This series of posts are and will be inspired by Natasha's verbal commentary to me about other blog and forum posts she has read elsewhere. No names are ever shared with me, so I will have no names to share with you. These posts she comments to me about concern situations that involve partners or spouses, which is why I thought it would be appropriate to comment about these situations here.
So, on with the show! Today's scenario, "#1," is subtitled, "Post Facto (After the Fact)."
Let's say that Natasha, as Jonathan, had determined that he was a TS and, fearing my reaction, began HRT without telling me. After a few weeks, the fact that she was hiding not just one big secret but TWO, she wondered when and how she should tell me. After all, who knew when the HRT would begin to show, if it hadn't already?
Here's my first thought on this, from my spousal point of view: How selfish! Really?
I know perfectly well how difficult just coming to terms with being TS can be, but when a person is married or in any kind of committed relationship and the partner is not consulted IMMEDIATELY upon discovery of the situation, the TS is inherently being selfish. Who are you thinking about when you keep a secret that involves someone other than yourself? You are thinking only of you and that you might lose out, be left or kicked out, be yelled at or cursed. You are not thinking of the promise of honesty you made with your partner. You are not thinking about her/his feelings or what's best for that person when you keep a secret: especially one so life-altering for both of you. I'm not knocking those fears. Nobody wants to lose. Nobody wants to be yelled at or kicked out. However, if you truly love someone (besides yourself), you owe it to that person so know the truth as soon as the truth is realized.
But according to this scenario, the damage is already done. Jonathan knows and he's begun HRT without telling me. I'm referring to Natasha as Jonathan because this is how I would still recognize her to be if this were the case. So, Jonathan has been on HRT for a few weeks and if I know him at all, I'll notice some emotional changes that I just can't put my finger on. I'll ask him if something's wrong and he'll either say that nothing's wrong or that his job or something is really starting to get to him. In that case, I'll probably focus on those issues and try... ultimately in vain... to help him. So the hole he digs for the both of us gets deeper. I become frustrated because I can't help him and he continues to get more emotional and his secret gnaws at her, which puts her further on edge.
Finally, Jonathan decides to tell me. He sits me down, the kids are out of the house, and he tells me that he's TS. How long has he known? What, a few months? And he hasn't told me until now? How do you think I'd react? Do you think I'd trust him? And then the pieces would suddenly fit together and I'd conclude that his emotional outbursts were his fear of telling me. And I'd say as much, but since this would be the come-clean day, he'd tell me that he's been on HRT for weeks.
When do you tell your partner after you've already begun treatment? ASAP! And you understand that you have broken your vow of honesty. You understand that you made your situation that much worse by keeping these secrets from your partner. Especially with the HRT, you chose, without consulting with your partner, to take drugs to alter your body and body chemistry to make you physically into someone your partner did not choose to be with. Ultimately, you have broken her/his trust and if you expect acceptance and open arms after that, you are dreaming.
This is not to say that it won't ever happen. You might convince your partner, after a time, that your fear of losing him or her drove you to secrecy. But here's the thing: the drugs were your selfish decision to continue on a path of no return ALONE. It's one thing to know for a time that you are TS. I can understand that. It's entirely different, however, when you voluntarily take medications... potentially dangerous medications... without including your loved ones. That says to me that you care more about your own path than that of your partner and family (especially if you have kids).
The bottom line is this: if you do love your partner at least as much as you love yourself, you should never have popped one pill without your partner's knowledge. He or she may not consent, and if that is the case, then you have to decide which road to take. What is more important to you: following the draw of your true self or resisting and respecting the wishes of your partner? You must assess the nature of that relationship. Are there already other problems in the relationship? Would it be better for everyone if you did not stay together? Do you trust in the bond of your relationship that your partner would eventually understand and support you? Do you put yourself through that, continuing to fight to keep the relationship in light of your changes? Whether you are just discovering that you are TS or whether you have already begun the irreversible journey in secret, you owe it to those who love you to be truthful and then face those consequences, because all of these what-if questions will happen at any point on the journey. Natasha told me at the beginning, mainly because she can't and doesn't want to keep secrets from me (unless it's about presents!), but also knowing that I could have made the spot decision to leave with the kids or kick her out. She trusted that I loved her enough to work past the changes and she was right. Perhaps a person keeps a secret or two like this because he or she is NOT confident in the strength of his/her relationship.
Natasha could have been wrong. There was a time when I didn't want to stay. It was a rather long time, I must admit. But I also could not deny that I loved the person I married and if she was, indeed, my best friend, who was I to stand in her way of finding inner happiness? Would I stop being a friend to someone I wasn't married to? Of course not! So, if I actually went ahead and MARRIED a best friend, wouldn't it be even more ridiculous to just give up the relationship because of something she could not help? Fortunately for the both of us, I gave myself time to work though my feelings before deciding whether to give up or not. But trust me: if she had begun HRT without me knowing, I'm very certain that we would not have a future together. Lying is lying. Withholding information like that is a slap in the face. She would have demonstrated that she did not trust me and that she was probably lying about all manner of things. Trust would be lost. And would I ever get over that? I don't know. Our friends and my family would probably have convinced me that I could never trust her again. It would have been like cheating. Knowing me, though, I might have consented to couples therapy. Either way, our futures, and those of our children, would not be as certain as they are today.
When do you tell your partner? NOW!