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Offline gallinarosa

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2018, 12:39:35 pm »
Another SO here. There are a lot of us, but I think most of us feel a bit shy being very much the minority on this website as well as being on a website where most of the discussion is about something that is causing many of us some sort of pain or at least obstacle. Anyhow, a sincere welcome to all the new SOs. Feel free to PM if you want to chat.

Offline Lantana

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2018, 12:41:26 pm »
Sylvia - I think you and I will keep Kleenex in business for the foreseeable future.  Sending virtual hugs.

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2018, 03:49:45 pm »
I am mtf transgender, and have spent the past year, after coming out to my wife, working desperately to find a way for us to get through this together. It has been one of the hardest years of our lives.

I had told my wife about 4 years ago that I was transgender. She was fairly supportive and catered to the needs I had to express my femininity. However, after several months I realized that she was really struggling, and had been ignoring her own needs to help fulfill mine. When I first told her, I did a poor job of fully explaining myself, and she was under the impression that this was more of a kink or fetish. I felt terrible for having dropped a burden like that on her, so I purged all of my feminine clothes and closeted back up. I told her that she was right and that it was just a phase.

We had a toddler and a new baby at that time. I spiraled into a very heavy depression and became increasingly suicidal. This brought even more anxiety and stress to my wife. I was failing her as a spouse and was not able to give my children the care they needed. After a particularly dark episode resulting in my wife breaking our bedroom door down enough to send my toddler in to stop me from going to a place of no return, she convinced me to see a psychiatrist.

I'll omit the details of the 3 years that followed, as I want to try to keep this tailored to the subject presented by @loopyem. In short, after being on meds for several years, I started talking to a therapist regarding the transgender feelings that wouldn't leave. My wife was aware that I was seeking help regarding it.

After finally coming to the realization that this is who I am, I once again told my wife I was transgender. This time her reaction was completely different. She was devastated. We had a couple months were I honestly didn't think we could stay together. It shocked me a bit, as she has always been very accepting toward the LGBT community.

I had a very hard conversation where I told her, that in order for me to keep going and feel true to myself, that transitioning was the direction I was needing to head. I told her that I didn't want to separate, but if she felt she needed to leave in order to stay true to herself, I would understand. She later told me she felt like I was trying to subtlety tell her I wanted to leave, but that was not the case at all!

After a solid month and a half we were able to talk about everything again. She told me she felt like I was putting her in a lose/lose situation. She didn't want to be a divorced mother of 3, she didn't want her husband to commit suicide  but she also was not a lesbian and married me with the understanding she was marrying a man. She felt like I had betrayed her, lied to her and tricked her. She felt like she would be judged by others because of this. (Everyone I have told is actually the opposite. They are very empathetic to my wife's situation and in no way think any less of her). She became riddled with anxiety. She was also very furious with my parents, as I grew up in an ultra conservative home, where I was told it was wrong and sinful to feel this way. The fact that my parents never sought therapy for me also upset her.

I was so confused! I told her that I had never intentionally lied to her. I explained that I felt like I had been lying to myself since the age of 5, trying to believe that I didn't truly feel this way. If it wasn't for her help and encouragement for me to talk to a therapist, I would not have done it by myself. I was also taught as a child that therapy was a fraud and everything was something that could be prayed away or overcome in my mind.
My wife said she understood that I was lying to myself, and had been hobbled in my youth on how to seek proper help sooner. That did not change the fact that she felt trapped in a lose/lose place.

After much encouragement she went to a therapist for herself, and that seemed to really help her. She was able to talk to someone completely unbiased and who was there strictly for her and her feelings. I am so happy she went. I would strongly recommend it if you all can. I feel very strongly that SO care during this time is just as important as care for the trans individual.

I did as much research as I could about the way SO of Transgender people felt and processed things. I can confirm that everything you all are saying is how a HUGE majority of spouses feel. In fact my wife came across this forum not knowing that I had been reading it myself for years!
I read an article (I don't remember where) that having a spouse transition can feel like your spouse has died. It can present a feeling of a devastating loss. I asked my wife if this is how she felt and she confirmed that it was. After hearing that, I was so sad. With that knowledge though I was able to have a better understanding of the difficulties she had when we would talk about our future.

It has been a year since re-coming out to my wife and I am just now about to begin HRT. It is still hard for her, she still cries sometimes during our conversations together. I continue to allow her the space she needs, but we both agreed to continue working through this together and stay open with our communication.

To her it has only been a year that this has been a struggle for me, as opposed to the 25 years it has actually been that I have had a struggle with my identity. This can bring her feelings of me rushing into things. It requires repeated conversations. We both have to understand where the other is coming from in order to keep our marriage together. We have agreed to see how things go, but both understand that it isn't fair for either of us to live contrary to ourselves.

I truly hope you all are able to find the support you need, to understand that your reactions and feelings are completely normal and to continue to stay strong!

Lacy
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Online Moonflower

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2018, 08:03:49 pm »
Lacy, thank you for helping me to understand what Lantana and Sylvia are going through.

I am mtf transgender, and have spent the past year, after coming out to my wife, working desperately to find a way for us to get through this together. It has been one of the hardest years of our lives.

Clearly!

I had told my wife about 4 years ago that I was transgender. She was fairly supportive and catered to the needs I had to express my femininity. However, after several months I realized that she was really struggling, and had been ignoring her own needs to help fulfill mine.

I find it so easy to ignore my own needs, and help my spouse fulfill hers. It's so much FUN! to help her take each new step toward her goal.

When I first told her, I did a poor job of fully explaining myself, and she was under the impression that this was more of a kink or fetish. I felt terrible for having dropped a burden like that on her, so I purged all of my feminine clothes and closeted back up. I told her that she was right and that it was just a phase.

We had a toddler and a new baby at that time. I spiraled into a very heavy depression and became increasingly suicidal. This brought even more anxiety and stress to my wife. I was failing her as a spouse and was not able to give my children the care they needed. After a particularly dark episode resulting in my wife breaking our bedroom door down enough to send my toddler in to stop me from going to a place of no return, she convinced me to see a psychiatrist.

I'm so glad that's behind you!

I'll omit the details of the 3 years that followed, as I want to try to keep this tailored to the subject presented by @loopyem. In short, after being on meds for several years, I started talking to a therapist regarding the transgender feelings that wouldn't leave. My wife was aware that I was seeking help regarding it.

After finally coming to the realization that this is who I am, I once again told my wife I was transgender. This time her reaction was completely different. She was devastated. We had a couple months were I honestly didn't think we could stay together. It shocked me a bit, as she has always been very accepting toward the LGBT community.

I had a very hard conversation where I told her, that in order for me to keep going and feel true to myself, that transitioning was the direction I was needing to head. I told her that I didn't want to separate, but if she felt she needed to leave in order to stay true to herself, I would understand. She later told me she felt like I was trying to subtlety tell her I wanted to leave, but that was not the case at all!

Isn't it funny and tragic how we can misinterpret the people with whom we are the closest. What a relief for you that you had the love and respect to hear your wife -- I mean, really hear her.

After a solid month and a half we were able to talk about everything again. She told me she felt like I was putting her in a lose/lose situation. She didn't want to be a divorced mother of 3, she didn't want her husband to commit suicide  but she also was not a lesbian and married me with the understanding she was marrying a man. She felt like I had betrayed her, lied to her and tricked her. She felt like she would be judged by others because of this. (Everyone I have told is actually the opposite. They are very empathetic to my wife's situation and in no way think any less of her). She became riddled with anxiety. She was also very furious with my parents, as I grew up in an ultra conservative home, where I was told it was wrong and sinful to feel this way. The fact that my parents never sought therapy for me also upset her.

Wow! I commend you for your strength and clarity as you dealt with such a response. I appreciate her anger that you hadn't resolved your transness before she met you. I appreciate her struggling, working to sort out what her options were. I hope that she understands that you didn't intend to betray, lie or trick; that you were as honest about your identity as you could be.


I was so confused! I told her that I had never intentionally lied to her. I explained that I felt like I had been lying to myself since the age of 5, trying to believe that I didn't truly feel this way. If it wasn't for her help and encouragement for me to talk to a therapist, I would not have done it by myself. I was also taught as a child that therapy was a fraud and everything was something that could be prayed away or overcome in my mind.
My wife said she understood that I was lying to myself, and had been hobbled in my youth on how to seek proper help sooner. That did not change the fact that she felt trapped in a lose/lose place.

How ironic that if your wife, who didn't want you to become a stranger in one way or another, hadn't helped and encouraged you to talk to a therapist, you and she might not be where you are today: miles ahead of where you were in understanding who each other are, and learning how to face a huge, scary challenge together.

After much encouragement she went to a therapist for herself, and that seemed to really help her. She was able to talk to someone completely unbiased and who was there strictly for her and her feelings. I am so happy she went. I would strongly recommend it if you all can. I feel very strongly that SO care during this time is just as important as care for the trans individual.

Hooray hooray hooray! I'm so glad that she went to a therapist, too. I love your statement, "SO care during this time is just as important as care for the trans individual."


I did as much research as I could about the way SO of Transgender people felt and processed things. I can confirm that everything you all are saying is how a HUGE majority of spouses feel.

You are so good at seeing from different perspectives.

In fact my wife came across this forum not knowing that I had been reading it myself for years!
I read an article (I don't remember where) that having a spouse transition can feel like your spouse has died. It can present a feeling of a devastating loss. I asked my wife if this is how she felt and she confirmed that it was. After hearing that, I was so sad. With that knowledge though I was able to have a better understanding of the difficulties she had when we would talk about our future.

Isn't it amazing that we can have deep, intimate talks, and still overlook what is important to know? As my spouse and I read posts and comments here, we're amazed how many times someone mentions something that we never discussed in the 15 years that we have been working together to figure this transgender thing out.

I don't yet understand why some wives grieve. I don't understand their feeling of loss. The trans person is still the same person, but more so. I can understand anger at the society that has obstructed the honest self-expression. I can understand the fear that key people will not approve, but I understand that such extreme responses are unusual, and thus make intriguing stories.

But loss, I don't understand. I didn't lose anyone. We gained deeper closeness as she gradually became more able to express her honest self.

It has been a year since re-coming out to my wife and I am just now about to begin HRT. It is still hard for her, she still cries sometimes during our conversations together. I continue to allow her the space she needs, but we both agreed to continue working through this together and stay open with our communication.

Congratulations on starting HRT! Congratulations for all the hard work that you put into exposing and resolving the fears and confusion, and look at the great place that you are! Beginning HRT, and your wife staying on board -- amazing.

To her it has only been a year that this has been a struggle for me, as opposed to the 25 years it has actually been that I have had a struggle with my identity. This can bring her feelings of me rushing into things. It requires repeated conversations. We both have to understand where the other is coming from in order to keep our marriage together. We have agreed to see how things go, but both understand that it isn't fair for either of us to live contrary to ourselves.

I truly hope you all are able to find the support you need, to understand that your reactions and feelings are completely normal and to continue to stay strong!

Lacy

I love how well you understand and represent your wife's perspective. Understanding where each other is coming from is essential for my spouse and me, as well.

May you and your wife stay strong! So many encouraging stories here at susans.org !
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Offline RandyL

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2018, 11:27:16 am »
So many great responses here. I clearly see my wife and me in here. I came out to her as MtF a couple of years ago. Like several of you, she tends to grieve and see it as a potential loss. She still kind of hopes it will go away, even though she and I both know and acknowledge that this sort of thing doesn't go away. We are both starting into retirement, and as said above, funds are there for a joint retirement, but not really for two separate ones.

She's uncomfortable with my presenting fully femme, but we've worked out some limitations, such as certain femme blouses, women's jeans, underwear of my choice. She really wants me to discuss it in advance if I'm going to present femme, giving her the choice of whether to watch me change, or to go away. She came to my trans support group this past week which helped her to see a few different trans people in a better light.

We just came off a three-month trial separation and are back together. I think for the long term, but nothing is certain. We both realized how much we missed living together, and that helped us to push forward on the needed compromises.

We're lucky, in a way, that my dysphoria seems to be low-grade, and I'm really more gender-fluid. Full transition (surgery) will not happen. I'd sort of like to go on HRT but am not pursuing it for now.

@Moonflower you have such a great attitude, but you are in the apparent minority among SO's. I'd love to understand more how you can be so positive about it.
If so, then why not?

Offline Sylvia

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2018, 11:34:41 am »
'We're lucky, in a way, that my dysphoria seems to be low-grade, and I'm really more gender-fluid. Full transition (surgery) will not happen. I'd sort of like to go on HRT but am not pursuing it for now.'

I think we are similar. The gender fluid label comes up in all therapy/discussions etc. He is on low level HRT though, just E patches, no T-blockers. Clinic suggested increasing, he said no. 

'@Moonflower you have such a great attitude, but you are in the apparent minority among SO's. I'd love to understand more how you can be so positive about it.'

Me too.

Syl

Offline RandyL

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2018, 11:59:42 am »
Thanks @Sylvia. It is always good to find others similar to ourselves/spouses. I hadn't thought of E patches without T blockers.

One other thing, I think it's really helpful if the SO can feel free to seek support with whomever they wish -- such as friends and family. Early on I realized it was difficult for my wife to hold all this inside (other than in therapy) so I "freed" her to discuss it with anybody she likes. In a way it made it easier for me too, as I didn't have to have some of those difficult "coming out" discussions with friends and family -- they already knew. Of course this means that I trust my wife and what she is saying to them -- she is not putting out inaccuracies and negativity, just discussing and seeking support. I hear from her sometimes about what somebody said, "I can't believe you stayed with him," but then when I see that person we can have what seems like a normal interaction. Somehow this all seems to draw my wife and I closer together, not "us vs them" but more like we're on the same team.
If so, then why not?

Offline gallinarosa

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2018, 04:19:25 pm »
I don't yet understand why some wives grieve. I don't understand their feeling of loss. The trans person is still the same person, but more so.

I will try to help you understand, but first you must remember that everyone's experience is unique, so you have to start by not stating assumptions like "the trans person is still the same person". It would have been more accurate to say you don't understand because YOUR trans person still feels like the same person.

A lot of women I have gotten to know have spouses who hid their true identity for many, many years and projected in many ways something that was untrue... someone who was not real. The wives in these cases had no idea and thought that these projections were genuine and unwittingly fell in love with these projections. That's not to say that everything they fell in love with was fake and that everything their spouses projected was fake, but even that any of it was fake is a hard pill to swallow after decades together. So every minor detail that the wives knew and cherished, that is now going away, is what they grieve. Some of it is presentation, some of it is personality, some of it is purely conceptual.

What I need help with is understanding why so many people say that a transperson is the same before coming out and after transitioning? Doesn't the word transition mean to change? If they were the same, why all the trouble to transition at all? I always thought it sounded demeaning to transpeople to say they are the same before and after, but maybe it comes down to each person's definition of "same" or maybe even their definition of "being" or "are"? A transperson might say they feel the same because how the experience who they are is different from how others experience who they are.

And Moonflower, I am not trying to be a troublemaker, but I think this difference in how people may view the same situation is why some spouses do not hang out here for long.

Offline Sylvia

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2018, 04:27:50 pm »
Well said, GR.

Syl

Offline Carolina

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2018, 05:08:24 pm »
Dear LoopyEm and the other Significant Others,

  I'm a "non-transitional" cd, happy to co-inhabit a male body.  And I'm in a long term DADT marriage.  So my situation is very different (although I wish I could find some way to communicate my needs to my wife, sigh). 

  But this thread has caused me some thought.  And my thought led to some questions I hadn't really thought about before.

  So question 1 for our dear Significant Others:  Is the desire of a spouse to transition in some way different than a serious life change brought about by say an accident where he was hit by a drunk driver?  Or developing some long term illness like muscular dystrophy or early onset dementia?   I mean in each case, "the future was not one that I expected".

  Question 2:  If there is a difference, why?  Is it a matter of "fault" -- that an accident or an illness is not the "fault" of the spouse while his need to transition is?

  Question 3:  How do husbands of FTM transitioners react?  I don't think I've noticed any comments on Susan's from husbands in FTM transition relationships but I wouldn't have necessarily done so.  Has anyone else?

   Thanks,  Carolina


Offline Sylvia

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2018, 05:05:40 am »

  So question 1 for our dear Significant Others:  Is the desire of a spouse to transition in some way different than a serious life change brought about by say an accident where he was hit by a drunk driver?  Or developing some long term illness like muscular dystrophy or early onset dementia?   I mean in each case, "the future was not one that I expected".

  Question 2:  If there is a difference, why?  Is it a matter of "fault" -- that an accident or an illness is not the "fault" of the spouse while his need to transition is?

  Question 3:  How do husbands of FTM transitioners react?  I don't think I've noticed any comments on Susan's from husbands in FTM transition relationships but I wouldn't have necessarily done so.  Has anyone else?

   Thanks,  Carolina

Hi Carolina, those two questions have been asked and I have thought about them. Of course in those situations it would be the not the future we expected. But it would be both of us grieving, together. It would be a terrible situation for both of us, probably worse for the sick or injured partner, rather than being something one partner finds great joy or peace from, with the other partner the complete opposite. And it would be something I understand, something most people understand. Transgenderism to a cis person is impossible to REALLY understand, although we try as much as we can.

Question 2 - at times, yes I DO think it's his fault 'why is he doing this to me?', and yes I know that is unreasonable. He DOES have a choice. There are many many secret or stealth crossdressers or transwomen in the world who NEVER do anything about it. He's never been suicidal or clinically depressed. He had a normal, happy, male childhood and adolescence. He has told me many times this is not something he HAS to do. He just WANTS to, because he wants to find answers. If I had refused to discuss hormones, or threatened to leave (never an option) he would have just dropped the whole thing. But he wouldn't have been happy, so I could never make those sorts of ultimatums. But he would have survived, as he has done for 63 years.

Question 3 - I've come across a handful of husbands of ftms, and the ones I have seen are NOT supportive, and are generally very angry, think their wives are either having a mental breakdown or have been 'sucked in' by the TG community. There seem to more ftms in lesbian relationships actually, than in male-female partnerships. Again, the lesbian partners have generally found the transition incredibly difficult, completely compromising their (often proud and hard-fought-for) lesbian identity.

By the way, what is a DADT marriage?

Syl


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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2018, 12:21:04 pm »
By the way, what is a DADT marriage?
I didn't know either so I googled it. Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I should have seen it coming.
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Offline gallinarosa

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2018, 12:24:31 pm »
So question 1 for our dear Significant Others:  Is the desire of a spouse to transition in some way different than a serious life change brought about by say an accident where he was hit by a drunk driver?  Or developing some long term illness like muscular dystrophy or early onset dementia?   I mean in each case, "the future was not one that I expected".

  Question 2:  If there is a difference, why?  Is it a matter of "fault" -- that an accident or an illness is not the "fault" of the spouse while his need to transition is?

  Question 3:  How do husbands of FTM transitioners react?  I don't think I've noticed any comments on Susan's from husbands in FTM transition relationships but I wouldn't have necessarily done so.  Has anyone else?

I have been asked and thought about this before as well, and my answers are similar to Sylvia's.

I hate to compare being transgender to an illness or accident, and I do not have the experience of having a spouse that was in an accident or contracting an illness, but I think, YES, a spouse would definitely grieve the loss of the life expected and the unwelcome changes.

And Sylvia is right that the biggest difference is grieving together vs. grieving alone. I have known a wife whose husband developed Alzheimer's rather young and quickly became unaware of his own condition and did not even recognize his wife who stayed they, taking care of him. He actually was cruel to her. It was very hard on her because she no longer shared the journey with him.

It is doubly hard too is that many SOs are bound by secrecy to not out their spouse, so they have NO support in their grief, NO one to share it with.

There is also a pain of realizing that the whole time you knew your spouse, something was hidden. That the person you saw and thought you knew was not quite accurate. It is hard to accurately describe this feeling, but the accident/illness analogy does not work here.

I see no fault in being transgender, having gender dysphoria, and all the needs that come with it, so I see no difference there, but I do think how each person reacts to having an accident, getting ill, being transgender... it can't be ignored. If someone you loved became paraplegic, you would grant them space to be process all the feelings that may arise, but if they began lashing out at you and making your life miserable and it continued too long, you'd eventually have to stand up for yourself, right? It's complicated. But I don't think pure grief is tied to fault and blame. I think SOs that blame their spouse are more likely to have anger than grief.

I have not met a lot of male SOs. Maybe they are less likely the type to seek support in venues like this.

Offline RandyL

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2018, 07:46:55 pm »
...
It is doubly hard too is that many SOs are bound by secrecy to not out their spouse, so they have NO support in their grief, NO one to share it with.
To reiterate what I said above, because I think this is really important. Holding your SO to secrecy is unfair and unsupportive. If the SO is going through all this, they need help and be able to talk freely to their friends and family. It's taken a lot of pressure off me to know that my wife can discuss this with her friends and her sisters. And even with my own sister.
If so, then why not?

Offline LizK

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2018, 08:24:31 pm »
I have been asked and thought about this before as well, and my answers are similar to Sylvia's.

I hate to compare being transgender to an illness or accident, and I do not have the experience of having a spouse that was in an accident or contracting an illness, but I think, YES, a spouse would definitely grieve the loss of the life expected and the unwelcome changes.

And Sylvia is right that the biggest difference is grieving together vs. grieving alone. I have known a wife whose husband developed Alzheimer's rather young and quickly became unaware of his own condition and did not even recognize his wife who stayed they, taking care of him. He actually was cruel to her. It was very hard on her because she no longer shared the journey with him.

It is doubly hard too is that many SOs are bound by secrecy to not out their spouse, so they have NO support in their grief, NO one to share it with.

There is also a pain of realizing that the whole time you knew your spouse, something was hidden. That the person you saw and thought you knew was not quite accurate. It is hard to accurately describe this feeling, but the accident/illness analogy does not work here.

I see no fault in being transgender, having gender dysphoria, and all the needs that come with it, so I see no difference there, but I do think how each person reacts to having an accident, getting ill, being transgender... it can't be ignored. If someone you loved became paraplegic, you would grant them space to be process all the feelings that may arise, but if they began lashing out at you and making your life miserable and it continued too long, you'd eventually have to stand up for yourself, right? It's complicated. But I don't think pure grief is tied to fault and blame. I think SOs that blame their spouse are more likely to have anger than grief.

I have not met a lot of male SOs. Maybe they are less likely the type to seek support in venues like this.

Thank you for that in depth and honest answer to some really hard questions.

I think it is cruel to expect your spouse to remain quiet and not look after her/his needs. I certainly encouraged my spouse to do what she needed to get the support she needed and helped this happen where I could.

Thank you

Liz

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Offline Sylvia

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2018, 01:39:16 am »
It is doubly hard too is that many SOs are bound by secrecy to not out their spouse, so they have NO support in their grief, NO one to share it with.


I haven't told a soul, other than the therapist, who we can't afford any more. I have no one I feel I could talk to about this. Also, he really doesn't want anyone to know, not even our children. If he'd had a life-changing accident or illness, I'd have people around me who'd understand.

Offline Virginia

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2018, 10:25:25 am »
I haven't told a soul, other than the therapist, who we can't afford any more. I have no one I feel I could talk to about this. Also, he really doesn't want anyone to know, not even our children. If he'd had a life-changing accident or illness, I'd have people around me who'd understand.

My heart goes out to you, Sylvia. Ten years of coping and my wife still finds herself in the same situation with my Dissociative Identity Disorder.

We are both small town apple pie American conservatives. Telling family or friends about my mental illness, or the sexual and psychological abuse I experienced as a child, is more than either of us can bear. Sharing outside of therapy that her retired engineer husband turns into an 8 year old boy at the playground and like a werewolf becomes a woman two days a week is... out of the question.

My wife and I both cared for our aged parents for years. I am far enough along in my recovery to be able to admit that like a transgender person's Gender Dysphoria, I have a horrible psychological disorder, not a life-changing accident or illness. As you mentioned above, I make a CHOICE...Day after day after day. And I choose my own needs over the commitment I made to my wife and my marriage.

One day, I was just cruising toward retirement and living the life I've been waiting for.  Then the bomb.  My husband is gone and someone else is here in his place.

I was two years away from the early retirement when I had my breakdown, Lantana. A lifetime of hope and dreams slipped through my wife's and my fingers. Nearly ten years later I am able to look enough beyond myself to see a shadow of my wife's suffering. A poem I wrote shortly after my first breakdown:

"For My Wife"
(June 2010)

A candlelight dinner holds no romance
Sitting across the table from the effigy of the man she once loved.
Harder still to repress her urge to vomit when she sees me wearing makeup & women's clothes.

Even in the blindness of the night
There is no escaping what I am.
Her fingers cringe at the touch of the hairless boney frame of another woman laying beside her.

And there is no way to keep from wondering
How long it will be before her husband becomes her roommate,
Her heterosexual mind desperately grappling with the uncertainty of whether she has been having a lesbian relationship for the last 20 years.

I wonder whether she is reveling in her own ecstasy
Or repulsed at the thought of touching me.
Our passion is only a memory now.

Somehow she clings to the piece of me she needs to keep our marriage alive.
Blindly going through the motions,
So we can make it one day at a time.
I love her more than I love my life itself
Could I expect more from anyone?


I don't yet understand why some wives grieve. I don't understand their feeling of loss. The trans person is still the same person, but more so. I can understand anger at the society that has obstructed the honest self-expression...

But loss, I don't understand. I didn't lose anyone. We gained deeper closeness as she gradually became more able to express her honest self.

Yes, I didn't lose anything...My Wife Did. And she is getting more...Of Something She DOESN'T Want. The part of me she knew as her husband now shares the microphone with 4 other people. When a  trans person or anyone becomes "more so" anything, they are less so of what they used to be.

I need help with is understanding why so many people say that a transperson is the same before coming out and after transitioning? Doesn't the word transition mean to change? If they were the same, why all the trouble to transition at all?

One of the most powerful coping mechanisms the human mind has to to survive life changing events is the self delusion of the continuity of Self, that despite the things that happen to us, we are still the same person. A poem I wrote shortly after my first breakdown:

"Just Me"
(December 2010)

Mom is 80.
She insisted Christmas day there isn’t anything wrong with her.
Incontinent and confined to a wheelchair, she asked me why she is in a nursing home.
She says she is still just me.

Cancer took my friend’s leg,
His business, his home and finally his life.
He never understood how any of this could happen to him.
He was still just me.

My cousin uses recreational drugs.
And he is only a social drinker.
He swears it’s not his fault, but it cost him his job and his marriage.
After all, he is still just me.


For the first time in 35 years my female self is living life.
The world is brand new.
Hormones and laser and makeup; people accept me as a woman.
But despite all the change, I am still just me.

Struggling to reinterpret 25 years of memories,
To find something, anything that remains of the person she married long ago.
A depth of love I will never comprehend, How does my wife cope?
She is still just me.

Time moves on,
A series of imperceptible steps.
And if we dare to look over our shoulders we would see we are miles from where we started.
Still just me.


Compromise - it may be impossible, depending on how bad his dysphoria is, but can he only go as far as you can cope with?

A poem I when I was initially misdiagnosed as transsexual with a perspective of why we must do what we do as badly as we need the air we breathe:

"Transsexualism"
Oct 2009

She consumes our days and haunts our nights.
She makes us delirious with our femininity,
Leading us by our noses and taking us wherever she chooses.
She cuts proud men at their knees like a tall cedar,
Leaving them as groveling meek women.
NEVER underestimate.
NEVER forget the power of her pink fog.
Be ever weary or she will steal your life, everything you have and love.
And leave you thanking her for it.







« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 12:05:14 pm by Virginia »
~VA (pronounced Vee- Aye, the abbreviation for the State of Virginia where I live)

Online Moonflower

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2018, 08:44:38 pm »
What if my SO tells me that she changed her mind, and she's going to return to being a man? I'm having such a good time being the spouse of a trans woman, I'd be disappointed. While she has been on her journey, I've been on my own, examining my place on the gender and sexual orientation spectrums. We are more compatible than we ever realized!

I see such freedom and joy in my SO's being, when she presents as a woman, in contrast to her former reclusiveness, so if she changes her mind, I would miss her terribly! I'm sure that she and I and We are happier and healthier when she is a woman. Maybe that is similar to what some SOs here experience, but the other way around?

@Moonflower you have such a great attitude, but you are in the apparent minority among SO's. I'd love to understand more how you can be so positive about it.
@RandyL I wish that I could explain to you and SOs how I can be so positive about transitioning. I love that I have it in me to be excited about a person finding the strength to speak out about who they really are, especially after decades of their trying to stifle telltale signs. For example, as a feminist, true to Ms. Magazine, I raised my kids to be expressive people, not confined in boy and girl roles; I was appalled when I overheard my oldest telling my middle that her favorite color was pink, his was blue, and the trucks were his toys, not hers, when I knew that this wasn't true. Years later, she told me that she learned to say that from kids her age. I think that my valuing self-expression regardless of conventional roles helped me embrace my trans partner.

Am I in the minority among SOs? As my SO slowly tells one person at a time that she is transgender, we are getting marvelously positive responses. It seems that today's young adults are at ease with people exploring gender identity. Younger and older health care professionals are surprisingly familiar with gender dysphoria, and share our enthusiasm when they hear that someone is coming out. I am finding that I am not unique in my support.

I choose my own needs over the commitment I made to my wife and my marriage.

When a  trans person or anyone becomes "more so" anything, they are less so of what they used to be.
@RandyL maybe @Virginia explains how I can be so positive. I never see my spouse putting her own needs over her commitment to me, and I'm excited about who my spouse is becoming, and how that is changing Us.

So every minor detail that the wives knew and cherished, that is now going away, is what they grieve.
There is also a pain of realizing that the whole time you knew your spouse, something was hidden. That the person you saw and thought you knew was not quite accurate.
@gallinarosa I hear you saying that your SO is no longer the same person who you fell in love with, that he's transitioning to become someone unfamiliar and less appealing. You remind me of my first year or so after my SO came out to me (and me alone until this year). I felt on edge, wondering if more secrets were lurking. It was a trust issue for both of us. Fortunately, we explored together what the various trans-related terms meant, and which ones applied to each of us, and how other people in similar situations could inspire each of us, and we both learned a lot about ourselves -- together.

I believe that we all express ourselves as honestly as we can, considering our beliefs about what is safe.

I believe that we each have a choice of what to focus on, for example: whether a person has changed or remained the same. You make a good point: both are true.
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1999 married :icon_archery:
15 years ago I started discovering the woman hiding behind my husband's facade
Fall 2018 my baby's coming out full time! :icon_female:

Online Moonflower

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2018, 08:52:24 pm »
  So question 1 for our dear Significant Others:  Is the desire of a spouse to transition in some way different than a serious life change brought about by say an accident where he was hit by a drunk driver?  Or developing some long term illness like muscular dystrophy or early onset dementia?   I mean in each case, "the future was not one that I expected".

  Question 2:  If there is a difference, why?  Is it a matter of "fault" -- that an accident or an illness is not the "fault" of the spouse while his need to transition is?

  Question 3:  How do husbands of FTM transitioners react?  I don't think I've noticed any comments on Susan's from husbands in FTM transition relationships but I wouldn't have necessarily done so.  Has anyone else?

   Thanks,  Carolina
These questions and the following responses made my head spin. Great thoughts!

it would be both of us grieving, together. It would be a terrible situation for both of us, probably worse for the sick or injured partner, rather than being something one partner finds great joy or peace from, with the other partner the complete opposite. And it would be something I understand, something most people understand. Transgenderism to a cis person is impossible to REALLY understand, although we try as much as we can...

...If I had refused to discuss hormones, or threatened to leave (never an option) he would have just dropped the whole thing. But he wouldn't have been happy, so I could never make those sorts of ultimatums.
I have no one I feel I could talk to about this.
@Sylvia thank you for sharing your perspective here. I hear you and @gallinarosa saying that you are feeling very alone as you grieve and feel injured. I hear you saying that you feel pressured into being as open minded as possible about his transition because you value his happiness. How painful, and how hopeful.

What if the situation was a mental illness (like @Virginia's Dissociative Identity Disorder) that carried stigma similar to that of gender dysphoria, instead of an accident or illness that many people sympathize with, and speak freely about with anger?
:icon_wave:
1999 married :icon_archery:
15 years ago I started discovering the woman hiding behind my husband's facade
Fall 2018 my baby's coming out full time! :icon_female:

Online Moonflower

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Re: Help me understand
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2018, 08:56:15 pm »
I have known a wife whose husband developed Alzheimer's rather young and quickly became unaware of his own condition and did not even recognize his wife who stayed the[re], taking care of him. He actually was cruel to her. It was very hard on her because she no longer shared the journey with him.
What a good comparison! I recognize the similarity of social isolation for SOs of people who have dementia, like that of SOs of people who have gender dysphoria. The dementia spouse often becomes trapped at home alone because of the overwhelming and embarrassing behavior from the person who is no longer acting in familiar, attractive ways. Both spouses are dealing with unfamiliarity, and feel isolated because of the secrets that s/he must keep. Leaving a spouse after a diagnosis of severe dementia must be much harder than leaving a spouse because of gender dysphoria.

if they began lashing out at you and making your life miserable and it continued too long, you'd eventually have to stand up for yourself, right?
You have my complete and full support! NO ONE can lash out at you. NO ONE can make your life miserable. You certainly MUST stand up for yourself if this happens. Again, you have my complete and full support! This is NOT a trans issue!
:icon_wave:
1999 married :icon_archery:
15 years ago I started discovering the woman hiding behind my husband's facade
Fall 2018 my baby's coming out full time! :icon_female:

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