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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » Navigating Trans-ition in my partnership

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Author Topic: Navigating Trans-ition in my partnership
Member # 110545

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Hello interweb,

I married to a Trans-Woman. I married her when she was living as a occasionally CrossDressing man. Things change, people change. We sure have. These things don't happen all at once it's been 2 years since she first discovered she needed to live as a women. It's been 2 steps 1 step back since then.

I decided life was better with her. We are best friends, amazing parents, and good partners. That doesn't mean dealing is straightforward. The world treats me as a lesbian, a hard public lie to swallow. It seems the choice is to take the incorrect label or out my partner to someone who has no claim to know the nuances of my relationship. People ask conversationally who we got our child. I really get angry. I am uncomfortable living 'out'. I am not sure how LGBTQ kids do it while I am filled with shame and anger. I am not super feminine, I am uncomfortable being seen as the masculine one in our family, the butch. I hate myself for trying to compete with her cloths, shoes, or make up.

Today is a bad day. Somedays the change doesn't seem important, others it seems as though it has swallowed my entire life.

I love men, call it androsexual. I love my partner. I am a sexual women, I have always been lusty. I have no desire to be with my partner sexually. It breaks my heart. I miss the man she was to me. She still wants me. I'm horny, she is horny, and there we are frustrated right next to each other. It makes me feel defective. If only I was Bi, or Pan.

We hold hands, kiss, cuddle, play with each others hair. We are still romantic intimate partners. Just not sexual. I have a therapist that believes sexually changes, people discover they like a different gender or kink all the time. He believes I am too hung up on gender. I think that rare biased talk from someone bisexual. After all how can anyone imagine everyone can't be attracted to all genders if that is their experience. The opposite of the heterosexual unable to fathom homosexuality.

We are non monogamous, always have been. You would think that would simplify my troubles but it just feels more complicated. We moved into a new home where I have my own room. My own space, the idea being eventually we will bring new people around. Good poly people who fit us, and fill our needs. That feels like a fairy tale to me.

Please don't reply with things like 'as long as love each other' or 'if you are happy other peoples opinions don't matter.' They are well intentioned but extremely short sighted. We have faces extreme discrimination, lost jobs, housing, family and friends in the past 2 years. My self consciousness while shameful and unpleasant has a firm base in reality. I really do love her, of course I do, but love doesn't fix sexual preferences or fill sexual needs.

Posts: 5 | From: OR | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 109610

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Hi, that sounds like it is a difficult situation to be in. Have you looked to see if there are any support groups for spouses/family of trans people anywhere near you? I don't think it means you're transphobic or something to seek out such a group; it sounds like you would love to be able to speak with people who have been in your situation.
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Member # 110155

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I'm not sure how much use I can be here: I am also in a relationship with a person who's transitioning, but I'm lucky enough that her transition doesn't change how I feel about her, except in the sense that any important and stressful part of a partner's life impacts your own. Her previous girlfriend broke up with her when she realised she needed to transition, as the girlfriend was only interested in a relationship with a man, and I know another person who was in the same position with her now ex-husband. I want to try to help, but please don't take me as an expert. [Smile]

I think you're right about the therapist's comments. I am pan, and indeed, I can't grasp how it must feel to stop being attracted to someone because their gender identification changes. But others have told me that that's how they feel, and I respect and accept that even though I struggle to understand it - and I think you'd be well within your rights to tell your therapist that they should do the same.

Please don't feel guilty about how you feel. You can't help how you feel, only how you react to your feelings, and it sounds like you're reacting with the utmost kindness and care. I do wonder, though, if you've been able to figure out exactly what it is that you're ashamed of? If you can pin that down, to the level of "If people know, they will think x", then at least you'll know if there's anything you can do about it. If it's out of fear of discrimination, then I'm really, really sorry that you live in a community where you have to put up with that shit. Sadly it's reality, and navigating this stuff isn't as simple as just "Be true to yourselves". Do you think you might find it helpful to dip into local (or online) LGBTQ or poly communities, though, to see if you can't find at least some social settings where people are happy to accept "I'm a straight woman and this is my wife" without worrying about how you fit into their boxes?

What is it that's not working about your current poly arrangements?

Posts: 116 | From: UK | Registered: Apr 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sam W
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 108189

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Hi Transwife,

So, in the spirit of disclosure, I am a straight, cis woman engaged to a trans man (we've been partners for over 6 years). When we met, he was pre-everything, at least on the physical end of things, but was very sure that he was a dude and was living his life as much. So, I can't say that I lived the same experiences you did in terms of having a partner transition after you'd been together for awhile, but a few of your other feelings struck a chord.

I hear you saying that your sexual preferences and needs are not being met. I want to ask, what exactly is the barrier for you? Does it have more to do with the body she has now that she's transitioning, or is it more to do with you feeling that you're not attracted to women and therefore you are not/can't be attracted to her?

And you're right, love does not fix everything, and it sounds like you're taking some steps to make the relationship workable for both of you. So I want you to ask yourself: what would your ideal relationship look like? What, exactly, is making the current arrangement not to your liking? Because if it's the B.S and discrimination she (and you by extension) have faced, then I think you need to seriously ask yourself if that's something you'll be willing to encounter for the rest of your life and support your partner through. Because it is not likely to fully go away.

I want to second what our users have been saying about looking into communities that can support you, be they local LGBTQ communities or groups specifically for partners of trans folks.

[ 06-12-2014, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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Member # 110545

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Sam W,

I have been pondering the question 'what exactly is the issue here?' for a long time.

At first I suspected I was homophobic because of the combination of my discomfort with PDAs, and thoughts of having sex. But I love queer people, they are always the coolest people I meet. It has gotten easier to let people put me in that box. I came 'out' to my military unit before I was deployed because I knew I couldn't spend a year with them and not talk about my spouse. I don't like the hiding my odd little family from friends. Everyone else gets to make small talk about there families it's not fair that I have to think hard before I use the right pronouns. I have to decide how much of my life is safe to share with this unsuspecting person.

Back to the question. I do think it is her body that is a turn off. She has been on hormones again for 6 months. M- insists that she has no plans for vagina construction in the future, but day dreams about orchiectomy. I worry about her ability to obtain an erection. But right now that is not an issue. I find my self aroused and enthusiastic about thoughts of sex. I will dress up for a date night out with it in mind. Then she with come home and dress up too little black dress, the fine rubies I bought her for Christmas, and killer heels. It is like my sex feeling towards my partner evaporate.

Back in the beginning when she identified as a CDer only she would ask me if I wanted to be around her a boy or a girl. As she grew into her understanding of her gender that became less and less appropriate. I would get sad even when we were out as a typical couple, because it was a farce created with love just for me. There is none of that now, and I am grateful.

I feel like female presentation is less attractive to me. She smells different to me now too. Sometimes I focus too hard on the physical changes. I just don't lust for her like I did him. It makes me feel inadequate, not to mention sexually frustrated.

I have not had a lot of luck finding groups for partners of trans people. Frankly I am scared. I went to a trans group before we moved west and it was very judgey of partners and there issues. I realize many partners don't stay, or do and say awful things. But when I use the wrong pronoun it is not because I hate my partner and don't respect their choices. When I cry because she wore the earrings I wore at our wedding without asking it's not because she doesn't deserve to wear them. I didn't feel it was a safe space to talk about my feelings. I went to a group for crossdresser wives once but they were very old school about their partners gender. They said when and how they could dress. It was not for me. I guess I am afraid that the other partners won't be like me, trying to find a middle way, negotiate the new terms. Instead they will be sainted, celibate supporters or angry, confused partners who are looking for support to leave. Those are the types I have found online.

On that note I would like to say my partner is extremely well adjusted. She has an I unshakable sense of self and is not upset by petty people or ignorance. I am so proud and more than a little jealous at the way she calmly calls people out on there stupidity and educates anyone who will listen. I haven't mentioned her needs and want because she is a champion at taking care of herself emotional, and physically. I want to say this because I think many who transition need more help and support than she did. My personal journey doesn't greatly impact her well being other than in the sense of being a whole happy family. Odd I know, she is special.

My ideal relationship. I would have husbands. I love men, especially slightly feminine men. I like family style poly, live together, do picnics, and board games...Share child rearing responsibilities and closeness. I am not looking for partners right now because I feel like relationships need to be on solid ground before introducing new elements. New people don't fix old relationships. I am worried I won't be able to find someone poly who adores M- like I do. Who wants to be with a married women with a toddler and a complex and important relationship with her Transwife? I mean all the men I have been with in he past weren't really poly and just wanted to keep me themselves. I don't want to let anyone drive a wedge btw M- and I. I can't just see someone on the side, that did not feel good. We are soulmates. I guess I am skeptical that someone I like will want to be in the life I am building.

Posts: 5 | From: OR | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 110545

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oh impecunious one,

I feel like I don't fit at LGBTQ places. Like I'm in the closet there. I'm not saying they are straight bashing or anything just I'm uncomfortable. Like I should go to an event wearing a sign I'm sorry I'm in interloper.

I should say that things have gotten easier. Time has given me experience to grow from. My anxiety in social situations has lessened since we joined the local Unitarian Universal church. It's one of the few places I don't feel like our family is treated like a spectical. Since we moved to the northwest there are far fewer instances where I am afraid for her physical safety. In our old city I witness violent homophobic assaults and was always on edge.

But I am very lonely here. I made a mom friend at a near by park who has a toddler the same age as mine. Play dates were great and it was so relieving to have company. I finally told her about my husbands transition and my struggles. Everything seemed fine she even invited us all to her sons birthday party. But shortly after she told me that her Christian church group had gotten together and she and her husband decided that M- was not a woman. Because homosexuality is a sin that as long as I was married to a mentally ill man she and I were good. I haven't seen her since, I wish I had said foul angry things instead of respecting he stupidity and leaving politely. My child keeps asking for his friend. It breaks my heart, and he is too small to learn about hate.

I tell you this because my partner, M-, says I am not open to new friends like I am saying to the world, pls don't hurt me.

It's been two years since we came out. People I love, decent people who love me, did and said shitty things about my partner to my partner. Inexcusable things. It's not fair the people in our lives who abandoned us, they should be ashamed of their actions. Instead I am afraid to meet people afraid of being honest about who I am.

That is what I am ashamed of. M- she is fearless and forgiving. I fear peoples cruelty, and I am ashamed that I am not stronger. It is hard. I want to be better than this. Fearing the worlds injustice is not a good reason to leave your family. Moving was my first real strike at changing our world to fit our lives, then finding a church. But it is slow and I am struggling still in many ways.

Posts: 5 | From: OR | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 110545

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Thank you all by the way for your kind and thoughtful responses.
Posts: 5 | From: OR | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Hi Transwife,

I'm wondering - have you had any professional counseling support around your partner's transition? You might find it helpful, if you're able, to talk to a trans-friendly therapist who won't try to tell you that your partner is not a woman (how horrible of that woman you met to say such a thing to you), but can help you sort out your feelings in a neutral space. Also, is there a PFLAG group in your area? Some chapters will be more knowledgeable about trans issues than others, but overall they've done a lot of work to be trans-inclusive lately.

I am a trans person partnered with another trans person, but while it's worked out for us, sometimes relationships don't survive a transition, or at least not in the way they were before. If you identify as straight and really only feel sexual attraction to men, that's ok - it makes things harder in your current situation, for sure, but I don't know that most people can change their sexual orientation through sheer willpower. You can love your partner and support her without feeling as sexual towards her as you used to.

There's a huge difference between disrespecting/rejecting a transitioning partner and saying "I love you but this relationship model is not going to keep working for me, can we re-evaluate how things work between us?"

It sounds like having a male partner as well might help you feel happier, but I can understand not wanting to add another partner in the mix right now. I do think that it can be harder to find a partner who feels equally attracted to both people in an existing couple - it can happen, for sure, but I think that tends to be a less-common poly relationship structure than individual members of a couple having another partner.
A guideline my partner and I have is "anyone either of us dates needs to be comfortable having a meal together or otherwise socializing with both of us." We aren't necessarily looking for anyone to date both of us but we want any other partners one of us has to be comfortable being friends with the other. Maybe something like that might work? People can live together and co-parent without them all being sexually or romantically involved.

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 110545

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I agree completely. I wasn't clear i meant poly family in the sense that they were incoperated in the household not that they are romatically involved with everyone else. But that feels far fetched to me even.

There is a PFLAG near by that meets once a month but I talk myself out of going. I will try and do it for real next month. I am in counciling and he is helping with anxiety and depression issues that effect my self esteem. He doesn't really address my relationship just insists I work on cognitive thought reconditioning. Which does help with drepression. It's slow.

I have good days and bad it has just been a tougher week. We are structuring our lives to allow for co parenting and cohabitation only if it comes to that. But I don't want it to come to that. I am certain she feels the same. It would be a big loss.

I really feel like I don't know if the attraction or lack of is my preference or fall out from all the crazy. I keep looking for someone to tell me my truth. No one can know but me it seems and it feels unanswerable to me. I am confused.

Posts: 5 | From: OR | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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