Advice column by Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC.
Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.
I’m a man, 23, college grad starting a good career and living with my girlfriend for a year now. I’m also small framed, very short and lightweight. This was difficult growing up but I’ve accepted it. My girlfriend doesn’t mind and even asked me to wear her underwear once because she thought it was sexy. I guess it was, but I actually liked wearing them and I’ve since bought several pairs of my own. The silk and lace just feel better to me during the day. Unfortunately, urinals aren’t completely private in some places and there are obvious design differences, so I started peeing sitting down, in a stall and found out I prefer that too! It just feels more natural for me. I want to be clear that I’m 100% straight, not effeminate and I’m not transgender but also have no problems with people who are like that. I was born in the correct body because I identify as a man. But, this man likes to wear panties and pee sitting down! There’s nothing sexual about it, only comfort. My girlfriend found the underwear and asked me about it, but once she understood it was mine didn’t even care. She comes from a very liberal family; mine would lose it over something like this. Is this healthy behavior? Why am I like this?
- Lacey Lad
Hi Lacey Lad,
I wonder if your girlfriend, or a family member, or anyone close to you, had a significant problem with your undergarments or potty posture, then would you change back for them? If you did, my next question would be why? Your inclination toward sitting is shared by other cultures and even promoted by public officials as a preventative health measure, but ultimately the matter appears to be one of mere preference. Life is short and difficult enough with so many sacrifices and compromises; if you cannot satisfy your simple preferences for silky underpants and sitting down to pee, neither of which hurt or even affect anyone around you and give you comfort, then who cares why you like it? Go ahead, like it and do it.
Of course, be mindful of your surroundings and who you share this story with and generally stay safe. Be sure to buy a large enough size and always wear a clean pair of panties because I cannot silence my mother’s voice in my head at this point, but live your life the way that you want to live it with no apologies. You are asking for so little! Please treat yourself- and your accepting partner sometimes as well- and remember that you owe no one other than maybe her an explanation.
Cuckolded Correspondence Caretaker
I’m male, 32 years old. I lived with my girlfriend for 9 months before I caught her cheating with one of her male coworkers. I say catch, but actually I just found receipts from one of several weekend getaways they had at expensive resorts when she had told me that she was going to a wedding or on a business trip. I discovered more evidence, then his name and confronted her. She was having so much trouble lying trying to cover it up that she finally just confessed, and in a very mean and hurtful way to me. We split on bad terms, she moved out of my apartment and I told her to forward her mail several times but it appears she did not notify everyone. I’m still getting junk mail and what look like collections notices from her credit cards that she used to rendezvous with her new man. I guess the responsible thing to do would be to mail all these to her new address but I don’t know it and I don’t want to. I also don’t want to call her to get it because I have finally gotten her out of my head and my life, and I want it to stay that way. Could her financial situation get worse if I don’t send these notices? I want to do the right thing but it feels like this is not my problem so what do you think?
- Cuckolded Correspondence Caretaker
You gave you ex warning, and now those handy adult living skills should be kicking in and telling her to do some housecleaning, like forwarding her own mail or paying her own bills. If extending courtesy means you have to contact her again and this makes you anxious, then avoid the postal panic. You can mark the mail “return to sender,” or even call the senders and let them know she no longer lives there and you have no forwarding address. If neither of these work, institute your own dead letter office, i.e. your nearest waste basket. Being considerate to an ex does not mean having to be a valet or a social worker; she moved, so the duties regarding adjustment of correspondence are hers alone to bear.
Second Chance Scandal
I’m a 48 year old guy and divorced from my wife of 18 years. The reason for our divorce was that we lost our 16 year old daughter two years ago in an auto accident that was not her fault. We never recovered, and my wife suggested therapy. I refused for several months and finally gave in and went. Oddly, she got nothing from the therapy and stopped going. I, on the other hand, thrived with this new support that my wife had never given me and I have kept going. I attended for so long that my therapist suggested I might be ready to transition to her support group because individual therapy would not be needed much longer. My problem with that; I am in love with her. My therapist is so much better a partner for me than my wife ever was and she truly makes me feel alive again. I’m working out, gunning for a promotion at work and volunteering, getting back in touch with friends and I owe the motivation to this new love. I know I’m a walking cliché, in love with my therapist but the way she laughs and remembers little things about me and our jokes tell me there may be something there for her, too! I’m tired of being so lonely and if I’ve met the right person, who cares how we met? I want to ask her out but I should quit therapy first, so that she would be free to explore this without professional repercussions. Isn’t there some way love can find a way for someone so broken?
-Second Chance Scandal
Hi Second Chance,
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter but I do not want you to be hurt anymore. This is not your second chance at love. I am 99.9 percent sure of that. I try to never say never, but this is one of those topics that always tempt me to do so because that number pretty accurately describes the odds that a therapist-client romantic relationship will never work out. You have been hopping from one emotionally-charged and/or traumatic experience to the next without a break; losing a child, a marriage falling apart, falling in love. Does it seem kind of intense? Just reading your letter makes me exhausted trying to imagine the roller coaster you must be on; it sounds as if you may have had little time to even grieve.
You would benefit from disclosing your feelings to your therapist; in order to end the relationship. Ask for a referral to another therapist or group and attend as long as necessary. Say goodbye forever to this paid professional. A therapist is like a mirror; they serve a purpose in order to help you see things more clearly. That is their only purpose, but it affords them some measure of power and that power differential between you may be forever impossible to overcome. You may be in love with the feeling you get from talking with her, or the confirmation that you are not alone, but you are not in love with this flesh and blood human woman because you know nothing about her personally! Even if your feelings were reciprocated, which is doubtful, in most states there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 2 years before a therapist may have any kind of personal contact with former clients, their spouses or their family members. Keep your same number if you like, and if she wants to contact you she will have it. She probably will not do that, but you will no longer care, because instead of denying your loss by focusing on more relationships, you will have taken time to acknowledge your own feelings of loss, and perhaps even moved on in a real relationship with reciprocity. I wish you the best future possible, and you do have one to look forward to because you are already a survivor.
Editor’s Note: The opinions offered in this blog are the author's alone. Tim White, and any experts he may consult and/or quote in responses to letters, will never provide medical or psychological advice, diagnoses, treatment, or counseling of any kind. General advice, opinions, and suggestions may be offered with no obligation on the part of readers to accept or act upon the content published within this column. Anyone in immediate crisis and/or mental/physical distress should call 911 or related resources of assistance.
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