a couple of reminders to yourself, a couple of changes to your routine and the weight was gone or you gave up the bad habit?  Hmmm.  I didn’t think so.  And this was a change YOU wanted for you!

So, if you try to change someone else who is OK with how they are (she doesn’t want kids) and now you make it your mission to convince her to be a loving mom to only 1 or 2 children, how will that go?  Smoothly?  Easily?  What will that do to the children that you want her to help you raise?  Will they feel loved and cared for by her?  Or might she feel resentful towards them and you?

Be glad you know yourself so well.  It’s not romantic to tell your date all your non-negotiables the first or second date, but it does move the process of finding a life partner along well.  Be who you are, with no apologies!  Keep dating!
And keep me posted, OK?

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

 

 

Heated in Hell, MI

  • Posted on March 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Dear Christine, 

I work at a professional office where there’s a strict no dating policy.  It’s a really good job and I need it but I have a problem that’s making it hard to go to work.  A co-worker started flirting with me big time and though I knew the policy, I figured what the hell, we could be discrete.  We went out several times and I thought he really liked me.  I was falling!   Suddenly he just started ignoring me.  He won’t take my calls and acts at work like nothing happened.  I can’t talk to anyone at work about it but I did find out, he has a husband!  I’m so damn angry and there’s nothing I can do without serious risk of affecting my position at work.  Part of me wants to tell our manager just to get him in trouble and hell with the consequences.  If he would at least talk to me I might have some understanding but he has totally cut me off and I’m frustrated and confused.  How do I let this go before I blow!? 

Thanks, Heated in Hell, MI

Dear Heated,

Now you know why there’s a no-dating policy in most workplaces.  Even if you two hit it off, your dating can be very difficult on your colleagues who have to endure your drama once they realize what’s going on.

So, at work you met a flirt who is married.  Here’s the result of your decision to see  “what the hell.”  You took a big risk.  Welcome to hell!  You might be discrete, but  who is he really is?  Is he capable of discretion?  Healthy relationship are when both partners are equals to communicate what they feel and need and want.  That’s really hard to do in the workplace.

You can’t make someone else take your calls, like you or talk to you.  You can’t make a relationship work all by yourself.  A good relationship is when both parties are giving 100%, not even just 50/50.  You are putting your job at serious risk.   If you truly need and want this job, you’ll find a way to take a deep breath whenever you see him/think of him, and remind yourself that you need this job.

Welcome to a life lesson.  When you truly get a lesson from the School of Hard Knocks, you will never need a refresher course!  Consider yourself lucky that you still have your job and focus on that.  Count to 10 when you see him, use self-talk to talk yourself down when you get riled up.  Anger is a normal reaction, but after about 90 seconds of feeling anger surge, you have to feed it to keep it going.

Remind yourself that you put yourself in this position.  If you tell yourself you were the victim and you just want him punished, whatever the cost to you, that’s nurturing the anger.  For every 5 minutes that you are angry, you increase your blood pressure, decrease your digestion, your breathing gets shallow and your immune system goes off line for the next 6 hours!  That’s not including losing your job.  It’s not fun to be an adult:  bills, responsibilities, jobs, boundaries, communication and most important, self-care.   Good luck as you practice good self-care in the coming weeks, modulating your anger rather than feeding it!

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Licensed 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

Dateless in Detroit

  • Posted on November 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Dear Christine, 

I am 28 years old and have never had a date.  There have been a few women I’ve been interested in and when I’ve tried to show my interest, I get rejected.  There is a woman in my office that I’ve been getting close to lately.  I feel like there might be something there but I’m so afraid to let her know how I feel.  I don’t think I could take another rejection and we work for the same company and I don’t want to have to see her every day if I make a fool of myself.

Dateless in Detroit

Dear Dateless,

I’d advise against dating anyone at work.  Why?  It complicates work and relationships and possibly productivity when the relationship succeeds and also when you feel rejected or there’s a break up.  We are around neighbors and colleagues so much of our waking life that we often become interested in people we work with. Whatever happens, it can be negative to others in the office, even when you and she are doing fine. So, if you are truly close to this colleague, take it very, very slowly.

It’s always best to date people who you don’t live with or work with, so there is room to get to know each other and discover if you are truly compatible before expectations begin to develop. Get away from work and find some hobbies and interests that other people share:  skiing (winter is coming), softball, bowling, biking, hiking, helping at a soup kitchen, helping with set design in a local theater:  the list is endless.  If you are participating in something that is meaningful to you that you enjoy whether or not you are single or coupled up, you will meet like-minded folks who may become friends.  If they aren’t dating material, they know lots of people you don’t know and they might be able to help you meet more eligible singles.

The ironic thing with dating is that if you seem desperate, people will reject you and avoid you.  If you are comfortable in your own skin and being with yourself for company, you are more likely to attract others who are interested in getting to know you better.  Make friends with yourself, find things to do that you enjoy that cross your path with others and go out and meet them.  Not everyone you’re attracted to will be a good fit for a relationship with you.  You will have to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak!  But if you can be comfortable in your own company, with you, that will make you much more attractive to a potential date and it will make the dating process, replete with rejection, more bearable.  Good luck.

Christine Cantrell, PhD,

Psychologist

christineccantrellphd@gmail.com