I'd been married to my husband for 18 years, and I never once imagined that he was a woman trapped in a man's body.
What Happened When I Found Out My Husband Wanted to Be My Wife?
I've only been married 18 short years. Raising three children, working, living, breathing, loving, existing in the same space as my husband for 18 whole years and I never once imagined that he was a woman trapped in a man's body.
That is until he blurted it out six months ago. At first, I thought he was joking, but realised quickly he was deadly serious.
My instinctive reaction was to laugh at him, and then to instantly regret it.
My next reaction was nothing. That part I'm proud of. Not reacting, that is. I've spent the better part of my life reacting and succumbing to automatic response and inevitably feeling remorseful afterwards.
I simply shut my mouth and looked at him blankly for a full 2 or 3 minutes. He asked me if I was okay, and I just nodded.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking Heavens above. . . is it okay? I love him, of course it's okay. . . But I was stunned that I'd never noticed anything at all that led me to think he was anything other than the hardworking, sport-loving, ball-o-muscle ladies' man I'd always assumed he was.
And there's that hideous little word: assumed. The phrases "assume nothing" and "nothing is ever as it seems" have never taken on such gigantic proportions, in my humble opinion.
But in my heart, I knew from the minute he told me that it was imperative that he step up and be true to himself, express himself, and be just precisely who he needs to be.
He was actually the one who turned around and asked me if it was okay with me if he pursued this dream of his. A "dream," a "goal" he called it. Honestly, a dream? A goal? This shouldn't be either of those two. This should be his right as a living, breathing, feeling human being. His right to live in his body and love it, to wear the clothes he loves, to express himself just precisely the way that exhilarates him.
What I Said When He Told Me
Of course it's okay with me, I told him. But he was to change his mind half a dozen times in the next six months about pursuing his change or his "coming out," so to speak. He didn't want to upset the neighbors, his family, his children. He didn't want to ruffle my feathers or embarrass me at all.
It's so hard to describe how I felt when he explained this. It was a mixture of anger, rebellion, and sadness. What a gentle giant. . . such a giving, compassionate, kind person he was prepared to sacrifice his health and longevity for his family.
I think I felt anger, rebellion, and sadness because he was actually prepared to just exist in his designated male body and put up with the self-loathing to appease his family, the masses, society, whoever. It was hard to explain to him that if he didn't step up and express himself and simply be the most fabulous person that he ever could be, it would surely crush him and rot him from the inside out.
He's my soulmate, my other half, my right arm. I wouldn't be able to breathe without him, regardless of whether he's wearing a skirt or a shirt and tie. Ridiculous labels society sets up for people.
I do believe he gets it now. Six different times, he decided against pursuing the life-changing hormones that would ultimately change his appearance from masculine to feminine. And each time he tried to go against his grain, in our home, he would turn into a grumpy, nasty fool who was entirely odious to be anywhere near.
Six Months After We Had That Male-to-Female Conversation
Finally, he came to terms with it and he's on his way. He's wearing his girly pink nickers to work under his greasy overalls and it puts a really big smile on his dial.
Next step is to navigate our way around this unbelievably closed-minded government system so that we can get him started on hormones. One step at a time, though.
At least he's getting excited about it finally and he's a total joy to live with again.
Sure I'm scared, but not because of what people are going to think. I honestly couldn't give a fig what other people think about our life.
The only people who currently know are myself and him. . . and now, anybody reading this knows too.
What I Think and Feel About It Now
What I'm scared of is how am I going to feel when his body changes?
How am I going to feel when he starts to lose his muscly physique and starts growing breasts?
How is it really going to impact me when he has the sex change operation?
I don't know the answers to any of those questions. But what I do know is that I truly can't breathe without him. The very best I can do is to take each minute as it comes and just put my best foot forward and help him with all my heart to find himself. Everybody deserves to feel fabulous in their own body.
Of course, I'm also nervous about the possibility of having our house or car torched by ignorant individuals who are completely oblivious to anything other than their opinion. . . but what's the point of panicking if it hasn't happened yet?
They say that 99% of what you worry about never happens. Both of us are big believers in eliminating the brain chatter and rising above the situation with the power of positivity, so maybe we will glide through this effortlessly. I do truly believe that we can't change the way other people think or behave, and the only way to deal with negativity and hatred from others is not to react. Don't feed their anger. And move on. . . but all of this is preemptive.
I'll keep journalling my thoughts for you to read. I'm so grateful for the life I have, the family I have, and for my continuing health and vitality. I figure the least I can do is share my tenuous, shaky steps with anybody who's interested in reading. I might not be particularly spectacular, but if nothing else I am brave.
So there you go. I'm journalling this for my sanity and to illustrate to anybody out there that you need to follow your dreams, as my husband. . . wife? puts it. Without dreams, life is just breathing.
Other Wives' Reactions to Their Partner's Trans News
Diane Daniel: "I detached emotionally and physically. I cried every day. I wondered what else he hadn't told me. I feared something was wrong with me to attract this kind of mate. I was angry and ashamed."
Lauren Rowello: "I was a straight woman whose spouse came out as trans. It didn’t change a thing."
Barbara Hamlin: It was "a feeling of relief, to be truthful. Because I did know about crossdressing and transgender very vaguely. And this wasn't as scary as losing one's relationship or marriage."
Shellie Ruge: "Once I started learning what transgenderism was, what it really meant, what Randi was going through, there was no way at that moment that I could leave that relationship and leave Randi."
My Husband Is Now My Wife by Alex Morris: "The spouses of transgender people face their own dramatic transformations—only no one celebrates them."
Staying Married Through a Gender Transition by Evan Urquhart at Slate: "Six years ago, Cassie and I met and began dating as lesbians. At the time, I didn’t know I was transgender. Then about two years ago, just nine months after we were married, I told her I thought I might want to transition and live as a man."
Beyond Blue Forum: Spouse of Coming-Out Trans MTF (an online forum): "We have two children (10 and 9) who don’t know, and I don’t know how to approach this."
Op-Ed: The Transgender Blues by Lisa Jaffe Hubbell: "If my husband was really always a she, then were we ever really an us?"