DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my husband of four years disclosed to me that he's transgender. We have a 3-year-old who has medical problems, which has resulted in numerous surgeries. Our lives have changed beyond belief, and I'm afraid our marriage has been damaged beyond repair.
He has come out of the closet, and I have gone into one to protect his secret and hide my heartache and devastation. The pain I feel is mostly for the lifelong struggles my husband has endured, but now I'm feeling the loss of my husband and our happy future together because I can't be the wife he needs.
How do I know that I've tried every option to make this work, especially when I am the only one regularly seeking therapy? When do I resign myself to the fact that my expectations of our marriage will never be achievable? And how do I say I want out without risking his (her) well-being? -- LAST STRAW IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR LAST STRAW: It would be helpful for you to get emotional support in addition to the counselor you have been seeing. There are no "magic words" to tell your husband you can no longer live with the new person he's becoming.
However, I know of a group that can help you. You would benefit greatly by contacting the Straight Spouse Network, a group that was started by Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D., in the '80s. It offers peer support, as well as an online (worldwide) network of support groups. Just knowing you're not alone with this problem should be comforting. Find it at www.straightspouse.org.