The process of transition looks completely different for every person who goes through it. Some folks start at hormone replacement therapy and go all the way to surgery, while others may be completely satisfied on hormones alone. Living in a world where every human is totally unique is a beautiful thing, and we are free to decide where our journey takes us. No two people transition in the same way. The same can be said for their partners. As any partner of a transgender person knows, after walking through the five stages of grief, we go through a transition of our own.
I guess for some people, the only way they could find happiness is to just pack up and leave after their partner comes out as transgender. To me the commitment of marriage vows deserve a considerable amount of effort before throwing in the towel, and even more so when there are children involved. However, for others it is simple to walk away. I believe you will never truly know if your relationship could survive transition unless you attempt to do so. Giving yourself time to process everything at a slow and steady pace has worked for many partners. Any time love is the main ingredient in a relationship you are already a few steps ahead.
"SO HOW IS IT THAT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FIND PEACE IN MY WORLD FULL OF RUCKUS?"
When talking to married cisgender partners I have heard many say, “this is not what I signed up for.” Meaning that they married their spouse not knowing that they were living as the opposite gender. Being in that situation myself, I can totally understand where they are coming from. When I was first married I did what most newlyweds do. I tried to imagine what life would be like for my partner and I after our youngest graduated from high school. I can honestly say that the vision in my head was not the way that we are living today. So how is it that I have been able to find peace in my world full of ruckus? By taking one day at a time, weighing each decision fully before moving on to the next one, and lots of patience.
I say it all the time, and I mean it more than you know. You must practice self-care. Carve time out in your day to do the things that you enjoy, make you feel centered, and most of all, bring you happiness. It is very easy to put ourselves last on the list when the list is as long as your arm. So make yourself a priority. Having a good therapist is key. Try to find someone that you feel comfortable with and can connect to. Do not feel guilty leaving any therapist. It is not possible for them to specialize in everything, so if you feel like you are not getting what you need from your sessions, move on, otherwise it is a waste of your time and money.
"IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND A SUPPORT GROUP FOR PARTNERS EITHER ONLINE OR IN PERSON, JUMP ON THE CHANCE TO GO."
Meditation is amazing for anxiety. If you don’t know where to start, you can find some really great guided meditations on the internet. Beginner meditation might be a good place to start. I am also a big believer of keeping a journal. Personally I have had one since I was fifteen years old. Whenever I have too many things rattling around in my head, writing it down on paper has always helped me to sort them all out. In case you didn’t know, exercise is also amazing for your mental health. Wake up those happy endorphins and put them to work. If you are lucky enough to find a support group for partners either online or in person, jump on the chance to go. Having other folks to talk to who have been in your situation is so invaluable.
My ex father in law always said to me, “if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.” I was young, full of energy, and mostly unburdened then, so I would smile, shrug him off, and say “sure Dad.” I would walk away and laugh to myself. Now I see the wisdom in those words. He was so right. If I am recharged and centered, I am a better mother, wife, employee, friend, and over all human.