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by Abigail Van Buren

Gay Man's Dream of Family Could Turn Into Nightmare

DEAR ABBY: Please reprint a letter you ran a few years ago from a gay man who was single, but wanted to be straight so he could fulfill his dream of marrying and having children.

I am a 38-year-old married gay man. I am having a very difficult time dealing with this issue. My wife and I are being divorced. The truth came out after I went into rehab after becoming addicted to prescription pain medication.

I realize I have made a mess of everything. I love my wife of 15 years, but I am unable to love her the way she deserves. -- BETTER OFF OUT

DEAR BETTER OFF: I have had many requests for that letter since it originally appeared, and I'm pleased to print it again. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I'll get right to the point -- I am gay, but I don't like being gay. I want a wife and children. I also have a career in which further advancement would be very difficult if it becomes known that I am gay. Psychiatrists and other therapists I have consulted have tried to help me to adjust to my homosexuality rather than help me to change.

Abby, adjusting to homosexuality is fine for those who have accepted their homosexuality, but I have not. I know I'd be happier straight. Please help me. -- UNHAPPY

DEAR UNHAPPY: Did you choose to be homosexual? If so, you could choose to be "straight." But if you have always had erotic feelings for men instead of women, then face it, you are homosexual -- and even though you may be able to change your behavior, you will not be able to change your feelings.

Some therapists insist that if a homosexual is sufficiently motivated, he or she can become "straight" again. Maybe so, but the chances are slim. Marrying and having children may make you happier, but what about the other people you involve?

To thine own self be true. Only then will you find true happiness.

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for three years and have a 10-year-old daughter, "Candace," who lives with me. My ex-husband, "Chet," and I are friendly. I have a full-time job, work part time on the weekends, and go to school two nights a week. I'll get my B.S. degree next July.

Chet has offered to keep Candace on nights when I go to school. I have always been very flexible about the time she spends with her father. Mother thinks I am giving Candace the wrong message. I have talked with my daughter, and she knows her daddy and I will not be getting back together. We are only friends. Mother says I need to prove to Candace that we are not reconciling. She says Chet shouldn't be with my daughter in my home on the nights I go to school or even on weekends when I am working.

Mother says I have depended upon others my whole life. That's a big joke. I have been on my own since I was 17. Mother thinks I need to start depending upon myself more. What do you think? -- CONFUSED MOM IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CONFUSED MOM: I wish all divorces were as amicable as yours. It seems you're doing everything right. I can only conclude that your mother does not want your daughter to have a healthy relationship with her father. That said, maybe it's time to discount what your mother thinks. You're a big girl now, and the important thing is what YOU believe.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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