Sometimes I hear a story that really makes me sad, and the one I heard this past week was not only sad but it invoked some deep seeded insecurities with in me as well. It was told to me by a spouse of a transgender woman. Her and her “husband” were married for seven years when “he” came out to her as transgender. The cisgender spouse’s family disowned her after learning that she had decided to stay with her partner through transition. Her family was very conservative and thought that it would be better for her and the children to kick her “husband” to the curb. She did not see it that way at all. “You are not gay,” they told her, but her own sexuality was the furthest thing from her mind at the time.
“She was still very much in love with her transitioning wife and was ready to take on this new chapter in their lives”
Like many partners, I have come in contact with and spoken with, the cisgender partner was determined to make her marriage work and keep her family together. She was still very much in love with her transitioning wife and was ready to take on this new chapter in their lives. For better or worse, she was committed. The couple had two children together and although she wanted a third child, the sanity of her wife and the authenticity in which she lived, was more important to her than her need for another child. They started seeing a therapist on a weekly basis and made a promise to each other to keep open the lines of communication. They shared their hopes and most importantly their fears about the process both with and without their therapist.
Strange as it might sound, one fear that they commonly shared between them was the fear of losing the other to a cisgender man. The cisgender spouse did not identify as a lesbian and that made the transgender spouse fear that she might seek out affection from the opposite gender. In the very same vein, the cisgender partner was worried what the introduction of hormones would do to her transgender wife. Perhaps after being on estrogen, her transgender wife would desire to know what it was like to be with a man. They spoke at length about the situation with their therapist and found no solace. Only absolute honesty can guide their path. I could totally relate as it has been an insecurity of mine as well. Is it possible that I just over think certain things? Do these types of insecurities ever go away? Here we are, two years into my wife’s transition and there is the man of my wife’s dreams still running around in my head.
“At this point in the story, I had an aching feeling that I knew where she was going with this.”
At this point in the story, I had an aching feeling that I knew where she was going with this. She continues until she gets to the part where her wife writes a letter explaining why she is leaving her. Yup, you guessed it… She has fallen for a man and he has expressed an interest in taking their relationship to the next level. My heart sank down into the pit of my stomach and I wanted to yell out loud, NO!!!! My worst nightmare has come true for this poor woman. I wanted to scoop her up, take her home and nurse her back to sanity. How could her wife do such a thing to her? After the countless sacrifices the cisgender partner made to help her wife to become the person she was always meant to be? It makes the betrayal appear that much worse.
If you have been there since day one through your partner transition, then you are well aware of the day to day challenges, and you have experienced your share of sleepless nights. Add to that a dash of fear for your partner’s safety and you are living in a bowl of transgender uncertainty. The worry, concern, stress, and anxiety become a way of life and you beg, borrow, and steal just for a moment of peace in your own home. Unlike the stress a heterosexual couple might encounter. Life as you know it has changed forever. Living with such uncertainty will increase your chances of a mental meltdown, and things that once bought you pleasure might drive you “batshit” crazy. The right words of comfort alluded me. I did not know how to stop this woman’s pain. All I could do was live in it with her.