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Dear Abby | May 15, 2019

Dear Abby: My longtime friend of 30 years, “Charlotte,” lives across the country. I have just learned that her husband, “Harold,” is transgender and is now transitioning to become “Helen.”

When they come, they always stay with us for several days because they can’t afford a hotel. My husband is now very uncomfortable with them staying here or being seen out in public with them. Is there a way to tell Charlotte to come alone and still save the friendship? Or should I let them come and deal with my husband’s feelings, which I think are unjust? – Unjust in the West

Dear Unjust: Talk to your husband and explain that he doesn’t have to socialize more than he is comfortable with if your friends visit. If he still refuses, why don’t you and he visit THEM this year? You could stay in a hotel while you adjust to the adjustment Harold is making.

I assume that your husband and Harold were friendly before. Perhaps if he and Harold have a chance to talk, your husband can get past his discomfort. It could be a valuable learning experience for him. Your support at this time would be a tremendous gift to this couple.

Dear Abby: My 22-year-old sister is unhealthily fixated on a particular cable TV channel. She will only watch this channel and is obsessed with the love stories and relationship movies. This goes far beyond a simple “like” for something, and I’m afraid she’s using it as a way to avoid developing real relationships. She has few friends and has never been in a relationship. I have tried to get her to stop watching it, but it never ends well. How can I help her move away from the television set and into the real world? – Fantasy vs. Reality in Florida

Dear F. vs. R.: Watching romantic movies with guaranteed happy endings (if only life were really like that!) is your sister’s “safe” way of vicariously enjoying idealized relationships. Continue encouraging her to take some risk and join the real world by inviting her to join you in social groups. But until she realizes for herself that she needs to do it, it won’t happen. Counseling could help her, but she won’t accept it until she admits to herself that she needs help to develop the social skills she lacks and is willing to reach out for it.

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