Friday, April 24, 2015

Spousal Acceptance

There are often a vast number of factors involved in how one's spouse will react to a reveal of being transgender.  And I cannot possibly be an expert on all possible spousal responses to such a personal and delicate manner.  All I do know is how things have gone with my spouse.  I have lived this life and am quite aware of what it has taken to get to where I am.

And to get to where I am has taken VAST amounts of discussions!  I mean VAST, ENORMOUS, GARGANTUAN, amounts of discussions.  Discussions that have taken place so many times that it is the discussions alone that have often made my spouse question why she is with me.

For you see, my spouse was raised in a family that showed her that you DO NOT discuss things.  You take your troubling thoughts and you stuff them down deep inside and if you do it well enough, then it will be obvious because you will then have NOTHING to talk about and you will then live happily ever after.

Somewhere around 15 or so, when my wife and I started dating each other, after actually knowing each other for about 7 years, I came into her world and started challenging just about everything she had come to know and believe.  The number of issues and topics and suggestions that I brought up blew her mind and were a completely different way of viewing the world.  But regardless of how controversial and weird and upsetting my thoughts were, I have always spoken them.

File:Scream crosathorian.jpgFor I grew up in a family where I was screamed at just about every day of my life.  And eventually the screaming stopped being frightening and just got annoying and silly and stupid.  I knew there had to be another way.  There had to be some way to be able to actually communicate with those around you.  And through communication could come understanding and togetherness and happiness and love.

So from the very start, I have told my spouse that above all else, we need to be able to talk to each other about anything, at anytime.  That no matter what the topic, no matter how upsetting, no matter what, we absolutely MUST keep the lines of communication open!

Thus when asked, "how is it that your wife accepts you as being transgender," my response will always be, because we can communicate.

This in and of itself can be quite controversial for many within the transgender community.  And for that I am sorry.  I do not mean to be implying anything about your relations.  But apparently that comes along with the statement.  For, if I state that my wife accepts me because of our ability to communicate, it implies that for those of you whose spouse does not accept you, that you and your spouse cannot communicate.

And, honestly, while I know that is the implication, I really do not know why your spouse does or does not accept you.  What do I know?  I only know about my relationship.

And I know that for my relationship, for Jules and I to still be together, after all that we have been through since being with each other since 15 (now 43!) it is only through our ability (and my insistence and her willingness) that we communicate NO MATTER WHAT!

So why is this coming up?

Communicate by luceroRecently, due to a previous post, the issue of my wife's bisexuality has come up.  And as soon as that is mentioned, for some people they then think "Aha! Now I know why!  That explains everything!"

And honestly it is just not true.

Maybe at some points it held some relevance.  But being transgender goes beyond sexual preferences and going through the discovery of it together was quite unnerving for both of us.

Maybe a bit of background would make it easier to understand:

For as long as I remember I have been at least gender non-conforming.  The one thing I never really did was to dress up in women's clothes.  (Around fifteen I did take my sister's very stylish Guess jean jacket and start wearing it to school!)  But dressing really did not make an appearance until one time, somehow surrounding sex with my wife, I mentioned something about trying on her underwear.  She was okay with that. Shortly thereafter I asked to try on one of her bras.  She allowed me to do that.  Very quickly it transitioned into me getting my own items to wear.  Which very quickly became me wanting my own clothes to wear over my intimates.  But this was always surrounding some sort of sex.  

(I think it came out during sex because somehow I felt that it was okay if it was just a sexual kink.  Before those first times with my wife, when I was somewhere around twenty three, there had never been any sort of association of arousal with my gender variances.)

Eventually the guilt and the oddness of everything got to me, and I decided to get rid of it all.  So I threw away all that I owned.  (Except for my underwear, because apparently I felt as though that was not TOO weird!)  
Ariel Fashion Dress by VPdessin

Bit by bit, I started gathering back up a collection of female items.  But it was beginning to become separated from our sexual relations.  And one day, while looking at myself fully dressed up in female clothes, from head to toe, and with no wig, no makeup, and a 5 inch goatee, it occurred to me that I wanted to do it all.  I wanted to get a wig, I wanted to try makeup, I wanted to shave my face.  And suddenly all of those things NEEDED to be done.  

And very quickly they were, as well continuing to separate my dressing from sex with my wife.

Then while being fully dressed, from head to toe, full female clothes, wig, makeup, fully shaved, the whole shebang!, it occurred to me that I wanted to go out.  That I felt as though I was hiding myself; that I was ashamed of who I was coming to understand that I am and I didn't want to hide any more.  I wanted to get out and experience the world.  And that had nothing at all to do with sex.  And in fact I began to insist on not having any part of my dressing having anything to do with sex.

So... back to the relationship... All throughout this entire time, my method of approaching this with my spouse was to talk about it, and then do it.  It was not as if I was going and asking for permission.  It was much more along the lines of me respectfully informing her.  And I discussed with her how I felt and how it made her feel.

And everything was fine, until it became clear that what was happening was something more than just a sexual kink.  And possibly, that was where it was helpful that my wife is bisexual.  But in coming to terms with your husband being transgender, being bisexual was NOT helpful.

From what my wife and some other's have informed me, in being bisexual, they are attracted to the attributes of either gender, but for some it does not mean that they appreciate men looking like women or women looking like men.  They like men for what men have to offer and women for what women have to offer.  And for a man to begin acting like a woman, or doing things that a woman traditionally does, that takes away from them the very things that attracted them to the man in the first place.

Thus suffice it to say, me removing my dressing from being a sexual kink and making it clear that this feeling inside of me is about my gender identity and that I am indeed transgender and that really it has NOTHING to do with sex, was very difficult for our relationship.

Have to communicate by Poniusprime
My wife suddenly began to complain about everything that I was doing.  My nails bothered her.  My use of female scented products bothered her.  Me wanting to shave my body hair bothered her, especially my chest!  Oh yeah, my use of lipstick bugged the crap out of her!  Oh and these are all just some of the little things.  Things like going out in public terrified and confused both of us!  And years later, me wanting to tell our friends of my gender variances again confused and terrified both of us!

These were no small issues to overcome where she just said to me "Oh well hey, I'm bisexual so it's all cool!"  And I said "yay!"  And we have lived happily ever after.

These issues took LONG discussions.  Often heated discussions.  Discussions that often left each of us feeling defeated and looking for escape and that we could absolutely not stand to be around each other ever again for even another minute!

And yet here we both still are.

Can I say that it has come about through luck?  Can I say it has come about from her being bisexual?  Can I say it has come about from my insistence to communicate?

I really can't.

What I can say about us is that we are still together because of OUR willingness to actually communicate.  Because it is only through that communication that we have both been able to grow, to learn, to accept who we are, and to accept who the other person is.  These are no small tasks, and the job of learning, growing, and loving is a job that is never done.

I am convinced that no matter who you are, no matter what you have going on in your lives, a relationship takes work.  Every step along the way takes work.  Hard work, but voluntary work.  You don't have to do it.  No one has to have a relationship.  You can leave at any point.  But if you don't, if you both stay together, and both commit to work, to work primarily on yourself, then and only then, I believe a relationship can survive anything.

It is not so much who you are as to who you are willing to become.

Loneliness doesn't come from having no one around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that are important to you. -Carl Jung

Art attributions:


  1. Replies
    1. What exactly is mind boggling? Can you elaborate on the boggle?

  2. Hi Nadine. I'm glad my comment sparked you to a longer introspection and explanation of the relationship with your wife. I certainly agree that communication is essential. And I was a bit surprised, although I shouldn't be, that tour wife's view of masculinity is typical of most females. Read Pandora's article I accept that my view may have been a bit precipitous but it made sense at the time. You have enlightened me and I thank you for that

    1. There is no doubt that what may or may not bring about acceptance from spouses is a very complex issue involving many aspects of a relationship. But from what I have experienced and questioned of other over at two people's ability to communicate is often of the utmost importance.

      I will check out Pandora's article thanks for the link.

      And thanks for taking the time to read and consider what has occurred between Jules and I.

  3. We are doing a series on Divorce and the Crossdresser - scroll down to Viewpoints and would welcome any comments that you wish to contribute. I sent your column on to the author Terri Lee Ryan

  4. Hi Nadine, I appreciate your post so much because you are so honest. You describe your way from the beginning up to now: the first steps which are the hardest ones and finally your coming out. You show us that communication is fundamental and we don't have to be ashamed about dressing up. Wonderful to live with such an understanding partner, Nadine and with her even the last big step seems to be possible which is necessary for many of us, the step to become who we really are, to live as a woman.
    Thank's a lot, Nadine!

    1. Thanks Feli-

      Glad that you enjoyed the post. Yeah I try hard to be able to be honest. Which can be tough out here in the web-verse. I try though and it is good to hear feedback that is how it comes across! Yay!

      Communication is important and it can really help to sort everything out and "get everyone's cards out on the table." But it can be very difficult when one does not know where things will lead eventually, for either partner.

      Best of luck to you sweetie, wherever your journey takes you!

  5. I love the quote and the end, Nadine. So true.

    There are some similarities between your situation and mine. The difference, however, is that I consider myself transsexual and that's where my wife draws the line. While she would probably continue to live with me if I transition, she would be very, very unhappy.

    Our communication regarding my trans issues used to be very open. When transitioning came into the picture......well, be both have concluded that it is better off left unsaid.

    I admire your communication but I do wonder what the situation would be like in your household if you told your bisexual wife your were going to transition.

    This is an interesting post, Nadine, and I will feature on T-Central.


    1. Thanks for the feature On T-Central Calie!

      And thanks for your thought intriguing reply. I have wondered for a long time what would happen to our relationship if I transition. My wife has been an ardant supporter of me NOT transitioning. And for her transitioning has meant the whole deal, GRS specifically. That is the thought that has terrified her and where a line has been drawn. Even the mere discussion of it has been too much for her and it has led us down some nasty paths. But just recently I brought up HRT and some of my thoughts on it. Specifically the effects it may have on my personality. While how they would affect me personally, some of the effects I described to her that I have read about honestly intrigued her enough to where she said, "maybe you should really consider it." And that, naturally, left me quite stunned.

      HRT is a ponderable for me, at least for the mental aspects and possibly some of the physical effects. But other effects, mostly physical, are unacceptable for me. My issue is that while I would appreciate some of the changes, loosing some of the male characteristics I enjoy would be terribly upsetting. Things like the physical strength and endurance. That would severly change things for me.

      And really I am not interested in transition as I do not see myself as a female. I really see myself as existing somehwere in the middle. So I would like some more feminization but I am not willing to sacrafice my masculine characteristics.

      Hmm... Maybe these thoughts require their own post!

      Thanks for inspiring the good thoughts Calie!


  6. Excellent post. Among other things it shows that Rome was not built in a day. I have been slowly coming out for 5 decades. I am still not sure where I fit and how things will work with my wife. For the most part I think I am very happy as a guy who would like to have the occasional night out while dressed as pretty as can be. For now I am still happy to dress at home.
    It has been wonderful to be in love with the same beautiful woman for all these years.

    1. I agree with it being wonderful to be in love with the same beautiful woman for all of these years. No matter how difficult it has been, it has been such a blessing to me and the best thing I have ever experienced.

      Thanks Pat!