Tuesday, November 27, 2012


In the last few months I've not had much to report. Mostly, things are status quo on the transition front, mainly because the transition is over and we are trying to get back to life in general. Mostly, we're still having financial problems, now due to the company I work for that decided to take me off of teaching duty and keep me on for other stuff while they take care of some company issues.

Having had about six months to think about other things than my spouse becoming a woman, I've been able to look more closely at myself. I'm typically someone who doesn't do that too often, since I don't like much and I easily find gaping flaws. Still, being at a point where Natasha can explore her sexuality more gave me cause to dig deeper, since I really do want to make all this work out in the end.

We haven't done anything yet. Mainly, I think it's because of me. We've discussed our situation several times and came to the conclusion that, as it was before, sex isn't the most important thing in our relationship. We've got some toys. We used them in the past... long before when we were just a regular, heterosexual couple... we're just not really using them together. Not surprising to many readers, I'm sure. I can hear some of you saying, "Ummm hmmmm. I saw this coming and I told you so." Well, it's not so bad as you might think. Like I said, this does not cause a divorce, at least for me.

Natasha told me a while ago that she tried to put herself in my position. She considered how she would probably have felt had I been the one to transition. She admitted that she would not have been able to stay with me as a spouse. As a woman, the thought of even snuggling with a man grosses her out. I can't imagine that being different had she remained a man. She said she wouldn't blame me if I find one day that I can't stay married to her. This is what got me thinking. You see, I'm in my early 40s and although my sex drive dropped to zero after I got pregnant the first time, it's been ramping up. Some days it matters and that's when the toy comes out. I had to admit to myself that I am who I am. I happen to be a very open-minded person, but my physiology says that I'm heterosexual. It's just that way. I love Natasha to death. She is one of my soul mates. She is my best friend. But I really am not attracted to girls. Nothing I can do about that.

But again, I have no need to get divorced because of it.

I do have a worry, though, and this is why I called this entry "Perspective." In a previous post, I said that I've thought of Natasha's transition like a person who has become a paraplegic. Same person inside but unable to do things, like have sex. For the most part my analogy holds water. However, there is something in my... instincts?... that tells me that it's about more than sex. It's about bonding and pairing. This is what I'm currently struggling with (not actively, mind you. I'm quite content in the relationship department, thanks). Something within me says that I'm not paired with a male and that's not "right" for me. Had she been in an accident that left her paralyzed, she'd still be a man, and, sadly, I think that does matter in a way.

Remember that even though Natasha has been presenting female, it's barely been about 18 months. I'm 41, which makes 18 months not a long time at all. In actuality, I'm still getting used to this. I've come a very long way since all this started in June 2009. At first there was no way I would accept my spouse as fully female. I was ready to say no to that in a heartbeat. Now, I'm happy living with a female spouse. No, I'm not blissful, but happy is pretty darn good! It implies that it is reasonable to think that some day what feels "right" may change.

It might not change. At that point, we'll have to deal with it. When might that point be? I suspect if I EVER meet a guy who is a soul mate is totally awesome, it might become an issue. I'm not looking for him, so don't hold your breath.

If you look over previous posts and many of the comments made, you'll see that I was strongly not in favor of those partners who turned and ran at first mention of GID. I'm still standing my ground here. Yes, I totally understand it if a person views sex as a central part of a relationship and has no inclination towards the same gender. If that person wants to turn away, that's fine. Our decisions and actions define us. But if sex is not central to a relationship (sure, it can still be important, but not the be-all, end-all), then I still say that it is vital to be willing to support those you love and try your very, very hardest to adjust. I'm still adjusting, and even if some day I find that I cannot adjust any more, at least I will be able to shift my life with Natasha into something else just as meaningful, without anger, without feeling like I could have done something else or should have done something more. When you are in a relationship that means the world to you, you give everything to keep it. You don't just turn away.

In spite of the fact that I still have worries, I will not diminish the value of my relationship with Natasha by quitting. We are both suffering because of something neither of us chose. Even with my present perspective, I still cannot see either of us going it alone. I will not be responsible for adding grief where it isn't necessary. Happiness is a big accomplishment, and I have it within my family.

Natasha will read this and feel sad, I'm sure. She still blames herself for what she's "done to our family." But she will also recognize that I love her so much that I am still walking beside her. She is still my Woobie. Things happen and change. Strong people don't give up: they go on. That's why I thought I should post an update for you. Things are better. I've been able to concentrate more on myself lately, and that's a great thing! We weathered the storm together, right? Heck, I've even decided to renew the pursuit of the one career I have passion for other than writing, and if things go the way I want them to, it's going to totally uproot my family and turn the next two years or so into a busy, stressful, amazing transition for us all. Maybe it was Natasha's transition that got my mind wondering about changing my own life into something more akin to what I dreamed about but had to give up. If she can become the person she needs to be, so can I - only not quite as drastic.

In short - yeah, right - I'm still saying "don't give up!" I won't.


Noelle said...

I'm glad you updated. I was wondering how the 2 of you were doing. I've had very similar conversations with my partner - and I am still standing, still trying my best, like you. It's only been a year since it all began for us, and sometimes I'm still sure it can't be real. I understand completely about your feelings, not knowing if you can be with a woman sexually, or whether you feel it's "right" for you. I admire your honesty with yourself and your spouse, and your committment to the marriage and friendship. I've found that most do run, and I certainly had the impulse a time or 2. It's understandable. But those of us who do our very best to stick it out because we love the person so much - we are rare. Keep hanging on.

Jenn said...

I read this post a few days ago and on the eve of my spouses "coming out" I can't help but wonder when enough is enough. When is it time to walk away? When is it okay to break up a family that is already broken?
Staying because it is comfortable, familiar, because you have a history, a friendship and a level of love isn't always enough. The loss of intimacy, passion starts weighing on me. The level of love is different and the relationship that was once filled with passion and intimacy is replaced my familiarity, respect and friendship. Even the friendship is different. The things that once were talked about freely are now taboo in fear of hurting each others feelings. We are co-parents, we live together and raise our children but the dreams and hopes I had envisioned disappeared three years ago. I denied the changes, I justified the changes and made excuses, I passed blame off of my spouse and on to others because while I can understand what is happening and why that does not change that I lost my husband 3 years ago and he is never coming back. For that fact alone I am angry, bitter, sad and lonely. I grieve for the loss of the person that sits beside me.
I wish I could decide what to do, I wish my spouse could understand that I will NEVER be intimate with a woman. My 20s are over and simply I am not interested in any way shape or form. While my spouse keeps hoping that once transition is over I will change my mind, I know in my heart that will never happen. Recently I have begun to miss having a relationship with a man, not that I am looking for a relationship because I am not but I miss the connection.
So I just wonder is friendship, history, love and children enough in the long run? Is it enough that in 30 years I could look back and not regret leaving? Is staying fair to either of us when in many ways we both want more in our lives? Either way I turn there is heartache and regret... either way I turn I am alone because neither of us can give the other the relationship we long for. Denial is a wonderful thing but eventually it's not enough to get you through the day.
With a heavy heart, I know that many changes our coming in our lives and transition isn't the only change that needs to happen. Love isn't always enough.

Marni said...

@Jenn, I totally hear you! While I'm still not giving up, I have also come to understand my limits.

I don't see this situation as a "love isn't enough" problem. It's that the love has changed. I still love Natahsa as much as I did when she was Jonathan, but I am not, sadly, "in" love with her. We just talked about this a couple of nights ago. She is one of my soul mates. She is my best friend. And that is essentially how I see our relationship. My husband no longer exists and that still makes me sad sometimes. For physiological reasons, I have no intimate feelings for the person who is my spouse anymore. I tried. Believe me. But no one could ask me to desire a woman any more than one could ask Natasha to desire a man.

Jenn, I think the question you should be asking yourself is: how long can I stay and support my friend? Your spouse seems to be wehre Natasha was many months ago. She believed that I would be able to overcome my heterosexuality because of my love for her. I thought I could, too. Whatever the truth is for you, if you believe that your marriage has a finite existence, then you need to come to terms with that and decide what you do want from the relationship. Like you, I am in no rush to find someone. I happen to be very happy at home. I am, as I said, living with my best friend. Frankly, as much as I understand that I may have a need to have that intimacy (and I'm not even talking about sex) with a man some day, there are so many other things going on in our lives that it doesn't eat at me. It doesn't get me down. It doesn't actively bother me. Heck, we're in the process of trying to relocate to another state and I'm not actively looking.

Natasha understands my needs. She has come to a place where the thought of our marriage ending saddens her but is also something that probably needs to happen some day. The thought of ending our marriage saddens me, too... a lot! But I gave up a lot of myself for her to become a happier person. Some day, it might be her turn to support my return to myself in those particular ways.

So, try not to think of this as a "love isn't enough" deal. It is your love for your spouse that has kept you by her side, supporting her so very necessary transition. Your love has been utterly vital. Her love for you will hopefully be what helps her to understand your needs when those inevitable conversations start in earnest, you know? Your love has allowed her to survive, instead of possibly end her life because of guilt and shame and loneliness. Her love will support you when you need it.

I'm not in denial. Your spouse may be right now, but if you are patient with her, she will figure it out, especially if you keep those lines of communication open and honest.

Jenn said...

It was 3 years ago today that I was informed of my spouses gender identity and that transition will be the path we will be on. At this point, I want the whole transition over with, let the chips fall and figure this all out. Having 2 small children makes it more difficult and I'm tired of being sad and angry inside.
Today will be a tough day, it seems to be getting more difficult for me with every step of this process.
I feel guilty for not being able to share myself with my spouse. I'm guilty that to me, girls are "yucky". I just have no desire to go there, I have tried and honestly it leaves me feeling like a fraud and more lonely. For those that are lucky to save their relationship. I applaud them but I am really struggling here. I had thought that over time it would get easier but the opposite seems to be occuring and for the life of me I can't get past this. At 36 years old, I want more out of my life, it's not just the sex (though after so much time I miss that too).
Did you ever get to the point, prior to Natasha's surgery, that you just needed the transition to be over? To not have the elephant in the room anymore?
I struggle to make friends as I feel like I am living 2 lives. I have to pretend I have a husband and it hurts more and more as that person exists less and less. We moved across the damn country to start over and while it may be a different location, nothing has changed. If anything it has worsened.
I have no idea what the future holds but I do know I need more out of life than this. It's lonely... the kids keep me busy but I worry about them. I don't want to break up my family but I can't fix it either :-(

Marni said...

@Jenn - Yes! I cannot tell you how many times I just ached for the surgery to be done with. Natasha was obsessed by it once the date was set and the finances were found and it seemed like her hatred for her maleness grew and grew. It was really a very difficult time, not just for me but for a lot of people around us.

For me, I don't deny that I have a female "spouse." Generally, when you use the word spouse, people figure it's not a standard relationship. But then, I have this urge to justify why I'm married to a woman. Believe me when I say that I really don't care how others see me, and that's why that urge to justify feels so weird. It's like I'm actually reminding myself out loud why I'm with a woman when I really shouldn't be.

Our kids are still young, too. They have accepted what's been happening far more readily than we adults. When I consider the possibility of our marriage ending, I think about them and try to play out how they would react. They would be very upset, I'm sure. But then, I also know for sure that my kids pick up on when I'm not happy, or when I'm overly contemplative. They know there is something that makes Mommy sad sometimes... besides not having any money. :-)

If you want to talk, Jenn, send me an email. I've got Skype or a phone, too.