DEAR ABBY: I am a straight man who met and fell in love with a transgender girl I'll call Eve. We dated for almost three years, and they were the happiest of my life. In all that time, we never once had an argument. She said I had given her the strength to come out to her family and begin her transition. I was planning to ask her to marry me.
Without any indication that anything was wrong, she dumped me one day and weeks later began dating her friend, another trans girl. I wanted to walk away and take time to heal, but Eve maintained that I was important to her and we could remain friends.
For the next few months we tried, but her new girlfriend treated me like I was a threat. While I was emotionally hurting, she seemed to take intense pleasure in showing me how happy they were together. It eventually led to friction, and now my ex thinks I caused it because I was jealous, so she cut off all contact with me.
I stood by her when she absolutely needed my support, but when the time came to give a little back, I was abandoned. I'm worried I will never trust anyone again, and I don't know how to get "myself" back. Can you help? -- ABANDONED IN WEST VIRGINIA
DEAR ABANDONED: It might help if you consider that there are more than physical changes when making the kind of transition Eve was undergoing, and she may have felt that her trans friend was better able to relate to what she was experiencing than you were. It was cowardly of her to just dump you rather than tell you she had doubts about your relationship, and it was selfish of her to pressure you to hang around as "just a friend" afterward. It also wasn't realistic.
What you are feeling is normal. However, it might help you to move forward if you keep in mind that all women are not the same, that building trust takes time, and give yourself time to heal before trying to replace Eve.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman who recently got out of a six-year abusive relationship. While I was in the relationship, no one knew what was going on. When I finally left him, I started dating a man of a different race. People are now saying I moved too fast because we got together a month after I moved out. But we had been close friends for more than a year before things started to kick off.
The issue is, my family disapproves of our relationship because of his race and because they believe he didn't give me enough time to figure out what I wanted. I feel like I already knew what I wanted. I had been emotionally done with my first relationship for a good six months. My family refuses to meet him, nor do they want to hear anything about our relationship. My family and I had always been close -- until now.
I am happy with my new boyfriend (even my grandma sees a difference). I just wish I knew how to get my family to understand and agree to meet him. What can I do? -- READY FOR THIS IN OHIO
DEAR READY: If you are open to a suggestion, because you were in an abusive relationship for so long, talk with a licensed psychotherapist about it. You were unhappy for a long time, and it's possible that the difference your grandmother is seeing is partly fueled by adrenaline.
You are an adult and you deserve to be happy. If this man makes you feel that way, then more power to him. Take things slowly, enjoy the relationship, and perhaps with time your family will come around.