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Friday, November 29, 2013

Jealousy and Boundaries

I hate being a jealous person.  I didn't think my spouse was a jealous person either.  Lately, we both have had a few issues in that area.  I'm sure it's because our relationship is changing and the future is more uncertain.  I'm having a hard time knowing when to express it or when to just keep it to myself.  I've spent so much time in the past keeping things to myself that I have been wanting to keep sharing all of my feelings.  Sometimes I need to know when to keep my mouth shut.  I feel like I've been ruining some pretty awesome moments for her by me expressing my insecurities.

For example, we have had one person visit so far when she was in full presentation mode.  She was very excited about it of course, but I had these enormous pangs of jealousy.  Most of the time it was just fine, but I could feel myself retreating into my shell because I didn't know what to do with that feeling.  I really do want her to have friends and be around supportive people, but it's so hard right now.  Seeing her bonding with other women is really hard for me to handle.

It's still so fresh that some of the feelings coming up take me by surprise.  Then I can't help but blurt it out.  I know that ruins the moment.  For example, she was talking to a friend on the phone and I wanted to give her privacy because it was the first time she was telling this person about the situation.  I don't know this other woman, but respect that they are friends and were co-workers.  I left for a little while because I know when I'm talking to someone about something personal, sometimes I might need to vent or say things that might hurt my spouse's feelings.  Or just something that person might not understand.  When I got back, I just sat by myself while she was in the other room with the door shut.  They were on the phone for a long time and when she was done, she was so happy about her first "girlfriend" conversation.  I immediately ruined the moment by saying that I don't want it to become a pattern that she is just off in another room with the door shut talking to other women.  I did explain that I understood the importance of why she did it, but would be uncomfortable if it happened like that all the time.  Why couldn't I just let her have the moment and keep my big mouth shut?  It could have been addressed later.  Ugh!

What is so hard for me about her being friends with other women?  I guess it goes back to the past (again) and to other people who had betrayed me.  My "friends" betrayed me, my boyfriends betrayed me, on and on.  I guess I'm also afraid that she is going to find someone who she connects with on a deeper level and then I'm out of the picture.  Also, it's a difficult situation when you're friends with the gender you're sexually attracted to.  How do lesbians cope with this?  It's so much easier in the male-female relationship I think because the lines are usually pretty clear.  Sure, we both have friends of the opposite sex, but we don't go hang out alone with them.  It just doesn't seem appropriate.  All I usually ever had growing up were guy friends.  That stopped once I started having serious relationships.  They had guy friends, I had girl friends.  We didn't hang out with the others alone.  It just seemed like the rule.  What are the rules here and where are the boundaries?  I'm sure I'm still not allowed to go hang out with guys alone.  Nor would I want to do that to her.  I hang out with other girls alone, why shouldn't she?  What the hell am I so scared of?

I think the other part is watching her enjoy the compliments from other women.  She is (and should be) flattered and excited by that.  I don't deny her that.  It just seems to mean more from the other people than from me for some reason.  I guess it's that way with any relationship, but just stings a bit more right now for me.  I'm trying to prepare for watching her flirt, but that's going to be hard.  It's inevitable though.

So, is the jealousy all about sex?  Maybe right now it is for me.  I'm not used to worrying about my spouse with women.  "He" didn't want to be with other women.  It was difficult enough for "him" to be with me in any sexual capacity, so I had nothing to fear with other women.  Now what?  Did I choose this person because of the safety factor?  I had chosen so poorly in the past and been emotionally hurt so badly by men that I chose someone completely different.  I never doubted for a minute that this person would ever do anything to betray me.  Why am I questioning that now?  Maybe because once we become more involved in the transition, we're going to meet more people like us.  Maybe I think she chose me just because I was the only one she thought she would ever get.  Did she "settle" for me?

I think the other part is that I'm not a girly-girl.  I can participate in the typical "female" activities, but don't necessarily enjoy them.  I don't mind playing with makeup once in awhile or helping her shop, but I just don't get as into it as other women might.  I do like cooking and being crafty.  I don't want to deny her any of that, but want to be involved in the process, but also don't want to lose myself in the process.  I don't want to have to act more feminine or stop being the crude person I can sometimes be just for her.  That wouldn't be honest to who I am.  Is she going to get sick of that side of me once she's around more women?

Okay, this post became a complete rambling.  I'm still not real clear on my thoughts here.  I guess we just have to take it like everything steps.  Bottom line is, we need to keep communicating about our feelings and how we can be sensitive to one another while being true to ourselves.

Let's talk about sex...

Sex seems to be the largest issue that non-transitioning spouses have with the idea of Sexual Reassignment.  We did, after all, choose to marry men.  If our true orientation were lesbian, wouldn't we have chosen women?  It's so hard to imagine never getting to have sex with a man again, but I am in love and take my vows what now?

In my case, our sex life was pretty tame.  Okay, it was boring.  I had experimented a lot in my youth and was up for trying just about anything once.  I had been with others before him who wanted sex so much that I got sick of it.  When I got married, I knew that I was choosing a good solid relationship built on love and respect and a boring sex life was just something I decided I would have to live with.  Sure, some times were better than others, but it always seemed like he was trying SO hard to like it that it ended up hurting my feelings.  He liked it when I got pleasure, but usually not from intercourse.  He wouldn't let me do anything to him on some occasions.  I felt really ugly, ashamed, sad, and couldn't understand why he would want to be with me if I didn't even turn him on. There were a few times I just ended up crying and, let me tell you, that does absolutely nothing to help a sexual relationship.  We didn't talk about sex, we didn't have it very often and it caused us both a lot of anxiety.

One huge thing I realized was that I couldn't emotionally connect during sex.  I find it a zesty enterprise. :)  I just thought of it as an animalistic activity that feels good.  I got uncomfortable if it was too serious or I had to look into someone else's eyes.  I just wanted to have fun in the bedroom, and use our bodies in whichever way we felt like.  I didn't want to feel anything emotionally deep at that time.  I had to ask myself why that was. I was emotionally detached from sex, which made it easier to just think of it as a physical act to enjoy.

I started thinking about what is it about what I like that I actually like in the bedroom, what I felt wasn't being fulfilled.  (That's a whole different discussion) What it came down to is realizing that I never let him get close to me emotionally in that part of our relationship.  Over time I ended up blaming him for not being open sexually.  I realize now that was not just his fault.  He needs emotional connection while having intimacy, I have an extreme fear of that.  That is something I am working on for myself.  I think it had to do with a string of bad experiences in the beginning of my sexual exploration.  I think I just cut myself off from feeling anything during those activities early on in life and that just became how it was for me.  I think that's how it is for a lot of women, but it isn't easy to admit that past experiences (even and maybe especially bad ones) formed what we like sexually.  What's worse, the sexual desires probably don't match what we want in a relationship.

I think the realization of the roots of my own sexual desires / fantasies gave me some deeper insight into what my spouse was feeling.  What I desired didn't make sense.  Why would I desire things that made me ashamed when I was younger?  Why would I think that I needed those desires in my relationship when it turned out so poorly before?  It's all so very confusing.  But what I realized is that what both of us were feeling weren't that different.  We were both just scared of what we liked and didn't understand why.  How do you reconcile different sexual desires or drives in a rapidly changing marriage?

How can you make a relationship work if you desire a different gender than what your spouse feels they are?  Is there really a part of you that desires the other gender?  Can open marriages or "swinger" type marriages work?  How can we deny each other sexual pleasure even if we can't give each other that particular pleasure?  I don't know any of the answers to this, I just know that we have started discussing it.

I don't know how people with "open" marriages cope with the jealousy or hurt that seems inevitable to me.  In a perfect world, we could be married to the people we love, get to enjoy their sexuality but also get to fulfill any desire we like on our own (or with them if they are willing) as well.  There is a part of me that thinks it doesn't even seem like a marriage at the point couples are allowing others into the bedroom or somewhere outside of the marriage.  I don't know how else people can reconcile the way they can be completely compatible in a relationship, but not necessarily always in the bedroom.

My initial conclusion, being that we are in the very beginning stages of this process, is that any couple going through this has to be willing to confront the issue of desires towards other people.  As the transitioning person is going through hormonal changes, desires might change.  The spouses' desires might change.  Yes, you have committed to live your life with this person for better or for worse, but should we really deny each other that type of sexual outlet?

There is a part of me that would be extremely turned on by seeing my spouse with another person, just to watch the enjoyment...but I would want to be a part of it.  I would be jealous to see a stronger sexual desire for someone else that I could never get, even it did make more sense.  A part of me would be terrified that they would be a better match than we are and what we had would be over.  I do know people who have made this type of relationship work, but it is based on complete honesty and rules about what can or can't happen.  Is that a more evolved relationship, or just giving up on some part of your relationship?

I think the most important part of any relationship, especially in the sex department, is honesty.  We have to be able to be honest about what we feel so it can at least be discussed.  Obviously, I don't have all the answers, but a ton of questions.  How do people make this work if sex drives or desires are different but you really want to spend your life with the partner you chose?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


The holidays are here and it has occurred to me that this might be the last time I will be spending it with my family and my husband.  I am not quite sure how I feel about that.  Excited in one sense because the beautiful, tender woman I have come to know could be a part of it.  Sad in a way, because I know nothing will be the same if the transition actually happens.  How will family respond?  Will we even be able to attend these functions?  How awkward is that going to be?

One of my sisters knows about this situation and is very supportive.  I don't know which of the other family members will be supportive.  They might reluctantly accept that we are going through this, but not feel comfortable with it.  What would it be like to be the lesbian couple that everyone has trouble looking at?  Would I get the pity stares of people who just think I'm "brave" for sticking it out?  Would they understand that I am actually supportive of this and not just going along with it?  Would they understand that I love this person even more than I ever did?

Why do I care?  Why would I care what they think?  I think it's not so much for me, but I feel protective of her feelings and want everyone to accept that this is who she is.

Today is Thanksgiving so we're off to join family and put on our happy faces.  I hate being around family when I'm feeling so conflicted, because they are the ones who can see right through me.  They will know something is up if they're looking at me.  I just have to put that wall back up again to shut it out.  This is a particularly hard time for our family anyway after my dad passed away a few years back.  It's hard on everyone, we all miss him.  We don't talk about it, but everyone seems like they are all just on the verge of tears while we're forcing laughter.  We all battle depression that we don't deal with.  Why can't we just be real?

What I really want today is to get a little drunk so I can numb the anxiety.  I'm doing too much of that lately, but that's just one of the coping mechanisms I know how to use.  I've seen it all my life and have used it as a crutch now for a little too long.  Am I an alcoholic?  Perhaps.  I don't like being sloppy, falling-over, slurring kind of drunk...just enough to take the edge off so I can block out my feelings.  I'm hoping now that I have started facing my demons, that part of my life can go away.  It sickens me that I drink to dull the pain, but I keep doing it.  I guess I might need to reconsider medication.  When I was on anti-depressants, I didn't feel the urge so much.  That or the anxiety pills, but those made me so drowsy I didn't take them hardly ever.

Oh well...I'm off to plaster on that fake face and get comfortably numb.  Maybe someday we both can gather the strength to finally be who we really are.  Maybe it won't be as bad as I think.

Getting to know her

After the dust settled from the initial determination that we were both ready now to explore this new idea, we began exploring what it is like to be with each other as more of our true selves.  Many late night conversations about our pasts, our feelings, our hopes and dreams.  It was almost like we were starting a whole new relationship.  In essence, that is exactly what is happening.

Sure, it's not all great and we both have our moments of doubt and insecurity, but it has only been about a month so far and we haven't shared our new experience with anyone except a few of the people closest to us who had known about the issue before.  That being said, I feel a stronger bond in my marriage than ever.  I also feel other parts of myself coming out that I had not expected, both good and bad.

I am having fun helping her get to look her best.  Getting to help make her comfortable and pretty while we're just hanging around the house has been fun because before, all the tight undergarments and not having the correct size clothing just made her demeanor more uncomfortable.  Of course it was, those things suck to wear.  That's why women don't wear them all the time.  We got some clothes that fit right, got the right things to secure other things like the wig and boobs in place and dropped the tight cinching garments that aren't comfortable to wear for any woman.  Sure, we might go out in those type of things, but not just for hanging out at home.  I got some nice feminine soft pants, shirts, etc. for her to get to feel like herself, but comfortable.  I felt like we really got to know each other in a whole new way.  I started really enjoying her new look and am kind of disappointed to see it go away during the day when we're around other people.  Her whole attitude is more tender, understanding and she's just been easier to talk to.  Yes, this is still the same person, but I feel like I can open up more and just be able to express my feelings.  I think she feels that way too.

We were finally able to relax enough to laugh again too.  That was something that was becoming a bit of a concern for me.  We always laughed, but it had been so serious that we weren't able to just feel like ourselves.  As soon as that started happening again, I felt much better and less like I was going to completely lose the relationship I had been in for so long.

There have been some enormous challenges for me.  Some I expected, some I didn't see coming at all until they were right in front of me.  I hate those ones because I don't have time to process the feelings first and might end up saying something that comes out all wrong or something I didn't really mean.

Shopping, for instance, was a surprising challenge.  We are able to wear the same clothes, since I am a big girl, so I thought shopping wouldn't be that big an issue.  People would just assume that my husband was helping me choose clothing.  Turns out, it was harder than I thought.  I am not super fashionable and really don't like shopping.  I get discouraged because I hate trying on clothes and it ends up just making me feel awful about myself and my body.  I usually end up feeling worse about myself than ever and get angry that people think all big girls want is stuff that looks like what an 80 year old woman might wear.  We don't get the cute choices.  I feel like I just want to cover all the disgusting fat up and shouldn't ever be looked at or desired ever again.

I thought it was going to be fun helping her shop.  After all, I didn't have to focus on my own body.  The first time though, I didn't realize how tense it would be.  She was anxious, of course, which made me anxious.  It wasn't fun at all.  We disagreed on what might look good and couldn't really talk about it in the store.  She wouldn't even touch things hardly at all.  That was starting to make me angry.  I understand why, but I still didn't want to be the only one looking.  My taste in style, or complete lack of style, is obviously different than what she has in mind.  It was supposed to be fun and she was just completely frozen.  We both ended up frustrated but did get a few things to try.  After that first time, we have learned how to calm down a bit.  Hopefully that part will get better.  It's more fun for me helping someone else shop than me shopping for myself.  If I go shopping with friends (which is rare), I need it to be something we can have fun with, laugh about, be able to talk about other things while we're in the store.  It helps me cope with my own anxieties about shopping.

Makeup was another surprising challenge.  I am okay at doing my own makeup when I ever bother to do that, which is only once or twice a year maybe.  We decided to try putting some on her and didn't have the right colors.  It, of course, didn't turn out well and took way too long.  She was getting impatient and so was I.  It was so-so and we decided to get the right foundation for her skin tone.  The next time we tried, I was trying really hard and it was starting to look really good.  Then, she started telling me how she thought it was supposed to be done.  That was irritating because I didn't want my own inadequacies pointed out right then when I was just trying to help.  When I was done, she was focused on her own flaws and didn't seem to really like anything about what I'd done.  I couldn't help it, I just broke down because I wanted so badly to help her feel pretty.  Then she got upset because I was supposed to be the strong one in this situation.  That hurt even worse.  I should get to feel things too.  Why couldn't I feel vulnerable too?  I don't want to be "the man" in the relationship.  By that I mean just holding in all my feelings.  I am a woman too.  I can be strong, but I have feelings too.

The worst for me right now is my own insecurities.  I have built my whole life around these walls I've constructed to not feel...well, any deep emotion.  I made a conscious effort to start to break down those walls and I feel like I am an insecure teenager again.  All my previous hurt, jealousy, heartache and fears were rearing their ugly heads again.  I tried so hard to put all that behind me or block it out that when I started feeling that way, I began getting depressed again.  How could anyone love me for real?  How could someone really love this person who is insecure?  Once she saw the real me, would she run screaming?  I realized that I had never told my husband in all the years we were together some of the horrible things that had happened to me and what that did to my self esteem.  The times I let myself believe that someone loved me and they betrayed me.  The times I truly trusted someone and they stabbed me right in the back.  I hadn't really let myself trust or feel love in a long time, even with my own marriage.  There was always a part of me waiting to be hurt again.  I guess I still am.  I'm trying really hard to let go of that, but when you spend over 20 years of your life building defenses, it's hard to let go of them.

Once I was able to really express this in actual words, not just in my own head, it's been better for us as a couple but harder on me emotionally.  I can feel it when I start detaching again and have to force myself to give in to the helpless feeling I get inside and trust that it will be okay.  I realized that I do actually trust this person and love her with my whole heart.  That's the scariest part.  Once I do truly love and allow that love in return, the thought of losing it seems too much to bear.  Nobody can predict the future, so I have to just enjoy each moment of being in love.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Breaking Point

The circumstances of how things in my marriage came to a breaking point are irrelevant.  What is important is that in an emotional debate/argument about our marriage, I suddenly realized his gender identity issues had been pushed too far down and it was only making him frustrated.  I was also frustrated.  He couldn't deny it anymore, he hated the thought of testosterone in his body.  He didn't know what that meant, he didn't know if he could handle being the way he was anymore.  He couldn't give me the type of sexual fulfilment I desired.  He didn't think he could handle an open marriage, so where did that leave us?

I'd say that was one of the most pivotal points in my life so far.  I spent the whole night tossing and turning, didn't sleep much at all and cried.  And cried....and cried the whole next day.  I was crying at the thought of my marriage being unable to survive because I might need something different sexually.  I cried for the person I married, being so miserable.  I cried because if I really wanted this marriage to work, I was going to have to change myself.

I was going to have to get ready to face some really tough emotional challenges and I knew it was going to mean looking in the mirror.  Had it not been for the counseling a few years back, I wouldn't have had to learn that there are ways to do that.  I had already begun finding myself, but not wholeheartedly.  I was avoiding my inner emotions.  I started reading other blogs from other wives and started realizing that writing about this might help.  I started a journal that helped me get a handle on all the thoughts in my head.

I thought long and hard about the question of why I am with this person.  It had been asked in a blog by other wives so it got me to thinking about it really deep down.  I chose to go into the relationship knowing the confusion that was there.  I went into the marriage knowing we have different styles of sexuality.  I always knew there was a possibility that this could go further, but didn't really believe it would.  When that seemed like more of a reality, my rollercoaster of emotions seemed like it was only about him and our marriage but, like a slap in the face, I had the thought...wait, maybe these emotions are really about me!

What I came to realize is that my own deep fears and insecurities throughout my life drew me to connect with a person that also had those same issues.  I mask or avoid my emotions, because they become incredibly overwhelming.  I put up walls over the years to avoid getting hurt by being rejected or losing people.  I was finally able to admit to myself that what scared me most about all this is that he might not need me anymore.  If he is able to be who he or she is, why would this person need me anymore?   Sure, I know there are all the other fears of violence, rejection and losing our comfortable (but somewhat boring) existence, but losing my soulmate was the biggest fear.  I realized that this change would also mean that I had also put a wall up in my marriage that I have to tear down, and that is terrifying.

I couldn't have predicted what has changed in myself, just in the past few weeks.  I came to an understanding that I have to teach him/her what I need and be really open and honest about all the things I was feeling.  Reading about others really helped me articulate my feelings and accept that no matter what, the most important thing to me is being true to myself and helping my spouse be true to him/herself as well.  It is very difficult for me to be vulnerable in this way, to allow this path to be explored and be truly accepting of whatever comes our way, no matter how many emotions are attached to it.

What I would like to say to the wives/girlfriends out there is that we can choose to not only help our partners with their exploration or transformations, but to help them understand how we think.  I really believe that was the part that has helped us get to a completely different level in our relationship.
I was able to finally express that I have this dialogue in my head going on all the time that is like a battle.  The irrational fears, the rational fears, the crazy thoughts and the insecurity battles the logic and confidence all the time.  It's not just about our relationship, it's just what happens with me.  It makes me feel like I am crazy...until I talk to my closest friends and realize that I am not alone in that.  They help me by letting me get it out without judgement and just letting me work through it.  Then I had the realization that he feels that way too inside. It's such a stigma for men to express emotions, so it must feel terribly lonely.

An example of the cycle/duel in my head:
"I'm not an overly feminine woman, am I expected to all of a sudden change and like shopping and makeup when I don't do it for myself?  Don't be stupid, he knows who you are and has loved you all these for the way you are. You don't have to like it, but she needs support and you can do that for her.  I have very little fashion sense, how can I live up to trying to teach someone else about it? Get someone to help you dummy!  If I don't help with that and someone else does, is that going to create another bond that will make him realize that I am not the best person for him?  That's ridiculous, you are just being paranoid. He's allowed to bond with other people.  Am I the best person for him?  If he changes, is she going to view me as an inadequate woman? Shut up, you are who you are.  Is she the best person for me?  Yes, you have someone who is supportive, caring, empathetic and listens to you."
So many questions (and apparently answers to myself), but I feel like being able to simply express the full dialogue finally has freed me from those fears.  Before we opened up with our communication, he acted like I was blaming him for the feelings.  What I had to explain is that the feelings are just there and I need to just let them out.  It doesn't mean I need anyone to fix it, that I am placing blame or expecting a resolution, it is just there and I can't help what pops into my head.  Holding it in just makes it all snowball later.

And then we both just let go.  We admitted to ourselves and each other that we're ready for the next step and weren't going to let fear stand in our way anymore.  We had to let the walls down.  I really had to take a hard look at myself, my behavior, my fears, my love, and my core beliefs in order to accept what we were about to embark on. So did she.  Here goes nothing...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oh Depression, you are a friend of mine....

I think the one of the most important things that has happened in my life is falling into a deep depression.  Okay, that sounds a bit negative, but it's true.  After dealing with the death of a parent, I sunk to probably the lowest point of my life.  I am prone to depression anyway, but that really sent me over the edge.  I was angry, emotional, bitter and couldn't find joy in anything.  It was affecting everything in my life and all I wanted to do was sleep or find some way to numb the pain.  Depression is a hard thing to explain if you haven't actually been through it.  It's hard for a spouse to watch when there is nothing they can really do about it.  I felt guilty that my husband had to watch that.  I felt weak for not being able to just pull myself out of it.  It feels like you're being sucked slowly down a drain and there is no way to escape the pull of the darkness.

Because the depression was starting to affect my work, I ended up going to a counselor for grief and depression.  I thought going to a counselor was also a sign of weakness.  Wasn't I smart enough to figure out what was wrong by myself?  I analyze everything, I love learning about psychology and behavior, I knew what was wrong with me.  Turns out, I learned more than I could possibly have imagined.  I can't say "I'm all better now!" but it started me on a path to getting to know myself better and actually starting to like myself.

Counseling was a very unsettling thing for me.  Someone was pushing me to talk about my feelings.  Just my feelings.  Uh oh...  But I always have to consider other peoples' feelings first, don't I?  How do I just talk about my own feelings?  What do you mean I'm allowed to feel these things?  What do you mean I can't control or predict peoples' reactions to me or my behavior?  I learned a lot.  I'm still trying to really know it and believe it, but at least I know in theory some of the things I need to work on.  I learned more about anxiety.  I felt really stupid that I didn't realize that I had anxiety.  Other people didn't know that, it was something I learned to hide quite well.  Oh...I was hiding?  From what and why?

When I finally started talking about my emotions and allowing myself to get them out, I started feeling better.  I got the proper medication to help snap me out of the depression.  I was finding myself enjoying things and being creative again.  I was being encouraged by my spouse and he has always been there to help encourage me to follow my bliss.  For a long time, our life was revolved around me finding myself.  I was feeling so good about what I was doing, I feel like I was neglecting my marriage.  And I was.  I wasn't being destructive or unfaithful, I was just being selfish for once and doing things just for myself.  That can't go on forever.

I think we were both avoiding the truth that we could not have a happy marriage unless we were both our true selves.  It wasn't bad, it just was....routine and quiet.  I had a wonderful husband who all my friends were jealous of because of his thoughtfulness, empathy, respect for me, and it was clear that he did truly love me.  Even though I was doing things that made me happy and was going in the right direction, I still hadn't really found myself.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meeting her

I had seen my boyfriend (at the time) dress as a woman before, but it was before we were in a relationship.  I didn't know at the time his true feelings, it was Halloween after all, but it was kind of clear even then that he was not the typical guy dressing up as a girl to get laughs.

After I understood the true nature of his feelings, it was still quite some time before I met "her".  I feel bad that I don't even really have a clear memory of the first time she and I were together.  

A quick side note here is that right now, this is how we both think about it.  Almost that it's a pull between "him" and "her".  It's almost as if I have two spouses.  Yes, logically we know that they are the same person, but it kind of helps us explain the different sides of it.  

I knew there were clothes in the house, I knew that he read things on the internet about it, and I knew that he would become her when I wasn't home.  We didn't really talk about it.  I guess I wanted to respect her privacy to come out as needed and felt like when she was comfortable enough to meet me, she would.  He gave me privacy as well and we both are people who enjoy being alone sometimes.  He didn't badger me about my past like previous men did, wanting to know every detail of who I had been with, what I had done, how did they compare and all the other jealous type behavior I'd seen in the past.

We explored the dressing up a bit in the bedroom, but not much.  I didn't want to push, but the side that came out was much more passionate and that both turned me on and kind of scared me.  I think it scared me because I could see how much he liked being her.  The only times that are very clear in my mind where she came out was when we went out together on Halloween.  Yes, Halloween is a big deal.  It's the only time of year when you can go out freely and not be questioned too much.  Our first Halloween was exciting, but very uncomfortable for me.  I knew now what this really meant to her.

I think the first Halloween was better for me than some of the following ones. It was like we had this kinky secret and I was excited for the sexual arousal of the situation, but started having fear of what people might think.  Not in the respect that I cared how they judged us, I became scared of the possibility of violence against her.  Maybe I was afraid for myself too, but more for her.  I also winced every time someone told her that she was ugly.  Ouch.  Nobody wants to hear that.  I also started seeing behavior that I never saw except when we were out.  Suddenly, there was a flirtatious person in front of me who wanted attention.  This wasn't the person I knew every other day.  Every Halloween after the first one became more tense for me and I started dreading it a little more each time, even though I knew how much it meant for her to be out and socializing instead of hidden away somewhere in our home, shut in like a shameful secret.

I had so many emotions inside, but couldn't express how I was feeling about it.  This is an important part of my personal struggles, recognizing what was going on emotionally.  I don't like to show my emotions because I don't want to affect other people with something that I'm feeling.  I felt like having anxious or sad emotions was a sign of weakness and got angry at myself about it.  I started becoming a wreck inside and know that I was acting very strangely about it all, which only made matters worse.  There were some things that she was doing that he wouldn't do and I couldn't understand where that person went.  When we were at home, she was timid, shy, vulnerable and sweet and then would be quite sensual and open up sexually.

On Halloween, I felt like I became invisible.  She was flirting with other people and being touched all over by everyone.  Everyone wanted to feel her boobs. The men usually made a joke of it somehow, but women became an almost bigger threat to me than it did in previous relationships.  When other women gave compliments to her, she became so excited and it felt like she completely forgot about me.  She didn't ever tell me that I looked good in my costumes, didn't want to help me in any manner with my outfit and seemed so uncharacteristically selfish.  She would go off and leave me sitting by myself while she was meeting new people. She didn't introduce me when I walked up to her and seemed very distant toward me.  I would be on the verge of tears by the end of the night almost every time.  She was probably hurt and angry that I wasn't being more supportive.  In my mind, those times gave me more fear of what might happen if we explored the possibility of him living as her.  

In hindsight, I understand better what was going on with both of us.  She was discovering her femininity and this was after all HER day, not mine.  I get to be a woman every day, this is her big chance to live it up.  I get that.  It doesn't make it hurt any less.  I wanted to feel pretty too.  What woman doesn't?  I was complimenting her left and right.  I don't get dressed up very often either, I don't wear makeup hardly ever or do my hair, so I felt like it was a slap in the face that there was little to no recognition of that.  I wasn't allowed to flirt like that when we were out.  Not that she would have even noticed at that point, but it began to feel almost competitive and I was conflicted.  I wanted to be the one she wanted to have fun with, not everyone else.  I was feeling ashamed of my selfishness, how could I be so insensitive?  She doesn't ever get this chance and I should just suck it up and deal with it, quit being so insecure.  I was telling myself just to let it go, it wasn't that big of a deal.  But it was.

I think the lesson we learned with that is that we both need to be sensitive to what the other is going through.  I feel like because we didn't actually deal with the emotions at the time of what was happening, it set us back in our honesty about it.  Neither one of us wanted to hurt the others' feelings by expressing our own.  He stopped letting her out as much, then not at all for a long time.  It could go a year or more sometimes.  We became more distant and didn't talk like we used to, but we still loved each other.  We retreated into our own worlds for a long time.  I became very depressed and anxious.  He didn't understand what was so wrong.  I didn't tell him either.  I couldn't, I didn't know how because I don't think I really knew why.  It wasn't just about him, it was not knowing my true self either.  

Maybe if we both just ignored it, things would get better, right?

The First Conversation

I would like first preface this by saying that my initial anxieties and emotions were gut reactions and are not necessarily my beliefs.  I cannot control initial thoughts that pop into my head.  I have a weird kind of self-dialogue that starts with the fear, then is kind of worked out in my head, the rational side of me that helps me cope with that.  Maybe that isn't that weird, I think we all do that to a certain extent.

I also want to say that I understand the use of "he" and "she" can be a touchy subject.  I'm still new to all of this and mean no offense.  In my particular instance, I basically use "he/him" referring to times before we accepted as a couple that we were going to explore the idea of a true transition.  Right now, I feel that my spouse is a "she", but in the beginning, it was still "he" in my eyes except maybe when dressing up was involved.  My references to those terms are how I felt at the time.

When I was first told about how the person I had begun to fall for felt about his gender identity, there were a number of mixed emotions.  He was so afraid and emotional about revealing this secret and looked absolutely terrified.  (Of course, who wouldn't be?)  When he finally told me, I was relieved that it wasn't something more serious like maybe he was a serial killer or something.  I guess I wasn't really terribly surprised.  We had been friends for years and I had seen him dressed on Halloween before.  It was pretty clear, at least to me, that he was not mocking women or trying to be funny.  He genuinely wanted to look pretty.  He was always very respectful of women and listened in a way I had never seen a man do before.

I felt quite confused at first about what all this might mean.  There were a lot of questions, but many more to come later.  First questions were things like: Are you attracted to men?  Are you really attracted to me?  How long has this been going on?  Did you ever tell anyone else?  Do you want to be a woman?  I'm sure there were more, but right now, I can't think of any other questions that I had from the very beginning.  I was assured that he was not attracted to men and didn't think that it meant that he wanted to do any physical changes.  It had been going on his whole life as long as he could remember and had briefly spoken with a therapist.

I know one of the things I said in the beginning was that I was okay with the idea of cross-dressing as an outlet for sexuality, but couldn't handle any type of body alterations.  I like sex with men.  I could maybe lean toward bi-sexual but didn't have much experience with women, but the idea of it turns me on as sexual exploration.  I didn't want to be a lesbian full time.  At that point, we hadn't even had sex yet, but I was completely opposed to the idea of changing the body.  I don't know exactly what about the thought scared me so much. I think my general stereotype of transsexuals before I learned more about it was that they were flashy, flamboyant, and confident almost to the point of aggressive.  I have no idea why I thought that in the beginning.  That's a whole different subject I'm sure I'll address later...

So, I had the choice right then.  Could I handle something like this?  He said he would understand if I couldn't, but had to be honest with me so I knew what I was really getting in to.  My immediate reaction was yes, of course I still want to pursue this relationship.  I can't say I wasn't afraid that I might find myself someday down the road not being able to handle it, especially if it went further than occasionally dressing up.  I was afraid because I didn't want to end up bonding with someone who would eventually leave me because they needed to pursue something I couldn't handle.  He shared that fear because he didn't even know what any of it meant.

I think what outweighed any of the fear for me was that I was able to talk to this person for hours on end and not get bored.  We could have wonderful discussions even if we disagreed about something.  We could make each other laugh.  We were both empathetic and sensitive, but were strong when we needed to be.  We think a lot alike and respect each other.  I had never experienced a relationship that deep before.  I was amazed that a man could be able to be so considerate of others.

So that was it, we were on our journey through life from that point forward.  Ready or not, we were going to face the world together.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why create a blog about something so personal?

When I came to the realization that my husband probably needs to live as a woman, there were a lot of feelings involved.  Unlike so many of the women I read about who are dealing with similar issues, I knew before I had a serious relationship with this man that he felt this way.  It was presented to me in all honesty, that he enjoyed dressing as a woman.  He was not sure whether or not it was something that he could do just once in awhile, if it was just a fetish or if it was something that might eventually go deeper than that.  I am incredibly lucky to have fallen in love with a person who was brave enough to face me head on with such a confusing issue.  I had a choice right from the beginning and because I felt I had found my soul mate, I was willing to deal with whatever might happen.  That was over 10 years ago and we have had a happy marriage so far.

Recently, after years of tension around the subject of sexuality, we were having a discussion where I realized that he was not being true to himself (or herself).  He was always trying to push down those feelings, angry that he couldn't be more of "a man" for me and it was causing deep frustration for the both of us.  We had one of the only arguments we have ever had and it dawned on me what might really be going on inside him.  She needed to come out.  All of a sudden, after a long day of emotional turmoil in my head and nearly having a panic attack, something either clicked or snapped in me that made the idea of such a change was now okay.  What resonated most loudly at that moment to me was the fact that I truly love this person.  I couldn't stand to see the inner suffering and honestly want whatever will allow my spouse true happiness.  Whatever that means was somehow okay.  We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we both owe it to ourselves and each other to explore what this means and what it might look like.

There were so many emotions on both of our parts that I had to find some kind of outlet.  I began looking for blogs about this and didn't find a lot out there written by the spouse of someone dealing with gender issues.  I did find a few, and one in particular, that really helped me know that the things I was feeling were natural and that there are other people out there...I was not alone.  I began writing down my feelings, anxieties, hopes, fears and started really looking myself in the mirror.  We began talking again, and in a new way.  We have basically begun a new relationship and as strange as it sounds, it is the one I always wanted.  To be in love with my soul mate.  I just never expected that it might actually be with a woman.

So, that is why I want to do this.  If I can be a help to anyone out there who is suffering or feeling lonely in what is a pretty unique situation, I would love to give that to the world.  My feelings and thoughts are just my opinions and everyone has their own personal views, but simply knowing that you aren't alone out there can help.  It is also a way for me to get to know myself better.  Writing these things down has already given me a way to put things in perspective and not get overwhelmed by the roller coaster of thoughts bouncing around in my head.  I have come to a place where I find hope in this new journey, not just for my spouse, but for myself.  I have begun to discover parts of me that have been buried for a long time.