I Feel Sorry for the Partners and Spouses Who Packed up and Left

The spouse of a transgender woman tries to understand why other partners are so quick to end their relationships.

I can't tell you the numerous coming out stories that I have heard from transgender people and their partners. I guess it comes with the territory when you volunteer for a nonprofit transgender community center and help moderate a support Facebook page for spouses. No matter how many times I hear this same miserable story, my heart aches just the same as the first time. The transgender partner gets up the courage to come out and wants to live authentically. Then, the cisgender partner gets enraged, screams, cries, flips out, and then wants nothing to do with the relationship.

A vow is a solemn promise to do a specified thing. When you say your wedding vows to another person you are promising them forever, for better or worse. If the relationship is abusive, then you obviously need to end it. My first husband was an abusive alcoholic and I attempted for years to get him help. I tried everything in my power before walking out the door. He did not want to get better, and I felt that the home was no longer safe for my children and I. So eventually I was left with only one option. With the help of a domestic violence counselor and my AA support person, I made a safety plan, packed up my children and some necessities, and we fled.

"WE HAD BEEN MARRIED FOR ALMOST NINE YEARS WHEN SHE CAME OUT TO ME AS TRANSGENDER."

After plenty of therapy I was able to reprogram my brain and gain back my self worth. Somehow I was lucky enough to reconnect with my high school sweetheart. Not only did we fall in love all over again, but she fell in love with my three girls as well. We had been married for almost nine years when she came out to me as transgender. If I had acted without thinking and ended our marriage I would have missed out on a whole new outlook on life. In our already healthy relationship, we became closer. She found a gender therapist and that prompted me to return to therapy. Finally, I began to heal the trauma from my childhood. It gave me the opportunity to become a better version of myself, at the same time she was learning to live her truth.

It is unfortunate how many relationships break up because one person comes out to the other as transgender. My wife is the happiest that she has ever been and as a result, everyone around her is happier. The partners who turn tail and run away have no idea what they are missing out on. It makes me feel sad for them. Normally, we wouldn't look at a new food and say, “no I don't like that.“ If you want to know whether or not you will like something, you must try it first. I wish this happened more in relationships when one partner comes out as transgender. Most partners don't even give their relationships a year before ending it. Transition is not the end of the world, and it does not need to be the end of a relationship. I wish more partners knew that.

Now I may get flack for this, but I think a lot of partners end the relationship because they are worried about what other people might think of them. Society tells us that anything different than the "norm" is unacceptable. Well I think that is nonsense, and I wish more people stood up for what they believed in. I believe that love and family are the most important things we can posses. I have noticed that in the relationships that survive and thrive, the cisgender partner usually has a strong personality and they don't give two shits what anyone else thinks about them. I fall under that umbrella, and I am proud to say so. Now I am not saying that transition is all peaches and cream. It is strenuous on all parties concerned, but anything in life worth a damn is never easy. It is not meant to be. When you put in the work, the rewards are great.

Comments
No. 1-10
jh20
jh20

Speaking as the partner of a trans woman, I think we have to be really careful here to distinguish a couple of different issues going on here. A partner changing genders mid-marriage is a change in the parameters of the relationship and is no small undertaking. It requires unpacking gender norms, including how you personally feel about gender and what role it plays in your relationship, because I guarantee you that your typical relationship is built on some gendered norms. Additionally, you typically choose a partner in part because you are attracted to one sex or the other. Now, I certainly hope that all partners would take the time to work out their feelings on these issues before calling it quits. But it is unfair to dismiss these dynamics as trivial or judge the partner who decides that he or she is not attracted to their partner presenting as the other gender or otherwise getting their needs met and that is a deal-breaker for them. There may be other dynamics in the relationship and the gender change is the last straw. I hesitate to judge anyone going through it because we really don't know what their relationship is like. All we can do is offer support and the space for them to work through their feelings.

Shaggy2871
Shaggy2871

My spouse and i had been together for 12 years and married for 7 when she came out to me as transgender... I did the usual classic flipping out getting angry wanting nothing to do with transitioning.. But the more I read the more i learned.. It was never a question of me leaving her it was was she going to leave me for a man.. once i saw that all the things i had feared were going to happen weren't i started to became more confident in myself in the relationship and supported her 100% and still support her 100%. She is on the road to GRS and She is tickled pink that she has found a whole huge new support system when she came out to the world.We lost a few friends but obviously they weren't that much of a friend to begin with if they left over it... i stepped back even from my own parents and they came around my dad the most... It has been my pleasure to see my wife Blossom into her woman/girlhood and of course we are constantly stealing each others clothes lol

Deidra
Deidra

I honestly can not feel sorry for those who leave! It actually makes me mad.
My wife and I are going on 14 years married. We have a 6 year old son. About 1 year after I had kiddo, she came out to me as Transgender.
She is happier and is such an amazing mother.
Spouses who leave at the start and don't even try... They piss me off.
I understand that there is going to be a process, and not all couple will stay together. But your spouse... That person you love... Needs you... Needs support. At least try

CANDY59
CANDY59

I was Married for 23 years and we had five children. When I came out to my wife,she said "I'm not a lesbian ". I entered Therapy at the same time. Due to therapy she agreed to give me a little time to be Myself and we told the kids which went better than I expected so for about 5 months it worked. I showed her my wardrobe" I had more female clothes then she did.then I lost my mom. Then my wife stated that my 3 boys were tired of seeing me dressed as a woman. So,I decided to move out of the house as I needed to be me , I couldnt hide it anymore. My timing was about to suck as my lovely wife of 23 years was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and was given a year a month Later. So we started talking about me moving back in to take care of her. She had cancelled the
divorce, two months later she was Dead. We were still legally married and for 15 years I guess I've been kicking myself and I suppose carrying a Guilt. The only thing that she did that upsets me is having my 3 boys taken from me. My two girls were adults at the time. Now all my kids are grown up and I have 5 grandchildren. 4 out of 5 kids accept me.

Billiejean
Billiejean

My wife and I were married 14 years when I came out to her. Her first question to me was if I wanted to go shoe shopping. Her next comment was that she didn’t fall in love with my plumbing. Here it is 3 years later and we are closer than ever. She is helping me plan my grs and about to celebrate 17 years together.

Stories