Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

1/9/2005

Keeping Secrets
A Beautiful Friend
Timing is Everything



Keeping Secrets

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been divorced for nearly a year, and I am now dating someone my husband used to be pretty good friends with. My X went so far as to accuse me of having a fling with this person during our separation, but even though I could have, I didn't. I think part of the problem was this person and I have known each other nearly 25 years and when my X and I started having problems, this person sided with me.

At any rate, things are getting pretty serious and we are talking about living together in the near future. Because my X and I have a child together, we see each other often. I am wondering when I should break the news about this relationship to my X.

Dear Getting Serious,

If your current boyfriend is as serious as you say he is, I'm wondering why he hasn't bitten the bullet and informed your ex about your developing relationship. After all, he used to be good friends with your ex. I'm wondering why he's leaving it up to you.

In any case, you're right to be concerned about what your ex will think. Despite being divorced, when there are kids involved, you can't avoid having a lifetime relationship with your ex. He'll always be your child's father, and you'll need to coordinate visits and discuss problems that come up, etc. Even when your child is grown, there will be weddings and grandchildren and family holidays and visits, and your ex will be involved.

You don't want the task of remaining on reasonable terms with your ex to be any more difficult than it needs to be. Further, if you're thinking of living with your boyfriend, it's even trickier. He and your ex and you are all going to have to get along to some extent.

When should you break the news to your ex-husband that you're dating this person? As soon as possible. If you don't inform him, someone else will. Or, he'll come to pick up the child for a visit and discover the two of you together and you will look really guilty. He's going to be suspicious that you were intimate with this longtime friend longer than you have, and probably nothing you can say will convince him otherwise. However, telling him now is best, especially if you're serious about this man.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



A Beautiful Friend

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have a very beautiful friend who I met about four months ago who I will call "Christian." We grew close very quickly and I feel comfortable with him. This New Year's eve, he confessed to me that he was born female, although he lives as a male. He has been celibate for years.

I am deeply in love with Christian. I have never known anyone so kind in my life, so understanding, not to mention that our senses of humor match like salt and pepper. I find him extremely beautiful. I would truly love to embark on a relationship with him.

But I feel that I need guidance in order to gain his trust. I have been quite the opposite of celibate in my time, but I would be extremely willing to move at any pace that he feels comfortable with regarding sensuality and sexuality. I do know that he has been in love with other women in the past but he has been rejected because of his unique gender situation, and that he has been pursued by people who were just curious about what it would be like to touch a transgendered person. He has been terribly burned in his day and I do not blame him for not entering into any relationships for a long time. How could I convince him that I love him because he is himself and a wonderful person, not because he is different? I would hate to lose his friendship if he were to refuse my offer, because it truly means the world to me. I know this is a delicate situation...

Dear Deeply In Love,

Falling in love with a transsexual is a dangerous business. Your friend is likely ambiguous about his sexuality and has feelings for both sexes.

Having been a woman, he knows what it's like to be female, but he also has rejected his own feminine side. What does that mean to you? Only that there is something stronger in his male nature that calls to him.

For a woman to be in love with him, she would have to accept him as he is, in his masculine persona. She would also have to accept that he perhaps feels uncomfortable with intimacy in general, no matter what the sex. He may have decided that he is more comfortable without a relationship. If so, your love will only make him uneasy.

On the other hand, many transsexual men and women live happily in longterm relationships and marriages. The fact that he's been celibate for years probably means he isn't that sexual. You on the other hand are. So you may be totally incompatible sexually and in any case, you should lower your expectations in that area a lot. You've only known Christian for four months, hardly enough time to decide you're in love with anyone, male or female or some of each.

It's easy to feel safe and happy with a your transsexual friend because it's like having a girlfriend in a male body. Your new friend knows most people think of him as a curiosity and will naturally be reticent to get in a relationship with you. He'll be self-conscious physically, and trusting will be hard to come by. However, with patience, love and time, your love could blossom.

In the meantime, don't blurt out all your feelings to him. Just be a good friend and let your closeness develop. Don't make an offer that he must accept or refuse because chances are he'll say no, just to avoid the complications.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Timing is Everything

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I have been dating a woman, Lanee, for the past 3 months. About a month ago, we decided to be "girlfriends." This was after much issue since she wasn't completely sure she was ready. Also, I found out about that time that she had been sleeping with her ex.

Nevertheless, I forgave her and we decided to try a relationship. I love her dearly, but sometimes I fear she is not compatible with me. We're both college educated and have similar interests, but she's simply at a different place in her life than I am. I am ready to settle down and have children, she still wants to smoke weed, get drunk, and enjoy life.

The serious problem is this: I have recently met someone new. This woman and I are friends, but we are developing feelings for each other. She is single, older, established and looking to settle down in a relationship and have children. We have so much in common that it's scary, and I often find myself on the phone with her forhours (5 once!) at a time.

I am confused about how to handle this situation. Should I stay with my current girlfriend since I love her and have made a commitment? Or should I consider asking her to date other people and see my new friend? Although I love my girlfriend, I simply feel that I have more in common with and would be more compatible and (possibly) happier with the new woman.

Dear Confused,

One of the most important indicators of whether a relationship will succeed is whether the two people have the same goals at the same time. It doesn't matter if the relationship is between two straight people or two gay people or one of each, if they have different life goals and desires, it won't work.

If you're ready to settle down and have children and the woman you're with isn't, it just won't work. A woman who wants to smoke week, get drunk and enjoy life isn't a good prospect for a mate until she's ready to give up the party life. That could be years from now.

If you want to be with the new woman, which is probably a good idea since you have such common goals, the only ethical thing to do is to break up with your current girlfriend so you can start seeing the other woman. As it is, you're not being straight with either one and you're just playing them both.

Your decision about whether to stay with your current girlfriend will depend on how much you want to settle down and start a family now. If you're really ready and she's not, then you owe it to yourself to leave. As it is, you're sitting on the fence, playing long telephone games with one and being committed to another. You're already out of integrity with your commitment.

It's time for you to make a decision and let go of the one you don't want. You and Lanee have only been dating for three months and only been girlfriends for a month. You should be in the honeymoon stage, and yet you're already feeling incompatible and you're interest is wandering. I'd say your relationship with Lanee is starting to fail anyway.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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