There are many different types of relationships. Parent-child, partners, spouses, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. All of which take a different degree of effort to maintain. As human beings we hunger for interactions with other human beings, and being in an intimate and loving relationship is, for most people, the ultimate goal. Maintaining a committed relationship seems to require the most effort. This is my recipe for a healthy relationship, love, respect, support, compromise, and communication. Without these five components, navigating a healthy relationship is just about impossible. Going through transition with a partner puts these things to the test.
When my wife had come out to me and before I knew what transition would entail, I made the decision to stay and love her the way that I had for many years before. I am totally committed to her and our family. However, the trials and tribulations of living through transition should not be forgotten. The pain and torment that we watch our partners go through can be brutal, and we do it all while, most of the time, putting our own needs on the back burner. The denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance is often difficult to live through. Not to mention that you are living through all of those emotions while living with your partner. Especially when you feel like you can't lean on your partner for support because they are going through so much already.
"I HAVE GONE THROUGH BOUTS OF LONELINESS THROUGH MY WIFE'S TRANSITION."
I have gone through bouts of loneliness through my wife's transition. When the only thing that we could all talk about was her and what she was living through. How we could get her to a place where she could live an authentic life and what she needed from us as her family. These are all difficult things to go through and as a result we end up putting ourselves last on the list of things that need to be taken care of. We assume the role of a strong person who loves unconditionally and puts the needs of our partner ahead of our own. As partners, we all need a specific kind of support. Love and understanding that can only come from other partners and folks who have been through the same thing. There are going to be good days and bad. Some days that you want to scream and run away and days that you want to reminisce about.
Transition is difficult on the partners and their children. That is not to diminish the pain and anguish that the transgender population lives through on a daily basis. However, at the same time we need to acknowledge the partner and their journey. The complex nature of becoming who you were always meant to be demands an immense amount of love and determination. Whether we want to admit it or not, living with another human who is in the process of defining whom they really are, is demanding. It adds a layer of emotional strain on the relationship and sometimes leaves the cisgender partner feeling left out.
I love writing about our successes, triumphs, and bliss; however, I have done a lot of work to come out on the other side of this transition with my relationship intact. Writing weekly for other cisgender partners, joining online support groups, and having partners who I see on a weekly basis, has all added in my healing process. The reason that I choose to share my journey with others is because I want all cisgender partners everywhere to know that happiness through transition is possible. Treat yourself and your partner with tenderness. Neither one of you has ever gone through such a trying endeavor before, and if you truly love one another it is important to be compassionate.