“You killed my husband,” was one of the choice things she has said. “If I wanted a woman I wouldn’t choose you.” I listen.
I told her that I felt a hypocrite, for if she told me that she was a man in a woman’s body and had decided to transition, I would not want to stay her husband. I do consider myself her husband even if my gender is oscillating, just as I will always be my children’s father.
“You being trans has destroyed my self-confidence…it will take therapy to help me recover. What I cannot forgive is how you have denied my sexuality for 15 years; it has destroyed my self-confidence.”
This barrage of morsels preceded an email from her asking me for space, for time to digest all that was going on. As she noted, “you have had a year or so to get used to this. But you just told me now.”
So, I gave space. And as we all gathered together, she and me, our children, for some family time, she asked that I not tell the children, that I not bring it up, and that I be sensitive to her needs. In the same message, she told me that our marriage was over. It was just a formality at this point, but that we were separated for all intents and purposes, and time will tell exactly how it ends…and of course, “we will always be the parents of our children.”
My reply? I wished that it not be over. That my trans-ness has nothing to do with her. That I never hid it, that I had told her of my gender issues before we got married. And that I was still me, and that I didn’t plan on going anywhere. That I would support her through thick and thin and that I hoped she would change her mind.
Together now as a family, everything has been cordial, though I have felt as if there is a herd of invisible elephants in the room. But this morning, while the kids were out of earshot she came to me and dropped another bomb…that she felt I had stolen money from her by buying property with our money in my name.
That was an interesting thought and one I pushed back on…I noted that since we have been married that all of the money that we live on has been from me, and that we have shared entirely from this both for living and for investing. This was not consistent with our pre-nuptial agreements. There were also tax and legal reasons for me to have bought property the way I had, and that this was therefore not a fair comment.
I am reminded of the very wise words of a friend who foresaw my impending separation…her advice: “be generous, don’t be antagonistic, give her what she wants, turn the other cheek. The last thing you need is for her to be angry with you.” So there you have it. That’s what I am doing and what I intend to keep doing.
On the one hand, however, this almost certain separation will hopefully spur her to find a job, and that this will help her find confidence in herself again. She is an incredibly talented professional, but who has, like so many women, fallen out of the working system through parenting or other reasons. I should very much like for her to find happiness in this, as does she.
But once this topic was breached, and once the kids were actually out, she opened the floodgates.
“This is over. I have no desire to be with a trans person. I am not a lesbian. I want to remember you as a man and all the happy things I think about you and your manliness. I don’t want to stand in your way. I don’t want you to resent me for this. But I am not your coach. I won’t be a part of your journey.”
“I sure wish you would.”
“I don’t want to be “girls” together.”
“I’m much more fun this way.”
“That’s not what I want. And I don’t want to talk to a trans-friendly therapist, and I am sorry for calling you a transsexual, I don’t know the terminology yet. I am on this private chat forum for women who are married to trans men, and boy, is there a lot of hate on there. I don’t want that. I want to remember you as you are now. Every wife ends up being called transphobic.”
“The things you have said to me are quite transphobic.”
“I am not a transphobe, but you are my husband, my man, and that is gone now.”
“It doesn’t have to be.”
“It’s already gone. And how you have robbed me of my sexuality. How you have robbed me of touch. Why didn’t you divorce me 15 years ago when all of this started?”
“Our kids? And I didn’t know what I know now. Even still, we are evolving as a society, words and terms are changing.”
“But how could you deny me my sexuality for so long?”
“How could I be intimate with you when I ‘disgusted’ you?”
“But that was just a fetish, kinks, this is different.”
“How was I to know that living this way was going to become intolerable—that there would come a time where I just wanted to be me, and that I wouldn’t be able to cope or want to cope with hiding anymore?”
“I feel that you hate me.”
“Of course, I don’t hate you.”
“You don’t respect what I have done as a mother.”
“You’ve been a wonderful mother.”
“For you I was just a test tube. You did your thing as a male, fulfilled your purpose, and now you give me no credit as a mother.”
“But I do. You have been a wonderful mother to our children.”
“Yes, even now.”
“Yes, even now.”
“But I get no credit for it.”
I am hopeful for her happiness. I wish for her that she find an ability in herself to make herself happy. That I not be, or anyone else be, the source of her happiness. I wish for her to find a sexual partner who fulfils her. I wish that more for her than I do for myself.
I don’t know what the next few years are going to be like. When she might allow me to come out to my children. When she will leave our home. When she might find a job. What it will be like for me when she finds a lover, a new partner. I hope that she doesn’t talk about me to someone else who shares her bed. I still regard certain parts of our bond as sacred. I don’t want her to go, but we can’t go on this way.
What do I hope for? That she and I both find love with people who see us and accept us as we are…and that our children are not harmed by any of this. Simple wishes? Let’s hope so.