DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married, heterosexual cross-dressing male. My wife understands and is supportive, and we have a wonderful life together.
During the past week I have been caught unexpectedly by three different neighbors, and we are now in a state of panic. We're not sure what to do. If you have any suggestions, we are all ears. -- CAUGHT IN A PANIC
DEAR CAUGHT: Because you would prefer to keep your cross-dressing private and this is October, you could tell your neighbors your female attire is what you'll be wearing to a costume party. It's plausible.
However, when someone is "caught" engaging in a private activity once -- that's an accident. When it happens three times in one week, I can't help but wonder whether on some level you would like to be more open about your lifestyle.
If you're not aware, a resource, The Society for the Second Self (Tri-Ess International), offers support for heterosexual cross-dressers as well as their spouses, partners and families. It has been in my column before and is the oldest and largest support organization for cross-dressers and those who love them. It promotes cross-dressing with dignity and decency, and treats spouses on an equal basis with their cross-dressers. You can learn more about it at www.tri-ess.org.
DEAR ABBY: My best friend's husband has been texting me. When he did it the first time, he had been drinking and my friend was asleep. Some of the things he said made me uncomfortable, but I also didn't like that he said his wife didn't know what he was doing. He stopped after I told him I was uncomfortable with it.
Now he has started up again, offering support because my mother passed away recently. I am honestly not sure whether he's trying to be a good friend or if he's looking for something more, and that scares me. I don't want to start trouble between my friend and her husband, especially because they seem so happy together. Any ideas on how to handle this? -- UNSETTLED IN OHIO
DEAR UNSETTLED: Yes. Your friend's husband may be a genuinely sympathetic person -- or he could be trying to take advantage of you while you're emotionally vulnerable. Listen to your gut. Tell him you appreciate his thoughtfulness, but you already have a support system in place and are receiving all of the emotional support you need.
DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old cousin died in 2010, and I'm still hurting. I have tried to get over it, but we were really close. When I walk the halls at school, I hear people say bad things about him. When I bring his name up, no one has anything good to say about him. It seems like they don't really care that he was my cousin and I loved him.
How can I ask these people not to say bad things about him? -- HURTING IN INDIANA
DEAR HURTING: Because people forget that the young man who died was your relative, feel free to remind them. All you need to say is: "You know, he was my cousin and we were close. I still miss him, and I wish you wouldn't say things like that about him when I'm around."
Losing a relative at any age is hard, but when the person is young, it can be even harder. Because you are still hurting and it has been three years, consider talking about this with a school counselor or joining a grief support group. Your clergyperson can help you locate one.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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