The Shock of Hearing Your Husband Say “I Am Transgender”
By U. A. Nigro
These things happen to everyone and are totally out of our control. The death of people close to us, an illness, divorce, losing a job or being devastated in a natural disaster are just some examples. There is no way to avoid these things from happening as it is part of life. It is with hope that we can move through these events gracefully and come out the other side stronger than we were before. Having a partner or spouse come out to you as transgender is one of those events.
“I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE MOMENTS AFTER MY WIFE TOLD ME THAT SHE WAS TRANSGENDER.”
I can still remember the moments after my wife told me that she was transgender. It was like having an outer body experience and going deaf at the same time. I am not really sure what she said after that. Sitting there next to her on the couch, I felt as though I was across the room from her. I could see her mouth was moving as if she were speaking, but I couldn’t hear her words. My brain took me away. I could only hear my internal dialogue chattering away with questions like, when and how will this happen or what will our families say? How will I feel if she leaves me for a man and thoughts of living out the rest of my life alone. This quick and sudden rush of thoughts all at once made my head spin.
After receiving news of this sort, our first feelings are usually shock and disbelief. We might even experience the impulse to yell, scream, and kick our spouse out of the house. Wrapping your head around this is difficult at best. I couldn’t even believe what I had just heard. So I needed to bring myself back into the conversation. I needed to be present. I needed to comprehend what I was hearing. I reminded myself to breathe, listen and stay in the moment. In the days that followed our conversation, the shock wore off. Other feelings began to emerge and I started looking for support. For some spouses feelings of anger, sadness, fear, panic or depression may arise. All of which are okay and perfectly normal. It is important to share these feelings and get them out in the open with people whom you trust.
” UNDERNEATH IT ALL I COULDN’T DENY THAT I WAS STILL MADLY IN LOVE WITH THIS PERSON AND IT SIMPLY DIDN’T MATTER WHAT SHE WAS WEARING.”
We have always had an open and honest relationship and enjoyed sharing our feelings with one another. Once she had this revaluation, I was the first person she wanted to share it with. Juggling all these feelings in the weeks that followed on my own was difficult. I took to the Internet to find some resources. I found opportunities to sit alone with my thoughts to examine how I was feeling about everything and I kept a journal. I took the time to take care of myself while I was walking through life, as if it was not about to change drastically. I spent time doing the kind of things that have always brought joy to my life to feel normal again. Eventually I began therapy and in doing so, I found myself a community. Together we cried a little and laughed a lot. Underneath it all I couldn’t deny that I was still madly in love with this person and it simply didn’t matter what she was wearing.
As the weeks turned into months, the panic and fear withered away. Something that I could have never predicted through all this, happened. We somehow fell more in love with one another. Our already close relationship became exceptionally intimate. Never before had I noticed there was this “thing” between us forming a wedge. Not until it was gone. It was that realization that made traveling down this path with my wife a walk to remember. Every flower needs water and sunlight to continue to grow, just as every relationship needs honesty, respect, and love to continue to grow. Nothing of worth in this world comes easy and every relationship deserves a fighting chance. I am two years into my wife’s transition and extremely delighted in my decision to stay. We have taken on this journey together, side by side, upholding our vows for better or worse and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for us next.