Friday, March 30, 2012

On Second Thought...

I'm not sure what's happening to me, but I've been having the strangest feeling in my gut about my involvement in the TS community as a spouse. I mentioned in my previous post that Tasha and I will be writing a memoir about her transition.

I'm having second thoughts.

A friend of ours wrote a beautiful note on FB about her appreciation for her spouse remaining by her side. It got me thinking back on several occasions when Tasha expressed gratitude to me for not abandoning her and for letting her pursue her cure. A thought hit me that felt very... smug... which made me then feel a bit uncomfortable, as I don't generally feel smug about anything (except how smart my kids are :-D). I didn't really feel smug, but the thought sounded like a smug thought, you know? I thought, "The reason Tasha is having an `easier' transition than most married TS folk is because of me."

That's the honest truth, and married TS folk who are having an easier time of it will say the same thing: if her spouse were not allowing this to happen and/or making a stink about it, her situation would be immensely bad. In fact, I think that most TS folk whose spouse did not stay will say the same thing. The wife (or husband) made the situation either better or worse than they already were... given the circumstances, that is.

Sounds smug to me. Unfortunately, it's true. Looking back over the last two plus years, I could finally see clearly that it was, in fact, that I "gave her permission" to transition. I remember when I wrote that here that somebody got all bothered by this concept, but too bad. That's the position Tasha put me in. She said that she would not do ANYTHING without my permission to do so. Had I not agreed to go along, she would have remained a man... and miserable. Boy, wonderful for the kids, right? Drugged into happiness? Not any better. What kind of a life is that? She had no death wish, so that would have been out of the question.  Sorry folks, but Tasha's happiness solely rested on my shoulders and THAT was what was killing me. I didn't want her to transition. No way! But look at my choices. Similar to the choices of any TS... to transition or not to transition... what a lousy question! I had but one decision because I loved her. And thus, I was miserable.

Poor me, right? Yes, and no. I made the decision to let her go ahead with it, not her. My decision, my bed to lie in. I don't regret it. It was the RIGHT decision.

Some people might say that Tasha put the ball in my court to take the blame off of herself. I don't see it that way. If she did not let me make the decisions, then she would have been acting selfishly. Sure, she might have decided on her own not to transition, but she would have decided for all of us to have a husband and father who was immensely miserable, not real and medicated. Again, good for the kids? Good for me? Nope. It is my opinion that those who made this statement above are people who have possibly never really experienced being married to their best friend: true partners. She told me what she wanted to do and then deferred to me to make final decisions.

So what am I getting at?

This feeling I've been having is something like anger. Whenever I hear about a wife who has left because of the TS situation, I get angry. What the hell? I start thinking, "What was it about your marriage that was screwed up before this that you never tried to fix and are now using this new event as a last straw?" What wife (or husband) who TRULY loves her husband would leave because of this? "Oh, I'm sorry dear, but I really love you beyond all measure... except that you're not going to have a penis anymore and, you know, that's more important to my happiness." Dude! Really?

I feel like there needs to be a voice in this community... a loud one... who is talking to the wives. I don't think a lot of wives really think this through enough, or they don't know where to start or how to start thinking through it. There is limited support for us. We can't turn to our husbands for support. Most of the world doesn't really even GET what TS is so information is often dodgy. It's up to us to help our spouses through this, and yes, we have to be strong. Most of us are not bisexual or closet lesbians (sad, I know, right?). Are there therapists out there who are experts in dealing with the spouse's side of transition? I haven't seen one. I think it's a shame that so many marriages end because of this. I have no sympathy for spouses who leave because of this (unless there is deliberate deceit involved) and I think that there needs to be someone who's been there and done that do get up and say, "You'd better not walk out that door until you know FOR SURE that's the right decision, or you'll be damaging more lives than you realize and it will be too late. And don't be stupid!"

I'm angry.

So, instead of writing the memoir, I'm going to write a book for the spouses. Maybe a guide. Something strictly for spouses of TS folk: not for cross-dressing. No offense, but it's different.

I could have said that and just left the rest out, but I had to vent. Thanks for reading, even if you disagree. :-D

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another side of the coin....

For some TS's despite the initial hurt of loosing the "security blanket" (and I say that not to diminish you or your "role" in tasha's transition or in your relationship, it's apparent you both love each other and want to stay together) of a spouse, it's possible that them leaving may make things easier on everyone in the long run?

Sonora Sage said...

I too have to disagree. I disagree that spouses who leave because of transition deserve anger. Some spouses can find a flexible sexuality. Some can't. It doesn't make them bad people, and it does not mean the strength of their love was any less.

I've seen all cases - spouses who stay because it's no big deal to them that they're now married to a woman. Spouses who stay because they feel people will be angry at them if they admit to not being able to "do this". Spouses who stay for religious reasons. For financial reasons. For medical reasons. All sorts of different reasons. I've even seen spouses stay for ten years or more, before deciding they can't "do this" any more.

And on the other side of the coin, I've seen spouses who leave because their sexuality is important to them, and they know they will be miserable partnered with a same-gendered person. Or because they're compassionate enough to want their partner to be loved by someone who will do so for the woman they are. And yes, for religious reasons, or because they're angry, or because the marriage had other problems, too. None of them made the decision to leave lightly. Many of them loved their partners beyond measure. And many of them stayed close friends after divorce, happy for each other's freedoms to pursue more compatible romantic partners.

When you say you have no sympathy for spouses who leave because of this, that makes me angry. You're elevating yourself and your relationship above theirs, and that makes you no better that the TS "separatists" who have caused you and Natasha so much grief with their comments IMHO. One of the spouse support mailing lists I'm on gives newcomers the message that they're here to support them through this process, but if they decide at any point that they can't "do this", then there will be no judgement, and they'll be supported in that path too. I find that to be an admirable approach. (And yes, there are several such mailing lists and private forums, many of which are under-utilized. Spouses often resist actively seeking out support, as that means they have to admit the whole situation is real.)

It doesn't sound as though you personally have any problem with society viewing you as a lesbian couple, but what about those women who do? Who cringe just as much when assumed to be lesbian as Natasha did when assumed to be male? In order for their partners to live authentically, they have to live inauthentically.

Every case is different. Every couple is different. Every person is different in their gender, sexuality, and strength of need to express it in society. Write your book if you will, but I hope you will let go of the judgement you are passing on those who simply couldn't "do this". It doesn't mean they are less than you - just that they are wired differently.

(Me? I was one of those who was quite happy at the thought of being married to a woman. However, my partner was uncomfortable with quite how at ease I was with that, and yes - we had other problems with our relationship. So we're not together. I will continue to advocate for solutions that provide both partners with what they need from life - together or apart.)

Marni said...

@Sage - Ah, you played the sexuality card. When a person's need to have sex outweighs the need to be with the one you love, that implies logically that sex means more than love. I would never call them "bad" people for leaving. I considered it and I don't even have a huge sex drive. But I took the time to look at the situation outside myself and realized that this "urge" was not enough to end my marriage. I really, truly believe that it simply comes down to the spouse not thinking super hard about the decision to leave or stay. It makes me angry when I perceive (perhaps wrongly) that people aren't using their noggins.

As to the people who cringe when labeled lesbian, I get that, too. I still don't. It's a social/cultural/religious hang-up. Yes, the TS spouse has asked the wife/husband to change roles so that the TS can be happy. It's a crappy situation for all. Yet, it is my impression from the TS community that it's not so much what society thinks but how your body feels that determines the authenticity or in-authenticity of being TS. Should social misconception be enough to make a person leave? People too often fly when they should stay to fight. I'm not condemning them or elevating myself. I'm suggesting that they are not allowing themselves to challenge their current belief systems before making a life-altering decision. Most people are afraid to do that. Okay, I happen not to be afraid. That's probably why I made it through. But if I've seen something within my own process that I suspect most spouses have not seen, shouldn't I try to share it?

Sage, I am not anti-divorce. I don't think anyone should be like me. What I hope to pass along is the idea that before a spouse says, "I just can't do this," she or he has thought deeply. If I ever say I can't do it, I expect to say it with 100% certainty that I did absolutely everything I could to not have to say it. You have graciously admitted that you are defending your former spouse. So, I have to ask: What if you two didn't have other issues? If your marriage was otherwise the best thing you could have dreamed of? What if whatever issues you two did have didn't exist? And this was the one thing that made your spouse decide that she didn't want to divorce? I'm sure you'd understand, just as Tasha would. But as the "cause" of her sudden grief, she no longer can't talk to her best friend about her depression. Wouldn't you want someone to try to get her to look deep into her heart, past the grief, the anger, the resentment, the terror, to search for a reason to stay with her soul ma? Well, I happen to have forced myself to do it. I think I can help. It is my anger that drives me to try to help. I say work through the darkness until your fingers bleed and THEN decide if you can't make it. It's not wrong of me to think that I have learned something valuable that I can pass on. It doesn't make me Ms. High and Mighty. It makes me a teacher, which I also happen to be by profession.

I would never presume to judge in my book. That would help no one.

Marni said...

@Anonymous - I absolutely understand this, and I always hope that everything works out for the best. When a spouse leaves, it is up to the TS to see things through and look for happiness elsewhere. Sometimes, it IS for the best. I know right now of one such case. But then, one has to think that if life is better now than it "ever was," it stands to reason that it was NOT so good before... even before the transition. This implies a previous issue. Nevertheless, I always wish for the best, no matter who stays and who goes.

Carolyn Ann Grant said...

You are condemning those who choose to "fly" and "not stay", though - aren't you?

As the wife of one person told my wife "25 years, and I thought we were happy". She wasn't happy, not at all. Is she to blame, because she disagrees with your assessment of her situation? (You don't get to play the "but I didn't say that!" card, because you did. Quite emphatically.)

The lessons you've learned doesn't make you a teacher. They have made you a preacher, however. My wife, for instance, has made it crystal clear she doesn't want to be married to a woman. You judge her wrong, not a fighter, not strong enough? Quite frankly, that's insulting. How dare you tell my wife that she doesn't have the required love? She signed up to marriage with a bloke, even when she knew I desperately wanted to not be such. Is it a failing of her to not put up with any transition I might go through, or is it a failing of mine to not go through with a transition? I choose not to do so, to put her happiness before mine. You make that sound like a crime against humanity! She doesn't want to be in a lesbian relationship any more than I want to be in a "gay" one.

Your argument is one sided, Marni.

You have to make your own decisions. They imply nothing for others. They imply nothing upon my wife's. You have decided on one path, my wife decided on a different one. My friend's wife decided on the path that made her miserable, but right for her. Who are to you judge, to teach? Can you teach my wife of 22 years what it means to be married? Can you teach me which is more important - her happiness or mine? I'm happy because she is. I'll sacrifice my goals because I love her. Are you telling me my love is worthless? That I should go ahead and pursue "my" happiness at the expense of hers? That because she would divorce me if I did what Natasha is doing she is weaker than you? How dare you.

I put her before me - can you teach me what that means? Because to teach her what it means to be married to me, you'd have to teach me as well. And that's somewhere you're never going to go. The route is barred, as your route is barred to me.

Do not presume upon the marriage of others. It is a road paved with broken glass and poisoned thorns. And you're barefoot upon it.

Carolyn Ann Grant said...

Because I try to be honest:

That road is paved with broken glass and thorns.

Carolyn Ann

Anonymous said...

I admire your morals, values, strength of character and integrity Marni, I suspect mine are very simlar. You took it seriously when you committed to the PERSON "til death do you part" and it sounds as though you honestly believe Tasha is you soulmate.

Something to keep in mind is that most vows include "do you take this MAN?" Or, "do you take this WOMAN?"

That you have been able to look past that... I don't know if it makes you special?... I don't think special or unique to be the right or even accurate words, it makes you YOU and if that is what you and Tasha both want then I guess that's what's right for you both.

I struggle with a few things you've written:

"When a person's need to have sex outweighs the need to be with the one you love, that implies logically that sex means more than love."-marni

I don't know that it is a need to HAVE sex (the implication I take is a selfish one as in: "you can't meet MY needs"), maybe more that a person needs that sex to feel and express love completely.

Sex for me, is a means of expressing my love for someone, if I can't do that in the way that is natural for me, (and should it be forced? Should I always have to do things I'm uncomfortable with to try and satisfy them?) then I would feel I could not love them completely, my expression would be restricted, I would feel inadequate.

Sex and love is not just about what you can get but also what you NEED to GIVE, it's an important part of giving love and FEELING loved for MOST people, it's not JUST an act for physical pleasure.

It seems for you that it is a part of love that you feel you can either do without, or, are prepared to compromise on. I guess that's a good thing given your situation, but to feel angry at others who can't... I don't think that's overly fair, I think it's much more complicated than you've made it out to be, and that they are being honest with themselves and they're partner about what they can a cannot give under their "new" circumstances.

Secondly:

"Yet, it is my impression from the TS community that it's not so much what society thinks but how your body feels that determines the authenticity or in-authenticity of being TS"-marni

That is the impression you get from the community you have had involvement with.

Me personally, even now, after BA, years of HRT, scheduled for SRS, I still resent my body, I always will, it'll never be capable of mensturation, of child birth. It will allow anyone who knows my history to deem me as having been male, a boy, a guy. How do you think that will affect my chances of finding a boyfriend? Marrying a husband?

Does how my body FEELS decide/define me, authenticate me as TS? I could give a damn! Does my body make me female and able to live my life fully as such (as is my instinct to do) THAT is what I care about.

When I said that sometimes the partner leaving works out best for everyone, I meant: because it takes away a resriction to live to the fullest as a woman, that the TS may forego due to loyalty and a (probably rightful) feeling of debt to the partner for not deserting them in a time of need.

In such a situation you might find BOTH parties sacrificing personal needs and desires in an attempt to maintain a relationship that neither is 100% happy in. I only see resentment coming from that in the end

Kathryn Dumke said...

The TS community appears to be replete with broken marriages. This is in part because there is this self fulfilling prophecy that to transition you must be willing to lose everything. Our situation is is very much like yours.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with those who disagree. I was going to write a comment, but Sonora Sage said pretty much what I would have said.

My partner almost left. If she had, I could not have blamed her. As she said at the time, "I didn't sign up for this." Really, nothing in anyone's marriage vows (that I know of) covers this kind of situation.

If she and I had been younger, even loving each other more than anyone else would not have been enough. Our marriage always including having sex, for all the reasons people have sex (OK, except for making babies in our case). Maybe a sexless marriage is OK for some people, but I have to think it's not OK for most. It's one reason people step out even when they don't leave outright.

If we had been younger, it probably would have been best for both of us if we had split. She would have found a man. Hopefully I would have as well. We would have done each other no favours by staying together when we would no longer have been sexually compatible.

Of course, there's that childlessness in our case. When you have kids, that's more complicated. But people divorce for all kinds of reasons, and if they do right by their kids, the kids are OK.

Of course, your mileage may vary. But getting angry at spouses who leave? I don't think that's right.

- Ariel

Anonymous said...

The "TS Community" does not exist. It is a fanciful construction of the TG mindset. There is no "TS Community". There is only the TG Community made up mostly of "Men Who Would Be Queens".

It is little wonder that most women leave their husbands when it becomes apparent that the man they married wants to act or dress or even live as a woman.

For some women, their spouse wanting to "become a woman", provides an opportunity for them to be the man of house or perhaps they stay for the financial security or the children.

Then of course perhaps I am wrong and marni truly is special. IMHO it is much too early for a memmoir as the transition is far from over. Perhaps in 5 or 10 years, the passage of time might provide some perspective.

Just seems like a lot of male privilege, wanting to keep the job, the house, the wife and the kids.

Samantha said...

This blogpost has made me feel quite sad. The thought that even if you have found true love, this may be lost just because ones outward appearance changes.

Im so sad...

Anonymous said...

I agree on the prematureness of a memmoir, as confident of the outcome as Marni may feel, the chips aren't truly down yet and personal experience tells me that even those you have the most faith and trust in can and often will disappoint you, and if you're interested marni, mine were blood and I hadn't done anything to breach their trust.

I honestly hope it's not the case for you, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

The first Anon.

Anonymous said...

@ Samantha

"Outward appearance"? That is all? Nooooooooo....Surely much more has changed than just outward appearance. At least I thought that was the intent or is Natasha stll a man that just looks like a woman? I certainly hope not!

Marni said...

@Carolyn - What you did not pay attention to, probably because you harbor some deep hatred for Natasha (yes, I know), is that my encouragement for spouses to fight instead of fly is that I did not say at all that those who fly are bad or stupid or inferior. In fact, I believe I said, quite clearly, that I fully support spouses who choose to leave, but only after truly taking the time to consider all facets of her/his decision. How dare I? If I were a preacher, I would say you do it my way or you are wrong. Did I once say that? Nope. Sorry.

@Anonymous (the one right after Carolyn - Regarding sex, I completely understand where you're coming from, and as I said, if after a thorough look at how and why the spouse feels the way she does, that the need to have sex as part of an expression of love still remains, then that's the bridge that must be crossed. Again (I suspect I'll be saying this a lot today) I am not condemning the decision to leave. I am opposed to leaving without giving it necessary thought. To your second point, you are correct: I only have limited knowledge about the TS side of things. This topic I won't discuss further for that reason.

@Kathryn - Well said. Thank you. :-)

@Ariel - Again, I completely understand your view here. But again... I don't think you heard the whole message. I am NOT angry with spouses who leave. I am angry with anyone who makes a decision to leave without due diligence. I don't really care what the final outcome is as long as the decision is made with the brain. :-)

@Anonymous #2 - Male privilege? Who ARE you?

@Samantha - 1. If you think this is just about outward appearance, you need to do some reading. 2. You happen to have gotten my point anyway. I am sad... angry... that so many marriages fail over this because of my perception that spouses leave before thinking.

Marni said...

TO TS FOLK READING THE COMMENTS: Please forgive me this blunt comment, but those of you who criticize me and condemn me for my opinion, I would like to remind you that each of you who have replied are TS and NOT a spouse. You cannot know what really went on in your spouse's mind before she left, if she did. You only know what she told you. You have no valid position to criticize me for my view as a spouse about how spouses react to this, just as I have no right to criticize you for how you continually blame yourselves. This situation is bad enough. You can't even get together to fully support each other without criticism and recognize that there is a SPOUSE who wants to defend you and try to help others like you to save their marriages. What the heck? Why aren't YOU angry that perhaps your spouse DID leave without thinking it through completely? Why are you attacking someone who is trying to help?

Oh... and I never said we would necessarily be celibate. Whoever read that wasn't paying attention.

Anonymous said...

The first/second anon again.

Just to carify the position I'm coming from:

I guess I don't really have any reason to share my perspective, I didn't ever have and haven't lost a spouse, my perspective is how I would feel if put in the same position as you Marni.

Despite my previous comments, I do understand your core point, being that: if you married the person for the RIGHT reasons to begin with, then before walking away you should give it extremely serious thought. I suspect many marry for reasons different to yours and mine however, and for some I suspect the sex of their partner is a fundamental part of what they love about them (I can't say how that would be for me, but I suspect it would be, very much so), and again to clarify, I (personally) didn't take the implication that you would be celibate, I thought it possible but as I said, also considered you may be willing to "compromise" (if that is the right way to define how it would be, I don't know and what does it matter anyway NOMB!)

I do still think that more time should pass and things should be allowed to settle more before you write about how to "make it work" (if that is what's planned). I've learned that people can change, that things often don't go to plan, but that is just me.

I do honestly hope for you both that everything turns out as you hope it will.

Best wishes!

Marni said...

@Anonymous - Thank you. :-)

Ash said...

Mr. Grant: You're a ridiculous idiot and your response to this blog continues to prove that you don't actually read everything people write, but find one or two things to take issue with and then play the victim.

Go be a victim elsewhere.

Might I recommend this for you while you are traveling:

Great for removing hair on the legs, chest, arms and back!

Anonymous said...

Oh hello Ash, a.k.a. Teagan. Still shallow and taking the cheap shots, I see!

Anonymous said...

I am a spouse, who after finding out and trying for 3 years to stay has decided to leave. From being a happy together person, my efforts to stay have ended up with me being diagnosed with PTSD and chronic depression and I have been suicidal for 18 months. My parner told me of years spent going to bed praying to wake up as a woman. I go to bed every night praying I won't wake up. I am walking out the door because I know FOR SURE that's the right decision, because my attempt to stay has damaged my life more than I could ever have realized and I hope I haven't left my decision too late for my sanity. I wish that I hadn't tried so hard to think it all through and instead had left the minute the TS word was uttered. I am truly happy that you have found a way for things to work out for you and your partner. But they haven't for me. I don't want sympathy - but I would hope for some respect for the choices made by all spouses, whatever they may be.

Teagan said...

@Anonymous...

Sorry, "Ash" isn't me.

Ash said...

Seriously, Anonymous!

Must anyone who find humor in Mr. Grant's ridiculous need to play the victim all over the trans related blogs be Teagan? Is that you, Mr. Grant? You and your need to blog over and over and over about those that you feel done you wrong?

Well, I am here, doing you wrong because I find you ridiculous. I'm certainly not Teagan. She's a much better person than I am. I'm a cold bitch and not above rubbing your nose in the shit of your life.

Now, if you would kindly snuff it, the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

No that isn't Teagan. Her name is Ashley Gonzales and she's just as much a smartass in person.

Anonymous said...

I think the anonymous spouse who has finally wised up and found the door is the one in need of support and consolation. Not every woman is as.....as.....well, "equal to Marni".

Some women are strong an brave enough to do what has to be done and just plain start over from scratch.

Good luck to you...and everyone else with the courage and humility to face the facts.

"HBS"

Anonymous said...

"Whenever I hear about a wife who has left because of the TS situation, I get angry. What the hell? I start thinking, "What was it about your marriage that was screwed up before this that you never tried to fix and are now using this new event as a last straw?" What wife (or husband) who TRULY loves her husband would leave because of this? "Oh, I'm sorry dear, but I really love you beyond all measure... except that you're not going to have a penis anymore and, you know, that's more important to my happiness." Dude! Really?"

Maybe it was more like, "I am leaving because you LIED to me. You promised to be my husband. Now you want to be my WIFE???"

"Dude! Really?"

Lucy said...

I'm the wife of a recently transgendered person. This is all very new to me. I pretty much skipped over all the comments made because it's all so new to me that I don't want to get sucked into discussion. This has been my own journey, pretty much alone, and I am not strong enough to take a stand in the discussion. What I need is companionship. To know that I'm not the only wife in the whole wide world that is going through this. Good or bad. My relationship is my own just as everyone elses is their own. I just don't want to do this alone which is why I have put myself out there. I couldn't find any support anywhere.
Marni... I would welcome a book written for the spouses. In fact if you need some input let me know. I don't want any one else to feel so alone.

Kathryn Dumke said...

Truly, many comments are just same crap different day. Not worth the effort "anonymae".

It seems that reflection before reacting is out of vogue.

Marni said...

@Anonymous "dude" - Wow, you really know how to select specific bits of quotable material and remove the context, don't you? I suppose you didn't read the rest of it. I suppose you got so angry that I get angry, you got defensive, and just wrote to me without addressing my post entirely. Your impatience caused you to ignore the fact that I was quite specific about the type of situation that concerns me. You ignored the fact that I discussed extenuating circumstances. So, before you try to mock me with my Valley-speak, I suggest that you read the whole post and process it for what it is.

@Lucy, you are smart to ignore the comments at this point. Communities who tend to be shunned by the majority of the population tend to be overly sensitive and many look for hidden, cruel messages where there are none. There are exceptions, of course. :-) Anyway, I am happy to be your companion. I am not, as I'm sure you've guessed, new at this. I'm also not a sugar-coater. If you would like to contact me, please go into my profile and send me your info... an email or Facebook information at first if you'd like. I will not try to steer you one way or another, but I will try to offer you choices based on my experiences and familiarity with others in the TS community. Don't worry. No matter what, you'll be fine.

@Kathryn, I love your poem! Can you make that into Haiku? :-)

Natasha said...

@ Everyone who is not a spouse of a TS woman and is responding so negatively to Marni:

What is your stake in this? Why are you so angry at Marni? Why are you so reflexive and bitter? Where do you get to tell a woman who looked into her heart and found that the person she loved is still the person she has always loved that she is so worthy of your scorn and derision because she did not dump me? You bravely hide in anonymity, spouting bile and anger and it's so easy for you to be hateful, not owning your words. So easy for you to sit in judgement, having no identity and no story of your own.

Marni is not writing for you. She's writing for a very specific group of people and simply asking them to stop and think about who they are married to and what that marriage means, what their love means, and then make a decision. And Marni is not condemning someone for deciding to leave. Rather, she is frustrated when someone does without taking the time to consider the relationship. It happens most of the time. And she believe that if someone does leave at the outset, without greater thought, and simply blames the TS for the separation, then they are ignoring what were probably other issues that also led to the separation.

But it's so much easier for you all to fire bombs because in the guise of being "helpful", you're really just anonymous harpies who have a lot of undirected rage and need a target. My recommendation is for you to take your rage elsewhere. Go to Carolyn Ann's blog and hate on him for a while. He likes it. Marni doesn't deserve your rage and your bile. She's better than you.

Of course, that's probably the problem.

Marni said...

@Natasha - You're so cute!

@Lucy - If you are on Facebook, look for SOCS group. It's a closed group for spouses of TS. If you ask to join, I can let you in as I am an admin.

Natasha said...

Marni - No, you! <3 :*

Sonora Sage said...

@Natasha: I assume your comment was not directed at me as I was the spouse of a TS woman, but I still have to address some of your points:

And Marni is not condemning someone for deciding to leave. Rather, she is frustrated when someone does without taking the time to consider the relationship. It happens most of the time. And she believe that if someone does leave at the outset, without greater thought, and simply blames the TS for the separation, then they are ignoring what were probably other issues that also led to the separation.

How do you know that "most of the time", wives leave without taking time to consider the relationship? In my experience, most of the time, wives put in an immense amount of time and consideration before taking such a step. Of course, some may not, but (again in my experience) that's rare. Marni came across as angry and judgmental at wives who leave, simply because she doesn't feel an overwhelming (or any) need to leave. How do you know that they are ignoring any other issues leading to the separation? What harm if they are - they're separating anyway. It's this broad brush generalization that I find frustrating. I'm very happy for you both that you are able to stay together in a mutually satisfactory relationship, but I read condemnation in Marni's words that directly apply to women I know - women I respect - women who in some cases gave it years before deciding they needed to leave. And I couldn't give that a pass.

Go to Carolyn Ann's blog and hate on him for a while. He likes it.

Lovely. Misgendering. What a great example you're providing there. It doesn't matter whether you personally like/agree with someone or not, misgendering is a no-no. (And yes, I'm familiar with Carolyn Ann's blog)

Natasha said...

Sonora - I base my statement on the great number of transwomen I have encountered who have seen their marriages collapse rather quickly.

As for how you read Marni's words, that is for you to do and my response was not intended for you. I responded in defense of the person I love being attacked for something she was not saying (which you still do because you read malice where there is none).

And as for Carolyn Anne, it is not misgendering when someone, on their blog, calls themselves "a man in a dress." To call him a woman would be in contradiction to his publicly stated identity. Should I call someone who represents themselves as a man "she" just because he uses a female pen name? If a person identifies as a female, then I will address them as such and vice versa.

This is why I stopped blogging.

Anonymous said...

16 years of marriage...and I just found out my husband is a CD/transgender wanna be...

Well...here I am. I am 47, mother of three step-daughters, mother of two boys, married for 17 years now...and I found out about 6 months ago that my husband wants to be my submissive. What does that mean? That took about 4 months to wrap my head around.

Moving on to CDing. That blew me away. It has been going on his whole life...our whole marriage...in complete secrecy.

Moving on to acting like a girl. That is in my face all day, every day. He wants to be my wife.

Moving on to practicing. He likes asking me if he is walking correctly. Doing things correctlly. What? How am I supposed to know. You are not the person I have known for 19 years.

Moving on to keeping this a secret from my children. Hello? This is not an option. I am stressed out completely by this change in my husband. I am not adding this stress to the lives of my children.

How do I go about my day? I miss my old husband. But he wasn't really himself. I love my husband. I am trying to accept him. I empathize with the torment of keeping this a secret and the happiness he feels in letting it all out.

I am so alone. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to move on. I don't know what my boundaries are. I don't know what will make me feel okay.

I know one thing. There is no going back.
Number two: divorce is not an option.
Number three: I intend on keeping our family together.
Number four: This is his choice. But he also chose to have a family and keep this a secret for 55 years. He can't just come out now and expect everyone in his life to say, "Oh. Okay. Thanks for sharing. Sounds good to me."

All I can think of is...it's okay when we are alone and behind closed doors. I am pretty open to almost anything he wants to do in that scenario. I've given him the freedom to talk about it. To discuss it with me. To act on it.

I just don't want it to be part of our public lives. We have lived too long of a life to change that now. I am not willing to put myself or my kids through that. He chose a path in life that involved many people. He cannot be "true to himself" and just make everyone accept this. That's what I really believe. That ship has sailed and he has my support...but to the limit of protecting myself and our children.

I wonder if this is reasonable and sustainable. Do I know the future? No. I do know one thing. This issue is overwhelming me. I am a hard-working, full time worker, going to school, taking care of my kids...it's not like I have all day and all weekend to work out this new thing in my life. I am living my life and trying to deal with this new issue all at once.

I don't know if anyone has been in the dark their whole marriage, but I really was....

Marni said...

@Anonymous (April 21 entry) - Wow.

I don't know about the "submissive" part. That could be a sexual thing or a self-esteem thing. I hope you have figured it out.

The fact is that he has lied to you since the beginning of your relationship, and that can be very hard to forgive. On the one hand, it's hard to tell anyone that you have a socially unaccepted hobby or desire. A person will be afraid to lose the one he/she loves, even though everyone knows that relationships are only as strong as the communication between partners. Still, it sounds like you have accepted that there was a CD secret and that you are, on your own, okay with that.

Acting like a girl... I couldn't stand that. When Natasha was in her "teenage" phase, it was the only time I actually was ready to leave permanently. I can't stand "girly girls" anyway. So, I put my foot down. She didn't look good with all that makeup and her behavior was more flaming than feminine, so I told her that she needed to calm down or forget it.

Okay, about the kids... you need to tell them. If they find out on their own, they may be resentful as much of you as of him. If you tell them, you are trusting them to make their own decisions about it and you are showing them that you support your husband. Keeping secrets from kids never works out in the end.

About telling others... again, if you keep this to yourself, you will die. Really. This is a biggie and if you can't talk to someone and share it, your head will explode.

I understand that your spouse lives a somewhat public life, but you both have to ask yourselves what is more important: your public lives or your sanity and marriage. If you spouse is, indeed, transsexual, then remaining a "he" in any aspect of life will slowly but surely start to wear at his own sanity. Do you know the high percentage of TS who end up killing themselves because they think that staying male or female is better for everyone else? I'm not talking about keeping a sexual organ because one cannot afford the gender reassignment surgery. I'm talking about being able to openly express the brain's preferred gender. I'm not trying to press you in this, but as one who has been through this part already, I can say with absolute certainty that it is much harder to cope with a hiding TS than an out one. Since divorce is not an option, you might want to consider that both of you seek therapy, together and separately. Find someone with a great reputation in the transgender community near you.

No, you can't make anyone accept this, but to be completely honest with you, your desire to keep this secret because of how old you are, how long you've been in the community... all that... is just you being terrified out of your wits. It's not right thinking. Really. People come out in their 70s! They do it because they eventually must do it and those who accept them are people who matter and love you and those who do not are assholes and don't deserve your friendship anyway. If your husband is truly on this particular path, and if you do, indeed, support him on this path, then you both need to get to the point where you are willing to put your lives to the test of change for the good of your marriage and the sanity of your own minds. Being TS is hard to suppress. People do it, but they're not truly happy. If you can be happy with his transition to being a woman, then let him be happy making the transition. You may discover, sadly, that people you thought were your friends are really not, but this will also reinforce those relationships that are true.

Again, I'm not trying to push. I am trying to warn you about what tends to happen when people stay silent. You have a long, hard road ahead, no matter what is decided. Please keep in touch with me and let me know what's happening.

J said...

As a spouse who is struggling with not knowing if I want to stay or go it's posts like this that add fuel to the fire.

I am torn, so torn that I do not know who I am any more. I have created walls around myself while my spouse is breaking down hers.

I have tried to blog several times over the past two years, trying to get my thoughts and feeling out. I have found support from few, discouragement from more and made to feel less of a human for being confused, hurt and not always supportive when I struggle with the magnitude of this situation. I have been told that I am a battered woman and should run to the nearest womans shelter. That from a member of the community.

Am I to feel less of a person for not wanting to stay? Deny my dreams, even my own sexuality because others think I am less of a person to want both my spouse and self to find the fulfilling relationship we both deserve even when it is not with each other?

How is my sexuality less important than my spouses gender? A reality I have to deal with daily. Because I do not want to be intimate with a woman, I am still unsupportive spouse? I support and understand the need to feel whole, to look in the mirror and feel complete. If it is not right for my spouse to stay the person I married, a male, for me then why is it any less relevant that I deny my sexuality for her? I am 36 years old and while sex does not make a relationship it sure as hell doesn't hurt. I was not a lesbian when my spouse met me, I am not even slightly bi-sexual so why should that come to a surprise with my spouse when I am punished for not attempting to be intimate.

Why am I judged and others like me judged you have found them in a situation such as this. One day I wake up with a husband and 16 hours later he is gone and surprise I now have a wife.

I have two small children, 4 and almost 2 and my willingness to set aside my own wants and needs weighs heavily on my heart. If I leave I break up a family, but was it broken the moment my husband became my wife?

Just my thoughts. I am just a woman trying to decide what is right for me and my children in a very difficult situation with out feeling guilty for who I am. If my spouse is not suppose to feel guilty why should I?

I am desperate for support from any direction to help make a much needed decision to stay or go. Not a choice I make lightly.After I read this post the anger and hurt flooded back. So I apologize for coming off a bit harsh but it hurts to know people think less of me for struggling.
Regards,
~J

Marni said...

Hi J -

I do not blame you for your anger. If someone were to accuse me of something I'm not, I would be angry, too. However, I ask that you re-read my post... all of them, in fact... and tell me where I condemn anyone for trying. Where do I accuse a person of being the bad guy for being confused? In fact, I have applauded over and over again those spouses who actually take the time to search themselves before making the decision to leave. This, it seems, is who you are, so I think that you may have mis-read my words.

If your spouse was consciously wrestling with this when he met you and didn't say anything to you at the time, then he is a liar and you have every right to call him on that. I wouldn't be with Natasha now if that had been the case. I understand completely that a person would be frightened to tell someone he was in love with about it, but when you do love someone, you have to be honest and take risks. If this was the case for you, then you have a tough decision to make aside from deciding whether or not to stay with a TS. Do you stay with someone who lied to you about the foundation of your marriage?

Let's assume, though, that he was in complete denial, like Natasha was, and that coming to terms with this was an immensely difficult, terrifying conclusion that hit him in mid-life, as is the case with most TS people who did not have any support as a child or young adult.

Yes, J, to stay with him means giving up your "heterosexuality." I'm not bi in the least either, but as I mentioned in my most recent post this morning, intimacy is much more than intercourse. Can you get past a lack of a penis and focus in the person? If you think you might be able to, then don't give up just yet. In the beginning, I was certain that I couldn't even imagine having any kind of intimacy with Natasha. Now, I can conceive of possibilities. It took a long time... a couple of years... but it happened, I think, because I weighed my choices. The bottom line for me was that my life with Natasha was far better than my life without her. If you can make those lists and honestly say that your life would be better starting over again, maybe, with somebody else, then that may be what you choose to do.

J, my kids are now about five and seven. They were two and four when I found out. I completely understand where you are coming from and I offer my support to you, no matter what. As it happens, I have been talking to a young woman whose boyfriend came out to her and she is so love-struck that she is convinced that she couldn't imagine her life without him. While it may, indeed, be true love, I tried to remind her that her life is still ahead of her and that she should not commit to him until he has completely transitioned, including gender reassignment surgery. Heck, he doesn't even refer to himself as "she" yet. I don't know if she'll listen to me, but her's is a situation where I don't see it working out in the long run. It s a vastly different thing, however, to be discussing this with a married woman who has already been there and done that and has the kids and all. What message do we send our children, you know? My young friend doesn't have that to consider. Sometimes leaving is the right message. Sometimes staying is. But if you want my ear and my honest, candid advice, I would be happy to help you in any way I can.

Whatever your decision, I wish you and your family the most happy outcome you can have.

J said...

I really do appreciate your kind words in response. My anger was not directed at you particularly not at your journey. It is not the first time nor the last time I will or have heard "it's what inside that counts". I just happen to read your post on a very vulnerable moment in a series of very emotional days.

I began blogging right after I was informed of my spouses GD. I blogged under "our transitioning family". I am not sure if you or your wife were followers but I believe you may have been at the time. I walked away from that because I needed a break from the realities, just enough to heal some wounds. I took it too personally when some individuals acted harshly towards be because I was struggling and instead of addressing the issue and telling the person how I really felt I walked away from the blog, the community from the reality of things to come.

My children are 20 m and 4 now and honestly as much as I can't see my life with S, I can't see it without either.

We have just entered the stages of presentation after almost 2 years of HRT and up until now I am really the only person who knows other than a select number of people. But now we are shopping for clothes, picking out bras, buying make up etc and the hurt is all back.

The first 7 years of our relationship I had no idea and ironically our son was conceived 12 hours before my spouse came out to me. It's been a rough journey so again I apologize if you feel that I attacked you.

It's not you but the idea of being judged because I can not forgive my spouse for not informing me when we first started dated. I still feel a loss for my husband. I still miss the man and I can't, yet found a way to forgive the woman.

Intimacy is an issue, especially and it is not something I am happy about. No it is not just about the penis but being with a man. My spouse is my best friend but the connection is gone. I do not know who's fault that is but it is the case none the less.

I support the journey and try to help as much as I can, though difficult at times but it still hurts like hell.

Again, I apologize if you feel I misunderstood, that is not who I am.

Regards :-)

Marni said...

J - Yes!! I was wondering what happened. It makes sense that you stepped away from the blogging. I've had my share of flaming here. There's a lot of animosity in this community.

I was just covering my bases, J. I was not sure how much of your anger was going toward me. No worries. :-)

Look, if you do want to talk, send me an email with yours or a Skype name and we can talk once I'm back from Canada. It sounds like your husband was being a bit dishonest with you, considering the time he chose to tell you relative to your son's conception. That's a tough one. But you don't sound like you want to give up, so like I said, I'm here for you.

Noelle MacLeod said...

Wow. You say a lot of the things I feel. I stayed with my spouse through dealing with Bipolar and PTSD - and felt angry when I heard/read about spouses leaving Bipolar husbands/wives. Now I have the TS issue to deal with. Again, I stay, because of love, true love, like you said, the love you feel for your best friend isn't something you walk away from. HOW to stay and make it all work when your heart feels like it's made of lead, I don't know yet. But I'm working on figuring that out. Leaving isn't really an option when it means walking away from the love of your life. I think a book for us - TS spouses - is needed. Badly. Finding support has been a big struggle.