Author Topic: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?  (Read 1879 times)

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Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« on: October 12, 2019, 11:02:26 am »
I told my wife almost a year ago now that I was trans, and we're still together. I've come out to my parents and siblings and a number of close friends. I've changed some clothes and have grown my hair and nails longer, but no changes to pronouns or name. I've mostly focused on weight loss: I'm down fifty pounds, and I'd still need to lose about 150 more to get down to what's considered a normal weight for my height. I've been doing therapy, which has been really helpful. I had to switch therapists a couple times, but that has worked out okay. I have come to greater self-acceptance, and my brain has probably gotten further ahead than what is possible for me to focus on right now beyond weight loss.

My wife's had a really hard time with all of this, which I totally understand and empathize with. And what it comes down to is while she's understanding that I'm having issues with my gender identity, and she's okay with me making some changes, she really needs to feel or be able to tell herself that she's married to a man and has a husband. And that's hard for her sometimes with my having some longer hair and wearing leggings and some longer women's shirts sometimes. But she can manage to some extent. But things like pronouns or name or going much farther with clothes or really much of anything, it's hard to know, may cross a line for her, and then I don't know, I guess we may be done. I don't want our family to fall apart, I really don't. I've been trying everything I can to keep us together as a family. I love her, I love my early elementary-school aged daughter. I just can't bear the thought of us being apart and trying to make it on our own.

The dysphoria is also awful. I just feel like I'm about to fall out of my skin sometimes. I started on an anti-depressant this week, and I don't know if it will help, but it probably can't fix dysphoria.

And I just kind of hoped that maybe I could work on losing weight, and that maybe somehow my wife with time might find some way to come to terms with all of this.

But she was just very clear this weekend that she can't get her head around being married to a woman. She finds the idea disgusting, which was the words she used. And I asked her to be careful about using that language, because I can't get that out of my head now. She says she loves me, and that I'm perfect for her, and I know she means it, but she has a pretty clear definition about which of version me is a good fit for her. And I'm slipping away from that. She talks about being in grief for me, which I know is common. It just hurts, when I'm right here. I know I'm not exactly the same, but so much of me is.

Part of the reason I finally spoke out loud about this after so many decades of holding this in was because my mood had just gotten to the point where holding this in was causing me to snap too much, and I just hate that. I grew up in a household that was too angry, and I don't want to be like that. But she said that she would rather have me be angry from time to time than to be a woman that she doesn't know.

And that just really, really, really hurts.

I know she loves me, and I love her. I'm doing all I can to hold things together, and to keep her in mind, and to try to avoid hurting her. And she says she is doing a lot to be accommodating to me too, and I believe that. She hasn't thrown me out. I was worried about that. Things could be so much worse than they are.

But I feel torn up inside. I just don't know that I can live like this without acceptance and love of this important part of me. I've told some people, but she really doesn't want me to tell many more, or to ever be out. She wants to be able to live a life that is somewhat normal. I want to be able to travel and have adventures together.

But can I do this? Can I hide who I am forever? I already feel like this is poisoning me and my soul. It's making me bitter and resentful. Is this the example I want to set for my daughter, that it's important to hide away who we are, to make others feel better?

And yet I just can't bear to be the one that makes everything fall apart. My wife says she can't handle it if I were to go any further. She would just fall apart. So presumably we would fall apart. And have to no longer be together. And deal with the financial and emotional fallout of that. And chances are, I'd probably end up alone. Forever. And maybe I'd get to be more of me, but so many people would look at me as being selfish. And my daughter, who knows, but she'd assuredly have mixed feelings about 'my choice' to break up our family.

So how can I do this? How can I live a life where I just somehow don't ever treat this condition that I have? From everything I've read, it just hardly seems possible that I can do it. Even to get through the next couple of years while I focus on weight loss is intimidating to me. But forever... it just feels like a prison sentence, to be incarcerated in this body.

Yes, I'd get to spend that time with my family, and I'd get to do things I love. But I know how hard it will be to feel the happiness and joy that I know I should be feeling.

I just wish I could get some acceptance for all this, but it just seems like maybe that won't be possible.

I'm bereft.

If anyone has any ways to help me find hope, I'd appreciate it.

I am going to do what I need to do to survive. I have to. I have to live.

Offline Linde

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2019, 11:47:34 am »
My marriage exploded because I was bottling my trans part up inside me, but never really know what I was doing.  I is impossible (at least it was for me) to suppress knowingly or unknowingly what your bain (and in my case it was also my body) wants you to be.
In my case it made me very angry and hateful, and this drove my wife eventually away.
These days, we are good friends again. She told me, she would have divorced me anyway, because she would not want to live in a lesbian relation.

You have to know for yourself, if you can live a life you hope to live.  If i would have known way back when, we would have gotten divorced in a civil manner, remained good friends, and I would not have become that destructive!


Offline WannaBgirl2

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2019, 11:49:37 am »
I told my wife almost a year ago now that I was trans, and we're still together. I've come out to my parents and siblings and a number of close friends. I've changed some clothes and have grown my hair and nails longer, but no changes to pronouns or name. I've mostly focused on weight loss: I'm down fifty pounds, and I'd still need to lose about 150 more to get down to what's considered a normal weight for my height. I've been doing therapy, which has been really helpful. I had to switch therapists a couple times, but that has worked out okay. I have come to greater self-acceptance, and my brain has probably gotten further ahead than what is possible for me to focus on right now beyond weight loss.

My wife's had a really hard time with all of this, which I totally understand and empathize with. And what it comes down to is while she's understanding that I'm having issues with my gender identity, and she's okay with me making some changes, she really needs to feel or be able to tell herself that she's married to a man and has a husband. And that's hard for her sometimes with my having some longer hair and wearing leggings and some longer women's shirts sometimes. But she can manage to some extent. But things like pronouns or name or going much farther with clothes or really much of anything, it's hard to know, may cross a line for her, and then I don't know, I guess we may be done. I don't want our family to fall apart, I really don't. I've been trying everything I can to keep us together as a family. I love her, I love my early elementary-school aged daughter. I just can't bear the thought of us being apart and trying to make it on our own.

The dysphoria is also awful. I just feel like I'm about to fall out of my skin sometimes. I started on an anti-depressant this week, and I don't know if it will help, but it probably can't fix dysphoria.

And I just kind of hoped that maybe I could work on losing weight, and that maybe somehow my wife with time might find some way to come to terms with all of this.

But she was just very clear this weekend that she can't get her head around being married to a woman. She finds the idea disgusting, which was the words she used. And I asked her to be careful about using that language, because I can't get that out of my head now. She says she loves me, and that I'm perfect for her, and I know she means it, but she has a pretty clear definition about which of version me is a good fit for her. And I'm slipping away from that. She talks about being in grief for me, which I know is common. It just hurts, when I'm right here. I know I'm not exactly the same, but so much of me is.

Part of the reason I finally spoke out loud about this after so many decades of holding this in was because my mood had just gotten to the point where holding this in was causing me to snap too much, and I just hate that. I grew up in a household that was too angry, and I don't want to be like that. But she said that she would rather have me be angry from time to time than to be a woman that she doesn't know.

And that just really, really, really hurts.

I know she loves me, and I love her. I'm doing all I can to hold things together, and to keep her in mind, and to try to avoid hurting her. And she says she is doing a lot to be accommodating to me too, and I believe that. She hasn't thrown me out. I was worried about that. Things could be so much worse than they are.

But I feel torn up inside. I just don't know that I can live like this without acceptance and love of this important part of me. I've told some people, but she really doesn't want me to tell many more, or to ever be out. She wants to be able to live a life that is somewhat normal. I want to be able to travel and have adventures together.

But can I do this? Can I hide who I am forever? I already feel like this is poisoning me and my soul. It's making me bitter and resentful. Is this the example I want to set for my daughter, that it's important to hide away who we are, to make others feel better?

And yet I just can't bear to be the one that makes everything fall apart. My wife says she can't handle it if I were to go any further. She would just fall apart. So presumably we would fall apart. And have to no longer be together. And deal with the financial and emotional fallout of that. And chances are, I'd probably end up alone. Forever. And maybe I'd get to be more of me, but so many people would look at me as being selfish. And my daughter, who knows, but she'd assuredly have mixed feelings about 'my choice' to break up our family.

So how can I do this? How can I live a life where I just somehow don't ever treat this condition that I have? From everything I've read, it just hardly seems possible that I can do it. Even to get through the next couple of years while I focus on weight loss is intimidating to me. But forever... it just feels like a prison sentence, to be incarcerated in this body.

Yes, I'd get to spend that time with my family, and I'd get to do things I love. But I know how hard it will be to feel the happiness and joy that I know I should be feeling.

I just wish I could get some acceptance for all this, but it just seems like maybe that won't be possible.

I'm bereft.

If anyone has any ways to help me find hope, I'd appreciate it.

I am going to do what I need to do to survive. I have to. I have to live.
I told my wife a couple of years ago and it was horrible!?!! I do love her.... But she said she was married to a man and she told me that I was sick...  She tried to wrap her head around it.... But can't. The more I tried to tell her, the more she pulled away... So I hid my feelings, dressed in secret, but always felt selfish and ashamed... I purged my wardrobe and tried to be the guy that people expected me to be.... My desphoria is at an all-time high, and my depression is at an all-time low..... I have an appointment with a counselor next week, but I don't know what to say.... I'm a Vet, so I go to the VA... I'm scared that my service records will read that I'm queer, gay, a total fruit..... But the truth is I don't know what I am!?!!!?

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Offline Kirsteneklund7

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2019, 12:05:14 pm »
Your story is similar to mine in many ways. I balance family responsibilities and dysphoria and the pain my wife experiences.

 I found HRT was the magic silver bullet for me. I found it moderated the dysphoria and was more effective than anti-depressants for depression.

 These days I do have breasts and a slightly androdgynous edge after a couple of years of Estrogen but no problem passing as male if I need to.

 I am very much a father to sons 11 & 9 and my wife is still with me.

 It seems for many HRT is the slippery slope for full transition, but for me it isnt,
 It suits my family life and keeps me sane, it allows me to have my cake and eat it too. HRT allowed me to soldier on.

 It may or may not be the exact answer for you, but it can be trialled through the proper channels with a prescribing doctor & you are already seeing a psychologist.

 Just putting out there what works for me.

 Wishing you the best with it.

 Kirsten



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Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2019, 12:50:13 pm »
I am sorry that you are going through this.  It is hard for the person who is trans, and it is hard for the spouse.  perhaps harder for the spouse, because we have usually had years to come to terms with it; they have only had a short time.

Can you live without transition?  That is something that only you can answer.  Only you know how badly it hurts, and if you can take that amount of pain.

You talk about feeling guilty about being "the one" that would be the cause of a breakup, if that turns out to be what happens.  But it isn't just one person.  You two are a team.  Both of you bring something to the table.  You bring the need to transition.  She brings the need to have a man.  If those needs turn out to be incompatible, it is both of them together that are incompatible, not just one.

By all means try to make it easier for her.  But it would be a mistake to accept 100% of the guilt on your shoulders.
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; 2019-08-02 Official gender change; 2019-10-18 Phone consultation for GRS; 2020-03-11 GRS!; 2020-09-30 New birth certificate




Offline BlueJaye

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2019, 02:21:44 pm »
Hi, Rey,
I can sympathize with much of what you wrote. Today was a tough morning for me. Should have been happy, since usually my birthday is a happy day with the family. But my wife has been unusually open this week and we have talked more about my needs and her needs than we have in quite a while. And things are difficult for her right now. She is finally starting to realize that this isn’t some weird phase I am going through and it’s not something I can sit around doing nothing about anymore.

When I first came out to my wife, she didn’t seem concerned at all. I came to understand later that she didn’t understand at all what I had been trying to tell her. She thought I was just trying to connect with some feminine side as a male. That I just needed some freedom to be more feminine as a man. She totally wasn’t getting that I needed to take steps toward being the woman I am internally.

When I started HRT, she underestimated the physical effects and thought I was just going to feel better and less depressed. I explained it all in great detail, and when I asked if she had any concerns, she said she was more concerned with the misbehavior of our kids that day.

I’m about 1.5 years after coming out to her and 5 months of continuous HRT and the rubber is starting to meet the road. She’s starting to realize how serious this is to me, and we are finally starting to have the tough discussions we probably should have been having over a year ago.

Like you, I have kept my physical appearance changes very minimal for the sake of my wife. She can’t stand the idea of me wearing women’s clothing or makeup. I have grown my hair out for the last four months and she is starting to get uncomfortable with that. It is not very long yet, but she has never seen me with hair longer than two inches or so. It’s maybe 5 or 6 inches now.

As for pronouns, I was just discussing this with my therapist yesterday. I am intentionally using male pronouns for now in public and at home. It hurts, but I am doing it to put some boundaries on myself for my wife’s sake. Whether or not it’s a sacrifice worth the pain, I purposely choosing to keep using male pronouns in public and around home because the more I affirm my feminine identity in my daily life, the faster I want to move toward complete transition. And I know my wife is definitely not ready for that. Not even close.


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Offline Sephirah

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2019, 02:56:04 pm »
To answer the question in your thread title... for someone else.. no you can't. You just can't. Because you're not living your life at all. When someone else dictates how you live your life then what you're actually doing is living their life. Not your own. You're living how someone wants you to live. Not how you want to live. And that usually doesn't end well.

I get that significant others have problems with it. That it impacts them as much as it does you. That a life shared is a life shared... but sweetie, when it comes down to it, it's YOUR life. You have the right to be you as much as anyone else has the right to be them. To be asked to be someone you're not is akin to you asking your other half to be someone else, completely contrary to who they are. How would they feel about it?

You have to have control over your own life, hon. That's about the only thing any of us can have in this world. You need to be able to make decisions based on what's best for you. Not what's best for everyone except you. That's a path which... well... it can lead to a place you don't wanna be. You said it yourself, the way you're starting to feel. Bitter and resentful. Is that where you want to be in your life?

I don't have any answers because I'm not in the place you are. But *sigh* I feel a lot of the time that people are made to feel very guilty, and like they're doing something abhorrent. Just because they want to be themselves. I can't help feeling that's a bit of... well... emotional blackmail, because your other half doesn't understand how it feels if the shoe were on the other foot, so to speak. No they didn't ask for this, but neither did you.

I feel like the question shouldn't be "Can you...", it should be "Should you have to...". And in that, personally, I feel like no you shouldn't have to.

Offline Dena

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2019, 03:47:49 pm »
It depends on your definition of transitioning, how far your wife will go and how bad your need is. We have a few people on the site who live as a woman but haven't had HRT or surgery. Their partners will accept this much but no more. If your need is mild, you could suppress it for a while longer but the urge never goes away and tends to get stronger with time.

The biggest danger you face is the melt down point where you reach the limit of your ability to suppress your feeling. Many members on the site including me reach this point and then there really isn't an option to transition. At that point, things need to happen fast and unfortunately there is no indication when you will reach that point.

The earlier you address this the better because it gives you time to work with your wife. It might take time and therapy for both of you but that's the only way you might be able to save the relationship.
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Offline SarahEL

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2019, 04:28:35 pm »
None of us can see the future. Or with any accuracy predict what another will do. When things like this come to challenge a marriage the best thing, I feel, is to be open and honest. To ask for open and honesty back. My proposition is if all your cards are laid on the table, as you see them - then it is the other partners "choice" what they do.
I came out to my wife 2 and half years ago. Initially she was excepting, then put in draconian measures to limit me to only being me (female) in secret. That hurt and instead of talking, I took it internally. She told me that there was no way she could live with me if I "became" female.

Gender dysphoria does not go away, it is something you need to deal with - a therapist is a good start.
From reading on here, the one thing that struck me was communication is usually the key to maintaining a marriage (and a good marriage your both committed to as well). So I started talking about how it felt, my suicidal feelings, the pain. I asked if I could make some small changes to help with the GD. First I changed my jeans over to female ones. I kept talking, explaining what I was feeling. Made sure she understood how this is not a choice for me. I asked her to tell me how she was feeling, what was "too much" for her. It seems a very slow process, but looking back, in just over two years and now I am on HRT, wear only female androgynous clothing, have long hair, paint my nails regularly and have no body hair. I still present as male but look effeminate (especially with mascara on :) ) and my body shape is very feminine.
My wife's current fears are "what the neighbours will think" and "how I will maintain my business". The last "talk" we had she said "I still would not be married if you presented female full-time" - A huge change in her original statement (from live with, to just married). She then went on "but, I see no reason why we would not still live together, I mean we love each other, right?". She then went on to remark on how far she had come in acceptance over the last 2 years.
Like you, I adore my wife, could not live without her. A lot of people would say I was wrong in this, it's my life after all. That is true, but my life would be poorer without her and my daughter. Regardless of what gender I am, I am still the person she married and fell in love with. By giving her a say in how fast we go, by including her in what is going on with my therapist and my brain she feels a little more in control. We went out shopping a few days ago, she picked me up a lovely blouse/shirt to wear on holiday, insisted I get it (as it would look lovely on me). There is no way that would of happened when I came out to her.

If you love your wife and you prize your marriage then work together. Compromise. Little things can make the GD a little better, they are even better if you have the blessing of your partner to do that. Little things over the time add up. It is not all one way either, I have challenged things she was not comfortable with. Long hair being a major one. In the end I said that it was too important in reducing the GD, pointed out that a lot of men have long hair. Compromised on having it pulled into a ponytail when out. That has slipped to being only when I am out on business.

It is a shock for a partner to be presented with a trans partner. By making them see you have no choice, including them in how you tackle your dysphoria and listening to their fears you then have the knowledge that it is their choice if they stay or go. For me, that is priceless. I do not want to blow up my marriage, I want to be married to her for the rest of my life. She knows that, she trusts my fidelity and honesty. She also knows that I am female, that there is nothing I can do about that and that I am doing everything I can to make this as easy as possible on both of us.
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Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2019, 01:19:41 am »
Thank you for the very kind responses, I really appreciate it.

I confess that sometimes I get nervous about posting here or just connecting with community in general, because of the path I'm on, where I'm trying to focus on keeping my family intact, to some extent at the potential of harming my mental state. And I just worry about being criticized and not understood and pushed to be doing more than I am. And I guess I feel reassured when I get positive responses like these ones.

Thank you. Really and truly.

I think what's really hard is that I understood that my path might be difficult, because of how my wife felt, but also because I had so much weight to lose. It's felt really important to me to get down to a much better weight level as the most important thing for me. Hormones might be really helpful to me, but they could make weight loss a lot more challenging, and it's already really hard. This is the first time in a decade I've had success, and my doctor keeps warning me that at some point I might plateau, and I'm terrified of this happening before I can reach my goals. If I were to really, really need to transition, that would block me from being able to do so. So, I've focused on weight loss, with the hope that maybe that time, as frustrating as it might be, might give a gift of time that could help my wife to come to terms with this. And maybe that could still happen. But it just felt like from our last conversation, that maybe that door is just permanently shut.

And quite frankly, I'm scared to talk about this too much. I'm scared to journal too much about how I'm feeling internally, scared that even what I write here could end up blowing up in my face. I don't want to scare her away. I love her. I don't want to end up alone, I don't want to end up not with my family. And practically speaking, ending up on my own sooner rather than later would make weight loss so, so much harder. Paying for working with trainers and co-pays for doctor appointments and meds and therapy really adds up. So I don't know, does it really make sense for me to lay all my cards on the table and risk losing everything *now* and lose out on time, critical time, with my family?

The depression and dysphoria is really, really hard right now though too. It's gotten much worse. And it affects how I interact with people beyond just those in my family. Which really isn't fair.

Even with the need to focus on weight loss for a long period of time, there are things I could be doing with this time. I could be working on facial hair removal, which I would really like to do, it's bothering me more and more. My hairline is further back than I'd like, and I don't know if something like finasteride might be an option for me. There's probably more I could do with my clothes. And I could probably talk to more people, and even consider working on what it feels like to hear different pronouns or even a different name said out loud to me. All of those things would be very, very validating and would probably help my mental state a lot, at least in some ways.

But without at least some level of acceptance in the home, none of that is possible. Or if I pursued any of those things, I'd face severe consequences. And without acceptance at home, it is really, really hard for me to work on self-acceptance.

I just keep thinking about whether this is the example I want to set for my daughter. Of hiding. We haven't talked to her yet, and the longer we wait, in many ways, probably the more difficult it will get. I worry that with a young elementary school aged kid, you just don't know who they would say something to. But waiting a few years means she would develop a more fixed sense of gender, making the discussion far more difficult from my understanding.

Walking around today, feeling like I was locked into the current state of my body just... forever. It just felt like I was doomed. I just don't know how I can live like that, without any sense of hope. Even if it's just the possibility of hope, I I think I probably need to have some belief that I can escape this torment.

I just really, really, really wish I could find a way I could do so while keeping my family and marriage intact.

Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2019, 01:58:17 am »
My marriage exploded because I was bottling my trans part up inside me, but never really know what I was doing.  I is impossible (at least it was for me) to suppress knowingly or unknowingly what your bain (and in my case it was also my body) wants you to be.
In my case it made me very angry and hateful, and this drove my wife eventually away.
These days, we are good friends again. She told me, she would have divorced me anyway, because she would not want to live in a lesbian relation.

You have to know for yourself, if you can live a life you hope to live.  If i would have known way back when, we would have gotten divorced in a civil manner, remained good friends, and I would not have become that destructive!

This is exactly what I worry about, that I am becoming so much worse of a person because of trying to hold things in. And even if my wife says she doesn't mind, I think she assuredly does. And what's worse, far far worse, is my daughter getting caught in the crossfire. I just can't have her growing up in a destructive household.

But this is exactly the issue, that my wife does not want to be in a relationship that is perceived as lesbian. I've tried to talk about how loving me would not make her a lesbian, as I'm just one person, but it's the perceptions that are really important to her. But also just being in a relationship with somebody she perceives as being a woman is deal-breaker for her. This is why I feel doomed.

I told my wife a couple of years ago and it was horrible!?!! I do love her.... But she said she was married to a man and she told me that I was sick...  She tried to wrap her head around it.... But can't. The more I tried to tell her, the more she pulled away... So I hid my feelings, dressed in secret, but always felt selfish and ashamed... I purged my wardrobe and tried to be the guy that people expected me to be.... My desphoria is at an all-time high, and my depression is at an all-time low..... I have an appointment with a counselor next week, but I don't know what to say.... I'm a Vet, so I go to the VA... I'm scared that my service records will read that I'm queer, gay, a total fruit..... But the truth is I don't know what I am!?!!!?

Thankfully my wife has been understanding enough to not call me sick. She has said she'd feel so much differently if I was just a friend that told her. I'm really, really sorry your wife used that language with you. That is so hard to hear.

I hope you are able to get some help with the VA. Just know that you are not sick, you are not a fruit, what we experience may not be what everybody feels, but the stats I have seen say that 1 out of every 100 or 200 people are going through something like this. That's not that rare! But I definitely end up feeling really bad and out of place when I feel not accepted, so I definitely understand. I wish I could stop using hurtful language with myself, but it is hard.

I am sorry that you are going through this.  It is hard for the person who is trans, and it is hard for the spouse.  perhaps harder for the spouse, because we have usually had years to come to terms with it; they have only had a short time.

Can you live without transition?  That is something that only you can answer.  Only you know how badly it hurts, and if you can take that amount of pain.

You talk about feeling guilty about being "the one" that would be the cause of a breakup, if that turns out to be what happens.  But it isn't just one person.  You two are a team.  Both of you bring something to the table.  You bring the need to transition.  She brings the need to have a man.  If those needs turn out to be incompatible, it is both of them together that are incompatible, not just one.

By all means try to make it easier for her.  But it would be a mistake to accept 100% of the guilt on your shoulders.

I definitely know how hard this is on her, and even the year she has had is not very long in the big scheme of things. I have so much empathy for the pain she is in, for the situation she is in.

I do appreciate your perspective here. Yes, these are her choices in how to respond too.


When I first came out to my wife, she didn’t seem concerned at all. I came to understand later that she didn’t understand at all what I had been trying to tell her. She thought I was just trying to connect with some feminine side as a male. That I just needed some freedom to be more feminine as a man. She totally wasn’t getting that I needed to take steps toward being the woman I am internally.

....

Like you, I have kept my physical appearance changes very minimal for the sake of my wife. She can’t stand the idea of me wearing women’s clothing or makeup. I have grown my hair out for the last four months and she is starting to get uncomfortable with that. It is not very long yet, but she has never seen me with hair longer than two inches or so. It’s maybe 5 or 6 inches now.

As for pronouns, I was just discussing this with my therapist yesterday. I am intentionally using male pronouns for now in public and at home. It hurts, but I am doing it to put some boundaries on myself for my wife’s sake. Whether or not it’s a sacrifice worth the pain, I purposely choosing to keep using male pronouns in public and around home because the more I affirm my feminine identity in my daily life, the faster I want to move toward complete transition. And I know my wife is definitely not ready for that. Not even close.

I can really relate to so much of this. Yes, I think my wife has hoped that if I can just embrace some femininity or something like that, I'd be good. My mom (who is a whole other story) had some of the same hopes.

My wife also has a complicated relationship with femininity in general, and has a hard time with "high femme" things like makeup, which I think I've only seen her wear on our wedding day. Dresses are very rare for her as well. And while those are not the biggest things for me, I probably have at least some curiosity. But for her, it just feels like a total betrayal. She had so many problems with mean girls growing up, and so it feels to some extent like she'd be living with one.

I have thought about experimenting with pronouns and name when working with my therapist, but quite frankly, I'm afraid that I'd like it too much, it would feel too validating, and that I'd have too hard a time going back and forth. It's... hard. I also have a lot of issues where it feels like I need to earn the right to use new pronouns. I've always had more of a mindset that I want to *become* a woman rather than I *am* internally a woman. And I guess maybe my brain has been working on getting its head around that, but I still sort of have a sense that I need to do more to be able to do that. Which I know is kind of dumb, but it's where my head is.

To answer the question in your thread title... for someone else.. no you can't. You just can't. Because you're not living your life at all. When someone else dictates how you live your life then what you're actually doing is living their life. Not your own. You're living how someone wants you to live. Not how you want to live. And that usually doesn't end well.

I get that significant others have problems with it. That it impacts them as much as it does you. That a life shared is a life shared... but sweetie, when it comes down to it, it's YOUR life. You have the right to be you as much as anyone else has the right to be them. To be asked to be someone you're not is akin to you asking your other half to be someone else, completely contrary to who they are. How would they feel about it?

You have to have control over your own life, hon."Can you...", it should be "Should you have to...". And in that, personally, I feel like no you shouldn't have to.

This is all really well put. And oof, it's a lot to take in. You're 100% right. I've just always been one to kind of roll over on my own needs, far far too often, to get out of conflict. It's hard to stand up for myself, when my self-worth is low. I mean I've always been a high achiever, and I can kind of have a mental respect for those achievements, but it's very hard to internalize that and turn it into self-worth. And feeling like I deserve to have my wishes respected.

It depends on your definition of transitioning, how far your wife will go and how bad your need is. We have a few people on the site who live as a woman but haven't had HRT or surgery. Their partners will accept this much but no more. If your need is mild, you could suppress it for a while longer but the urge never goes away and tends to get stronger with time.

The biggest danger you face is the melt down point where you reach the limit of your ability to suppress your feeling. Many members on the site including me reach this point and then there really isn't an option to transition. At that point, things need to happen fast and unfortunately there is no indication when you will reach that point.

The earlier you address this the better because it gives you time to work with your wife. It might take time and therapy for both of you but that's the only way you might be able to save the relationship.

I think the challenge is that based on my understanding, even living as a woman without HRT or surgery if to her, she perceived me as a woman, would be too much. And right now I might already be at that line.

My last therapy session ended with me breaking down when she suggested that at some point I would probably need to transition, that this was clearly important to me.

So I don't know where I'm at on the breaking point scale right now, but I'm really not doing so great with trying to stay in the closet. Keeping my mouth shut on Coming Out Day was hard too.

None of us can see the future. Or with any accuracy predict what another will do. When things like this come to challenge a marriage the best thing, I feel, is to be open and honest. To ask for open and honesty back. My proposition is if all your cards are laid on the table, as you see them - then it is the other partners "choice" what they do.
I came out to my wife 2 and half years ago. Initially she was excepting, then put in draconian measures to limit me to only being me (female) in secret. That hurt and instead of talking, I took it internally. She told me that there was no way she could live with me if I "became" female.

Gender dysphoria does not go away, it is something you need to deal with - a therapist is a good start.
From reading on here, the one thing that struck me was communication is usually the key to maintaining a marriage (and a good marriage your both committed to as well). So I started talking about how it felt, my suicidal feelings, the pain. I asked if I could make some small changes to help with the GD. First I changed my jeans over to female ones. I kept talking, explaining what I was feeling. Made sure she understood how this is not a choice for me. I asked her to tell me how she was feeling, what was "too much" for her. It seems a very slow process, but looking back, in just over two years and now I am on HRT, wear only female androgynous clothing, have long hair, paint my nails regularly and have no body hair. I still present as male but look effeminate (especially with mascara on :) ) and my body shape is very feminine.
My wife's current fears are "what the neighbours will think" and "how I will maintain my business". The last "talk" we had she said "I still would not be married if you presented female full-time" - A huge change in her original statement (from live with, to just married). She then went on "but, I see no reason why we would not still live together, I mean we love each other, right?". She then went on to remark on how far she had come in acceptance over the last 2 years.
Like you, I adore my wife, could not live without her. A lot of people would say I was wrong in this, it's my life after all. That is true, but my life would be poorer without her and my daughter. Regardless of what gender I am, I am still the person she married and fell in love with. By giving her a say in how fast we go, by including her in what is going on with my therapist and my brain she feels a little more in control. We went out shopping a few days ago, she picked me up a lovely blouse/shirt to wear on holiday, insisted I get it (as it would look lovely on me). There is no way that would of happened when I came out to her.

If you love your wife and you prize your marriage then work together. Compromise. Little things can make the GD a little better, they are even better if you have the blessing of your partner to do that. Little things over the time add up. It is not all one way either, I have challenged things she was not comfortable with. Long hair being a major one. In the end I said that it was too important in reducing the GD, pointed out that a lot of men have long hair. Compromised on having it pulled into a ponytail when out. That has slipped to being only when I am out on business.

It is a shock for a partner to be presented with a trans partner. By making them see you have no choice, including them in how you tackle your dysphoria and listening to their fears you then have the knowledge that it is their choice if they stay or go. For me, that is priceless. I do not want to blow up my marriage, I want to be married to her for the rest of my life. She knows that, she trusts my fidelity and honesty. She also knows that I am female, that there is nothing I can do about that and that I am doing everything I can to make this as easy as possible on both of us.

Thank you very much for sharing your story. Honestly this is the hope that I have had for us. That I could change some small things, we could see how they go, and just adjust. I don't have to do everything at once. I have to do things somewhat slowly due to the weight loss anyhow. And frankly this stuff can feel scary for me too. Too much all at once is hard for me.

I too have switched over to women's jeans and a lot of more semi-androgynous women's clothes, things aren't too obvious but that help me feel better. Cardigans are my jam. My hair and nails are longer. I switched over from glasses to contacts so I wouldn't have to decide between male or female glasses. My hair is almost shoulder length now, which really really helps. Although not having enough hair at the temples is hard. I shave my chest, which helps.

But I just don't know I can go much further. It's hard.

Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2019, 08:22:13 am »
As we were going to sleep last night, I was just thinking over and over about the impossibility of the situation, and I started hyperventilating. Maybe not quite a full-on panic attack, but I wasn't doing very well. My wife helped me through it, and we ended up talking, although it took me a while before I could get anything out, because it just felt like the end of everything to be able to say what I was feeling.

I was able to share that the depression and dysphoria have been really hard lately, which I think she had picked up on. And that I just didn't know if I could keep going the way I am currently doing things for the rest of my life. But that I hadn't wanted to talk about it or even about how I was hurting, because I was scared of that driving her away. There was no magical solution that we came up with. We both love each other very much, and neither of us wants to hurt each other. But her orientation is important to her, just as my identity is important to me, and I can respect and understand that. She'd rather have us talking than having herself trying to come up with her own guesses as to what I'm thinking. And we don't have to come up with a solution right now. But the possibility is still that the solution is that we are not together which breaks my heart.

It's still hard because I told her that it's difficult for me to not have acceptance at home. And she says she accepts this is a part of me, but that's different than actively accepting being married to a woman. Which I get. But it still means that I feel there's barriers as to what I can share about what I'm thinking and what's going on for me mentally. If there are boundaries she doesn't feel she can handle me crossing, then I can't safely share anything about me that would be in that danger zone, at least not without consequences I'd really like for us to avoid right now.

I don't know, it was a good discussion, and I'm glad we had it. Maybe we can continue talking and that will help. I don't know that it will solve the fundamental challenges we have, but talking is maybe better than not. My trying to just hold everything in and be strong was not working so well for me.

Thanks for listening everybody.

Offline ChrissyRyan

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2019, 08:29:39 am »
One day I will reach the tipping point and go full time no matter what.  I have not reached that tipping point yet.  It can be soooooo tough on some days giving the facade of being a male to the world.

So... I simply enjoy each day for what it brings, being grateful for all things.

Hugs,

Chrissy
Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Kirsteneklund7

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2019, 11:33:56 am »
As we were going to sleep last night, I was just thinking over and over about the impossibility of the situation, and I started hyperventilating. Maybe not quite a full-on panic attack, but I wasn't doing very well. My wife helped me through it, and we ended up talking, although it took me a while before I could get anything out, because it just felt like the end of everything to be able to say what I was feeling.

I was able to share that the depression and dysphoria have been really hard lately, which I think she had picked up on. And that I just didn't know if I could keep going the way I am currently doing things for the rest of my life. But that I hadn't wanted to talk about it or even about how I was hurting, because I was scared of that driving her away. There was no magical solution that we came up with. We both love each other very much, and neither of us wants to hurt each other. But her orientation is important to her, just as my identity is important to me, and I can respect and understand that. She'd rather have us talking than having herself trying to come up with her own guesses as to what I'm thinking. And we don't have to come up with a solution right now. But the possibility is still that the solution is that we are not together which breaks my heart.

It's still hard because I told her that it's difficult for me to not have acceptance at home. And she says she accepts this is a part of me, but that's different than actively accepting being married to a woman. Which I get. But it still means that I feel there's barriers as to what I can share about what I'm thinking and what's going on for me mentally. If there are boundaries she doesn't feel she can handle me crossing, then I can't safely share anything about me that would be in that danger zone, at least not without consequences I'd really like for us to avoid right now.

I don't know, it was a good discussion, and I'm glad we had it. Maybe we can continue talking and that will help. I don't know that it will solve the fundamental challenges we have, but talking is maybe better than not. My trying to just hold everything in and be strong was not working so well for me.

Thanks for listening everybody.
ReyOfStarshine have you checked out Emma's thread, "So I Am Trans Now What ? " or conversed with Emma?
 You may find much in common.

 Kind regards, Kirsten.

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Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2019, 12:14:46 pm »
ReyOfStarshine have you checked out Emma's thread, "So I Am Trans Now What ? " or conversed with Emma?
 You may find much in common.

 Kind regards, Kirsten.

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I think I have seen that thread from time to time in the recent unread posts list, but I have not read it yet. I tried searching for it right now but could not find it. If you have a link or the forum category it is in, I would be interested in reading that, thank you. I am still pretty new here, and while I’d like to think I’m fairly savvy at most things technical, sometimes forums can be tricky.

Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2019, 12:29:42 pm »
Found the thread! https://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,248609.0.html
Fantastic. Worth a read.

 Kirsten.

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Offline Bittydrew

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2019, 12:54:16 pm »
Your story reminds me of my own still trying to come to terms also one day she says she supports me then next day she says she don't want to be married to a woman.....and keeps flipping I've really decided to do what makes me happy can't make everyone happy and she will have to make her decision on her own .....if we stay together fine but if we don't that will have to be her decision.....

Offline Kate.claire

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2019, 04:22:29 pm »
i struggled with these questions forever and it just became too much to bear at some point.  I found a gender therapist extremely helpful, and within 6 months of those appointments, I was on HRT.  Agree with the other girls here... at some point, you will likely find that you HAVE to start making some choices for yourself, because denying yourself destroys you anyways. 

In my case, a year down the road on HRT, and I’ve found a happy balance.  I don’t have any plans to socially transition, wife is happy because I’m a better version of myself again.  Strangely enough,  being happy again has been enough for me,  and it didn’t require me to blow up my life.  Definitely true that weight loss isn’t going to get any easier though.  On the other hand, I’m pretty convinced that testosterone was “poison” for me anyways...  so many past scalp, acne, and dermatitis issues are a thing of the past now.  My hair even came back somewhat... somewhat.



Offline ReyOfStarshine

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Re: Can I live the rest of my life without transition?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2019, 11:19:58 am »
I've been quiet, as we went on a long road trip to a wedding, and that ended up being really emotional. Feeling like I wouldn't fit in if people knew what all was going on with me. seeing in-laws that I care about and not knowing if I'd see them again at least in the same way if everything falls apart, which is what I fear. Seeing wedding things like a father-daughter dance and thinking about my daughter and what it would take for me to try to hold out for some level of normalcy for my daughter, what that would end up doing to my mental health, how that would warp how I act around everybody around me. And conversely, what would happen if I can't go that route, if I end up having to take actions to ease this constant distress, and our family falls apart, and what *that* would do to my daughter and her life.

I just feel like there are not a lot of good options. I've talked a bit more openly with my wife about how hard this is for me, that I might not be able to just hang on as I am forever, and that's obviously very distressing for her. I get that, I'm very sorry that this is happening, and that this may well end up hurting her in irreparable ways. I just feel completely awful about that. i just don't want to be a person that is making choices that ends up hurting somebody I care about.

But the flip side is that I *am* doing that, it's just that the person I'm hurting is myself. And I've been able to justify that because, frankly, I put myself pretty low on the priority scale. My wife says she loves me more than I love me, and she's probably not wrong.

I've been catching up on Emma's thread, it's quite long, but very good, and I do see some similarities. My wife is just very adamant that her identity and orientation are really crystal clear to her, she already feels like she's lost her husband, and that some of the qualities she fell in love with me were tied to the aspects of me that were masculine. And so all this is very, very hard.

At her recent therapy, they had mostly talked about how she needed to do more to take care of herself. So I was feeling, well, maybe I do need to make some more choices based on feeling a little better, even if they aren't ideal for her. Not necessarily radical choices, but maybe just some more clothing things. I have lost a good amount of weight, and my underwear is a lot larger than it needs to be right now, so I had some thought of trying to update that and maybe try to get something more affirming than the tighty whitey Hanes underwear I've bought forever. Something with less of a line when I wear leggings. And I mentioned that, and my wife immediately tensed up, and I could see that I had hit a trigger point that I didn't know existed. And I get it, I can understand how that could be tough. She had been mostly supportive of clothing changes, so I thought this would be relatively safe. But it ended up leading to a lot of difficult feelings and discussions.

It got pretty bad last night, and I got into a pretty disassociative state. I felt so detached from my body, like there was only a small part of my brain left active, and it was only able to make my body move by sending signals through jello or something like that. Disassociating is not completely new to me, but this was one of the worse moments.

It's just... hard.

I feel like I could more easily take this day by day if I felt like there was some hope for the future. But it feels like either I try to just keep on as I am, and I just don't know how long I can keep that up mentally. Or I can try to do some of the things necessary to start feeling better, but doing that is very likely to lead to my family falling apart, which just leads to a different type of depression, and a lot of economic insecurity for all of us.

None of this has to be decided today. I still have a very very very long road of weight loss ahead of me. There are things I could do during that time to feel better besides HRT, but it just feels like so many of those things are crossing a red line.

So I don't know. I'll work on today I guess. That's really all I can do.

Saturday will be a year since I told my wife. We've come this far, I feel good about that. I just hope we can last another year, and I wish with all my heart many more.

It's just so painful that I'm causing this much pain to her. I never wanted to do that.

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