I've come to my blog a few times over the last few months and said to myself that I need to write something. A few people (thank you!!!) are following me here and don't I owe it to continue to comment on my marriage to a transsexual?
Except that over the last few months what has occupied me was whether or not we would be moving back to Los Angeles, how good was the public school our kids would - and now do - attend, whether or not Natasha would like her new job at a new school, whether or not I would get more work out in L.A...
Throughout this time, I've been dealing with my own hormonal shifts, and that did have a bearing on how I have seen Natasha in my life. I've noticed my libido getting more intense at times and having no one I wanted to satisfy it with. I also know that she has been feeling that kind of thing, too, but she has had no one who wanted to satisfy it with her. See the difference? Not so good. But over all, it's not been the biggest blip on my radar.
In terms of this blog, what I can say about this time is that dealing with the stress was both affected and unaffected by being married to a transwoman. Like many transfolk, they also had other issues to contend with, like depression, anxiety, OCD, or some other issue that at its core had nothing to do with being trans... or not entirely to do with it. For Natasha, she has suffered from depression because of more than one thing. But during her transition, she tried very hard to convince me and those around us that becoming a woman would make her a happier and much less depressed person. The truth is that she is happier in herself, but she suffers from as much depression as she did before. She still has trouble handling stress and she handles it (or doesn't handle it as the case may be) the same way she did when she was a man. We suffered a ton of stress lately, especially since probably October, and she got just as angry, withdrawn, snappy, and horribly sad as ever. I found myself thinking, "She's driving me as crazy as she ever did." In this regard, and in many, MANY positive aspects, she has been the same.
What did affect me was that when I was dealing with other people during that time and I had to discuss myself and my spouse, I felt more bothered about having to explain the whole female father thing or the husband/spouse thing. This was not at all her fault. It was that my stress made little things bother me. Now that my stress level has decreased, having to explain to people that Jonathan is now Natasha and that she is still the father of our kids, etcetera, is more amusing.
So, now we're settled in Los Angeles. The kids are going to be homeschooled for at least the remainder of this year and probably all of next. Natasha definitely hates her job but there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a new career, thanks to my sister-in-law. My own parents have moved down the street, which makes both my kids and my folks immensely happy and makes Natasha and me relieved. We have Disneyland annual passes. I'm a producer on a fledgeling web-based TV news show for writers. Things are good, right?
I decided to write a blog post today because I wanted to share that Natasha and I had a talk not a week ago about our relationship. We both know that I feel the missing link between us and there's nothing either of us can do about that, but also we know that we are best friends and soul mates for life. Some day, maybe one of us might meet someone else who is a soul mate, too, and also has the right sexual orientation, but right now, nobody's looking. We're happy with each other. We have way too much else on our plates to even contemplate changing our lives in that way.
I'm in a private Facebook group for partners of transfolk and there's this one woman who, from my perspective, ran like a bullet to a lawyer for divorce papers after her spouse dropped a male Facebook profile for an entirely female one. Granted, from what she says and implies, the transitioning spouse isn't really including her in any of the decision-making, so I don't think either of them are really losing any sleep over ending the marriage, but it's got me thinking again about how fast people run away from problems. The sad fact is that me being married to a woman is still a "problem" in that I am now married to one of my best friends and not to my best friend to whom I'm immensely attracted to. Even if we weren't having sex, which happened for several years before, I was still immensely attracted to my husband. So, yes, it's a "problem." It does have an effect on my life on a daily basis that is noticeable. But it was MUCH worse in the beginning and still I didn't run. I will never run from her. Not because of her being a woman. And when I say that it's still a problem I say that along the same lines as that I'm not a millionaire is a problem or that the sliding door in the den is finicky so that's a problem. There are varying degrees of "problem," and Natasha being a woman is of the lesser degree.
The woman on Facebook is like many other women I've met over the last few years who used the transsexual card as the final straw to get out of a marriage. Again, in her case it seems that the transitioning spouse wasn't acting fairly. Still, she is one more example, to me, of someone who when she decided to run, ran really fast and very suddenly. It's like a switch was flipped in her head.
Why do people run from problems? Do they think that turning their back on them makes them disappear? I've never been able to do that. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak and if I don't know what's hunting me I can't figure out how to defeat it. It's like when you show an infant your face and then move it behind your hands. They really do think it's gone. It vanished. Some part of some people never grow out of that, I guess.
Natasha and I needed to have that conversation about our relationship. We'd danced around it a few times in the recent past, but we needed to be on the same page about each other. As much as the conversation was more than laced with sadness, it was all the honest truth and it was all said because we still love and respect each other and never want to hurt the other person but still remain true to ourselves. The truth has very big teeth and if you try to run from it, you will get a painful bite in the ass eventually.
The truth is that while I felt like I'd put some of "myself" aside for Natasha during her transition, I also discovered so much about myself. What I put aside was my heterosexuality. I put away much of my anger and frustration. I discovered that I am a strong person. I discovered that I am far more loyal and giving than I ever imagined. I discovered that I really am a good mom. I felt loss. Great, deep loss. But I got though it and I got over it. I was able to think through things that were becoming emotionally overpowering. The truth was that what I "put aside" was not anything that was... unauthentic... to myself. It was all me. I was not ever false to myself. I never lied to myself. Having to put aside aspects of your life or your nature doesn't mean you are being fake or false. We put aside aspects of our lives all the time. When we have kids, we can't stay out all night partying anymore (well, if you want to actually be a responsible parent, that is). When we start a new job, we can't necessarily show up in our pajamas.
The pain I felt during Natasha's transition was the pain of growth, realization, and survival. It was facing fear and loss and change. I could still have done without it all, but I'm finally looking at this as a period in my life where I learned more about me and what I can handle.
More to come. I promise.