OurPath Open Forum

This Open Forum is funded and administered by OurPath, Inc., (formerly the Straight Spouse Network). OurPath is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support to Straight Partners and Partners of Trans People who have discovered that their partner is LGBT+. Your contribution, no matter how small, helps us provide our community with this space for discussion and connection.


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

January 10, 2022 8:24 pm  #11

Re: Feel lost

Nadine and Dobie,
    I was 61 when my then husband, who was 58, dropped his trans bomb.  We'd been married 32 years.  I stayed for three years, until the escalating demands, manipulation, and anger on his part when I expressed any sort of discomfort with his gender expression and behavior became too much for me.  
  At first I had hoped that now that he could be his "authentic" self, he would finally become the partner he had never been.  (Need I say this didn't happen...).  I participated fully in his sexual acting out of his woman persona--and like you, Dobie, that sex was tinged by sado-masochism.  I wonder if you have found, as I did, that the whole "I want to be a woman" was essentially sexual.  When my ex first told me about his trans identity, he outlined his expectations for sex before anything else!  And in outlining them, his "masochism" was first on the list, even before "being penetrated" in order to "play the part of a woman"!  At the time I was so shocked by the revelation itself that I was in no frame of mind to ask myself why it was that his entire idea of woman revolved around sexual expression.  Even the clothes he wanted to wear were women's lingerie: bras, stockings, camis, etc.   Later I discovered the work of Michael Bailey ("The Man Who Would Be Queen" which is available for downloading online as a pdf), Ray Blanchard (psychologist/sexologist), and the transwoman and MD Anne Lawrence, all of whom outlined the sexual paraphilia autogynephilia, which motivates most of the late-transitioning males.  (Anne Lawrence also maintains an online presence.) 

It is a terrible thing for us in our 60s to have this trans bomb dropped in our laps.  As you say, it leaves one feeling cheated, out of the past and the future we had worked for for decades of married lives.

 I divorced my now ex when I was 64.  I was able to do so because I had a professional job and a pension of my own, and have since retired.  My retirement is secure enough, but of course it's not what it should have been, and would have been.  I will say this, though: my life out of that crazy is infinitely better than it was before when I lived with his volatility, his snits, his moods, his anger, his manipulation, his envy of my femaleness, his appropriation of my femininity, and his objectionably sexist portrayal of woman.   I am still dealing with the trauma that is the result of those three years I lived with him between his bomb drop and my leaving, but I am in a much healthier frame of mind now. 



January 11, 2022 5:20 pm  #12

Re: Feel lost

Thank you so much to everyone who has replied and reached out, I can't tell you how much comfort it has brought me already. Knowing there are people in the world offering support and  understanding having experienced a similar situation really does help me.
We took the decision to separate last night. It was all very amicable, and I know, it's the right decision for me. 
He told me he couldn't live with me if he is a man and I told him I couldn't live with him if he is a woman.
I told him he had to take this journey without me holding him back and that I was setting him free.
He replied by telling me he was setting me free too.
I keep bursting into tears, can't stop sometimes, my emotions are soaring to extremes.
I don't know how my sons will take the news - a double whammy for them; their parents are separating plus their father is not who they thought he was. 

     Thread Starter

January 12, 2022 8:59 am  #13

Re: Feel lost

Nadine, I am proud of you.


January 14, 2022 3:57 pm  #14

Re: Feel lost

Hi Nadine - I'm so sorry for what you are going through. When my husband of 30 years came out as gay we also had to let our two adult children know 1) that their dad was gay 2) he had cheated on me with other men 3) AND that we were getting a divorce. It was one of the most difficult conversations I've ever been a part of. As a Mom, protecting our kids is so foundational. Unfortunately, I couldn't protect them from their Dad's choices, or the pain such terrible news caused them. It helped to keep reminding myself that this was not my fault. I was not causing them pain, their dad's deceptions and actions were.  Hopefully your husband will be courageous enough to tell them himself, as it's best they hear it from him.  I wanted to be there when he told them to mostly support my kids, but also to make sure he told them the truth. As you know, these situations are shrouded in so much deception. At times I wondered if he was able to tell the truth. Once my kids knew the truth, we could be there for each other to offer support.  I hope the same for you. 


January 14, 2022 4:26 pm  #15

Re: Feel lost

Number9 - Thank you. My adult children will be told the last weekend of January which seems ages away.
My youngest son has a work deadline on the 24th that we have known about for months and I cannot sabotage that by telling him before that date. I'm dreading it. It will be my husband who tells them he is transgender, that I am adamant about. I feel I have been deceived and betrayed during the last 36 years together, 30 years of them married. 
I have no idea how my sons will react and like you, I feel so protective. I don't think I could cope if they turn against me for wanting to separate but in a nutshell, I'm not a lesbian. I would have married a women if I was.

     Thread Starter

January 15, 2022 9:30 am  #16

Re: Feel lost

I will be holding a good thought for you Nadine


January 15, 2022 10:36 am  #17

Re: Feel lost

    Good for you for making sure your husband tells them the truth.  Stick with that.  And if for some reason he changes his mind, insist he tell, or tell him you will tell.  And then tell.  I say this in case your husband follows anything along the lines mine did, and backs away from public announcement and public expression as he realizes the reality of what life will be like for him as a transwoman. 

   My experience is that in the early days after my now-ex disclosed to me his belief that he was transgendered, he was so high off the telling and the sexual euphoria he was getting from wearing women's clothes and imagining his future as a woman that he had very little empathy for either me or our son (who was in his mid-20s then). He simply could not see beyond himself.  In fact, when he first dropped his trans bomb, I kept asking him, "What about [our son]?"  He wouldn't even reply.  It was as if the only person who mattered was him; the only thing that mattered was that he was "finally going to get to be" his "authentic" self.  

   With my ex, the closer he got to the actual consequences of "transitioning"--living as a 6'4" 300 pound transwoman with size 13 feet who in his own words looked like "a man in a dress" instead of the lithe sex kitten (or, alternately, the practical lesbian) of his fantasies--the more he wanted to avoid those consequences.  After about three or four months of his fevered feminizing activity (which I, to my regret now, helped with)  he decided, in fact, to stay in the closet and just act out at home.  

  When he decided not to transition and live publicly as if he were a woman, he wanted to make sure our son was not told.  And when I decided to divorce him, he browbeat me into not telling.  What I settled on eventually, with my then-husband's knowledge and grudging acceptance, was to tell our son that we were divorcing because of something to do with his father, that he could ask his father about, but that I knew his father would not tell him, because he had already said so.   I told our son he could ask me if he wanted to know.  He chose not to know. 

   Now, three years after the divorce, and almost four years after my conversation with our son, I wish I had insisted on the truth.  

   What I realize is that in not telling the truth, I am still enabling my ex's secret life, enabling my ex's false relationship with our son, and still in his closet in the one area of my life that honesty feels the most important to me: my relationship with my son.  But as time passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that my son is fine with the status quo, and if I tell him now, I will be the one upsetting the apple cart, and the one experiencing blowback just for wanting the truth to be known.

 If your husband steams ahead full speed and does tell your sons, be prepared for him to exhibit the same selfish focus on himself that he has demonstrated to you, in expecting you to go along with him and remake yourself as a "lesbian" for him.  It is likely, that is, that he will have that same unempathetic approach to their response of having their entire idea of their father overturned.  

  I will say, however, that what we as wives feel, the way our husbands' transformation affects us, is different than the way our children experience that transformation.  My worries initially were that I wanted to spare my son the same kind of agonizing re-appraisal of his father that I underwent, and that my son would also have an agonizing reappraisal of the father-son relationship, and to masculinity.  And perhaps that would be so, were I to tell him (will be so, when I finally decide I need to tell him).  But my son has a former classmate who has decided to live as if he were a woman, and his appraisal of transness is expansively generous, although whether that would extend to his own father I do not know.  I am afraid that my son might even exhibit the "it must have been so difficult for him to repress himself all those years" that is the standard societal response and so painful to us, the straight spouses.  I would at least want my son to balance any sympathy he might have toward his father with an equal amount for me, and to understand how difficult and painful the experience was for me.  I'm sure you feel the same way.

 I'm sure you've already thought of this, but I would make the offer to your children, privately, to help them process their reactions, either separately or together, in therapy or outside of it.  If you make it clear to them that you know from your own experience that the change will no doubt lead them to reconsider much--their own identities as men, your family dynamics and history, and their relationship to their father both past and future--it might make it easier for them.  They can have contradictory responses--wishing their father well but also feeling empathy for you, and also wondering what this will do to their own future relationship with their father--but you don't want them repressing the feelings they will have.  

   If your sons do think you are unreasonable for wanting to divorce, I think you can be clear with them as you have been here in your post above: you married a man, and their father is reconceptualizing himself as a woman and a lesbian, and you are not a lesbian.  It will undoubtedly take some time for them to observe just how much their father no longer considers himself male at all, but they will come to understand that statement.  But it's entirely possible that your worry over their condemnation of you for leaving is just that: a worry.  I worried that people I know would say something similar to me, condemn me for not staying, but in fact not a single person did so.  Despite the stories in the media that push the "understanding wife" narrative, what I heard from friends was "That must have been so difficult for you"; they understood why a divorce was necessary.  I think it's likely your sons will understand this as well.  And if you need to, you can remind them that you are not the originator of the change in the family--it was your husband's decision to stop living as a heterosexual man.  

My long two cents worth...

Good luck. Like Gloria, I will be holding good thoughts for you.  Please let us know how it goes.

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (January 15, 2022 11:03 am)


January 16, 2022 8:45 am  #18

Re: Feel lost

Out of his closet gave you excellent advice


January 31, 2022 11:45 am  #19

Re: Feel lost

My ex husband came out to our sons and it was dreadful.

Briefly about my sons -
Eldest son has spoken to ex most days but only 'to check in' nothing more
Youngest son hasn't picked up his calls
My sons are both fragile and shell shocked and have had to take time off work
Both have been very supportive of me and understand why I have to separate - it was a worry that they wouldn't get it but they've been amazing.
It's going to very hard for them as it will always be a part of their lives that they will have to deal with - whether they maintain contact or not.

Briefly about my ex husband -
Showed no emotion while people around him were in bits and in a state of shock
Since disclosure appears to be posturing caricature feminine mannerisms -  I can't look at him.
Has wanted to talk about money 'to buy things'
Told me he needs to think carefully about his 'style' while I've been crying for close to 3 weeks.
Is now trying to tell me we are splitting up because we weren't getting on and that I have been 'creating a narrative' - I have to keep reminding him we are separating because he is trans. Feel he's trying to cast blame.
He's a different person - he's asked me how he can make things better, I've told him he could be kind, compassionate and empathetic. He's been none of those things since disclosure and I've found his behavior to be brutal.

Briefly about me -
Need to create a distance from my ex as it costs me to speak to him
My priority are my sons, it is very distressing to see them in so much pain. I want to be there for them.
Just want to get on with my life but I now question who I am. He tells me I'm quite masculine which does my head in. My friends assure I'm not, but nevertheless...
I now realise that I think my ex has been quite manipulative and selfish - I've been such an idiot.

Thank you for all your replies which have been very, very helpful to me. We will all seek professional advice, this is a time that we need it.


     Thread Starter

January 31, 2022 1:19 pm  #20

Re: Feel lost

In tears as I told my GX to be kind she simply said she didnt want to be kind..    And boy did she mean it.

Know that the fact that they can be so mean to us is another reason why we need to get away... even a stranger on the street can be kinder and have more morals.

Do not believe any put down he has to say... They project their own insecurities on to us.    There was nothing true with the horrible things my GX said and screaming them did not make them true.


"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum