You catch up on the week’s events with one another and then it begins. She starts yapping about how annoyed she is with her husband. “Friday night he went out with his friends and didn’t come home till two in the morning.” “Then he didn’t get out of bed the next day till noon and couldn’t really function all day due to the pounding in his head.” “He didn’t cut the grass or the shrubs.” “Family time went out the window.” “He spent way too much money and to top it off, he forgot about the plans we had to have dinner with my family to celebrate my brothers 30th birthday.” I’m on the other end of the phone scratching my head and thinking “really?”
Of course all of my friend’s complaints are valid. I have at one time or another complained about such things. However when you are in a relationship with a transgender person, those gripes in life seem so minuscule. We deal with our partner’s depression, thoughts of suicide, dysphoria meltdowns and insecurities. We work hard to show them that they can have happiness in life. We act as liaison when family and friends call with questions and concerns. We attempt to keep them safe and feeling secure. Even in a world full of transphobic media coverage and people who think that transgender people are monsters. We try to recapture the milestones in life that they missed out on because they were living in the wrong body. All while working full time jobs, raising our kids, cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, the household errands and dealing with our own mental health.
“MY WIFE’S SADNESS AND FEELINGS OF HOPELESSNESS EFFECT ME MORE THAN SHE WILL EVER KNOW.”
My wife’s sadness and feelings of hopelessness effect me more than she will ever know. Her current job situation is so unbearable. She literally gets yelled at on a daily basis by customers who demean her as if she owned the company. Some days she breaks out in red itchy blotches while getting ready to leave the house. I’m pretty certain that they are connected to her feelings of panic and not wanting to go to that horrible place. Every day I try and make myself available to help her with her hair and sit with her while she gets ready. It’s our time to chit chat and talk about whatever is going on. I attempt to stay positive and reassure her that this is just a job and it’s not forever, as she is working on finding new employment. I do this all while trying to keep a smile on my face. Some days it’s dysphoria that cripples her. Finding just the right outfit is not always easy and there is nothing that I can say to make her feel better about herself. I try and tell her that she looks amazing, but I am not to be believed. It makes me feel useless that I can’t help her. I am by nature a caretaker, but this is an issue that I can’t seem to take care of. I can’t fix it and make it better and I can’t make it go away.
Believe it or not my wife goes through a monthly cycle of emotion. Similar to me getting a little cranky or severely sad the week before my period and slightly agitated the week of. So living in a house of five women, including myself, can get to be a little insane. Our cycles are all pretty much back to back with some of us overlapping for about two weeks out of every month. Add that to my wife’s vast range of emotions thanks to Dysphoria and her dead end job, I’m ready to move our therapist into our house. So we work very hard to always communicate with one another, our feelings. She likes to talk about everything right now. I am slightly different. I like to process what I am feeling and find the right words first before we discuss it. We do not yell and scream and throw things around the house. We really don’t fight that way. We disagree, we discuss, then we find a middle ground where we both can be happy. Then we move on. Our love is built on respect for one another and she is my best friend. I never want to hurt her.
“UNFORTUNATELY SOME DAYS I DON’T MAKE THE LIST OF THINGS THAT I NEED TO TAKE CARE OF.”
Unfortunately some days I don’t make the list of things that I need to take care of. I am making a conscious effort to change that and I am suggesting that all partners follow suit. My new routine is to find thirty minutes of me time everyday. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding a quiet spot in my house to read a book. Other days, I lock myself in the bathroom for a bubble bath. Maybe taking a walk in your neighborhood or guided meditation are things that you love. Find the time and do them. I cannot take care of my wife and my family if I’m not taking care of myself. I want to be everything she needs me to be and more. I want to be her superhero. That is just not possible if I am curled up in the fetal position crying, which happens sometimes after I get her off to work and have to see the look of complete misery on her face. Like I am feeding her to the wolves. So when my friend wants to complain about her husband forgetting to take out the trash, the time he spends with his friends or not answering her text messages in five minutes or less, I laugh to myself.