Making the Decision to Stay With My Transitioning Spouse
Something that I always tried to instill in my children was the importance of making informed decisions. A lesson that I felt was lacking from my own childhood and was probably the reason I got married to my first husband at twenty. I explained to my girls over and over again how imperative it is to do the proper research, and even make a pros and cons list. Every action has a reaction, so if you decide to participate in project X, thing about what will happen as a result. We have even discussed the repercussions of what happens when you rush into a decision without thinking it through and the fallout that usually comes after.
Think about how many times you have seen a wedding proposal in a movie or TV show, probably hundreds of times. Now, think about how quickly the person asking gets a response. I would guess in under a minute. Committing yourself to marriage and vowing to love, honor, and cherish until forever is one of the biggest decisions we will make in our lifetime. I wonder how many people really give it the amount of thought a commitment like that deserves. Well if you look at the rate of divorce, you can surmise, not many folks. I am by no means saying that you should stay in a bad marriage or relationship, but I am trying to impress upon you how hard it is to make the right decisions in life.
> "I HAVE SPOKEN TO MANY PARTNERS ON THE SUBJECT AND THE ONE THING THAT I HEAR OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS; I DO NOT KNOW IF I CAN STAY WITH THIS PERSON THROUGH THEIR TRANSITION."
For each of us, hearing the words, “I think I am transgender,” from our partner always seems to spark a range of emotions. Shock, anger, denial, confusion, and even outrage. I have spoken to many partners on the subject and the one thing that I hear over and over again is; I do not know if I can stay with this person through their transition. This is not the relationship that I thought I was in, and I am not sure that I can handle any of it. In all honesty this is life changing, but I would also like to remind you that nothing in life worth anything comes to us easy. If you truly love this person and have made a commitment to them, then I think that relationship is worth investing time and energy into.
So how do we decide if we will stay or if we will go? My first suggestion would be where I started, and that was to read everything I could on the subject. To understand as much as I can about the transgender experience, and not only talk, but listen to my partner about what the future looks like in their mind. Find yourself some support in the transgender community and remember to practice self care. If you think that you are the only one in this relationship who is scared, you would be wrong. Think for a moment about the long road that they are facing just to live an authentic life and the discrimination they will deal with on a daily basis from society.
> "FOR ME THIS DECISION WAS MADE WHEN I SAID 'I DO' EIGHT YEARS BEFORE SHE CAME OUT TO ME."
For me this decision was made when I said “I do” eight years before she came out to me. When you find another human being that turns on your soul and lights up your life you think twice about packing up and leaving. We had many conversations and put everything out on the table. We both understood that there were many questions that we could not answer for one another at the time, but promised to take each step of transition together, and revisit those questions as they came up. We promised each other total honesty, transparency, forgiveness, and compassion, all while giving the other room to grow.
How did you figure out what your favorite foods are? Hopefully you gave them all a try before deciding. Transition is not the same for everyone and every relationship is unique. This is not the kind of decision that you should make when all you feel is betrayal, anger, and fear. Take time to center yourself and search your heart. You will never know if you can live through transition unless you give it a try. I did not enter into this marriage under any conditions and there was no fine print. My wedding vows did not include “unless you come out as transgender, then the license in null and void.” I did not know if my attraction for her would still be there, but felt in my heart that our love was true and I needed to see where this would take us.