What comes to mind when your spouse says to you, “can we talk?” Oh my. Most likely a plethora of different things. They gambled away your retirement savings account, they are cheating on you, they are leaving you for a younger man or woman. Or maybe, they just don’t love you anymore. When I heard those words I swear my brain flipped over inside my skull. My heart started pounding and my palms started to sweat. What could he possibly want to talk about?
“I always suspected that it was me.”
If you ask anyone who knows us as a couple they would have told you all of those options were just ridiculous. After all, we were the “perfect couple”. High school sweethearts. We went through hell and back to be together and were so madly in love with each other. He was the best step-parent anyone could have asked for to our three beautiful girls. From the outside looking in, a very happy life. But deep inside our relationship I knew he was unhappy. I had no idea why, but I always suspected that it was me. Taking on a women and her three children is a huge undertaking. Maybe he realized that and wanted out?
So he was ready to talk. Was I ready to hear what he had to say? I poured us both a glass of wine and we sat down on the sofa. My mind racing with possibilities. He told me that he was going through something and that his hormones were doing strange things, that he didn’t quite understand. That peaked my interest since I was pretty sure I had a higher testosterone count than he did and so far no mention of another woman. Good. So he began searching the internet, looking for others who could vocalize feeling the same strange feelings that he had. Scouring the internet, he came across Dysphoria. Oh no I thought, he has some weird terminal disease that I had never heard of before and I am loosing him for good. My heart felt sad.
I take a large sip of my wine and he continued. “I think I might be transgender,” he said. “What’s that?” I asked and he explained, “Well I was born male and raised that way, but somewhere deep inside me I always felt like a woman.” “All my years of depression and always feeling like a freak are starting to make sense to me now,” he said. Well isn’t that a kick in the head? I thought, he is leaving me to become the woman inside of him so he can run off and find a man. He went on and said, “I have thought about being gay but I’m not attracted to men.” He spoke about transition, what that means, and how to go about it. He seemed confused. I was definitely confused.
I knew nothing about transgender people and what it meant to be trans. As our conversation continued he told me what he was reading about online and suggested that I do the same. He thought that my reaction to his revelation would be different. He thought that I would argue with him and try to convince him he was wrong, that this was not happening to him. That in my eyes he was the picture of masculinity. The truth was that it just made sense to me. I fell in love with a sensitive person, who never really liked, and was never really good at doing what our society calls “man stuff.” I fell in love with a sensitive person who makes me feel safe and takes care of me.
“My once husband will one day be my wife.”
Our Saturday night talk turned into a Sunday morning sunrise. He found a gender therapist online only a forty five minute drive from our house. He promised to call first thing Monday morning. This was step one on the path to transition. My once husband will one day be my wife. A hard pill to swallow, but this is the person I love most in the world next to my children. So I will try. We finally went up to bed at ten o’clock in the morning. The intimate moments that we shared afterwards were nothing like we had ever shared before. This invisible thing was no longer putting a wedge between us. We had no secrets. I never felt closer or more in love with my spouse. So I chose to turn the page to a clean sheet of paper, and to begin a new chapter in my life. Let’s see where it takes me.