You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'Dear Christine'.

Dear Christine, Befuddled in Brownstown

  • Posted on February 19, 2018 at 10:08 am

Dear Christine

Hello! Is there such a thing as having an androgynous personality? Explain please 🙂 Thank yoooouu! Befuddled in Brownstown

Dear Befuddled,

Yes, there are androgynous people. I know a few people who are androgynous and like passing as both genders or neither. If you look at one of these people, you might not be sure what pronoun to use, she or he, and the person may not help you out on that, as they might like the fact that they don’t fit into any prescribed slot. Sexuality is simpler than a dual system of gay and straight, just as gender is more than male or female. We have brains as well as bodies, and sometimes the experience of the mind is different from the body, and vice versa. Sometimes the bodies are difficult to identify, as an intersex person may have genitalia of both genders. There are seven basic gender identities: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, intersexual, asexual, and pansexual, then there is a sexual orientation for each one.

Sometimes people are chimeras, meaning they have more than one genetic code, such as when 2 fraternal twin fetuses combine in the uterus and become one body, but having 2 unique DNA codes, depending on which body part is being checked. There have been women who were genetically unrelated to their children as current cheek swab DNA testing can show. However, other organs or parts of her body do match up with her children, but might not have been checked initially. Also, any woman who has been pregnant has probably absorbed some genetic material from her baby, and if that’s a boy, then she probably has some Y chromosomes present in her body that most women would not have. Remember, female is having XX chromosomes and male is XY. Sometimes there are XXY people as well, which is Klinefelter Syndrome. Our genes and our environment determine our phenotype (physical characteristics) which can vary in different environments. Two identical twins raised in different families may mature differently, for example. All of this is just to explore how we really are unique beings. However you look, whatever you feel, whomever you are attracted to, or not, is really ok. And it can change. And that’s fine. 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, 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, Tense in Trenton

  • Posted on February 4, 2018 at 11:54 am

Dear Christine, My partner and I are expecting our first child, a boy, due in May. We are both very excited but we are getting a little family grief. Both families have supported our lifestyle until now. Suddenly it seems like everyone is concerned about the future of our child. It seems that no one thought we were going to have children and now that we are, we are getting some negative comments. A little too late now! The family seems excited for the new baby but at the same time has told us that it might not be fair for a child, especially a boy, to be raised by lesbians! My partner is furious at our families and is ready to cut them off. I don’t know why they had to make the comments in the first place since like I said, too late! What can I do to keep the peace, calm down my partner and assure everyone that this baby will be a happy healthy child. Including me! Can we do this? I love this baby already and BTW, I’m the one carrying this time. You’re next honey! Signed Tense in Trenton Hi Tense, Hell no, I’m…

Dear Christine, Confused in Canton

  • Posted on January 28, 2018 at 11:46 am

Dear Christine, My wife and I entered into a 3 way relationship with a lesbian questioning woman about a year ago. To be clear, it’s never all 3 of us at once. We pair off based on a mutual schedule we agreed upon. I had reservations about it, fearing it might threaten the most important relationship to me, that of myself and my wife. Being the carefree and sexually open person that I am though, I agreed. Much to my surprise, I have fallen totally in love with our 3rd and no longer have feelings for my wife. I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to confess my feelings to our 3rd and see if she feels the same, in which case I would like it to be just us. The other side of me is telling me to end this 3 way relationship and try and save my marriage. My wife is someone who I know loves me, and this new person could be a risky move if I decide to pursue her. I know I can’t continue this way for much longer. What advice can you offer to this very confused person? Signed, Confused in…

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.

Dear Christine, Loving in Livonia

  • Posted on January 8, 2018 at 10:09 am

Dear Christine, I’m a gay man seeing a male therapist for issues I had after a bad breakup. Basically severe depression. After several months of therapy, I’m feeling pretty whole again but I don’t want to stop therapy because I have fallen in love with my therapist. My therapist is also gay and has never given me any reason to think he feels the same way, however, I guess I hope that he does. I’ve also never told him how I feel for fear he will ask me to stop seeing him. Question: should I tell him? I so look forward to my Wednesdays with… Signed, Loving in Livonia Dear Loving, I encourage you to talk to your therapist about this transference. You are in a relationship as a client with a therapist and there are legal and ethical boundaries that need to be in place to protect both of you. Your therapist will probably want to discuss your emotions, needs and expectations. And he will want to be clear about the professional boundaries of the therapeutic relationship you both have. It is not unusual for a client to have strong feelings of affection or love for a therapist, as…

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

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…

Dear Christine, Reasonable in Rochester, Part II

  • Posted on November 27, 2017 at 7:37 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 will explore Pronoun Issues Part 2 By age 3 or 4, most children comprehend gender and identify themselves as a specific gender.  Sometimes a small female looking child might wish for a penis, not understanding what surgery would entail, but by age 13 or 14, children are mature enough to make decisions about their lives. This is gender dysphoria. One treatment decision might be to block hormones in puberty to give these children a few years more to decide what…

Dear Christine, Reasonable in Rochester

  • Posted on November 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

By Christine Cantrell, PhD, LP http://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 Gender Identity Part 2 will explore Transgender Issues. Part 3 will explore the Pronoun Issues Part 1 Most of us go through life as male or female and never think anything more about it. It seems that the all creation divides in two, every species… well, most of them at least! However, there are about 2000 children born each year with genitalia that doesn’t look normal. Until 50 years ago, surgery was performed to “fix” these babies’ genitals to look “normal,” sometimes without the parents’ knowledge. The non-conformity was hidden. Sometimes those…