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December 18, 2021 7:32 pm  #1

My Journey

My partner (I'll call them D) and I met through mutual friends when we were in our very early 20s. We had both been raised in a christian based cult and had a lot of trauma from it. I had just moved out of my parent's house and D was still living with and working for their family. D's parents were verbally, spiritually, and emotionally abusive. They didn't not want their children to have thoughts or opinions they did not approve of. They believed in arranged marriage and were furious when D told them we were dating. They tried pulling every card they had to force us to break up, but D held strong and refused to let them continue running his life. D told me it was the first time they had stood up to their parents and I was so proud of them.
Our pre-marriage relationship was a whirlwind, we started dating during spring break and were married by December of the same year. I thought I had hit the jackpot in a spouse. They were perfect in every way. We never fought, agreed on everything, wanted to be around the other person 100% of the time. My only concern was that D talked as if they didn't see any faults in me what so ever. I was worried that they wouldn't want to stay with me when the rose colored glasses wore off, but D eventually assured me that they could see my faults, but were choosing to not to let it effect how they felt about me. I was smitten. 

This perfect marriage lasted about a year, when D started questioning their religion. I became so insecure, I told them to not talk about it and pretend they still believed what I believed. Every time the subject would come up, it turned into a fight. Over the years, I slowly started to see the problems they had with Christianity and begrudgingly accepted that part of them, but the damage was done. If D had a thought they knew I wouldn't like, they would lie and pretend, just like they did with their parents before. 
They started making comments about wishing they were female, because women could wear pretty clothing and look nice. I took it as left over trauma from their parents treating their daughters better than their sons and not letting their sons wear fashionable clothes/style their hair. I started taking him shopping to find men's clothes that they felt good in. This was fine for a while, but the comments about wishing men could wear makeup continued. I drew the line there and added makeup to the list of topics we were not to discuss. As the years went by D kept bringing it up, and I finally told them that they could wear whatever they wanted when alone in the house, but I didn't want to see it, nor did I want any of our friends to know. 
When Covid hit and the country went into full lockdown, I started relaxing my demands on them, since we couldn't interact with anyone anyways. What did it matter if they wore a dress? During this time I was actively being recruited to join the military, and went to basic training at the end of the summer. While I was gone D took the opportunity of me having no contact with the outside world to fully explore themselves and realized this was a much bigger deal to them than they had previously understood. After basic training I was sent to a trade school to learn the job I'd do in active duty. At trade school we resumed our relationship long distance. They told me about their explorations, I realized this was a big deal to them and didn't want to mess it up, so I pretended to be okay with it for several weeks. They started planning a trip to come visit me and I realized I would not be able to fake support in person. I knew telling them I did not actually support them would start another fight, so I decided to do something I have regretted ever since...I blindsided them with an ultimatum, me or the dresses. We fought for a week, which was a record for us. I kept telling them that clothing was a preference and some preferences are impractical, or unattainable, and I didn't understand why they were willing to throw away our relationship for a preference. They finally caved and agreed to go back to how things were before. I thought it was over. 
Early this year, end of January, I am informed that D was having an affair with a coworker. I felt blind sided because I had done such a good job at burying my head in the sand. I spoke with a Chaplin and after listening to my story he started telling me about gender identity. He told me that what I thought was a simple preference was actually part of D's identity and by me rejecting that, I had told my partner that I did not love them. Looking back now I can't believe I had to be told that, but I did. The Chaplin also told me that whether this marriage continued was up to both sides, which was another thing I had not ever considered. I was so used to D doing everything I said that it never occurred to me that they might want something else.
I called D after learning all this and told them I felt like this conversation needed to happen in person, they agreed and came for a visit. They told me that the dynamic we'd had before was not worth the effort it would take to get past the affair. I was crushed. I begged and pleaded with them and described a dynamic that was different. I told them it was possible because I had been working off the idea that this crossdressing was simply an interest, not an identity. I finally convinced them to stay in the relationship, and we agreed to get marriage counciling. I specificly looked for someone who had experience in the LGBTQ+ community, but all the counselor did was tell me how awful I was for not immediately loving this part of D and being excited to be in a relationship like this. I felt like a villan after every appointment. D moved closer to my school so we wouldn't be long distance anymore, I graduated. We officially moved back in together again, and we started working towards setting up our life together and putting my plan for acclimating to this new life into action.
Unfortunately I ruined it pretty fast. I stopped scheduling appointments with that counselor but told myself I'd find a new one as soon as we got settled, I told D I did not naturally want to do everything I had agreed to, but that I was doing it because it was the only way to keep them with me. I was still extremely hurt over the affair, and bitter towards them for 'forcing' me into this life. Looking at it now, nothing really changed. We had a few months of happiness, but by September I was openly fanaticizing about how life would be different if we didn't have to deal with this 'problem.' D would ask why I couldn't be excited for them, why this wasn't something I wanted as well. They said all they wanted was for me to support and accept them they way they were, with no charade they had to play. I said that the closest they would get was me not standing in their way. 

I started getting a feeling that he was lying to me again. Suspecting he had started another affair. The weekend of Thanksgiving I couldn't sleep from this feeling, so I looked through his phone and found a conversation with photos attached from a woman D was paying to interact with and roll play. I was furious. I woke them up and showed them the conversation. We fought all night and by the morning, they said they were leaving. They said they were going to stay with their brother for a week and would reconsider how they felt at the end of that time. They said they needed a break from me to work on themselves. I didn't want them to go, but I wasn't going to beg again, and I hoped that if I supported them taking care of themselves, they'd come back after a week and we could work it out. I stayed the night with a coworker, and went to work from there Monday morning. When I got home, all D's stuff was gone. Not just enough for a week, but everything. I knew they'd lied to me again and had no plans to come back any time soon, if at all. 
When they first left I was the most unstable I have ever been in my life. I felt abandoned in a new city, with the only people I knew being coworkers, and a single neighbor who agreed to move in with me to keep me from getting so low I'd do something stupid. I was on the phone non-stop with different members of my family, but I still felt alone. Our house was quiet and empty. We've had a dog for most of our marriage, she is the same age as we've been married. She was my baby, but I realized that my work schedule will not be kind to her without D helping with her care and training, so I told them they could take her when they left. I miss her almost as much as I miss D, but I was not going consider my wants over her needs. It just makes the house seem so much more empty with both of them gone. 

One of the people I spoke with mentioned codependency and suggested I look into it. I did and realized that both D and I were codependent. I started reading books on the subject and learned that all the reasons I could not be excited for him was because I had merged my identity so closely with theirs that I thought if they were gender fluid then I had to be as well. Another person pointed out that all the changes I said D had 'forced' me to make were changes that I had accepted for myself. They said I was the only person who could decide what changes to make in myself. A third person mentioned that in order for culture to accept them, and for it to be normalized, there had to be people who were brave enough to live their life despite all the criticism. I began to realize that the person I wanted to become was the same person D had been asking me to be for years. I also realized that D was right in saying that we were getting in each other's way. Our dynamic was so toxic that neither of us could stop or get out of it while trying to live with the other person. 

I am confident now that we can salvage our marriage and have a dynamic that makes us both happy. I my vision for the future is that I can support and be proud of my partner for the strength and courage they have to walk this road, and that I am able to have an identity, hobbies, and friends of my own as well. we can be two people living together, not two people living the same life. Unfortunately, D has not had the same breakthrough, or learned about codependency. All they think at the moment is that I am trying to luer them back and lock the door behind them. I am trying to respect their autonomy, and find ways prove my sincerity to them. While D is working through their thoughts and emotions though, I need to do everything in my power to become the person I need to be. If I am able to salvage something in this relationship, I need to not mess it up again. 
I am looking for support, and doing lots of google searches to find ways to put all this into practice before I find myself sliding back into my old comfort zones. For now, the only other thing I can do is wait and hope. 

Last edited by Courtney (December 18, 2021 10:09 pm)


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