Dear Abby: A year ago, my husband of four years disclosed to me that he’s transgender. We have a 3-year-old who has medical problems, which has resulted in numerous surgeries. Our lives have changed beyond belief, and I’m afraid our marriage has been damaged beyond repair.
He has come out of the closet, and I have gone into one to protect his secret and hide my heartache and devastation. The pain I feel is mostly for the lifelong struggles my husband has endured, but now I’m feeling the loss of my husband and our happy future together because I can’t be the wife he needs.
How do I know that I’ve tried every option to make this work, especially when I am the only one regularly seeking therapy? When do I resign myself to the fact that my expectations of our marriage will never be achievable? And how do I say I want out without risking his (her) well-being?
Last Straw in the Midwest
Dear Last Straw: It would be helpful for you to get emotional support in addition to the counselor you have been seeing. There are no “magic words” to tell your husband you can no longer live with the new person he’s becoming.
However, I know of a group that can help you. You would benefit greatly by contacting the Straight Spouse Network, a group that was started by Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D., in the ’80s. It offers peer support, as well as an online (worldwide) network of support groups. Just knowing you’re not alone with this problem should be comforting. Find it at straightspouse.org.
Dear Abby: I have been communicating for three months with a gentleman I met on an online dating site. He says he wants to meet me in person, but every time we get close to setting a time and place, something comes up and he can’t keep the date. We live in the same city, so traveling isn’t the problem. When I ask why he’s canceling our date, the answer is different every time.
I am beginning to think he just wants to communicate via email or chat. We have web-cammed and know what each other looks like, so that is probably not the issue, either. Should I keep waiting him out or just end it?
Puzzled in Indiana
Dear Puzzled: By now it should be obvious that you are carrying on a conversation with someone who doesn’t keep his word. He may be married or have misrepresented himself in some other way. If you want a real, flesh-and-blood relationship with someone, stop wasting your time with this person. Move on and don’t look back.
Dear Abby: With Christmas almost here, I’m wondering how much it would cost today for all of the gifts in the carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
Just Curious in Orlando, Fla.
Dear Just Curious: According to an Associated Press story published this year quoting the annual analysis by PNC Wealth Management, those 364 items — purchasing them each time they are mentioned in the song — would set the giver back $116,273. Not to belittle those birds, trees, golden rings and various musical artists, but perhaps the money could be better spent?
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.