For the trans spouse, those feelings of attraction, the desire for intimacy, the relationship, none of that inherently changes. What does change is caused by how much the other spouse feels that things have changed on his or her end. For example, Natasha, now being a woman, is not attractive to me. I have no desire for intimacy with her. The physiology of our relationship has fundamentally changed.
So here I am, living mostly very happily with my best friend. Every so often, my primal self, the part of me that likes to remind me that I like men, does its instinctive duty and I look at my devoted spouse and I feel horribly guilty for what my core being is saying to me. Life would be so much less complicated if I were much older and we'll past the point where my primal self gives a crap. But I'm not, and when it nags at me, I look at my spouse and see the person I used to want. It hurts.
But what am I going to do about it? Nothing. Not right now. Maybe not ever. A friend told me that I described where I am perfectly. I am the hub at the center of an infinitely-spoked wheel. Each spoke represents an option. Half of them lead me to stay and half lead me to go. But I am the hub and I can't actually make any decisions right now because the wheel is spinning very, very quickly. The only way it will slow down is if I can eliminate a lot of the spokes, and at this very moment, it is neither wise nor practical. I'm not going to even attempt to share any of those variables with you, mostly because you probably know exactly what I mean. For those who have no idea, I will say that no one lives in a vacuum and to make decisions as if one does is amazingly selfish and often catastrophic, especially to others.
For the rest of my life, Natasha will be a living, breathing memory of the full, complete life I had. I don't hate her for it, although I wish I had reason to. How much easier and how far fewer spokes there would have been had she cheated or had lied about knowing she was trans when we met. But no. There is no fault here, and that makes it all the more sad at times. I can't imagine my life without her, yet I sometimes wish we were neighbors or roommates instead of married. This pulling from different directions weighs in a person's soul at times.
And then, she is the living spouse who is still the one to make me laugh, to eat too much bacon with, to raise our kids with, to make silly voices at the pets. She's my family.
The wheel keeps spinning and it gets to me sometimes, but at the end of the day, I still have with Natasha what so many others will never have: a truly loving family. It makes me feel mad at myself that I even entertain the idea of breaking that up, even though I know that I am not the one who changed and that what I feel and think is normal.
I know it's okay to think what I do, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Just one of many effects of being the hub.