"When I Told My Wife I Was Transgender, Our Whole Marriage Had To Change"

A place for significant others or family members to talk about issues they face understanding and relating to crossdreamers

"When I Told My Wife I Was Transgender, Our Whole Marriage Had To Change"

Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 19:24

24 Aug 2016, 11:38 #1

Some of you will find this post by Emily Crose  interesting:

"When I Told My Wife I Was Transgender, Our Whole Marriage Had To Change"
 My wife is a stubborn woman. She doesn’t let anything or anyone dictate to her how she is going to live and manage her life. She’s also a voracious reader, and she had immediately picked up a collection of literature to help her understand the situation we were now facing.
In particular, she found the “seven stages of grief” to be helpful for understanding her emotions—after all, though she still had her relationship, she was grieving her husband.=inheritOf these stages, anger and denial were the most challenging for us. 

These stages brought up feelings that were uncomfortable for us both: I wasn’t really trans, it had to be something else. It would blow over. Why had I waited so long to tell her? Why couldn’t I have moved on with transition before our son was born? Worst of all, why was I so convinced I was trans anyway? 

Knowing that these emotions were part of her grief helped us to weather them, and to put them in a larger context, but they were uncomfortable for us both: for Amanda, because she was mired in anger and denial, and for me, because what she was denying and angry at was my attempt to live an authentic life.

Joined: 20 Nov 2015, 18:07

29 Sep 2016, 10:20 #2

This kind of thing seems so silly to me, how people end up in those situations. From the point of view of the husband, if you think you might be a woman, don't get married to another woman, at least not without telling her that you are a woman as well. From the point of view of the wife, couldn't you tell in advance that the person you were about to marry was also a woman? Why did you think they would be a good potential husband to you?

Why do you get to be the one who is all depressed and going through the 7 stages of grief at the loss of the imagined status of your heterosexual relationship, when nothing really has actually changed? You either really loved the person inside or you didn't, unless you only originally loved the idea that you were in love with the person, or that he was a soft touch that could be pushed around easily, and then got really upset with 'him' when he finally came clean and told you that that he only married you as a cover so that other people wouldn't think he was so effeminate, or to please his aging parents who were always worried about him and wondering why he never showed very much interest in girls.

It's like all this Cassandra Affective Deprivation Disorder stuff. A condition made up as the supposed psychological trauma caused by marrying a man with 'Aspergers'. Oh he doesn't really love me, oh he's no good in bed, oh he never properly expresses himself, oh he's still always going on about his 'special interests' why isn't he just interested in me? Oh I feel like I married a robot. Oh he really needs therapy... Oh I'm so depressed.

Never mind all the trauma that 'he' probably went through growing up, feeling like nothing ever worked out the way he expected, or all the guilt he feels over feeling like he can never measure up to your expectations, or the stress that he's constantly under trying to pay all the bills etc, or the fact that 'he' can't ever find that kind of a 'safe space' to talk to anyone completely honestly because of all the social stigma surrounding 'trannys'.

Duh, just don't marry the guy in the first place, go find a 'real' man instead. and if you are the guy, don't get involved with anyone for the 'wrong' reasons.

Joined: 19 Nov 2015, 10:22

29 Sep 2016, 15:28 #3

A woman who marries a man (in her eyes) who then reveals a TG side - I wonder how that woman was to know? TG people are not all that obvious unless you have some kind of second sight. I'm fairly sure nobody would guess I'm a crossdreamer, for example..

No, my sympathies here are with the wife. Of course I have sympathies with TG people, and sometimes they marry as a 'cure'.... But I'm fairly sure all marriages I've read about surviving such a revelation its been because the TG person has given their spouse 'a way out' ... I think its not helpful to describe one's spouse as 'stubborn' because she doesn't want she live in a same sex relationship she never planned for... Its not homophobic to be sure of ones own heterosexuality. I don't buy into the 'but you should love the person as a person' line... I love my best friend 'as a person' but not as a partner..... Transisitioning means you appear a different person to the outside world. I think any continued spousal relationship is a bonus, not a right...

Fillial relationships are different. I would hope a parent would love a child whatever the gender pathway.

Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 19:24

29 Sep 2016, 18:08 #4

Well, my wife is still with me, even now that she knows who I really am. I think our love has grown stronger because of all of this. But maybe this made all sense to her because she has her own challenges to deal with. It is easier to see the outsider in the one you love if you feel like an outsider yourself.

I think you are on to something, Xora, in the sense that some fear losing social status more than the loved one. Embarassment becomes the driving force, and that IS bad. No wonder such marriages collapse. But we should also keep in mind that we live in cultures that worships romantic love, which turns the initial infatuation into the basis for a long term commitment. "Falling in love" is something completely different from real love, most of all because people have a tendency of projecting their own inner ideals onto the other person when falling in love, ideals that have often nothing to do with the flesh and blood reality of the significant other. Real love is loving all of them, including their weaknesses.

Joined: 24 Dec 2015, 01:14

30 Sep 2016, 15:55 #5

This was definitely an interesting article as I am married with kids and came out to my wife about a year ago. She is a straight woman who wants a man as her romantic partner. She has a hard time imagining being close if there is no sexual attraction.

For her, the fact she now knows is causing her to question that attraction. Even without any outward changes in appearance, the internal changes are going to change the relationship. Of course, I am desperate to keep the relationship as a love relationship. It is hard to have to accept that I changed in her view and that the relationship has changed. I think that article addresses that nicely. What I would like to known from couples that survived, where the other is straight, how is the romantic or sexual side (or lack theeeof). Are they getting fulfilled in the relationship or are there other arrangements. Especially for those that have been on the path to transition, even though I do not plan to transition.

Any more helpful articles on this will be read.


Joined: 19 Nov 2015, 10:22

30 Sep 2016, 21:46 #6

Your wife is obviously great, Jack. I'm not saying things can't work out.. just that I don't think a person who comes out after marriage can EXPECT their spouse to just go with the flow.

Joined: 16 Nov 2015, 19:24

01 Oct 2016, 15:40 #7

//She has a hard time imagining being close if there is no sexual attraction.//
For some this is impossible, but I hear that many manage to find ways around that hurdle. Most are more flexible in this respect than they may realize. Having to think through everything she knew about sex and gender, my wife has come to realize that she was always a bit genderqueer or outside the binary.

Other partners of MTF transgender people has found the same.  If you read the books of Helen Boyd you will see that this dynamic was there all along. She was, at heart, more "masculine" (big quotation marks there!!!) than her "husband Betty."

I have learned a lot from her books, by the way, but note that she tells both tragic stories of marriages falling apart and more optimistic stories where both partners get stronger and wiser.

She's Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband

My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser

My wife has put up a resource page for partners of trans people that may be of help.

I'm not saying things can't work out.. just that I don't think a person who comes out after marriage can EXPECT their spouse to just go with the flow.
You are right about this, and a lot of relationships of this kind do not survive.

But we should put this in perspective. It is hard to be human, whether you are cis or trans, and the divorce rate attests to how hard it can be to make a relationship work.

Sometimes life becomes better for both parties if they decide to split up. But some diffences can be overcome. Indeed, some differences can bring you closer together. But sometimes it is better to something new.

As I see it, the two involved in the relationship are the only ones who can have any chance of knowing what is the right choice, and even for them it can be hard, given that we do not know ourselves fully, we do not know our partner completely, our partner is also changing (even if she is not transgender). There is a kind of dynamic that makes all of this hard to predict.

We just have to live it and see what happens.

Joined: 20 Nov 2015, 18:07

01 Oct 2016, 17:54 #8

As a person who grew up in a family with a fairly masculine mother and feminine father, I know how confusing it all gets. 
It's really the basis of this social/class hierarchy business. Which depending on your perspective is either 'the natural order of things' or 'terrible social inequality' depending on whether you happen to be looking 'up' or 'down' at that particular moment. 

A feminised man whose narcissism prevents him from acknowledging his own personality characteristics, but who is highly intellectual and creative and so earns a good living as an engineer or some such, marries a masculinised woman whose status building process won't let her settle for being a trophy wife, and who has to have a hand in the local communities committees etc. 
As the child it's quite confusing too, why are my school-age peers parents so different from mine? Their dads take them to football matches, mine goes to model railway exhibitions. My mum is so determined that I should get into the best schools and get really good grades, regardless of whether or not I ever make any friends there. It's like I'm living in a different parallel reality to everyone else.

My parents clearly believe their perception of reality is 'the truth', but I can't understand why they seem so unpopular and different to others, and why I can't figure out how to interact with anyone either. I'm scared to be myself around them, I'm scared to be myself around anyone at school, I guess I'll just learn to stay very quiet and read a lot of books to try to figure it out. 

Ok, so now that I have figured it all out, there is no way in hell I'm gonna pair up with a similarly masculinised woman and potentially put my children through all the same anguish. 
Well I don't want my kids to be geniuses, high level doctors and lawyers, but always feeling at odds with the rest of society. I'd rather they were more 'normal'. 

It's letting people save 'face' by forming fairly unhappy but nominally heterosexual relationships that creates this kind of situation of ever widening inequality. Each successive generation of engineers creates a fresh set of tools that allow the hereditary capitalists to manipulate everyone else ever more effectively. 

My my mums now reached the stage where she's saying, 'When I was your age I'd already been married for 10 years' type stuff. But ~10 years ago she was still pushing us to go into yet higher education. My younger sister even has a PhD, and now a fairly good if low paying job, working for the Salvation Army, not as an academic, but she's only ever had one proper boyfriend and doesn't really have much interest in starting her own family. 

Well I'm sorry, I didn't expect to be so useless either, but I can't actually do much about the biology I was gifted with, and if I'd gone on HRT as a teenager then maybe I wouldn't still be, but just imagine how much face that would have meant losing with the neighbours...

Joined: 17 Nov 2015, 16:32

01 Oct 2016, 20:17 #9

I am about as guilty on this issue as one can be. The specific circumstances of my wife when I met her, and my subsequent romantic pursuit of her, all magnifies my guilt here. Although sex is a big part of this, it isn’t the whole story. To some extent, my wife is bisexual. She has had a couple of sexual encounters with women in her distant past, and she has indicated that those experiences were not unpleasant for her, but also not something she saw as the basis of a longer term relationship.

With me, she most definitely entered into a relationship with a man, and even a particular type of man. When I came out to her, both of those changed forever for her. The very essence of what she knew about our relationship was suddenly viewed as a lie and a deception. She reacted intensely to all that, and we lived apart for the better part of a year because of it. We have since reconciled, but the relationship is very different, and is still evolving. She is a woman who is highly sexual, and in the beginning of the relationship, the sex component was a huge part of it. We are still trying to work through the sex part. The solution of us staying together might eventually involve an open relationship. But we are still trying to figure that all out.

I have heard married trans people who seem astonished by the idea that their spouses would leave them. They will invariably say something like they are the same person they were before, and transition doesn’t change that. I immediately wonder what planet they are on. When you come out to your spouse, everything changes. At the very least, your relationship has moved from the mainstream to the counter culture. And if you go through transition, and end up the same person you were before, you probably shouldn’t have transitioned at all. That is one of those strange ideas that seems to be floating around the trans community. I suspect it is rooted in a longing for “normalcy” in a life that is anything but.
Last edited by April on 02 Oct 2016, 06:00, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 20 Dec 2015, 20:48

02 Oct 2016, 04:37 #10

April: I agree with you that it's entirely unreasonable to expect ones spouse and marriage to continue as before. For me, I see that I was also making the argument (more of a rationalization) that for all intents and purposes I'm the same person she fell in love with. But clearly that isn't true. Hard to admit especially while I also hope(d) that she would embrace, applaud, and appreciate my finally coming to terms with baggage that has plagued me since I was such a young child.

I think it should also be emphasized that we need to give our spouses time and space to learn and sort out their feelings. That is also hard to do. Once we've finally let the cat out of the bag there is such urgency to finally be okay in the world, but that urgency is ours, coming from being bottled up for so long. For my wife my revelations have been like a magnitude 7 earthquake with aftershocks and more than one tsunami.

I started coming out with all this almost exactly two years ago. We are still sorting it out. I think we're doing much better but we are just taking it a day at a time.