Finding My Own Support

I’m not the first person in history who’s ever gone through this. If you read the Reddit sub r/mypartneristrans you will find many many women (and some men) in similar situations. But when it happens to you it feels like you are completely and utterly alone. After all the thing about being trans is trying to pass. It’s a secret club. Unlike being gay where you are loud and proud, the goal of being trans is to be invisible. So we as wives are invisible too. Yes, there have been a few books written and there are some secret FB groups. But for the most part, I was alone. When I tried to reach out I found two kinds of support. There were angry wives who were divorcing their spouses, some of whom had kids, were religious, or were just mad. I didn’t fit in there. And there were the “you are with us or you are against us” wives who had accepted everything and thought any crack in the support facade was a sign of trans phobia. There was even one lovely woman who runs a FB group who claimed that any failure to support your spouse 100% in transition was emotional abuse. Sigh. I’ve always hated true believers of any kind. Nothing is that simple. There must be room for other feelings.

My therapist of many years tended to look kind of deer in the headlights when I talked about all of this, so I found a second therapist who specialized in treating the LGBTQ community. I called him out of the blue one day while literally walking down the street on my cell phone and pretty much poured out the entire story. He remained calm. So I started seeing him. He listened to my complaints about the changes, the hormones, the instability, the ridiculous amount of change. Without him I think it all would have fallen apart. He was the only person I could share my doubts and fears with. It was great. But my spouse wanted a gender therapist too. So I thought we could see this therapist together. And that ended my confidant and my support as we engaged in what has become horrific couples therapy which I dread and wish I could get out of. I continue to look for support.

My spouse started going to a support group for people in transition. And I admit I was jealous. And scared. Both that she had found more people to talk to and I was still all alone and that now she would be sharing all this with other people while I sat at home. My spouse said I was afraid she would be influenced by “the trans agenda.” But I was mostly worried that now she wouldn’t need me anymore. Suddenly it wasn’t our process anymore. I lost any sense of control or input. It was just her process and I was along for the ride. I don’t even get to hear her process, now she does that with her group. I was sullen and sulky. Which as you can imagine made my wife so much more willing to chat and share. Yeah, I know. But it did feel like she came home from group with new ideas and new courage about transition. So maybe I was worried about the trans agenda. It was hard to face that I wasn’t really ready for what was about to happen. As this became more than the two of us my anxiety level rose and I started to wonder if I had gotten myself into more than I had bargained for.

Lately I feel more alone than ever. That’s why I started this blog. You dear readers, imagined or real, are the support group in my head. And I thank you for that.

To Tell or Not to Tell Part 2

So the friend from college was supportive. If fairly noisy about our sex life. Seriously? Here is a good lesson in manners. Someone being trans doesn’t change the fact that asking about their sex life or what they have or don’t have below the belt is rude. Geez.

But in general it went well. We are happy to have one person who knows and supports us. Or supports my spouse. I admit to still feeling out here, on an island. Alone. Why is it so hard to find support as a spouse?

You might notice a change in pronouns going forward. Pronouns are a big thing for a lot of transgender people. They don’t want to be called “he” when they are a “she.” I’ve decided that as we start to become more public I’ll start to use “she” and “her” and “wife” to refer to my spouse. But it isn’t a big deal in our house. In part because so many people don’t know and I don’t want to screw up in pubic.

The who to tell saga continues as the holidays approach and I am trying to decide if I should tell my family. I admit to being scared. I think they will be supportive but that doesn’t change that it’s difficult and awkward. So I keep kicking the can down the road one more day. But Christmas approaches and it’s time to shit or get off the pot as my mother might say.

 

The Honeymoon

For a little while after I put my grief in a box there was a period of magic. A time when we just lived and breathed each other. Because what helps a marriage of 18 years like something new? And this was new. My questioning didn’t stop. But we also had a lot of sex. Which might sound odd. Considering my husband just told me he wants to become a woman and I’m a confirmed heterosexual. Be that as it may, I can only retell the story, I can’t always explain it. Perhaps it was that this revelation made us feel closer. Perhaps it was that my accepting my husband exacting as he is and as he might become was a relief to him. I won’t tell you the gory details but it was like a honeymoon.

And I felt magical. This grand gesture of acceptance was so life changing for our marriage. It was like it wiped away all the past grievances and petty fights. If you could do something and it would prove to the person you love that you loved them more than you cared about your own happiness, would you do it? I was convinced this would make our marriage better and therefore be good for me in the long run, even if it hurt for now.

I also had to reassure him a lot that I wasn’t leaving. That the magic wouldn’t go away. That I wouldn’t change my mind. But that’s not me. I’m not going anywhere. Especially not just when my love was finally finding happiness. How could I not stick around for that?