Community Conversation > Significant Others talk

Could use some encouragement

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mamatree:
Yes, we've talked about everything.

But I feel horrible whenever I tell him my feelings and fears because I want to be supportive. He is such a caring and loving person that I am truly afraid he'll ignore his needs in order to be supportive of me -though he says he won't. I can tell though, how scared he is when I tell him these things. And he's already starting from such a place of fear and shame that I feel like I am hurting him badly when I express doubts.

We have a very loving and communicative relationship -in fact, I would have said that we've always openly talked about everything. Not true, it turns out. I 100% understand why he never told me (or even admitted to himself) the gender identity situation...but at the same time, my cards have always been all out on the table and I thought we were building a mutually desired life together. Now I don't know if there can be a mutually desired life in which both of us live authentically. At the same time, divorcing feels like a half-life as well.

In some ways, our life right now is better than it has ever been. I can tell he's happier, and our bond feels stronger. It feels more intimate. ...But he also hasn't made any decisions regarding his identity and hasn't begun to transition, other than doing some more feminine things -growing his hair out, painting his nails, shaving body hair. Some of these things have been ok for me, but other things, like long hair, have been harder. I find long hair very unattractive, and the fact that I haven't been able to adjust to it really worries me. (It has been long for about 18 months, but I didn't know it was related to gender identity during most of that time). Long hair seems like the most minor of physical changes that might happen.

Am I doomed to just live with a certain level of unhappiness? Maybe that is what I need to resign myself to.

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Gertrude:
I haven't transitioned yet, but my only advice is see a therapist that understands this and that it takes some time. Your spouse is going to have to figure it out and what works best for them. I can only tell you that there's a lot of bump and grind at times and in my own experience, it's not only the shame and indoctrination for me, but the fear of losing a relationship and having my world turned upside down. So the contention for me is between being fully authentic and being safe. I don't think I can stay in the middle for the rest of my life. A good book about a hetero couple going through this is She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Another is My Husband is a Woman Now by Leslie Fabian. Anecdotally from what I've read, about one third of relationships continue. I wish you the best of luck and I hope it works out for the best for everyone involved.

SarahEL:
I think Devlyn really hit it on the head and you say this is happening anyway, but communication all the way through is important. Also therapy is essential for your husband and you, so you can both find what you need out of this life.
One thing to remember though, whatever happens this is rarely a choice and as such no blame should be cast between you.
Me and my wife have been dealing with this for 3 years now, and to all intents and purposes she is like you - unable to live within a lesbian relationship. We have tried very hard but just as I cannot be forced to be male, neither can I expect her to be forced to change her sexuality.
Some people cope, and that is lovely, but keeping the communication going means at least you both will get something out of your futures and possibly remain the best of friends..
I hope it all works out for you.
xx

RobynD:
Whatever does happen, just by coming here and putting this out there, shows your love and care for your spouse. That reaction is far different from what many others experience and you have every right to be proud of your relationship, the communication, and the love you have built for one another.

Other than the advice to see LGTBQ+ aware/trained therapist, the one thing I can offer is to take things slowly on relationship assumptions or decisions. You have plenty of time and maybe more options that you can currently see. You've got each other and that's a big deal, whatever the future brings in terms of your marriage, work to hold on to caring and friendship. 

Nadine Spirit:
Hi, sorry for your difficulties.  That super sucks to have this come out of the blue. 

I'm not sure where you are headed, but I can let you know what has happened in my case.  I considered myself a cross dresser for years.  My wife knew and we frequently would go out with me dressed that way.  She said "I am fine with this but if you ever transition I WILL leave."  Well, I changed my hormones in 2017, and in 2018 I socially and legally transitioned.  Are we still together?  Yes. 

Why?  Hard to say exactly.  She is bisexual, but was clear she married a man for a reason and at one point wanted it to stay that way.  We are more educated now on trans issues and concerns.  My changing my hormones also dramatically changed our relationship in that I stopped being a massive jerk like all of the time.  So that was nice!  We also communicate frequently, like annoyingly so. 

In your circumstance I am not sure how it can work, sorry.  I often say to people that relationships can work with transition, but there needs to be lots of communication AND a workable solution to people's sex drive.  I am trans and cannot change that.  I am also attracted to females and that is not changed either.  I cannot possibly fathom trying to say to anyone, hey I know that ______ does not turn you on, but just deal with it and do it anyway.  Um, no.  Not an option.  Though I will say that possibly, maybe very tiny possibly, maybe you might be a little bi sexual?  If so then I think it could work.  Well that or you agree to polyamory, which you already said no to, or to having an asexual marriage.  I suppose those could work, and in fact I know of some who are doing those very things.  But I know for me that could not work.  You gotta do you boo!

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