Category Archives: dating

Choosing Sexual Orientation

There still seems to be a lot of people who think that gay people choose their orientation.

My nephew asked his mom (my sister), how it was that my partner came to be a part of our family?  He  finally noticed that she came with me regularly to family events and she seemed to fit in.  My sister   decided it was time to tell him that I was a lesbian.

He did not have any extreme or shocking reaction, but his question was rather typical.  He asked if I had dated guys much in high school, which I hadn’t, so he thought that was an explanation for not liking men.  I just didn’t have enough experience with the opposite sex!

There are those who tend to think that one needs to date the opposite sex, or just haven’t met the “right” opposite sex to ring your bells.  So let’s reverse this kind of logic for the straight individual.

1.  Does a straight person need to date and fool around with the same sex in order to know whom he/she is attracted to?   Seems kind of ridiculous doesn’t  it?

2.  If you are straight, at what age did you choose  to be attracted to the opposite sex?   Not many straight people I know can answer that.  So why are there people who think we made a choice about our sexual orientation?

Yes, there are some in the world who go back and forth between same sex and opposite sex.  It sure seems like its a choice, doesn’t it?  There are also many of us, who stick regularly with the opposite sex, or same sex, and it wasn’t a conscious choice.

No, most people don’t choose their sexual orientation.

dr pers  © 2009


Grieving in-laws


I will be leaving soon to travel out of state to be with my mother for memorial day weekend. Monday is the first anniversary date of my sister’s death. My sister and I were the closest we had been in a long time, in the last year of her life. For most of our adult lives, she and I lived thousands of miles apart. During her last year, we had more opportunities to visit, reminisce and laugh a lot.

Except for the last year, I can’t say that I was really close to my 49 year old sister. However, when her husband announced six months after her death, that he was seriously dating someone, feelings of loyalty and anguish came gushing to the surface.

Feeling close to my mother, my former brother in law wanted my mother to meet this new woman that he was growing fond of. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, my mother agreed to let him bring her over. I am not sure if you can imagine how difficult this must have been for a grieving mother.

I can’t tell you the anger that I am still feeling when I heard he did this. He normally is a sensitive guy. He is hurt that I don’t want to meet his girlfriend during this upcoming visit. I told him that I am still grieving and it is too painful to see him with another woman.

I did not expect my brother in law to remain single forever. He is a thoughtful, loving person and deserves to be happy. If he couldn’t wait for a year, I wish he would simply have informed us that he was dating. It would have been hard to keep it from my mother and other sister anyway, as they live in a small town. I know there are no hard and fast rules about an appropriate length of time to grieve, but it is important to remember that all family members are in different stages of the grieving process. It seems that my brother in law thinks that because he has moved on, the rest of us have or should too.

#3 of 3 in series: five more issues to discuss online before meeting in person…


11) What kind of baggage does the other carry related to past relationships? What has been the length of time since the last serious relationship? What were the hurtful issues, have they been healed?

12) Are they married, are they still living together with their EX, what is their living arrangement? How attached are you to your location? Do you need to be near family and friends? How easily do you make new friends? If you were to live together, who would move?

13) What are their attitudes about sex, what kind of sex or stimulation do they most enjoy? Are you willing to try new techniques or expand your horizons?

(14) What place does faith or spirituality have in their life? What commonality or differences do you have in religious beliefs? How will you celebrate religious holidays and with whom?

15) Are they interested in a long term commitment or short term fling? Does this match your expectations? Is he or she the kind of person that you would logically choose or are compatible with if feelings and emotions weren’t involved?

By all means, this is not an exhaustive list, but a good place to start.  When you decide to meet in person, someone you’ve met online, hopefully their walk matches their talk.  If not, keep looking.  Truthfulness is an important foundation to a trusting relationship. Good luck and be careful out there!

See:  #1 of 3 in series:

#2 of 3 in series:

#2 in series: five more issues to discuss online before meeting in person

Discussing value issues before you meet, helps to determine how compatible you are with another.  Studies show that higher compatibility leads to happier relationships….especially if you are thinking long term.   It is easier to determine compatibility on many of the long term values before you become emotionally and physically involved.   After one’s hormones kick in, rational tends to get left in the dust.

Here are another five issues to discuss before meeting!

6) What physical limitations does the other have? How well do you do with caring for someone when they are sick? Do you mind changing plans and staying home when the other is not feeling well?

7) How do you feel about monogamy or open ended relationships? How do you feel about porn, about flirting online with others? Is it okay for your partner or spouse to go out with friends without you?

8) How “out” are you, to family, friends, work colleagues? Will the other be welcome at family gatherings?

9) Are you a homebody or a party animal? What kinds of activities do you picture the two of you doing together?

10) How do you feel about communication, contact with ex-lovers? Is it okay for ex lovers to meet alone or only in group situations? Why or why not?

#1 in series: five issues to discuss online before meeting in person!

As indicated in a previous post, my partner and I met in an online chat room. This past weekend we were discussing things that we knew and wished we known, prior to meeting. Assuming you are an adult and single, if you’re falling for someone you’ve met online,  or offline for that matter,  we recommend discussing these things for compatibility before getting emotionally involved.  They reflect some pretty big value issues.

1) Does the other have any children, how many, what are the ages. Are you interested in becoming a parent short term or long term?

2) Does the other have pets, how many, do they sleep in bed? How do you feel about pets, about taking them with you on vacations, getting up in the night to let them outside, peeing on your carpet, scratching your furniture?

3) How much debt does the other have, what financial goals does she/he have? Financially independent? Do you mind spending your money on the other’s debt? Which comes first: new entertainment items, household items or utility bills?

4) Does the other have a career or will any job do? Certain careers such as doctors, clergy, law enforcement, will present special challenges for a social and family life. Which comes first, your relationship or your job?

5) Does he/she have any interests or hobbies that they are very involved in and require participation in on weekends? Do you have hobbies, do you mind spending weekend time alone?

dr pers   ©2007


Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

Kerry: Some people stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid of what will happen if they leave, and the changes that will follow.

dr pers: Some stay because they don’t think they have enough economical resources of their own, to “go it alone.”

Kerry: Some stay in abusive partnerships because they have become “comfortable with the uncomfortable.” In other words, “it is hard being in this relationship, but it’s all I know and I’m stuck with it”.

dr pers: Some stay because of religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds.

Kerry: Some try to cope, try to change their partners or hope that their partner will change on their own. All I can say about waiting for your partner to change is, “let me know how that goes”.

While this list is rather simple, we acknowledge the issues are more complex.

Making a good decision about breaking up or staying together…

Downright Personal asked an experienced counselor what people should consider in making a good decision about whether to break up or stay in their relationship.  This is her response.

I would ask myself these questions:

1) do I experience some kind of healthy pleasure on a daily basis in this relationship?

2) am I part of the decision making equation in our relationship?

3) do I give, and receive respect in this relationship?

4) are my physical and emotional needs being met most of the time?

5) is there love, nurturing and support in this relationship?

6) is there enough trust that each of us can grow in this relationship?

The counselor concluded with this:  If you answer no to all of these, or even one of them, consider evaluating the reasons you are in this relationship.   If you have a hard time evaluating, please consider asking for help from your support system or a counselor.  It’s hard to see your way out if you’re in the eye of the hurricane!

Should you stay together without feelings of love?

kerry: “I’ve watched people in my life leave their partners because they believed they had fallen out of love. They believed that they just didn’t love their spouse anymore and they started to seek another person to fill that void. Perhaps as the years have passed, the passion has subsided and the old flame appeared to have gone out.

There is something interesting about this kind of breakup. After some time apart, or when the partner who was left, starts seeing someone else, something magical often happens. The smoldering fire starts to become a flickering flame, the heart starts to pitter pat again, jealousy is surprisingly felt by the “leaver” and “voila”, they reunite.

I am a firm believer, along with many relationship experts, that we can fall in love with our partners all over again. After all, there were reasons we fell in love with them in the first place. As long as a couple can look at what wasn’t working and make efforts to do things differently, the flame can rekindle in a healthy way. “

dr pers: “ One of the things that I use to say when performing marriage ceremonies is this: “love is a commitment, not a feeling.”  You can feel “in love” this week and “out of love” next week. To marry or partner with another is to say: “I will remain faithful to you even when I don’t feel like it.”

It is very likely, that after the intense feelings of anger and frustration have subsided, you will start to feel appreciation, love and respect for your partner again. In other words, don’t do anything stupid until your emotions have leveled off and you’re back in balance. This may take a day, a week or a month. Love is a commitment even when you don’t feel like it.

Feeling “out of love” isn’t a good reason to break up. Maybe the embers just need a little fanning?

See: ten reasons to break up

Ten reasons to break up…

1. Physical abuse

2. Emotional abuse

3. Sexual abuse

4. Addiction problems, maybe

5. Partner commits a serious crime

6. Unfaithfulness, maybe.

7. One partner has no desire or makes no effort to improve a dysfunctional relationship.

8. Dishonesty, maybe

9. No trust

10. Control freak

However, the most common reason people divorce/break up has to do with money. Does your partner or spouse have different ideas, priorities on how your money should be spent? You can bet your silver dollar that this will be a great source of conflict in your relationship. One of you may feel that having a new LCD HD TV in the living room is more important that putting gutters on the house. (This was a discussion in our house, but we agreed that the TV can wait!)

There are a lot of variables on the above issues, did you think of some that I missed?

dr pers ©2007

See:Ten reasons to marry…

Ten reasons not to partner…

Ten reasons to marry or partner…

Ten reasons to commit yourself to another:

1. I promise to be considerate of my partner 24/7.

2. I promise to be faithful even when I don’t feel like it.

3. I promise that I will not accumulate debt that we cannot afford.

4. I promise to give in 70% of the time.

5. I promise to spend holidays with your family.

6. I promise to treat you with respect and encourage you in your dreams.

7. I promise to trust you and allow you the freedom to grow.

8. I promise to be a parent that our children can be proud of.

9. I promise to put our family’s needs before my own.

10. I promise to keep myself emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy so that I might give my best.

©2007 dr pers