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January 27, 2022 2:04 pm  #1

When will I know what to do?

Over the past year, my spouse has come out as bisexual, then nonbinary, then a transgender woman. My spouse told me they(not yet using she/her pronouns) were feeling more and more like they're a woman right before Christmas, so it's been an emotional storm every day since. Since my spouse came out as bi, I began to think a lot about my own sexuality and I am still straight (which I feel guilty about, but that's its own thing). I don't know at this point if I want to be married to a woman. We've been married almost 9 years, but we've been best friends for 11. Some days I think I can stay with my spouse and make it work, and sometimes I think we're at the beginning of the road to divorce. I feel like I'll never be able to decide what I want. Will I someday have a moment of clarity, or will I forever be confused? 


January 27, 2022 2:23 pm  #2

Re: When will I know what to do?

My (male) spouse also decided he was transgender.  (Full disclosure: I stayed for three years after his announcement, but ultimately left, and divorced him.)

Here's one bit of wisdom and maybe advice garnered from my experience.  It was extremely helpful for me to periodically take time away from our home.  I found that being out of the maelstrom of his emotions and the pressure I felt to support him gave me time and space to think about myself: what I was comfortable with, what I wanted in a marriage, what I wanted in a spouse.  My spouse was thinking only of himself, and was thinking of me only in terms of how I could support him, and while I was at home with him, I, also, was thinking mostly of him, and when thinking of myself I was thinking of myself in relation to what he wanted and expected of me.   When I was with him, it was a matter of  "Can I stay?" and "What can I tolerate?", whereas when I was alone it was a matter of "Do I want to stay?" and "Do I want my life defined by and revolving around my husband's issues of identity?" 

For what it's worth, I had several moments of clarity, of various types.  One type had to do with sexual orientation.  My spouse's appropriation/approximation of what he took to be female sexuality and lesbianism became distasteful to me, and his approach to sex ever more selfish.  He defined what he was was comfortable with, and that defined the parameters of our sexual activity.  I become less and less satisfied with his idea of woman and sexual expression, and less and less satisfied with having to repress my own heterosexual desire. 

Clarity also came to me from an ever increasing understanding of just how massively self-centered and self-absorbed my spouse had become, and how unempathetic he was to my feelings.  Any hesitation, question, discomfort I had or expressed he saw as an attack on him.  The only position I could occupy in relation to him and his ever moving goalposts was total unquestioning acceptance, which he believed he was entitled to.   

It's a very tough position to be in.  I suggest that you look up transwidowsvoices.org and transwidowsescapecommittee on mumsnet: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4236287-trans-widows-escape-committee-5-and-so-it-continues


January 27, 2022 2:38 pm  #3

Re: When will I know what to do?

OutofHisCloset, thank you for your insight. I have both been thinking "what can I tolerate?" and "Do I want to stay?". The answer to "do I want to stay?" changes seemingly every hour. Sometimes I think about how I've always been attracted to not only masculinity but the idea of a man being attracted to me. Which is it's own kind of hurt because my spouse was my first and only relationship, and we got together when I was 18. No one else seemed interested, which led to a lot of self-esteem issues that have been enflamed by my spouse's transition.But I digress...
Then other times I think of the small intricacies of our relationship that I don't want to live without. Like our inside jokes and their sense of humor and the way they compliment me. Also, our sexual relationship while at times has been infrequent has been ultimately really enjoyable. 
I feel like when it comes to sexual intimacy, if I leave I will be alone and if I stay I will be alone. Sometimes it just feels like a lose-lose.

     Thread Starter

January 27, 2022 4:35 pm  #4

Re: When will I know what to do?

Kay Belle,
    I can only speak to my own experience, but my experience does echo that of others who have found themselves in our situation.

   One effect of our spouse's changes is to muddle our own understanding of our own femininity and sexuality.  While I was with my now-ex, and he was proclaiming he was and had always been a lesbian, and intimated that I must have intuited that, I even started questioning whether I had always had lesbian tendencies. (For the record, I have no lesbian experiences, nor have ever wanted any.  And I am not homophobic. I am a huge feminist and have sometimes wished in my life that I were lesbian.  But I am emphatically hetero.)  I also realized the extent to which my ex has subtly over the years encouraged and discouraged certain gender expressions in me.  He had never responded to feminine expression on my part, so I stopped doing those things (wearing lingerie, for example--it turned out HE wanted to wear those things).  That has been one of the most difficult aspects of recovery for me.  (I was also married for 35 years, a long time to be manipulated).  

If you read my story on the transwidowsvoices.org webside (under "Alison's story), you will see that for a while the sexual aspect of our relationship was wildly exciting to me.  Until it wasn't.

I will also say that I, too, didn't want to lose our inside jokes, our little bits of language--those "intricacies" and intimacies.  But now that I have been divorced for three years, on my own for four, I don't miss them.  Or, rather, I have discovered that I still have all those little jokes, and I take pleasure in recognizing them for myself.  That is, turns out that I didn't need him to enjoy them.  I just thought I did. 

 Here's another thing I discovered: when I was with him, I thought a lot about what I'd lose.  And because the future was as yet unwritten, I couldn't see what I might gain.  Now that I'm living that future, I am amazed at how peaceful it is, how little I am now anxious, how much less I question, berate, and doubt myself and my worth.  

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (January 27, 2022 4:38 pm)


January 28, 2022 10:28 am  #5

Re: When will I know what to do?

Kay_Belle, I'm very sorry that you have to go through this. 

My story is quite similar to yours (I've seen the other thread you started). My spouse also went through bisexual->nonbinary->trans woman phases and still wanted to remain monogamous. The bisexuality was already difficult enough for me but the trans thing was devastating.

I'm also quite tall, athletic, my chest size is rather small and I have a deep alto voice. I suspect that he chose me because I was a bit like a man to him, but he completely ignored my feminine side. Just as OutofHisCloset says, over the years he subtly pushed me towards being more masculine. He encouraged me to workout and grow more muscles and he even tried to convince me to cut my hair short. He never complimented me for wearing feminine clothing. I feel like that part of myself is now seriously neglected. It will be difficult to have it back.

And I will also miss all the little jokes and nonsensical stories we've been making up. I will miss our walks in the nature and his ability to listen and understand. 

Right now we are in the process of separating. My husband is moving out in 2 weeks. I don't know what my new life will be like yet. There is no "good" way out of this crazy situation, but separation feels more bearable for me.

But I can tell you this:
1) It's OK to be only attracted to masculinity. Don't let anyone force you to do things you don't feel comfortable with.
2) It is normal for your feelings to change every day. It is a normal reaction when your life and relationship was broken to pieces. But it will calm down and you will find your moments of clarity. (The books listed on https://ourpath.org/ helped me in this, so if you are a book person, I can recommend a few.)

Edit: I can't give you any advice about the insurance and military stuff, since I'm from a different country.

Last edited by Marianne (January 28, 2022 10:37 am)


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