My friend was outed as transgender, and I’m worried

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Dear Amy: I was recently in a group discussion with a group of friends. One of these people, “Kelly,” unmasked another of our friends, “Kevin”, as transgender.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Kevin has not spoken to any of us. I had spoken with him the previous day, and feel terrible because I called him by his “dead name” and refers to him by the wrong gender.

Now, I don’t know what to do, for Kevin, or myself. I’ve been dealing with my own issues of sexuality, and I’m afraid that someone is going to leave me before I’m ready.

Worried

Dear Worried: You have learned something important about “Kelly.” Never, ever trust Kelly with all the information you might consider private.

You need to contact “Kevin” and say what has been discussed in the group chat — not to embarrass Kevin, but to get the story straight. Let Kevin respond to you. They might want to clarify things for the group.You have to keep control of your own story, if possible. Just discuss your sexuality when you are ready, and to do so with the knowledge that you can’t trust everyone in your circle to respect your privacy.

Dear Amy: My wife and I are in our mid 50’s. We have been married over 30 years. She is an alcoholic, but tries to stay clean and sober through AA.

It has been successful for periods of time, but relapse, usually at difficult times in our lives (like the current COVID-19 crisis).

We have seen several marriage counselors over the years. I can honestly say that we tried to make things work when many relationships would have broken after what we have.

The problem is that I have laid out the criteria for me to leave. (You can’t have ultimatums to Al-Anon.) She has frequently crossed the line, and yet I have stayed in.

Like all of us, she has traits that I would rather she had not. But the worst is chronic lying. It is usually associated with the consumption, but she tells me that she may never be able to stay sober for a longer period of time.

It has created a problem of trust I fear I may never be able to get more.

She is currently away at the treatment — again — and I’m thinking of leaving, when she will return. I have the impression that I don’t have a full-fledged partner in my life.

Do you have any thoughts, in addition to more psychological support?

In a Corner

Dear Corner: There are different ways to the image of what is essentially an ultimatum. One way is:“ Unless you stop drinking, I’ll let you.” It is a way of trying to control another person’s actions, based on a threat, and tying his consumption of alcohol to the result. Obviously, since you have never been able to follow through on your “criteria” you have no way of knowing if your own behaviour would have an influence on the own, but you have to assume that its disorder dependence is stronger than your criteria.

Al-Anon encourages you to find ways to accept your powerlessness over your partner’s addiction, while learning to take care of yourself.

Another way to frame your situation is essentially the state of your own truth: “Your alcoholism has become unbearable for me. I love you and I want the best for you. But we have not been partners for a long time now. I will continue to support your sobriety, but I decided to move.”

That is all. Further consultation (for you) could help you cope with the challenges presented by your own choice.

Dear Amy: “Untexted in Texas,” said her husband, who is texting with a woman he knew in high school.

You have stated that his wife is correct in wanting to stop. You say that his anger, at his request, is proof that there is something untoward about his relationship.

Is he not allowed friends? What would you say if he had demanded that she cease friendship with a man that she knew since high school?

This relationship could be a blessing for the woman. This friend could call the husband on his negative behavior. He can hear that, in a way that he could not hear it from his wife because of too much emotional baggage.

Upset

Dear Upset: Everyone can have friends. But when a relationship interferes with the wedding — that it was — then, it is important for the person who made the friendship to be open about it.

In this case, the husband has the secret about the nature of the friendship that created the problem, and it is repairable.

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