Karla, I totally relate ... I told my wife about my gender identity issues a long time ago and one time she just didn't want to hear it, then another time she was very sweet ... but then went into some kind of denial mode as if none of it had ever happened, which I could hardly blame her for because I was still in that crazy place of thinking that maybe there was something or someone that could 'cure' me. Then six months ago I basically said, 'Look I really need to at least start the process of transition. Because I can stand starting and then discovering that it doesn't work, or it's not the right thing for me. But I've got to the point where I simply can't bear the wondering and the not knowing, and the thought that I might go to my grave without ever having given myself the chance to be the person i should have been all along."
And she freaked. It was kind of a slow-motion freak-out that took place over weeks, maybe a couple of months as we tried to work things out and (on my wife's insistence) went to a really well-respected gender/relationship therapist together ... And gradually the whole thing became much, much more real to both of us. And the more that it did, the angrier and more bitterly hurt she became. And here's the thing: I don't blame her.
She's a heterosexual woman, with no doubts at all about her own gender or sexuality, who married me to be her husband and the father to our children. She still loves that man and wants to have sex with him, and she's deeply, deeply hurt that he can even consider giving it all up to become, in her eyes, some kind of fake impersonation of a woman.
Frankly, that's how the vast majority of women would - and for all I know do - respond. I think she's entitled to her anger and I respect it.
She also made it quite clear that she was not remotely interested in staying married if I transitioned. And, if I'm being totally honest, I'm not sure I do, either. Not because i don't love her, or love her companionship. Just that she doesn't want to go to bed with another woman ... and I don't think I'd want that, either.
So it's quite clear, not as a threat or emotional blackmail, just a fact of life that if I transition, we divorce.
And that brings me on to the kids. I have three: two daughters in their twenties and a teenage son. I love them all very much. I know that if I were to transition it would hurt them very badly at first. I'm not sure how angry they would be, or whether they'd reject me - at first, perhaps, but later, who knows? But I do know it would make my son's life MUCH harder at school.
Plus, he'd lose the house he's lived in all his life, because we'd have to sell it. And my daughters would lose any chance of a deposit for their first homes, because what with buying two new homes and a transition, there'd be nothing left in the kitty.
So I'd be hurting them ... And I'd be hurting me, too, because I've come very close to losing my family once before and it devastated me.
So the question is really a risk/reward issue. Do the possible benefits of transition outweigh the known and unknown costs, both for me and the people I love, and for whom I feel responsible?
Right now - partly because of a very serious illness in the family - I've put my transition on hold. (Again!) And it's not the worst thing, because in my head I'm completely settled with being transgender, accepting of it and at ease about it for really the first time in my life.
Now, I can't tell you what to do, Karla. But what I can say is that I think you have to allow your wife her anger, even if there are times (boy, are there times!) when it seems unreasonable, vindictive, phobic and generally incredibly hurtful and pissing-off to you too. This is about the toughest thing any wife can hear from her husband. She'll feel unfeminine, humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed, terrified about what people will say ... and even if these feelings aren't all reasonable, they're still completely understandable. We have the right to expect our feelings to be respected. But we don't have the right to expect our partners just to accept something as huge and traumatic as this and act like our happiness is the only thing that matters. They have a huge amount at stake in it too.
As for your son, well, you know him and love him and it's not for me or anyone else to say what you should do. One thing I would say, in general, is it seems to me to be better to transition as early as possible in a child's life. By the time they hit puberty and are developing their own sexual identity, I think it must get a lot more tricky. I'm certainly very conscious of that in my son's case.
In the end, you must choose your own path through all this. I wish you all the very best luck in the world. And, like all the other girls here have said, I'm here for you, any time.