So your partner has come out to you as transgender. You make the very difficult decision to stay and be supportive. You go through the denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. You seek out support for yourself and find a therapist. The relationship feels like a roller coaster, but you are determined to hang on and keep loving this person that you made a commitment to. You come out to your friends and family and defend your relationship. The months turn into years and you finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Then they come to you and say, "I need to leave this relationship, I am attracted to the opposite sex."
"SAYING GOODBYE AND ENDING A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP IS NEVER EASY."
Saying goodbye and ending a romantic relationship is never easy. There are thousands of breakup songs for a reason. It is a painful experience. Yet, we will all experience this type heartbreak at least once in our lifetime. Whether you are the one who initiated the breakup or you are the one being broken up with, the wound left behind still needs to be healed. My first marriage ended because of my ex's abuse of alcohol. I could not live that way anymore, and I knew I wanted my children to grow up in a healthy and loving home. Yet, I still felt the loss of that relationship. I have counseled friends through divorce and given my own children relationship advice, when asked, but when it's happening to you it can feel like the end of the world.
The experts say that as you spend time together as a couple, the things that make you each unique begin to blur into one. So in essence, you don't know where you end and they begin. I can certainly attest to that. My children laugh when my wife and I order the same thing at a restaurant or buy each other a similar gift at Christmas. This phenomenon happens because our sense of self becomes intertwined with our partner's sense of self. So when our partner says that they are leaving us, we feel completely lost. That is a totally normal feeling, and I promise it will get better.
"JUST AS SOME CISGENDER PARTNERS LEAVE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ATTRACTED TO THE OPPOSITE SEX A TRANSGENDER PARTNER CAN DO THE SAME."
As partners of transgender folks, a breakup seems to sting a bit more. I think it's because we feel as though we have sacrificed so much, worked so hard, fought, got creative, and loved unconditionally, that this should never happen. However, what we are forgetting is that our partners are on a road to self discovery. When they make the decision to live an authentic life it does not come with a direction booklet and a map. It is a reboot to the life they were meant to live, and the journey can take them anywhere. Sometimes it takes them to a place where we do not exist. This is not the fault of either partner. Just as some cisgender partners leave because they are not attracted to the opposite sex a transgender partner can do the same.
So what do we do next? We move forward and heal. I say it all the time to the partners in my group, self care through your partner's transition should be your number one priority. If you are not taking care of yourself, you can't take care of anybody else. Rediscover yourself as an individual. Try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. Start a new hobby and keep yourself busy. Journal, write down how you are feeling then put it away. If you are not currently in therapy, now is a great time to start. Having a supportive person to talk to is amazing. Exercise in any form releases the happy endorphins in your brain. You are strong and resilient. Remind yourself of that every day.