You and your spouse have been together for over a decade. You notice through the years that something is unfulfilled in your spouse. So you turn yourself upside down and inside out to make your spouse a happy life. You in essence become the perfect partner. You bore two children who are well mannered and intelligent. Laundry is always clean and put away, dinner on the table every night at six, sex, whenever and wherever they so desire it. You not only juggle the chores of the home, but you work outside of the house as well. Still they seem disconnected and miserable.
Then one day they grab you by the hand and say, I need to talk to you. Stunned and taken back by this you agree to talk. You sit across from each other and you hear these words “I think I am transgender.” You suddenly feel as if someone smacked you across the face. The room is void of any air. After that, you can’t hear anything else they said. Images of family gatherings yet to come swim around in your brain and you can picture the look on you mother’s face when she tells you she never really liked your spouse anyway.
“Most partners view their spouse wanting to transition as a loss.”
Now what happens? Hopefully I can help you with that. As with any loss in your life you need to go through the five stages of grief. Most partners view their spouse wanting to transition as a loss. Even though that person still walks among us, they will evolve into their true and authentic self. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen. With time, therapy and hormone replacement therapy, they will find the voice that has been hidden inside of them. I suggest little steps. Do not sit and dwell on what will happen a year from now. Start by thinking about what will happen next week.
Stage One – Denial: This is when we try to deny the reality of the situation. We look for any explanation we can find other than what is true and factual.
Stage Two – Anger: As the denial starts to fade away, you begin to feel the anger. Our anger stems from the pain we are feeling. It masks itself and lashes out.
Stage Three – Bargaining: When we experience feelings of helplessness, we begin the bargaining process. We think that by doing this we can change the situation.
Stage Four – Depression: You begin to feel utterly defeated. The sadness of the situation is overwhelming. You dwell on the negative and withdraw from your partner.
Stage Five – Acceptance: This is the point at which you start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever happens next you are at peace with the situation.
“Nothing worth anything happens overnight. Be an ally.”
Remember always the things that made you fall in love with your partner in the first place. Even after the physical transformation, all of those qualities will still be there. Give yourself time. Nothing worth anything happens overnight. Be an ally. If you come to the conclusion that you and your spouse would make better friends, than do that, but be good to each other in the process. Transition is a family matter and everyone transitions in their own way, and on their own timeline. Try not to put limits and limitations on one another. Once this huge burden is lifted from your spouse and the feelings of denial and fear slowly fade away, your spouse will be happier than they ever thought possible. Transition is what I like to call the cocoon stage. With patience, love, time and understanding, you and your spouse will emerge from this cocoon as beautiful butterflies