Transgender classmate isn’t ready for romance with teen

Published 8:44 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I’m 16 and have had trouble with romance for as long as I can remember. I’ve had almost 80 crushes since kindergarten. I counted.

Right now I am close to a relationship with a boy at my school who is a year older. I have had feelings for “Ben” for almost a year, and I found it was mutual a few months ago. He invited me to coffee but later canceled, explaining that he wasn’t emotionally prepared, which was clear. He feels the way he does for a reason. Ben is a transgender male, and his mother disapproves, as do many of our classmates.

Two months ago, we agreed to be “just friends … for now.” Since then, no feelings have changed for either of us. However, I know Ben still isn’t ready, largely because of his mother’s and his classmates’ influence.

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I’m getting impatient. I’ve been in relationships before, the middle-school kind, and I know how my brain functions. Right now, I worry obsessively about how he feels. This will subside after a real relationship starts. But before that happens, the issue is all-consuming. I constantly rehash concerns we need to talk about in my mind, and I don’t know how to ignore them until we can speak again. It makes my grades suffer.

I blame Ben’s mother and classmates for the stress he’s under. They’re the reason for his dysphoria and panic attacks. I’m angry. I want her to leave her son alone. How can I wait peacefully and get over my bitterness toward his mother? — CRUSHING TEEN IN OHIO

DEAR TEEN: Anger, frustration and bitterness can make people sick. You need to find ways to get your mind off this budding romance and channel these negative emotions, if only because Ben isn’t ready for what you have in mind. Bear in mind that he is on a long and complicated journey. (Give him props for honesty.) Then buckle down and concentrate on your schoolwork, find a sport or other activity you can involve yourself in and, if your school doesn’t have a Genders and Sexualities Alliance, consider going online to and starting one at your school.


DEAR ABBY: I work in the medical field in a family practice. I love my job and helping people, but the problem is, my boss never tells the truth to our patients and overcharges them anytime he gets a chance. The sicker the patient, the more heartless he is with them. He has told some patients that we, the assistants, told him they owe him money.

It has reached a point where I cannot handle it anymore. Knowing that I see everything he does, he now can’t stand me and constantly criticizes everything I do. He has become verbally aggressive and abusive.

I know this is unhealthy for me. I have insomnia because of it, and when I do get to sleep, I have nightmares about this situation. Abby, please help me because I do not know what service to contact to make a complaint against him. — SCARED IN GEORGIA

DEAR SCARED: Document everything you have observed. Then talk to your local police about possible fraud being committed by your employer. Next, contact your state medical board and report what has been going on at the expense of the patients. If these patients are senior citizens, reach out to your Area Agency on Aging (, because the “good doctor” may be committing elder abuse, which could land him in the prison system.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.