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March 27, 2023 7:56 pm  #1

Child identifies as They/Them. Spouse is trans. Child keeping me away.

My situation feels incredibly complex. My spouse first came out to me as gender questioning at the end of wither 2010 or 2011. It took until the start of 2020 to begin HRT. We spent the first very rough months of transition under Covid lockdown - me, spouse, our child.  For context, our child was born in 2008 and we moved cross country for my spouse’s job in 2010. We had no family near by, I lost both work as well as sense of identity outside of motherhood, tho I managed to rebuild in my new locality. I was the primary child care taker for the first couple of years, until my work took off and I became busy again. Through the following years my spouse and child formed a very close bond. Looking back, I think I stayed a bit aloof and distant to my child partly due to unrecognized and un dealt with trauma from my past, and partly because with time I stepped further and further into the role of organizer, schedule keeper.  My spouse gradually became the main playmate, the fun parent, and I became the disciplinarian. Our marriage and relationship felt very strong and solid for many years, and I allowed that delineation of roles to get deeper and more pronounced. I believed that as long as our child got both, it was ok for each of us to take some aspects deeper and relinquish others to the partner.  When my spouse began transition, there was little to no room for my process of coming out at a time and place safe for me, no room for my grieving losing my husband.  Through convergence of circumstance, my grief got internalized as rejection by my spouse, and my attempting to speak up for myself got interpreted as manipulativness and aggression form me.  Admittedly, my therapist has recently suggested that at times my grief can come out through anger and protestation. This is a recent insight, and I think there is truth to it.  Discovering and having to intervene with my spouse’s alcohol abuse in September of 2020 (6months after she began HRT) was a braking point for me, as I was not only voiceless, but now felt like the parent of both my child and spouse.  We had a therapist who for a time worked with each of us individually as well as with us and a couple. Despite of several people expressing skepticism about this situation, I thought that arrangement had to benefit of a therapist knowing both sides of the equation. Unfortunately, the therapist managed to triangulate instead of help, and we both left him in the beginning of 2022. Before we did, he advised my spouse to move out of our home. I had asked my spouse to leave one night after yet another disrespect of boundaries and a blatant show of lack of consideration towards me. Our therapist called that abusive behavior on my part (my voice was raised, I was very upset. I did not use any physical force or even physical contact). I do not feel like that was a correct assessment, but I know that is how it was internalized by my spouse. She now believes that I caused her trauma in her transition.  About 10 months ago relationship with my spouse completely fell apart when she showed up to a joint parent catch up session with our child’s therapist with a fresh hicky on her neck and when I asked her if that was what I was seeing, she  proceeded to “honestly tell me” that she had just come to the meeting from a causal sex encounter.  We had made an agreement the previous year to each pursue our separate sexual and intimacy needs, and I had asked her to not subject me to evidence of her own pursuits, as I feel pretty devastated, devalued and discarded. Her show of the sign of her private activities was yet another example of complete lack of care and forethought where it came to my needs and boundaries. Her looking in the mirror and wearing a different garnet would have been all it would have taken for me to be spared this unnecessary and un-asked for display, and I was very upset about it. I told her how hurt I felt over a phone conversation. About 10 days later she communicated that she wanted to follow up, and that triggered my grief and frustration yet again. When I expressed them over text, she ghosted me. She said that she did could not discuss personal matters tAnd that she only wanted to discuss parenting and finances.  We have not spoken in person, with the exception of 2-3 instances when 3rd parties were present, since last July. I fell apart when the ghosting happened. I am still in immense pain from it, in therapy, and tho it is helpful, I am not yet able to heal.  Through the months that followed, she also withdrew from trying to be in a united front as far as our child is concerned. When I asked for support I was told that this is my own relationship with my child, and she is staying away from it. This is also a distortion of reality that feels insidious and very painful.  The most painful part of my experience is how this has affected our now almost 15 y.o. child and my relationship with them. At age 8 they had sheepishly “came out” to my spouse as a cis girl (they are AFAB, and identified as a girl until a little over a year ago). A few months into my spouse’s transition they came out as gay, and about 9 months ago as NB.  I am fully supportive of any gender or sexual identity and / or expression my child tells me they feel fits them at any time. Actually, same goes for my spouse. I fully empathize with the lack of support she experienced as a young trans person and I know she would have come out well before we met if she had felt safe to do so.  I feel that due to the very close emotional bond between my spouse and child, my child has “adopted” and is projecting some of my spouse’s experiences and attitudes towards me as their own. My child’s therapist has within the past couple of weeks communicated with me that my child is “extremely avoidant” when it comes to addressing family issues, and shuts any uncomfortable conversation down. She (the therapist) also mentioned that she has observed my child engage in “black and white thinking” and in subtle other-ing of any non-queer persons. I have observed that my child has put distance between themselves and my in-laws whom they used to be very close to, they are pulling very far from me, and also from their closest Covid friend who for a while identified as they/them and who has switched to She/her (friend is afab).  Starting in February, my child was supposed to begin living alternating weeks with me and my spouse. We are not yet taking any legal separation steps, as those will likely address only the financial and custody issues. Currently, our financial collaboration is the only part of the relationship still functioning. I also fear that addressing custody through legal paths will only alienate my child from me, as they will feel like I am “forcing” them into something they did not chose. They have now told me they do not want to do that yet, and that they do not know when they will want to begin such an arrangement.  I feel like I have lost my child in addition to my spouse, and the pain is nearly unbearable.  I could use all the support I can get, and need to feel that I am not going crazy. My spouse’s narrative feels so very out of touch with how I have experienced things, and I suspect she will tell you that my narrative feels similarly to her.  I have no idea where to begin in order to repair my relationship with my child. I am devastated from how they are distancing themselves from me.  I don’t want to make it sound as tho I have had perfect responses and have taken perfect actions, and at the same time, this turn of events feels like a very disproportionate response to my “transgressions” or mistakes.  This is the “short” version, I want to be open and forthcoming with context if anyone wants more of it.


March 28, 2023 10:16 am  #2

Re: Child identifies as They/Them. Spouse is trans. Child keeping me away.

Do you have a therapist to yourself now, and for yourself only?  The pain that comes through in your post suggests to me - and I am not a therapist - that you have many years and layers of trauma to unpack.

Your child will be developing into an adult over the next several years and possibly going away to college and being around people outside your spouse's orbit. I am not familiar with the acronyms you've used and not sure who and how these labels got applied to your child. With independence your child may change views if not identity. How much is being influenced by your spouse???

Adulthood is not the end of parenthood but a changing in the relationship. There may be a realization that a parent has used the child as a pawn to meet their needs and/or to retaliate against the other parent.
Taking care of yourself and your needs now and over the next several years can help you be better prepared to repair the relationship as opportunities present themselves.

My children are adults now and as children their father was the mothering one. Post divorce and as adults they have seen me in a new light and appreciate me for who I am. These things take time and can't be forced or hurried.

Welcome to this forum.


Last edited by Abby (March 28, 2023 10:18 am)

Try Gardening. It'll keep you grounded.

March 28, 2023 1:35 pm  #3

Re: Child identifies as They/Them. Spouse is trans. Child keeping me away.

BothSpouseAndChild wrote:

...... I feel like I have lost my child in addition to my spouse, and the pain is nearly unbearable.... I have no idea where to begin in order to repair my relationship with my child. I am devastated from how they are distancing themselves from me....


Welcome BSaC....
I'm going to put my Abuelita hat on My situation is a little different,  but in my opinion just as complex and painful. Except I feel it's my grandson I've lost. Biologically-born a male he decided he was a female and at 16 began hormone treatment. The child I carried, looked after, loved laughed and made memories with is now so far removed from the bond we had I don't think we'll ever get it back. But I see him as a human being who has the right as an almost-adult to choose his own future, There is too much information out there on the internet that our children/grandchildren have access to and we as caregivers/parents/leaders have enabled that and now must face the consequences of a younger generation "feeling their power".
I have stepped back from trying to encourage communication between my grandson and I because it hurts too  much when it's so off-hand and casual. He's caught up in an ideology that was probably easier to absorb in his topsy-turvy childhood as he was passed from parent to parent, then country to country.....and maybe he saw this as a community (LGBTQ+) he could belong to. I don't really know because as I said....I'd rather step back and be there if he wants contact. The whole world seems to be having an identity crisis. It's everywhere and everybody has a point of view. And yep I do believe it's painful and confusing for everyone within their own journey....

And all this in the middle of the Mindfuck. Finding out my bisexual partner is really not who I thought he was, taking years to research and make decisions about my future, finally deciding to separate


BSaC.....you have to have 2 people willing to repair a r'ship, and while you're ready & willing you may just have to keep on loving and being there as you wait for your child  


KIA KAHA                       

March 30, 2023 5:45 am  #4

Re: Child identifies as They/Them. Spouse is trans. Child keeping me away.


I have no experience with a child that is totally avoidant.  But I firmly believe our kids will need us now or sometime in the future .just as I needed my dad after years in my closeted marriage..

All we can do is be consistent and steadfast in our love and mannerisms towards our kids.  And this does mean stuffing down some hurt like when they are with your spouse.   Our spouses discarded and rejected us breaking their vows to us.  But our kids took no such vow.    I show my kids the fierce love I showed my GX and don't care whether my kids are straight, gay, green alien.  I told  my kids just that.. just so they know  I love them regardless of anything.   I think that's all we can do for our kids.  Our kids need a strong sane parent that is not abused and hurting...away from these hurtful spouses we have a great opportunity to be there for our kids and show them what we are all about.

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

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