DEAR ABBY: I moved to the Philippines five years ago. While I was there, I met "Emma." After a few months, I realized I was in love with her, and last year we became engaged. I took her to meet my family. They loved her and supported our engagement.
I'm now living in the States, and she's still in the Philippines waiting for her visa. Emma is transgender, and I don't know how to tell my family. I love her and know I want to spend the rest of my life with her, but my dad is homophobic, and I know he won't support my decision to marry a transgender woman. My mother will also be disappointed because we won't be able to have children together. I need your advice. What should I do?
- Forbidden Love in Minnesota
DEAR FORBIDDEN LOVE: You say that when you introduced Emma to your family they liked and accepted her. Because you did not tell them then that your fiancee was transgender, expect them to be surprised. That news will bring your father face to face with his homophobia. As to your mother, even if Emma were not transgender, there's no guarantee that Emma would be able to bear children. In cases of infertility, couples sometimes decide to adopt or employ the help of a surrogate and an egg donor.
As a mature adult, the decision about whom you marry should be yours. Your parents' disapproval should have nothing to do with it. If and when you do give them the news, be prepared for a negative reaction. However, I see no reason for you to tell them - since they didn't question her gender before.
Uneasy over messages from friend's hubby
DEAR ABBY: A longtime friend of mine, "Mia," married a little over a year ago and moved a few hours away. They have been having trouble in their marriage, but have been trying hard to make it work. Mia is now pregnant, and her baby is due next month.
Over the last few months, her husband has been messaging me on Facebook. He hasn't said anything overtly sexual, but it is clearly flirtatious. I don't know him well, so I either don't respond or give one-word answers.
I feel that what he's doing is inappropriate, but I'm unsure how to proceed. He's extremely sensitive and reactive to rejection. I'm afraid that if I confront him, I will no longer be welcome in their home. I'm also worried that if I tell Mia, she'll be devastated, and our friendship will be ruined. Any advice would be appreciated.
- Anonymous Reader
DEAR ANONYMOUS: If you deal with this directly, your friend's husband will likely deny it and become defensive and punitive. Unless his flirtation becomes overtly sexual, continue to ignore it. Do not respond immediately to his messages. If he asks you why, say you are busy. If you feel you must comment, keep it casual, remote, and brief. And always ask him to relay regards to his wife. It may remind him that he's married.
If they live at home,
they must share load
DEAR ABBY: Under what circumstances do you ask your adult offspring (still living at home, working, doing their own laundry, somewhat feeding themselves) to contribute money toward household expenses?
- Just Wondering in Pennsylvania
DEAR JUST WONDERING: At what point? I recommend you do it tonight.