Most people, from my experience, do not like to deal with stressful situations. We all handle stress differently, invoking the fight-or-flight response in an infinite number of ways. While we all have some kind of stress at home... standard stuff like finances, troubled children, aging parents, lousy job... most of the time it's stuff we can handle. The big stuff... cheating, having another family somewhere, being secretly gay, being transsexual... these are things that we generally don't ever think we will have to face. We trust our partners, after all.
I don't think most people trust their partners, anyway. How many people do you know who got married because it seemed like the thing to do? Maybe a child was on the way or since the couple had been together for so long, they gave in to pressure - either internal or external. Maybe they got married because they loved each other at the moment. How many of us really do trust our partners? Do we find ourselves second-guessing why she came home late or had to work late, or why he ended up going to lunch "with friends from work" when he said he was planning to work straight through lunch? Do we feel that little sigh of relief when that little voice in our heads are proven wrong? I know lots of people hear it. So many are just waiting for that one reason to believe that their marriage is no longer as good as it was the day they were married. Look at the divorce statistics and try to claim that this isn't true.
When a partner comes out and says that he or she is a transsexual, it is REALLY the last thing a partner expects to hear. There is no way to prepare for that kind of news. Natasha had been "cross-dressing" for about two years before she came out, but I still hadn't suspected. I trusted. My trust was compromised in that instant she told me. So, why didn't I kick her out?
Had she... he... said that he had cheated on me, out he would have gone with not a second thought.
In that moment when she told me, I had no thoughts except to ask what happens next. I did not think immediately that I should leave or that she should leave. I certainly contemplated it when she was going whole-hog on the valley girl behavior, but that was later. When my brain cleared, what I knew was that my husband had not cheated. He had not lied. He had not DONE anything TO me. This was happening to both of us. My husband was born with something... a birth defect.
We kept talking. We talked a lot. It was horribly painful for over a year. Every time we talked about it, I cried. She cried. Our son was old enough to know that something was wrong on my end and he actually comforted me once or twice. He worried. But we continued to talk. This was two-way communication. She told me what she needed, even if that changed from day to day, and I told her what I needed, and that changed over time.
So, when a partner finds out about something as "unbelievable" as this and then is excluded from the process, what do you think might happen?
I know that lots of partners don't want to deal with it. Their fight-or-flight says, "Shut up or I'm outta here." The fact is that if you don't talk about it, the partner WILL leave. Most don't want to understand what is happening, if only because they are in such shock. If you, the transsexual, honestly had been trying to "rid" yourselves of your dysphoria, if you truly BELIEVED that you had "let go" forever those feelings, then your partner can not blame you for "doing this" to the marriage. That causes conflicting emotions. Now, if you were just trying to hide your transsexualism and just couldn't do it anymore, well... it's your fault for lying to your partner, but I have found that this is rarely the case, so I'm not going down that road any further. For everyone else, you have a partner that does not understand what your "condition" means. All you have said is, "I want to be a woman (or man)." So?! What the heck does that MEAN? You start dressing the part and are on HRT, so they see the changes, but you have not actually INCLUDED your parter in the process... even if he or she said to go ahead. "Go ahead," is two words long. It's not hard to say even if you don't mean it or aren't really listening.
If your partner is not being responsive to your attempts to talk about it, you still have to make them talk about it. My advice is to corner them... figuratively. Ask, "Do you love me?" If the answer is no, whether or not she/he means it, you have an answer and can move on without remorse. If, however, the answer is yes, then you have the upper hand. Your immediate response should be, "Then you owe it to me and to this marriage (relationship) to understand what i'm going through." Ask if he/she really wants to end this marriage based on something never explored. Remind hin/her that you are scared out of your wits and that you need him/her to understand that you DID NOT CHOOSE THIS. Make it clear that you know your partner must be in a lot of emotional pain and that you are immensely sorry that you are the cause of the pain, but also that you would take that pain away if you could... but you CAN'T. You are both suffering and you need each other. If there is love between you then remaining in denial (your partner) will only make things worse.
Also, if you are not talking as much as you should be, you owe it to your partner to STOP doing what you are doing until there is some kind of resolution. If YOU, the transsexual, truly love your partner, then you can not force this on them. It is as difficult for you to be going trough this as it is for your partner to know that it is happening. You are not communicating well if you continue on your path as if you were alone.
The bottom line is that your partner will never be okay with you transitioning if you don't include him/her in the process. Still, your relationship might come to an end; however, it would be so much better for everyone if it ended with you two being friends rather than enemies. If your partner is the one that is resisting communicating about it, you must do whatever you can with all the love in your heart to make him/her talk. If it is you who is too afraid to broach the subject and face the raw emotions you invoke, then you are doing a disservice to the one you love.
Marriage, as they say, is a two-way street. One person can end it, but only two people can keep it together.