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January 20, 2024 3:52 pm  #1

The 50+ year secret

It's been 9 months. He had no plans to tell me, yet... We'd been married for 25 years, and never in a million years could I have guessed what I was about to discover.

He had been experiencing anxiety, and told me he found a support group. I was curious why group... so asked some questions to understand a little better. We have a son who has social anxiety and was partly asking with him in mind, as well... When I asked him questions, he went silent, and then insisted it was "not right for our son... " I assured him I wasn't suggesting he attend the same group, but just knowing there was a resource like that out there for him might appeal to him and I just wanted to share the information with him and let him decide for himself. My husband flat out refused to give me any information and then finally blurted out that it was an LGBTQ group.

Confused, I paused... but then thought of our daughter, who had recently told us she was attracted to both men and women, and was dating a woman for the first time. I was happy for her, as she sounded great, but the news of my husband attending this group made me wonder if maybe he was having some trouble with it.

The conversation ended there. For years our marriage has been a struggle, mainly because we can't communicate. I inadvertently trigger him by just being myself. He interprets my inquisitive nature, my need to discuss things as personal attacks. I spent years trying to change my approach and my tone so as not to push him back on his heels, but nothing worked. The person he sees me as, is not the person I feel like I am. 

So, I took the information I had - an LGBTQ group that met on Fridays at 5pm online that was local to us - and searched Google. All I could find in that time slot was a group for trans people in the process of transitioning. Certain this was the wrong group, still thinking it had something to do with our daughter having a girlfriend, I kept looking but found nothing. So, I had to ask him. (this isn't easy, as like I said above, he is very easily triggered and gets loud when I ask questions so I'm always reluctant to ask anything...) This is when he revealed the most shocking news i think I've ever received in my entire life. He told me he has had gender dysphoria since he was a child... he feels like a woman trapped in a man's body. 

25-years-and-I-had-NO-IDEA. He's a very handsome, masculine man. He grew thick facial hair in the winters. He is a project manager for an HVAC company. He has never asked to wear my clothes - there is literally NOTHING about him that appears effeminate. 

I felt like the floor was taken out from under me. I was spinning out. Nothing felt real - everything that had been my reality felt like a lie. Within a week, I started waking up in the middle of the night with awful panic attacks. My heart was racing, and I couldn't fall back to sleep when this would happen. The anxiety got so bad, my blood pressure shot up, and I started getting heart palpitations. My doctor referred me to a cardiologist, who confirmed this was all happening. He recommended a mild dose of a beta blocker, but i refused, as felt this was directly related to the shocking news and wanted to see if it would go away as the shock wore off.

I tried to talk with him (I still refer to him as he/him because he hasn't changed his pronouns yet... ) and share how I was feeling about this, and he accused me of being selfish and making it about me. I acknowledged how difficult this must have been for him to keep this secret all these years, and told him I was proud of him for being true to himself... but asked if he might acknowledge how it might affect me too, as he wasn't in this marriage for 25 years alone, we are a family of 5... He refused to acknowledge this, and still will not to this day. 

For months I felt like a human rolodex - flipping back through memories of our life together and wondering how the hell I could have missed this. I have to say I am struggling with a lot of anger still - I feel deceived, lied to, bullshitted really, for 25 years. I realize it has not always been as accepted as it is today, but to have zero idea, to present 100% masculine all these years, had to be a tremendous effort for him. 

I am turning 60 this year, and though we still live together we are now officially separated and filing for divorce. It's not because he's a transwoman, but that was the final deal breaker for me. Before the news, i was committed to making it work - This is actually my second marriage, the first was physically abusive, and I had no desire to start over again. However, I will not be attracted to him as a trans woman. I just can't be.

We are living together in the house we own together until we sell it in the spring. He's moved out of our bedroom and into our daughter's childhood bedroom - which also feels off to me. He presents as male to me, and at work, but he goes to his group meetings and changes into women's clothing. At least that's what I think, because there are women's high heeled booties in our daughter's room that are his size, as well as women's blouses, leggings etc and he leaves home with a backpack.

I feel very isolated, and am grateful to have found this group. I attended my first zoom meeting last night which I appreciated as well, though I wish it was in my time zone! 

The cardiac symptoms have 95% resolved themselves, so I am certain the cause was emotional. It's been 9 months and honestly, I still can't believe it's really happening. I am hopeful things will be better for us both after we go our separate ways, but we still have a ways to go before that happens, as we need to sell this house before either of us can move someplace new. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Last edited by Moonlight_dances (January 21, 2024 7:15 pm)


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