Transitioning Is Not What I Signed up For
It was a beautifully warm July day in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I was on my way to the church with my daughters, my two sisters, my sister-in-laws, and my father. Everyone filed into church before me. Then it was my turn with the help of my father, who had postponed a cancer surgery to be there with me on the most important day of my life. I remember walking down the aisle slowly, in order to soak up every face, every scent, and every emotion that I was having. I felt as if I had just won the Miss America contest waving at our friends and family as I approached the altar. I was the luckiest girl in the world. I was about to marry my best friend and the love of my life.
This was the beginning of my happily ever after. Finally, I was in a place where I was loved unconditionally, and my children had a second parent who would do anything for them. All was right with the world. We had our forever to plan. The months turned into years and although my spouse had bouts of depression, life was pretty good. United together we dealt with our share of disappointments, tragedy, loss, and zip code changes. Even the devastation from hurricane Sandy was not strong enough to break us. Through it all we remained strong because had each other.
"IT WAS EIGHT YEARS INTO OUR MARRIAGE BEFORE I HEARD THE WORDS, "HONEY I THINK I AM TRANSGENDER."'
It was eight years into our marriage before I heard the words, “Honey I think I am transgender.” I have listened to many partners describe how they felt when they heard those same words, and it's not always pleasant. Some partners feel deceived and lied to, while others are so hurt by the news they take it personally. Like there was something wrong with them that made their partner want to be another gender. If they only understood it was not a choice. Some of them say, "This is not what I signed up for." Call me overly empathic, but I imagine that might be very painful for the transgender partner to hear. I have this talent where I can put myself in another persons shoes and that to me feels awful.
Suppose your partner came home from the doctor's office with a cancer diagnosis or was in a horrific accident that left them wheelchair bound. Would these partners be so quick to kick them out? I am sure that no one signed up for that either. However, is that a reason to pack your partners belongings and kick them out of your life? I would think not. So why then is it so easy for partners of transgender people to shut the door instead of transitioning with them? My wife's transition brought us closer as a couple. I hope the unconditional love we share will be an example of what love looks like to our children. My wish for them is to know what that kind of loving relationship feels like.
Life sometimes has a way of throwing us a curveball. Nothing but death is promised. We can make all the plans that we wish to, but that doesn't mean everything will turn out the way we thought it would. Events in our life are out of our control, we can only control how we react to it and deal with them. I didn't expect my wife to come out to me as transgender, but I didn't let that stop me from loving her. Our first thoughts are not always the right ones. We don't make the decision to marry someone after the first date, so why then would you make the decision to end your relationship right after your partner comes out. So I implore you to give every relationship a chance. If the love was there before transition, it will be there during and after.