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DEAR ABBY: I am a confused transwoman. I have been in a committed relationship for years with a woman who knew me before "the change." I have lied to myself for a long time about what gender I have been attracted to, and now it's coming back to haunt me.
As I have gone through several years changing, my confidence and emotional depth have grown. I successfully transitioned two years ago, and live and work as a woman. This means when I go to clubs and bars with other girlfriends, I attract male attention in a positive way. (I'm attractive and pass well.)
The problem is, my attraction to women is fading and men are now much more appealing. My pulse races at the idea of spending time in the company of men, but no longer with women, who are now more like sisters than anything else.
My relationship with my current female spouse has become that of a housemate or female family member. She was there for me during my changes, and now I feel I am evolving away from her. This upsets me, and I know it upsets her because we have talked about the possibility that this might occur. Now I'm worried about breaking her heart, but feel if I don't move on, I will have cheated myself out of living.
What should I do? Should I swallow my feelings and stay with her, or admit that in order to feel like a heterosexual woman I must leave and be in a relationship with a man? Help!
- Lost Angel
DEAR LOST: I discussed your letter with Denise Leclair, the executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), who tells me that what you're experiencing is not unusual. Transgender people can be so consumed with gender issues that they are sometimes unfocused on whom they are really attracted to.
While I can't make this decision for you, you can get some helpful input from IFGE. Founded in 1987, it offers support and educational services for and about gender-variant persons -- including referrals to medical and psychological professionals. You can email IFGE at firstname.lastname@example.org.DEAR ABBY: Thanks for the wonderful letters and sage advice over the years. I can't tell you how many columns I have clipped and shared.
Some years ago when I was teaching in Massachusetts, a dear friend, Pat, told me about something she did that impressed me. Every year on her birthday, she sent flowers to her parents with a note thanking them for their love and support. I adopted her idea.
We have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but isn't Pat's idea wonderful? Many parents would be thrilled to receive flowers from their child on his or her birthday, especially when a note accompanies the bouquet. After all, the parents gave the children life and nurturing. It seems only right that children should show their appreciation at that special time. Please share this idea with your readers.
- Former Teacher In Athens, Ga.
DEAR TEACHER: Thank you for sharing your friend's tradition. It's not the first time I've heard this, but I'm pleased to share her terrific idea with those who are receptive.
P.S. If flowers aren't in the budget, a handwritten note of appreciation costs nothing and would be treasured for a lifetime.