Dear Annie: I have been married to “Jerry” for 15 years. Four years ago, I discovered he was a crossdresser. I was understanding about it, and even went shopping, bought clothes and tried on shoes for him. I agreed to go away with our children so he would have “private time” to dress up on a regular basis.
I asked him whether he wanted to make this a permanent lifestyle, and he said no. However, he’d often make flip comments that led me to think there was more to the story. Last week, I snooped and read an e-mail in which he told a friend that he was excited and nervous after his first appointment with a transgender surgeon.
I am heartbroken, but deep down I suspected this was coming. My issue is how to explain it to our children, who are only 5 and 7. Quite frankly, I don’t want them to be around their father when he’s dressed up. I don’t want him coming to their school and sports events if he appears as a woman. I am terrified of having people find out — not for me, but for the teasing and bullying that will undoubtedly be directed toward our children.
Jerry doesn’t know that I am aware of his plans. I have been in therapy for a month and am working toward what I need to do to prepare for divorce, but I am overwhelmed by the issues that are going to arise for the children.
— Married to a Woman
Dear Married: You have been remarkably tolerant and understanding. In spite of that, your husband chose to keep you in the dark about plans that will have a huge impact on the family. This is tremendously unfair of him. Your children are young enough to be accepting of Daddy’s new orientation, but we strongly recommend counseling for them, as well. Talk to your therapist about an appropriate referral, and then discuss it with your husband so you can help the children together.
Dear Annie: My in-laws are devoted Catholics. “Steve” and I did not marry in the church, nor did we have our children baptized. In spite of this, we are close to his parents, and I know they love me.
Recently, a close family friend died. My in-laws made a donation to the church for Mass cards in the person’s memory. They got one for themselves and one for each of their sons and their wives, including us. I asked them not to do this, but they did it again when a second friend died last week.
I respect their ideas on religion and wish they could respect mine. Steve says it gives them comfort and they do it at their own expense, so I shouldn’t mind. I feel it’s my place to send a card in my own way.
— Frustrated Daughter-in-Law
Dear Frustrated: If you feel the need to make your religious feelings clear to others, by all means send your own condolence card with wording of your choice. However, if your in-laws make a donation to their church in your name, there’s really nothing you can do about it, so please try to let it go before it becomes more of an issue than it needs to be.
Dear Annie: I need to respond to “Not a Fan,” who is having problems with her selfish husband and his plasma TV.
The more I think about the plasma pig, the angrier I get. How selfish of him not to share the TV. As a man, I say tell him the kitchen belongs to you. Let him find his own food, eat somewhere else and clean up after himself.
I take care of my wife and family. We share everything and enjoy each other’s company. My family would let me watch TV by myself if I wanted, but it would be missing something.
— Honorable Husband in Kentucky
Dear Husband: You sound like a good guy, but “Fan’s” husband is clueless. We suspect if his wife followed your suggestion, it would only escalate the hostilities. We’d let him keep his TV and watch in another room.
To all our Jewish readers: A happy and healthy Passover.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.