Boyfriend deserves the whole truth


DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of two years, “Marc,” has been talking a lot about marriage lately. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. There is, however, one fly in the ointment: I was born a biological male.

I have never felt like a man, Abby. I have lived as a woman since high school, and when I was 25, underwent surgery to change my sex. I have never regretted my decision and, up until now, my family has always been supportive.

As I have always been a woman in every way that matters, I have never seen any reason to tell any man I’ve dated that I was born with male genitalia. My brother recently asked me if I had told Marc about my surgery and was shocked to learn that I had not.

He implored me to tell Marc, but I feel that my past is completely irrelevant to our relationship today. My brother thinks that I am obligated to confess to Marc, and he has threatened to tell him if I don’t.

Marc loves me very much and would support me no matter what, but I have left my past behind me, and I feel no reason to needlessly disturb our relationship. How do I convince my brother to let this go? – AT A LOSS IN NEW YORK

Although you may not think that the fact that you are a transsexual is relevant, it is presumptuous to think that you can speak for Marc. He needs to know the whole truth, and to keep it from him could constitute fraud. You did not mention whether he is planning on having children with you, and, loving him as you do, you need to be fair to him.

A marriage that is based on a lie is no marriage at all. It would always hang over you, and surely there are many others besides your brother who know about your sex change. My advice is to tell Marc everything before someone else does. Your future with him could depend upon his hearing the news from you – and nobody else but you.

DEAR ABBY: I have read your column since I was in high school, and I want to share with you the results of one of your columns from the past.

I remember reading on Mother’s and Father’s Day that the best way to honor your parents is to write them a letter telling them why you love them. My father passed away suddenly last week from a heart attack. He was 59 years old. My father had saved a letter that I wrote him in 1996 telling him why I loved him, which I found late last week. I read it at the memorial service as a tribute to what a wonderful person and parent he was.

I want to thank you for that advice, Abby, as reading that letter was the most difficult thing I have ever done. However, it was the best way possible to honor my father. – JIM R., PLEASANT HILL, CALIF.

Please accept my deepest sympathy for the unexpected loss of your father. Thank you for writing to reinforce for me and my readers the importance of saying what is in our hearts while the people we love are still around and able to understand what we are saying. Carpe diem!

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I spent a long weekend at a hotel with a number of other friends and acquaintances. I found out later that he had allowed one of his male friends to use our room for a tryst with someone else’s wife.

Should I continue to trust a man who would aid and abet another couple in committing adultery? – WONDERING IN MOBILE, ALA.

Wonder no more. A husband who would turn his hotel room over to another man so that man could engage in illicit sex would have no hesitation about asking for the favor to be returned.

(P.S. I hope they were considerate enough to have had the sheets and linens changed afterward.)

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)