Spouses of Transgender Community Group

Being transgender it's not easy but neither for their spouses. This group is created with the intention of helping and getting to know others that are in. the same situation or to just educate those that are on the other side of the fence and want to know how does it feel or how would it feel to be a spouse of a transgender person. The main objective of this group is to educate, help and support others that have no one to talk to or can not find someone that will understand what they are go

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Finally ok to breathe

So, I am finally able to breathe. I have spoken with my spouse and tried to just list what I am ok with and express where I am at. Basically, I told him I married a man, I see him as a man, and that's it. Period. I am not calling him by another name because I do not see him as anyone but who I married. I told him I was ok with his dressing at home, I was ok with his dressing androgenously around town, BUT I was going out to plays and on dates with my husband. PERIOD. That's it. He said that at this time he is happy and feeling like his outside reflects his inside. So for now, I am going to stop thinking about it, I am going to stop fretting, BUT I am not going to stop planning or preparing for life without him. I do not know how long his "authentic" self is going to be insync. I am going to continue planning for my future, I am going to curtail my spending, continue trying diligently to save and to squirrel away all that I can. I am going to make sure all my bills are paid and I have limited to no outstanding debt. If we stay together, wonderful we'll start retirement with more.  If not, at least I will be a bit more financially prepared. That will relieve some stress.  


I have to admit, it is a relief to finally have a decision made one way or another. I will be going to a therapist, but just knowing what I can and can't deal with and being able to be honest and frank about it really helps us both. If he gets to the point where he needs to go further, then we can revisit things, but at least I am standing up for myself and I can verbalize what I can and can not handle. What a relief.


I feel like a backpack of bolders has been lifted off my shoulders and back. It's quite freeing.

Replies

Leonie64
Leonie64

It must be such a relief 17, I know you've been through so much turmoil and heartache these last months. You're being realistic too, planning ahead in case things change.
Speaking up for yourself and articulating what you can deal with is a huge step. At least you know if you have to keep working for a while you'll be earning and saving.
Sending you hugs and best wishes xxx
Gutted
Gutted

Congratulations on emotionally blackmailing your husband into standing in the box you chose for him. It's nice that he has a wife willing to take charge of such a personal aspect of his life and dictate all his personal choices based on how she perceives him. I mean, there's no need to allow your grown husband to make choices for himself or anything like that, cause he's definitely not going to independently do all that on his own.

I'm thrilled that limiting his choices makes YOU feel relieved. After all, this is all about you and how you feel and what you want and how much you feel comfortable with him expressing himself, right?

And the icing on the cake is that you are going to continue to prepare to leave him. I'm sure you made that perfectly clear to him, cause we wouldn't want him to think for one moment that he was a real human being and allowed to make choices for himself, right?

That there are people here willing to pat you on the back for that behavior is truly depraved.

This is what total non-acceptance looks like:

-I married a man, I see him as a man, and that's it. Period.
Translation: It does not matter to me one little bit how you see yourself or what you feel. It's up to me to tell you who and what you are.

-I am not calling him by another name because I do not see him as anyone but who I married.
Translation: Being transgender is not real. Don't expect me to ever accept this about you. Don't even!

-I was ok with his dressing at home
Translation:What you are is shameful. I'll tolerate it to hang onto you, your income and our marriage. Allowing you to be yourself in the privacy of our home is a consolation prize and you should be satisfied with that small accommodation.

-I was ok with his dressing androgenously around town, BUT I was going out to plays and on dates with my husband. PERIOD. That's it.
Translation: What you are is shameful. Don't be obvious about it in public. Pretend you are something your not when we go out because I honestly prefer a blatant lie over the real you.

-So for now, I am going to stop thinking about it, I am going to stop fretting
Translation: I controlled my husband, ran right over all his rights and dictated what he was allowed to do and be, so I can take a break now.

-BUT I am not going to stop planning or preparing for life without him.
Translation: Cause my husband being transgender is really all about me, me, me. I'm the only one who matters.

-I do not know how long his "authentic" self is going to be insync.
Translation: I know he's placating me and soon all my strict rules won't be enough for him because he's walking down a path towards becoming a different person. A person I never expressly gave him permission to be and therefore am not willing to accept.

-I am going to continue planning for my future
Translation: Because when push comes to shove, I'm the only one who really matters, baby.

-I will be going to a therapist
Translation: That will just be for show and to string my hubbie along a bit while I pretend to wrestle back and forth about this huge life issue. Don't worry girls, I already made up my mind no to be supportive. In fact, I'll probably do everything I can to sabotage his progress every step of the way, all the while pretending to be emotional, confused and discombobulated.
Leonie64
Leonie64

"That there are people here willing to pat you on the back for that behaviour is truly depraved."

Nope, what's truly depraved is child exploitation, serial killers, rapists and terrorists.

Translation of everything you said: spouses don't matter, our lives don't count, what he wants is the most important thing in the world and heaven forbid if we have anything to say about it.

Now go away - this group is for support, not judgement and harassment. If you don't like it, go elsewhere. The hurt you are causing is intolerable.
Leonie64
Leonie64

YS, you are on fire.
Gutted
Gutted

I honestly never expected this much spirited conversation about trying to introduce an ounce of compassion into the conversation.

YS: People resort to profanity when they lack the capacity for rational discourse. Sorry you are taking this so personally.

Leonie64:

Definition of depraved:
morally corrupt; wicked.
"a depraved indifference to human life"

I think being totally indifferent to a human being's life choices is the correct use of this word. The dictionary I used didn't specify 'child exploitation, serial killers, rapists and terrorists'. That's your skewed perception of what the word means. If you are wrong about this, then isn't there even a small possibility you could be wrong about your feelings on this subject?
Sylph
Sylph

Agree with newstart here. A relationship is a two way thing, give and take, compromise. Gutted, you seem to think that we spouses/partners (I'm not married) should totally accept everything, be 100% supportive. Why the hell SHOULD we put our partners first? If that is your argument, why shouldn't they put us first? It's supposed to be an equal partnership for heavens sake!
Your reply to 17 is totally uncalled for. What she and her husband have done is made a wishlist - I have done similar - a technique that is encouraged by many gender and couple therapists. It is a useful guide for going forward and, again, that magic word that you don't like - compromise, a partnership, looking after EACH OTHER.
You say that we are making demands and using emotional blackmail against our partners, and trying to control them, yet on the other hand you seem to want us all to bow to EVERYTHING our partners want. In other words, to allow them to blackmail and control US unquestioningly.
Things don't work like that. I am no doormat, neither would he want me to be (and he is still a he, doesn't want to use female pronouns or have a femme name, thank you very much). We are working through things TOGETHER.
gallinarosa
gallinarosa

At the risk of offending some of the ladies here with whom I I gotten so much support, I want to be fair and say that Gutted does have some relevant points. But what Gutted truly sucks at is expressing any of those in a compassionate way.

Gutted, I actually agree with the content of some things you mention. Dead-naming is hurtful to transfolk, as are actions and words that shame them or force them to stay in the closet. BUT (and this is a huge but), in the context of marriage, changing names and pronouns, being proud of someone's transness, and supporting them as they transition, ARE ACTIONS THAT HAVE TO BE ARRIVED AT GRADUALLY. Spouses cannot be expected to make all of those emotional and life-altering changes at the snap of the fingers. And to get to that point, WE NEED A LOT OF HELP AND SUPPORT ALONG THE WAY TOO -- JUST AS MUCH AS OUR TRANS SPOUSE! You seem to not understand that. If you came here and were sympathetic to our journeys and at the same time tried to point out what we could work towards to help our spouse and create a stronger marriage, then maybe some of the people here would actually listen to you and you would be doing good in the world instead of causing pain. Right now, all you do is make people feel worse and feel angry, and often make them hate transness more. This is terrible for us and our spouses and you don't help anyone in this. You drive a bigger spike and more distant between the two sides.

Please, if you have a point to make, find a nicer, more effective way to express it. Or don't come at all.

17, I am glad for you finding a place of peace for now. You will need it to move forward eventually. I hope your therapist can help you and your husband find a way to make compromises that are acceptable and healthy for your relationship. Where you are now is good because now you can tackle one thing at a time when you are both ready. Hugs.
Gutted
Gutted

1newstart,
I get the feeling that you haven't fully accepted that:

1. Your spouse expressing her true gender is a basic human right the rest of us take for granted. It's kind of strange for us to think we have any right to interfere with that.

2. This situation is not something she chose, but rather something she feels compelled to do to be true to herself. If she does not have a choice, then it stands to reason that she can't give you something that she never had to begin with. Are you insinuating that your spouse should have just kept stuffing this inside and played along after she realized simply so those around her could continue with the 'normal' life they thought they were owed?

2. There is a difference between 'going along with' and being truly supportive.

3. I too live in a conservative area. I too am concerned about what my neighbors think. That's why I would never scream at kids in the yard, walk around naked outside, and do other embarrassing things in public. THE ONE THING I WOLD NEVER COMPROMISE ON IS MY HUBBIE'S RIGHT TO EXPRESS HIS GENDER IN PUBLIC. That is simply not something I find shameful or embarrassing. I would however go to the mat every single time an A-hole makes a crude comment for him. In case you are wondering, he does that for me as well. We're fierce in protection of each other and some of that spills out in my posts.

4. Regarding pronouns. Hubbie likes to express both his feminine and masculine side. We use the gender pronoun of the moment depending on how he's presenting. Any hint of fem and I use she in conjunction of terms like pretty, delicate, adorable, cute, beautiful. Whereas when he's full on male, I use he in conjunction with terms like buff, hot, manly, masculine, rough and tumble, stuff like that. Respecting his different moods with proper verbal feedback always puts a smile on his face, because he knows I really get him like very few people in his life every have.

There's no need to make this so freaking hard. This isn't something she's doing to be selfish and let's be real honest, in this day and age being trans is not so strange and unusual that we can't get our head around what our spouse needs from us.

Yes, it's hard to get on board but think about this from another prospective. If your hubbie just realized she had a medical issue instead of a transgender issue and it was going to take her down a path where the two of you would have to resort to something other than penetrative sex, I doubt you would be feeling much of what you do. Some small part of your brain won't let go of the idea that she's choosing this thing over you and your feelings. I gotta say, from the outside looking in I see just the opposite from your posts. Your spouse seems almost desperate to somehow hold onto the best thing in her life while she's going through the worse stress she's ever known.
Gutted
Gutted

gallinarosa, I don't particularly disagree with anything you've said. I just want to say that this board is full of mostly women stroking each other's egos for being fairly non-supportive of their transitioning spouses. If I can be accused of having a gift in this world it is snark. I make an attempt to use it wisely and for the forces of good.

Sometimes people need a hard jolt of reality and brutal honesty injected into their hum-drum self-serving prattle. Enter me. You are right I could be a whole lot nicer, but then again many of you who have been here a while could be doing a much better job of re-framing the conversation in a way to help newbies move forward in a positive way, but alas you are not.

Three people have PM's me already to say I blasted them out of their rut and got them moving in the right direction. I'm guessing those people know better than to post that, lest the more rabid members set loose the hounds of hell upon them. I kind of know how that feels at this point.
gallinarosa
gallinarosa

Gutted, I am surprise your tactics can be helpful to anyone in this situation, but to each their own, I guess.

I feel like the vast majority of the advice I see here is: hang in there, you are not alone, get counseling, communicate. We are all at different stages but we have all come here for a common reason. We feel isolated by this situation. I don't know what your story is, but many of us have been married for 20-30 years or more to a man, in a heterosexual relationship, with absolutely no idea that they were a woman inside. I'm sorry, but there is no way to sugarcoat what an incredible upset that is to the life you thought you knew. There is no way for most humans to just immediately, change all of our perceptions of our spouse and our relationship, even if mentally we know the truth now. Our brains don't work like that. I am wondering if maybe you did not have that same situation. It is HARD. Plus, many of our husbands don't present female yet, so it just makes it harder in some ways to accept at a more base level what they are telling us. Not that we think they are lying. Not that we don't want to believe. Additionally, some of us have no one to talk to about this except our spouse. And just as they might feel awkward about telling us everything they feel, we are the same. It feels downright weird. I come from a very liberal background and spent most of my life in very LGBT-friendly places with friends of all kinds. I have met very few transfolk though and none who came out after being in long-term relationships. I have NEVER thought about this until the day my husband came out. And he would like me to keep it a secret, so I found out and then sat around wondering if I was the only person in the world going through this. That is how this board is the most helpful. And I think that is why we are supportive and nice to each other, even when someone has a very not-PC feeling to express. Our therapists will correct us when we get like that. This is not meant to be psychological intervention.

It's too bad that while you have valid points, you have attacked so many people that now everyone is defensive rather than receptive.
Gutted
Gutted

gallinarosa, I've been married to a non-gender conforming spouse for 17 years. We met on line. He was living in the UK and I'm from the US. He moved here, we hit it off and he packed up and came stateside.

I believe it was easier for him to disclose his feelings to me about this as we chatted online. We'd never even met and told each other everything. Though I never thought about gender conformity in any other sense than simply cross dressing, It sounded fun and sexy to me.

I have a degree in psychology and worked in the mental health field for most of my life. Strangely enough I remember admitting someone to the psychiatric hospital I worked at and assigning him a room with another male, only to later discover he was pre-op trans. If it hadn't come up in conversation with his therapist, I don't any of us would have figured it out. My initial reaction was umm, can't believe nothing in his presentation tipped me off. I also had a gay friend who loved to do drag. We spent a lot of time shopping and I sometimes took pics of his show for him and his boyfriend.

I wasn't a total novice, but to my mind it was something that didn't directly impact me as a woman. I do admit to always noticing men dressed as women and secretly being fascinated by it. That's a whole different ball game from supporting a truly trans spouse.

I struggled with what would happen to our marriage if he decided to one day transition fully. At first it was odd and offputting to think of my hubbie having a female body and that I would be touching it. We used our good logic and I realized that I was much more flexible than I ever knew.
gallinarosa
gallinarosa

See, Gutted, you have a different perspective which could be useful to some of us who are hoping to preserve the marriage but are still not seeing how it is going to work. BUT, a huge difference is that you knew he was TG when you met. You consciously decided to get into a relationship with someone who is transgender and you have spent 17 years building your life and identity around that. We, one the other hand, have built our lives and identities around something that just... disappeared. We found out it was a phantom. I have no hard feelings, personally, about being "misled" because I understand why it unfolded the way it did, but that doesn't make the shift in mental landscape any easier to deal with. You may have been attracted to your spouse because you found CD sexy or fascinating, but some of these women (not me) were attracted to a burly or macho guy who was overcompensating in the opposite direction from how they felt inside. If that was those women's type and it changes that drastically, that really alters the attraction level. You say it didn't directly impact you as a woman, but maybe that is because you built your married identity around already knowing his gender issues. We are all entwined in this world and our identities are effected by those close to us. We wouldn't be a wife without a husband or a parent without a child. Those are just broad, sweeping concepts. There are more subtle impacts. For instance, I am not very girly. In the past, at times, I have been self-conscious about it. But having my husband there as the man in the house, without him even needing to be super manly, by comparison, let me feel more womanly. If he starts expressing his feminine side more than I do, I will feel (at least in the beginning) less feminine. Some of my old insecurities may arise. I might feel the need to keep up with him even if it is not MY authentic self. I know all these things can be worked out but there are dozens of things that pop in your head like this when the information is new to you and it is hard to manage. And that is without even getting into how other people will see and treat you and safety concerns, etc.

The airplane that is our marriage has been compromised. The air masks have fallen from the ceiling. This is where many of us are right now. We are just trying to get on our own mask before we can help our spouse (or kids or families...).

I hope one day to feel as fiercely protective of the trans community as you do, but I know I am not there yet. Be a useful resource to those of us struggling, and I'd welcome you to stick around. I can't speak on behalf of everyone else though.
Gutted
Gutted

Thanks for the meeting me halfway post. I'll be sure to respond in kind from now on. You airplane analogy drove the point home that this totally not what you thought you life would be. When you've thought about gender and sexuality as fluidly as I have for so many years, it's hard to see another POV.

One thing in particular caught my attention. The issue about feeling insecure around your husband if he achieves a higher level of femininity. I feel this sometimes too.

I wonder if developing totally different feminine styles would help. There is a huge difference between classical, modern, vintage, grunge, goth and sporty female dress. It would probably make the issue less pronounced if he chose a different style from you. Then you wouldn't be prone to do the compare and contrast thing. What do you think?
zindagi
zindagi

GR
So eloquently put. Thank you!
Leonie64
Leonie64

"At the risk of offending some of the ladies here with whom I gotten so much support, I want to be fair and say that Gutted does have some relevant points. But what Gutted truly sucks at is expressing any of those in a compassionate way."

No offence taken at all GR, you always comment so eloquently. We come here for help, support and to share our thoughts and journeys, not to be judged or called names or harangued for expressing our feelings. There are so few resources for spouses/partners that to finally find somewhere with people in similar situations is a huge relief as one often feels quite alone. To then be told by some self righteous person that we are uncaring, unsupportive and truly depraved is beyond the pale.

These kinds of rants are especially unhelpful because some of our spouses/partners only want to tell us - my husband is happy with just me and his therapist knowing. That is HIS choice and he made it before telling me about his dysphoria. It is HIS view that there's a spectrum, and he has zero interest in coming out publicly, surgery or a female name or pronouns and I respect all of that. And if someone's significant other wants to go public/transition/start hormones/have surgery then it's surely respectful and considerate to negotiate how to do that with their life partner, who may or will find that challenging depending on their circumstances. These things take time - for most people anyway.

So enough with the "translations", sweeping generalisations and judgemental comments. It is hurtful, disrespectful and insensitive.
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