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April 6, 2022 4:41 pm  #1

A Positive Story (transgender spouse)

Hello everyone, 

Here is my story.

I got married at the age of 32 and had been with my partner for about six years before that. About a year into the marriage, I discovered that my partner had “a history of cross dressing“. This in and of itself completely blindsided me, and I was particularly affected by the simple fact that I thought I knew everything about my partner, but was discovering a “completely different” version. It took me a number of months just to come to terms with this piece of information about my husband’s history. I was very distraught and anxious.  

My husband was extremely supportive and patient with me, and we had many, many long conversations about what this meant to him, to me and to us. At that time his and my understanding (and agreement) was that this was something that was in the past rather than the present or future.  I generally had a good understanding and acceptance of transgender issues; the difficulty for me was simply that I had never expected that this would be an element of my life with my partner. 

Over the next few years, between us we went back-and-forth about how this aspect of my husband’s identity might or might not have a place in our relationship. There were times when I was desperate to encourage this aspect of him and give it a place of acceptance and inclusion in our relationship, but then discovering that I felt completely overwhelmed and frightened when it came to trying to put this into practice. 

Over this time, our understanding of my husband’s gender identity became clearer. Ultimately we redefined things from “a history of cross dressing“ to my partner being transgender. This in itself felt like another big shift and shock. 

Fast forward a little way, through further efforts to include this into our marriage, followed by me not coping with it, and us putting it back in the closet, almost breaking up over it, and over a year of marital and individual counselling, I am really happy to report that we have found a way (a happy way) to make this work for us.[img]https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png[/img] 

My husband now identifies as transgender/non-binary. They would consider themselves female internally, but they are also accepting of their physical body and life history as male, and therefore they feel that “non-binary“ captures the complexities of their gender identity and desired presentation in the world most correctly. They now use the pronouns/they/them“, and the title “Mx”.

Their physical presentation (hair, clothes, makeup etc.) is androgynous. They are having laser treatment to remove their facial hair and have removed their body hair. They have sometimes considered microdosing with hormones, but don't feel that surgery is necessary or desirable for them. We have come out to all of our friends and family, and they have been extremely accepting.

It has taken me a long time (9 years!!)  but I can now confidently say that I love my spouse as much as ever, and we have a romantic, sexual and emotional bond that is as strong, if not more strong than it ever was.  

For me, some things that were essential were the constant discussions and collaboration about how we were navigating this together, and never feeling railroaded into anything I was not ready all okay with. My spouse was incredibly patient with me, and said multiple times that they were willing to forgo any transition in order to ensure I was okay and that our relationship could survive. Ultimately, though, I deeply value everyone’s ability to live authentically and I always wanted ultimately to be able to accept and embrace this part of my partner.

It makes me incredibly happy that I have found the ability to explore and (authentically) broaden my own identity so I can still bond with my spouse in the way I did before.  In terms of my sexuality, I would previously have always describe myself as “heterosexual”. I believe this is still fundamentally true, but to make sense of my relationship with my non-binary spouse, I have simply coined the phrase “integrated“ to describe my sexuality [img]https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png[/img].  I find my spouse’s androgynous presentation attractive and I am extremely grateful for that. 

The whole way along, the thing that felt most difficult for me was the sense of dissociation from my spouse. I felt as though I was living with and sharing my bed with a total stranger, and that felt deeply frightening to me at quite a primitive level. There was a period where the chronic anxiety of being in the presence of someone that felt so alien to me took a real toll on my mental health. I began taking an antidepressant at that time which really helped stabilise my mood and allow me to work “sanely“ on the issues described above. I am now recovered in my mental health.

 My sense is that I never had a fundamental issue with the principle of my partner (or anyone) being transgender; it was just the total shock and sense of disorientation and terror of “not knowing“ the other person that was so difficult for me to work through. In retrospect, I can link this to some very early attachment trauma I experienced. As I mentioned above, what really helped was the fine-detail communication that we endlessly had, which allowed me to find ways to reconnect and understand my partner over and over again, anchoring me through the vast changes we were going through.

I hope that my story can give some hope and comfort to people that there can be a positive outcome to a situation like this, even while I completely acknowledge that things do not always work out that way, especially since my partner and I almost came to the end of our own relationship as a result of this issue. 

Sending huge amounts of love to all the other people in this community .

Last edited by MimiCat (April 6, 2022 4:56 pm)


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