Author Topic: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby  (Read 923 times)

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Offline Just Starting Out

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Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« on: February 23, 2018, 07:51:37 am »
Hello,

My husband of 20 years "came out" to me a few months ago as MtF. I'd like to say that I immediately embraced the info and hopped on board the transition train, but that did not happen. I do recognize that my husband probably cannot continue to live under the umbrella of a traditional male stereotype. Please understand that he has come out to only two family members and none of our friends so we continue to refer to him in the male pronoun.

Our marriage has been rocky throughout the 20 years. We question why we ever got married in the first place and we have considered divorce multiple times. We haven't for a variety of reasons which includes a love for our kids, financial stability, and a sprinkling of good days/weeks/months as a couple.

I'm looking for advice in regards to our kids who are 12 (daughter) and 14 1/2 (son). Everything I have found research-wise says this is the age at which kids accept and understand a transitioning parent very poorly. The Transgender Guidebooks says "Ages 12-18: This is your toughest crowd. I've seen the most extreme reactions at this age -- either totally cool with the idea or not accepting at all ... teenage boys especially have a hard time coping with homophobia.”

Here's my problem ... there appears to be no resources or support groups in our area (Richmond, VA) for kids with a transitioning parent. When my husband comes out to our kids I want to be able to point to other families/kids who have faced or are facing the same thing they are about to face. Richmond is progressive enough (considering we are smack in the middle of the bible belt) to have support groups for the transitioner, but not for spouses or kids. There is no support group for SOs. There is even less then nothing for kids. There is a local PFLAG group, but its focus is on LGBTQ kids themselves -- not kids with a transitioning parent.

I have broached to my husband the possibility of delaying his transition until our son is out of high school (3 years), but met instant resistance. This is apparently not an option. He previously insisted he intended to start HRT by April 1 of this year and would not delay beyond that. His therapist has said he needs to give the kids at least 3 months to become accustomed to the idea of a transitioning parent so an April 1 HRT start date is no longer feasible from that perspective, however he now intends to start cross dressing both inside and outside the home within the next 30 days.

I am trying really hard to become a supportive spouse, but it's a lot to accept in a very short (to me) time frame. Does anyone here know of a family with a transitioning parent (preferable MtF) and adolescent kids that I can turn to for practical advice? Since our situation is so apparently unique I have convinced myself that other transgendered dads must have made conscientious decisions to delay their transitions due to the high probability of low acceptance – especially when the mom (me) is not 100% on board. I see nothing but disaster for our kids who are both well-adjusted A/B students on track for easy college acceptance.

Offline DawnOday

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2018, 10:00:53 am »
JSO Actually kids are pretty understanding. The more facts the better. I use a method where I explain both sides. The good, the bad. It's kept my kids from drinking, smoking, having sex out of wedlock. I explained how it has been a constant struggle and in order to survive I have to address the problem, just as we approach all problems. I have never had a problem communicating with the kids. I know this is kind of short notice but Richmond is not that far from Harrisburg PA. About 225 miles away. I mention this as they are having a gender convention beginning March 6.  Called the Keystone Conference, it is an opportunity to get all the information you need to support your spouse and educate yourself and your kids. There will be a panel of doctors attending. Seminars for understanding. Opportunities to share experiences with others going through or having gone through the same experiences. I went to the one in Seattle last year and It was the most informative 4 days so far. We had 1700 transgender people, their significant others and allies attended. I hope you can consider going because it is so positive. I am sending a link to their website for your consideration. http://www.keystone-conference.org/
Dawn Oday

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Online Jessica

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2018, 10:17:17 am »
Hi JSO! Welcome to Susan’s Place!  I’m Jessica, a transgender woman.  Dawn has reached out with some great information.  I hope you can find the support you need from other SO’s and their families at Susan’s!
I see your new here, so I’ll post some links that may help you get better acquainted with the site.

Please feel free to stop by the introductions forum
https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/board,8.0.html to tell the members about yourself. 

Things that you should read

"If you go out looking for friends, you are going to find they are very scarce.  If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere."

Offline gallinarosa

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2018, 10:17:39 am »
Hello JSO, I am also the wife of an MtF who found out after 20 years of marriage and I also have 2 kids, a son and a daughter, in a similar age range. But my spouse has been taking it really slow and is not interested in coming out to anyone else right now, so our kids do not know yet. So in that regard, I cannot offer advice. But in the time I have known (since June of 2017), I have been developing a network of other spouses (mostly wives) who have really helped me feel better and less alone/isolated. Check your messages and I will send you contact info...

Take care!

Offline gallinarosa

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2018, 10:24:47 am »
Also, check out the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia.

Offline Gertrude

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2018, 03:23:37 pm »
My younger kids were fine. The culture will matter as will the culture inside the house. If you’re southern baptist/ social conservative, then it may be tough. I’m pretty libertarian about life and social issues so my kids did ok. From what I’ve read, the older the harder it is for them to accept, relatively speaking. Find a book titled She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan. She also wrote a book titled parenting in three genders. Both worthy reads that may give you insight and hope. I can tell you in my case, my wife cares more about what her mother and family thinks and that’s her sticking point. Any delay in my part is to keep the peace with her, but I have my limits in tolerating inauthenticity on my part. It’s not an easy thing to work out.


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Online sarah1972

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2018, 04:57:13 pm »
I am sure you have checked but your school district may have some resources... Fairfax County, VA has a school pride group which is very trans focused which several trans parents being engaged..

Also, I am member of two trans parent networks on facebook which are also open to SO's, PM me if you would like more information.



Offline HappyMoni

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2018, 06:08:40 pm »
   My kids were older and extremely accepting. My niece and nephew were fine once they saw I was essentially the same person. They were preteens. I think the way you handle things is critical for your kids,. They will perhaps find instability in their relationship with your partner, at least for a while. They will look to you for clues as to how to act. You will be the stable, reassuring element. Whether or not you and your partner stay together, if you are seen by them as supportive and receptive to his changes, it is more likely that they will. That said, you should be respected in this process. You should get support and take care how you feel. From my experience, I understand how your husband feels. These awful dysphoric feelings get to a point where it becomes oppressive and almost impossible to wait. It is a tough situation all around, but I hope you will keep in mind that good outcomes can happen. I wish you strength and really hope you take care of yourself.
Moni
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Offline CarlyMcx

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2018, 07:31:41 pm »
My wife and I are still married, 15 years before transition, ~3 years since I came out and started dressing, 2 years of HRT.  I have two children from a previous marriage, 35 and 26, both are lawyers.

My kids have been awesome, but they are both politically liberal.

I can tell you one thing, though. HRT may save your marriage.  The psychological effects can be awesome.  I know they were for me.  HRT ended a lifetime of chronic anxiety, sleepwalking, nightmares, and ten years of chest pains, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure and massive debilitating panic attacks.  I went from being constantly grumpy and irritable, constantly seeking the next hobby, experience or diversion, to my wife and me always having fun together.

If I have to wear any article of male clothing, even to do yard work, or present male for some reason (like non accepting family members) I get grumpy and irritable.

If I let my estrogen get too low, or forget to take an anti androgen pill, the panic attacks return with stunning rapidity.

I held off transitioning as long as I could, and doing so nearly killed me.  Why compromise quality of life in the name of appearances?  Let your spouse transition and be happy.  You may find in her, all the good qualities you married him for.  You may find your best friend.  You may find the love of your life.

Offline Peep

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 05:01:16 am »
if there's no group for kids of/ spouses of trans people, are there groups for trans or LGBT people through which you might be able to find others in a similar situation? you might end up starting a small group of your own :P

Offline Sylvia

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 05:53:55 am »
Hello, and welcome from another SO. Like Gallinarosa, my partner came out to me as trans pretty recently, and we have teenage sons, but I can't advise you about how to help kids deal with it, as my partner has no intention of going public and he really doesn't want them to ever know. Which may or may not be feasible, depending on how far he wants to go - he is still a he.
Can your husband maybe take things more slowly, to delay the coming out to your kids? There are things he can do without being obvious - body shaving, wearing female underwear, a bit of make up etc and the kids may not notice. My boys haven't really noticed anything about my partner other than that he often has one fingernail on each hand with nail polish. They asked why, and I said 'why not?' and nothing more was said! If he wears a padded bra, he will put a baggy top on when the boys are around. So he is 'being female' in his own mind, but not presenting as such. It seems to be enough for him for the foreseeable future. Would that be some sort of compromise for your husband?
If not, I'm sorry I can't really advise on how to deal with the kids, as I wouldn't know how to deal with it with my own kids should I ever have to. I hope others can help you more than I can.
I just want to let you know, that you are not alone, and I completely understand the turmoil you are going through.
Sending love xxx

Offline Wendyway2

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 01:26:35 am »
Hello,
As a Transgender M t F my wife had an important role in my transitioning. Being LGBT and slightly promiscuous was the biggest obstacle. My peers wanted me ostracised from our community. My wife said to hold on. She is 18 years older than I am. I felt tempted in our marriage after a disaster to test the waters. I did not transition for my children, and still do not feel that their support will be a critical factor in my forming my identity. Intention is not a secret anymore. What one's therapist views were can not prove to be decisive. I have been ostracised by communities my whole life. My wife's love and respect is the only thing that has stood the test of time. I feel I have made some mistakes in who to trust. I feel the others have contributed to my doubt, and feelings of lack of self worth. Being  a person is a veritable claim, help your husband feel this veritability, and the two of you can still go along way

Offline Paige

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 09:28:01 am »
Hi JSO,

I would suggest a compromise.  Ask your husband to delay changing his outward appearance with clothes, etc. and instead suggest low dose HRT.   Maybe start on an anti-androgen and then a few months later start low dose E. It will be a while before any physical changes occur that can't be hidden.  People have been able to be on low dose E for quite some time and still are able to pass as male.  I've been on it for almost 2 years and still present male.  This will give you time and may take some of the stress off your husband.

Good luck,
Paige :)

Offline Cora

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Re: Advice Needed - Wife & 2 Kids wTrans Hubby
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 01:55:04 pm »
I don't have kids, but from the stories I've read in the book "The Other Side of the Closet," it seems like an important factor is how your spouse deals with your kids' emotions. Like, even if your kids have a difficult time, it's really important for your spouse to continue to love them and support them even if it's really difficult. For example, your spouse might need to work with a therapist to help handle any awkward questions your kids might have.

Even though your area doesn't have specific support groups, I think searching for a therapist for your kids might be helpful. Even if the therapist doesn't specialize in gender, if you get one that specializes in anxiety, depression or just general cognitive behavioral therapy, that could give them the coping/communication skills to deal with this.

Good luck and I'm rooting for you! *hugs*

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