So, one of my little worries, that I know for certain lay in the minds of many heterosexual spouses whose partners come out as transsexual, was that because I had no iota of sexual attraction toward other women, how in the world could I possibly remain attracted to my husband when she became a girl?
I went through this scenario with Natasha. I could not bear to live without my other half, but how could I stand to live with her as a "roommate," since that's how it would have to be, right?
For most people, we are born with a natural tendency to find certain physical characteristics appealing in a mate. I've said before (I think) that I don't consider myself a materialistic person and that I love people based on who they are, not what they look like. Yet, when faced with Natasha, I seriously had to think about whether or not this was really true.
It's not totally true.
I definitely prefer taller people. I'm 5'8".
I don't particularly like facial hair.
My partner MUST be able to throw me over his (her) shoulder and carry me around (don't ask).
That's pretty much it.
Natasha... as a male... met all three of these requirements (except that when I gained too much weight, I wouldn't let him throw me over his shoulder). I am confident that, once I have lost the weight (working hard!), Natasha will be able to do it again, although we have a Bowflex just sitting there and she refuses to use it! Bother her, ladies! Get her to get tone!!! :-)
While my list is very short, for many people, having a penis on the partner is a physical trait that is very important. Having a "manly" body is important. We can't help how we feel about these things. For partners whose physical requirements list is long and contains male-specific (or female-specific if you a heterosexual guy) items, what else is there to do but end the marriage and hope to find a male who floats your boat as much as your husband did when she was a guy.
Okay. So say your physical traits list is not gender-specific like mine. The fact remains that no where on the rest of my list of requirements did it say, "Someone with a female brain." Leave it to the universe to find the loopholes! Is male or female really that important?
It can be if intercourse is important to you.
Was the marriage based on sex? If not, how much does sex factor in on your relationship?
If intercourse is important, like you do it lots and you love to do it lots, then it might be time to set up a roommate situation or one of you needs to move out. Nobody wants their ex as a roommate when you're opening your door for a date! This was an idea that drove me nuts! When I was thinking about how we might end our marriage and knew that she and I would have to live together for the foreseeable future because of finances, I felt sick. Not that I was even thinking about looking for another partner, but seriously, that's just plain heartbreaking!
And that's the big problem. Here you are, a heterosexual person, suddenly faced with the fact that you are totally in love with your partner but can't even fathom spooning! It's literally gut-wrenching!
I forced myself to analyze my list and found that my physical requirements were not compromised. Yes, I found it hard at first to watch my husband grow breasts and lose muscle mass in places and gain fat in other places (woman fat, not fat fat). I started to chant a mantra whenever her appearance started to wrench my gut. "I love my Bubbow. I love my Bubbow. I love my Bubbow." Bubbow does not have a gender, you see. Bubbow is a personality: an inner core: a soul. We are soul mates. Souls don't have genders.
Can all partners find a chant to get them to see the truth of the gender situation? I would love to think so. How many of them are married to their true soul mates? Those that are owe it to the relationship to take that genderless pet name for the partner and remind themselves continuously how much love there is.
Gender is the core issue here, as we all know. So does the fact that I remain in love with my Bubbow mean that I have conceded to being gay? My husband, as it turned out, was a lesbian, after all!
With all hope nothing ever happens to Natasha, should I find myself open to another relationship, I will not seek other women. I could have done that already a few times. No, I am a heterosexual woman. I don't love Natasha because she is a woman, I love her because she is still my Bubbow. And the sex? Like I said, if intercourse is important, there will be a problem. Perhaps she is lucky that I've had a "whatever" attitude about intercourse for most of my life. I have definitely enjoyed it, but honestly, it's never been about intercourse. Note, please, that I keep saying "intercourse." That's specific to penetration.
Ask a hundred women and a large portion of them will tell you that penetration doesn't really do it for them unless there's other stuff going on at the same time.
Intercourse, as it turns out, isn't a priority for the success of our relationship. Most happily married couples will say the same. But is "sex" is something a person likes, well... there's all kinds of toys and things out there. Those shops wouldn't be everywhere if they were only visited by homosexuals and "deviants"! So many customers are heterosexual couples, darn it!
What about going out in public? Partners need to ask themselves if they care because of what OTHERS MIGHT THINK or because they are embarrassed. Why should someone be embarrassed? Who cares what others think? Will your life be destroyed if a stranger thinks you're a lesbo? Will you be chastised openly if your partner still has that "male" quality under the makeup? Maybe it's because you're jealous that your husband is hotter than you (I had to say that... Natasha!). Seriously though, if a partner hangs out with people of the same gender publicly, what is the difference? Women in most cultures hold each others' hands in public anyway. I've even seen it here in the U.S. between friends. Even so, being gay is "in" right now. Unless you live in a conservative, homophobic city, nobody's going to give a lick what you're doing in public as long as it's not breaking the law or scaring their children.
In our everyday lives, Natasha and I are a married couple: typical in most aspects. We have two awesome kids, lots of pets, friends, jobs. We have a ton of likes and dislikes in common. I'm still processing everything. I have my days where I still recite the mantra; yet, they come less often because I am getting used to her and I am constantly involved with her transition. Because I love her I want her to be happy. My own happiness, it seems, does not conflict with that (especially once she understood that speaking at a higher pitch just didn't suit her frame :-D).
I'm not gay. I am in love forever with a soul.