Author Topic: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.  (Read 1696 times)

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Offline CorporalFire

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Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« on: April 03, 2017, 12:28:40 am »
I've posted before about whether I may be trans or not, and I'm still lost. I think I am FTM, but I still have doubts. My mom thinks it's a phase, citing my childhood as a normal girl as a key example. In all honesty, I have been judgemental toward the "girly girls" growing up, namely because I certainly am not one and I likely felt a pressure to be one to be accepted by my peers. So, I didn't show clear signs as a kid that I was trans such as declaring that I was a boy or avoiding playing pretend and dress up. It was within this past year that I became uncomfortable with being referred to by she/her pronouns, coinciding with when my life was falling apart at home. I never liked my chest (enough that I bind regularly) or my periods, yet my mom says that my aunt feels the same way but is cis so it's not an indicator. For reasons I'm not great at putting into words, I don't feel like a girl. I guess I just wish I was a guy.

Now for the fun part. I have a boyfriend I've been dating for three years. (He's cis and decidedly straight.) I have mentioned to him that I was having issues with my gender back in the summer. Since I started university, we've gotten into fights about stupid things and he's been distant. He doesn't text me nearly as often. We've had a great relationship prior to this and have gone through a lot of bad things such as my parents nearly divorcing and all the hell that came with that. My mom thinks he's doing this because he's uncomfortable with my (possible) gender identity. He said he wouldn't leave, but this isn't a great sign. We even want to get married when we're a bit older and I still want this, so I'm very reluctant to give up. He does still show other signs of caring for me, so it's very confusing. While he has had other stressors, I'm afraid that he is growing apart from me. It'd kill me inside to lose him, especially if it were to be because of my gender identity. I'd almost rather live as somebody else than lose him. To make matters worse, I'm afraid that my mom might end up being right about this being a phase, then I would have lost my perfect guy for nothing.

I bawled my eyes out today as my mom and I talked. She told me I have three options:
A) Come out to everyone and be prepared for any consequences that may come with that. My biggest fears being transphobic relatives/acquaintances. I'm afraid of my boyfriend leaving as well, because this would make me a gay man who's "female where it counts" (which I don't have an issue with... as long as I can lose the chest, though) while he's a straight man, so that's messy. I'm also Christian and value this greatly. I don't believe being LGBTQ+ is sinful by any means, yet I know that I have people in my life who don't agree.
B) I come out to select people and keep it quiet from others, much like LGBTQ+ people have done in history to avoid discrimination. This idea would avoid the issues with the transphobic people, yet I will struggle with being misgendered more often (I 100% don't pass) and I still run the risk of my boyfriend leaving me.
C) I truly am just a confused cis lady who's been through trauma and poor self-esteem who only thought I may have been FTM. This avoids the fallout of coming out and I'm more likely to patch things up with my boyfriend, yet this would only work if I can be sure that I'm not trans.

Yes, I have considered if I may be non-binary. I feel like I'm more of a feminine guy, though. Even if I am (such as demiguy), I'd prefer to identify as a binary gender for ease of myself and those around me. It's important to me that the words I use to describe myself are easily understood by many because words are communication tools. Because I'm comfortable with he/him in addition to this and I really want to be taken seriously outside of the LGBTQ+ community, I'd prefer to identify as a binary gender. (I don't mean this to disrespect any non-binary people. I just don't think it's what works for me.)

What should I do? I need to do some soul-searching and find this out once and for all before I have a mental breakdown (my depression has been rough). I need an answer to this so that I can decide how to handle this going forward. How likely is it that I am just confused? How likely is it that I really am trans? Even if I'm not completely certain, that's fine. I just don't want to trash my relationship for nothing. Do you have tips for how I may save my relationship? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Daniellekai

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 05:53:37 am »
It sounds like the kind of tangled knot a gender therapist specializes in. I won't say they could help you transition and keep your boyfriend, that's up to him, but they could help you make enough sense of it that you'll be sure anyway...



Offline Sno

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 06:38:42 am »
Hi CorporalFire, welcome to Susan's.

Have you seen The Transition Channel on YouTube? It's a real gender therapist, who has made a series of videos covering common topics - and she has FtM as well as MtF materials, so useful and they may help bridge the gap until you can get to see a therapist in person - definitely worth a look.

Coming out is a deeply personal affair, and depends on your plans for transitioning - the closet is the safest place for no secrets or gossip, but not the best for your mental health, but anything else there will be some chat amongst friends, and the boundaries will become blurred, like it or not. Then there is the peculiar trait of 'did they know before me' from those friends who thought they were close to you, but happened to find out after other folk, too and that can be challenging (a few of my uni friends are gay, and they went through this).

Hindsight, helps us to spot our gender issues after the fact - we can review, and things in life suddenly will only make sense if gender was reversed. So whilst there are common themes, there isn't a one size fits all gender discovery plan, and if there were, I'm sure it would have 12 steps :)

Your mom is just doing mom stuff - making sure that you are confident in your decision, as it's a biggie.

Finally round to the boyfriend. There's nothing I would like more than to see this work out, but it's going to take a lot of patience, time and communication - both ways - there's lots of material around in particular relating to Polyamory which may (or not) be useful.

Good luck, untangling this - I would ask at student health if they have a counsellor that you can see at low(ish) cost, to help.

Meanwhile, we're here, and will help where we can

(Hugs)

Rowan

Offline FTMDiaries

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 10:09:29 am »
My mom thinks it's a phase, citing my childhood as a normal girl as a key example. ... So, I didn't show clear signs as a kid that I was trans such as declaring that I was a boy or avoiding playing pretend and dress up.

With all due respect, it doesn't actually matter what your mother thinks. Many trans guys identified as girls and played with the usual girl things whilst growing up. It doesn't mean anything, and it doesn't invalidate who we are. We also tend to show outward signs of conforming to the behaviours that are expected of us. We do this because we're terrified of being ostracised and we have a natural desire to be accepted and to fit in. So most of the time our parents haven't got a clue what's going on under the surface. Also, phases tend to last for around 6 months. If you've been feeling this way for a year or more, it's almost certainly not a phase.

You say you didn't show clear signs as a kid: is this coming from how your mother describes you, or is it how you remember your own childhood? Because most trans people learn very quickly that it is definitely not OK to tell people that you don't identify with your birth sex. We get admonished, bullied and punished for saying these things (and for exhibiting cross-sex behaviour even if we don't say anything) so we learn very quickly that it's safer to conform to everyone's expectations.

There is something that stands out here: when describing how your mother sees you, you used the word 'girl'. But when you described your own childhood, you called yourself a 'kid'. Not a girl. Not a boy. But a 'kid'. That's classic transgender behaviour. Most of us can't refer to our child selves as either girls or boys, mainly because we weren't able to be either. I couldn't be a girl (even though everyone told me I was) because I certainly didn't feel like one; and I could be a boy because no matter what I said, I wasn't allowed to be one.

In all honesty, I have been judgemental toward the "girly girls" growing up, namely because I certainly am not one and I likely felt a pressure to be one to be accepted by my peers.

Bingo! Me too. I even did ballet. Check out my avatar pic; that's me in a pink tutu, on my way to a ballet lesson. Doesn't make me any less trans.

It was within this past year that I became uncomfortable with being referred to by she/her pronouns, coinciding with when my life was falling apart at home.

If you've ever watched any transitioning videos online, or read any trans people's stories, it can feel like every trans person knew when they were very little and that it's something that's been with them all their lives. That's not true: many trans people don't realise they're trans until much later. Some don't realise it until their 50s, 60s or 70s. It really doesn't matter when you figure it out: it only matters that you figure it out. And sometimes the turmoil in our lives (like your family life falling apart) can cause us to re-examine ourselves and what's important to us.

I never liked my chest (enough that I bind regularly) or my periods, yet my mom says that my aunt feels the same way but is cis so it's not an indicator.

Your aunt is your aunt. You are you. You are not the same person, so your reasons for disliking these things are not necessarily the same. It's entirely possible that she doesn't like her breasts & periods for entirely different reasons than yours. Breasts are annoying: they get in the way, they hurt every month, they're sweaty, they cause back ache. Periods are messy and painful. It's entirely possible for a woman to dislike these things and still identify as a woman, but trans guys tend to hate them for entirely different reasons. I'd imagine your reason for disliking them may be different from your aunt's.

It's also entirely possible that your aunt isn't cis, but has just chosen to live as a woman for whatever reasons. I did this for 20 years before transitioning. Wouldn't it be a kicker if your transition caused your aunt to re-examine her life & prompted her to transition too? It's been known to happen!

Now for the fun part. I have a boyfriend I've been dating for three years. (He's cis and decidedly straight.) I have mentioned to him that I was having issues with my gender back in the summer. Since I started university, we've gotten into fights about stupid things and he's been distant. He doesn't text me nearly as often. We've had a great relationship prior to this and have gone through a lot of bad things such as my parents nearly divorcing and all the hell that came with that. My mom thinks he's doing this because he's uncomfortable with my (possible) gender identity. He said he wouldn't leave, but this isn't a great sign.

Your mother does know what she's talking about here. Yes, if he identifies as straight then he wouldn't want to date a guy, because that's not how he wants to be seen by other people, and that's ok - he's entitled to feel that way. But it does mean that he's likely to leave you. I'm sorry, but if you are a guy then he's not the right guy for you. And it does sound like he's pulling away from you. My husband of 20 years did the same thing to me. So you may well lose him, but you'll grieve over the relationship, recover, and move forwards with your life. And then you'll find someone who loves you for who you are... not who he wants you to be.

It'd kill me inside to lose him, especially if it were to be because of my gender identity. I'd almost rather live as somebody else than lose him.

Do not live your life for anyone else. Boyfriends come and go but you're stuck in your own skin for every single second of your life. You should never have to be miserable so that somebody else will stay. Because if you do that, you'll never be happy & you'll wind up resenting him. And if you're trans, you'll only wind up transitioning anyway. Do you want to do that now, or do you want to wait until the two of you have been married for 10 years and have a couple of kids? How much more devastating do you imagine that would be? I can tell you: it's no picnic!

I'm afraid that my mom might end up being right about this being a phase, then I would have lost my perfect guy for nothing.

If he leaves you for this, then he was most definitely not the perfect guy.

I bawled my eyes out today as my mom and I talked. She told me I have three options:

With all due respect to your mother, she hasn't got a clue what she's talking about. She has no qualifications or experience that would allow her to advise someone who is struggling with gender issues, so whilst I'm sure you appreciate her advice, she's pulled the wrong options out of her ear.

You need to go for option D.

D) Seek out a qualified Gender Therapist who has experience of working with transgender people. Talk through your history & the way you feel now to determine whether you have Gender Dysphoria. If you do have it, you'll need to come out to everyone (starting with your close friends & relatives, and then your more extended family & social circle) and perhaps begin your medical transition. If not, you haven't risked or lost anything in finding out the truth.

The Internet isn't going to give you the answers you seek. You need to find those answers for yourself, with the help of a qualified therapist.






Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 10:36:27 am »
I would second the recommendation to see a gender therapist.  Helping you sort out this kind of stuff is exactly what they do.

It is unlikely that you are a confused cis woman.   Cis folks tend not to think about their gender, ever.  A therapist can you figure out where on the spectrum you fit.

I wish you well with your boyfriend, but that's a tough one.  Only 50% of relationships survive one partner transitioning.  Whatever you decide, he gets a vote on the relationship.

My mom thinks it's a phase, citing my childhood as a normal girl as a key example.
That is not a good example at all.  Lots of trans folks have perfectly "normal" childhoods.  The media image of the preschooler who insists on being recognized in their gender is a popular image, but it does not represent the majority.  I had a childhood that appeared perfectly normal to everyone including me.  But here I am, as trans as anyone, transitioning at age 62.  Everyone's path is different, but my path is more typical than the media image.

Good luck as you move forward!
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS

Offline CorporalFire

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 03:44:29 pm »
Thank you, everyone, for your answers. It's confusing because I liked those "girly" childhood things, yet I also liked the "guyish" things as well. It's complicated. A gender therapist would help, yet I don't know how to find one, especially for a reasonable price. I have some counselling through my school and I've been able to receive more general help, yet my counsellor isn't exactly trained in gender issues. He got me in to some free LGBTQ+ counselling for youth and I was able to talk to a trans man there for one appointment, so that was nice. The problem is, he then quit to pursue PhD studies. They haven't hired someone else for the role yet. Do you guys have tips for finding someone?

We do this because we're terrified of being ostracised and we have a natural desire to be accepted and to fit in. So most of the time our parents haven't got a clue what's going on under the surface. Also, phases tend to last for around 6 months. If you've been feeling this way for a year or more, it's almost certainly not a phase.

...

There is something that stands out here: when describing how your mother sees you, you used the word 'girl'. But when you described your own childhood, you called yourself a 'kid'. Not a girl. Not a boy. But a 'kid'. That's classic transgender behaviour. Most of us can't refer to our child selves as either girls or boys, mainly because we weren't able to be either. I couldn't be a girl (even though everyone told me I was) because I certainly didn't feel like one; and I could be a boy because no matter what I said, I wasn't allowed to be one.

... Well, crap. I didn't even realize that difference (and I pay quite a bit of attention to my words since I'm a writer). I mean, I liked playing spa and dress up as a kid, yet I also liked my knight costume and playing with hot wheels with my brother. I think I was lucky to have a brother because I was able to play with him and it wasn't seen as weird. Oddly enough, I just remembered that I once wore these skin-tight pink shorts under my pants to wear boxers like my brother and I really liked that for some reason. I thought they were comfy. So... It's a mix, I suppose. And I have been questioning for about a year now, so... crap. Crap, crap, crap. I am thinking that I am trans but my boyfriend means everything to me (I've literally dated no one else and have no desire to find someone new) so I'm so scared of losing him. I mean, I'd mainly want to socially transition and get top surgery. Maybe a low dose of hormones for a period of time as well. I don't want to get a dick and I like my long hair, so... maybe I've got a chance...? He loves me for the other things about me.

Hi CorporalFire, welcome to Susan's.

Have you seen The Transition Channel on YouTube? It's a real gender therapist, who has made a series of videos covering common topics - and she has FtM as well as MtF materials, so useful and they may help bridge the gap until you can get to see a therapist in person - definitely worth a look.

...

Hindsight, helps us to spot our gender issues after the fact - we can review, and things in life suddenly will only make sense if gender was reversed. So whilst there are common themes, there isn't a one size fits all gender discovery plan, and if there were, I'm sure it would have 12 steps :)

...

Finally round to the boyfriend. There's nothing I would like more than to see this work out, but it's going to take a lot of patience, time and communication - both ways - there's lots of material around in particular relating to Polyamory which may (or not) be useful.

I believe I have. It has been quite helpful to see this stuff. I keep looking at it, lol.

Man, I wish there was a clear yes or no. It'd save me so much heartache.

I'm more than willing to put in the effort to work through our issues. I love him too much to give up without a fight. As for the polyaromy thing... that's not my cup of tea because I'm not comfortable sharing him with anyone and because I'm Christian and really value that, but thanks for the suggestion. Let's just hope he and I can pull through this like we have with so many of the other lemons life has thrown at us. Time to burn down life's house with the lemons; make life rue the day it thought it could give CorporalFire lemons. (Sorry for the Portal 2 reference.)

Offline Kylo

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 04:19:37 pm »
I wonder how your mother knows what your boyfriend is thinking or that it's your gender ID that's his problem. Either she has talked with him about how he feels about this rather intimate subject (is that likely?) or she's projecting her own ideas onto your and his situation.

Save your relationship - talk. If he is as you say a perfect guy, he should at least be willing to listen to you about the relationship. A relationship without decent communication will eventually suck, believe me.

Maybe you need time. And it can take a few years to be sure. I knew I was sure because I'd already waited 30 years and tried everything I could to leave the trans thing in the dust and it was still there, interfering with my ability to lead a normal life. It's one of those things that reaches critical mass eventually, if it really is a problem for you.

Relationships don't always survive someone's transition, even if everyone has the best intentions. Either they fail or they evolve, or in some (rarer) cases might continue on as before, but judging by what most people say, they have trouble. I had trouble myself, and eventually it settled into something more platonic than sexual. But to find out what it will be you'll need to get his interpretation too. If you're not even sure yet what you want to do, I wouldn't push it though; it'll probably serve only to confuse him if you are not also sure what you will do. Decide first what it is you are and want, and be sure, is my advice. You can't unsay what's been said to people, and you can't guarantee they will all approve. This thing can really mess with a straight guy's head, even if you think he's easy going about LGBT, he might be surprisingly resistant when it's his personal life affected. If you say something like "I want to be seen as male" and if you take T (which even on low dose is going to create some changes), do you think he will be happy acknowledging you as a boyfriend in public, etc. or will it just be between you two. When I told my partner of 10 years, who is generally pretty chill, he assumed the absolute worst scenario in every conversation, more so the longer it went on the more serious I became about it. So I would suggest being prepared for that possibility, and for some potential hassle sorting it out.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 06:44:39 pm by Kylo »
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Offline Sno

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 05:43:35 pm »
And I have been questioning for about a year now, so...

 It has been quite helpful to see this stuff. I keep looking at it, lol...

I'm more than willing to put in the effort to work through our issues. I love him too much to give up without a fight. As for the polyaromy thing...

Sweetie, no one who is cis questions their gender for more than, uh, 2 seconds, and certainly doesn't keep revisiting materials about it...

The poly suggestion was simply because there are lots of good documents on communication within a relationship, and that's going to be key.

Here's an example :

http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com/category/communication/

And another quote from the same author

Quote
People who are successful in relationships have the same traits, no matter the form. They communicate well, have good boundaries, are kind to their partners and are honest with them.

I'd like to follow on from Kylo, and replay a little from what you've said here - you are uncertain. Could your partners reticence be a reflection of your uncertainty? Could he be misreading your self uncertainty as uncertainty within, or of your relationship?

(Hugs)


Rowan



Offline SailorMars1994

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 06:52:38 pm »
Sadly doubts are very common among trans people. Suprisingly, even some of the ''transition or die'' types sometimes get those ''wtf am i doing moments'' But in their case, if they dont do it... they die :/.. For others its a never ending game of ''wow this sucks, i hate doubts''. I know i have had my fair share of doubts, but my doubts i have learned come from my low self esteem and entrehnced internailzd transphobia aswell as a history of being made to be the proper ''man''. There have been times I thought of adondoming transiton.. but even the mere thought of that makes my mushcles twitch, tummy make thunder nosies. Unlike you who i beleive to be a boy, i am a girl. But I have gotten the same crap you have in the oppositie direction, the ''You grew up like one of the boys''... yeah i had no choice, any femininity was beaten out of me by somebody so i learned to repress and be a ''man''. My advice is see someone who can really help a lot with gender issues
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Offline Kylo

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 07:41:14 pm »
If you didn't behave like a boy as a child and then declare yourself a man they'll probably resort to that. If you did, they'll find some other excuse.

I behaved very much like my best friend (male), actually much more recklessly - I was caught at one point by my parents with a very large stash of my friend's "magazines" which I was dutifully hiding for him, and the penny never dropped for them, even though they were somewhat bemused... and it extended into risky and stupid behavior and fighting and all kinds. It took them some time to eventually see what had been there from the start. I suspect it's their defense mechanism. This is a change not many people even know how to deal with - they automatically resist it, they think you're having a crisis, it's a phase, etc.

Your mother may be right that women don't necessarily love getting their periods, or having to start wearing bras for the first time - but the difference is when your female friends say they wish they were boys (some of mine did, and I didn't recall saying that out loud along with them) only a couple of years later to fully embrace being women, wearing makeup, the female role... and you find yourself not joining them, and the years go by and still you cannot and do not want to join them... then you know it's not just a complaint about men not suffering or men "having it better" or any of that. But I suppose it's the severity of the feelings that will choose your path. Wishing you were a guy can either continue on as a casual desire, or it can eventually become a real obstacle and a source of bitterness if you also find you can't enjoy being a woman at all. The spectrum of experience is big, though, and all cases are slightly different. You have to find your place on it.
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Offline DiedrichH

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Re: Stay in the closet or lose my boyfriend. I'm scared.
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 08:25:00 pm »
I'm sorry you have to go through this.
I'm usually not one to recommend that one see mental health workers (due to my own poor experiences with them. It's my bias and I acknowledge that it is unhealthy) but it sounds like you've got a lot going on. If you are coping with trauma and are truly cis, a therapist who specializes in trans* health will be able to help you to see that and move forward. If you really are trans, they can help you move forward.
My family members are all very large chested and all hate it with a passion. Back pain is nothing anyone likes. Periods are inherently unenjoyable. I understand there's a difference between something unpleasant and disphoria, though. Only you and/or a therapist could tell you which it is.
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if you are trans and your boyfriend leaves because of this, isn't that better than trying to stifle who you are for the rest of your life? There are people who will love you regardless.
It does get better.
Good luck.

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