Transitioning Is Not What I Signed up For

A spouse of a transgender woman remembers the day they got married. – Trans Partners

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.” 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.

U.A.  Nigro
U.A. Nigro


I am not only lucky, but totally in love

Elphaba Greene
Elphaba Greene

This was a lot more uplifting than I expected. I grew up in an era before transition had come out of the cultural closet, so the most often shared pattern was: marriage > 2.5 kids > realization > scandal > divorce. i always knew, so I never seriously dated. That overshared, I am so glad for everyone who has the strength to realize that transition doesn't have to mean the end of their strongest relationship, but rather signals a new phase in it.


Exactly. When my wife came out to me it was after we’d already bought a house, adopted fur-kids, and intertwined our lives in a way that would have made it very hard for me to leave. That doesn’t mean that for a minute I’ve ever thought she was trying to trap or deceive me. It certainly would have made things simpler if she’d told me she was trans on our second date. At that point I’d have probably said, “Cool, I’m straight, but we can be friends.” I also wouldn’t have found the fulfillment I have in our relationship since that moment though.

I hear from other partners of trans women who just found out, and the first question is usually whether or not they should stay, because it’s not their fault they don’t like women, that’s just how they are. That should really be the last question. They haven’t tried talking to and living with this new version of their spouse yet. Like it or not, they’re already married to a woman.


“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? “


“Unfortunately I know people whose spouses have left them after a cancer diagnosis or horrific accident.”

BeckyBadger I was going to say something about that earlier, I’ve heard the same thing about people leaving a marriage when someone gets sick. I spent twelve years of a thirteen-year marriage, in sickness and health till death do we part, many of which were very hard years, so yes, I have some very strong feelings towards people who leave when things take a turn towards the rough.

I understand how and why things won’t workout, if someone in the marriage transitions, I do not understand leaving the marriage until all attempts to make the marriage work have failed, I do believe the lgbt is born that way, but I not think everyone knows the reasons for whatever the blah blah blah’s in life are when it is trans related - till later in life -, there is no the fault or deception in that, this is no different than any other life altering diagnoses when comparing it to, in sickness and health till death do we part.