I am sure we can all look back at the beginning of our relationship and recall fond memories. The first date. The feeling of butterflies when they pulled up in front of your house. Flowers for no reason. Love notes hidden for you to find after they have left. Catching yourself smiling throughout the day because you are thinking about them. That feeling of wanting to spend every waking minute with them. Date nights that turned into mornings. Becoming the best of friends. You think to yourself, “This is just like the movies, everything that I ever wanted.” It is nothing less than magical.
“Then one day, many years down the road, they come to you with the most unexpected news and shatter the future’s dreams.”
You decide to spend the rest of your life with this special person. You were fortunate to fall in love with an exceptional human being. Together you plan the future, buy a house and have a family. Your partnership grows through the ups and downs of life. Where one is weak, the other is strong. Always having one another to rely on for support. You go to bed at night feeling safe and secure, because nothing could ever destroy your rock solid marriage. Then one day, many years down the road, they come to you with the most unexpected news and shatter the future’s dreams. They are transgender and need to transition in order to go on living. You feel heartbroken for them and the years that they spent struggling to survive. So you decide to become their ally.
The decision to stand by your spouse who is your best friend, soul mate and parent to your children, for you, is an easy one. This is the person you love most in the entire world and all you want for them is to live an authentic, untroubled life. You support them on this journey in any and all ways necessary. You are prepared to fight for the love you have cultivated over these many years. You take off from work to drive to doctor’s appointments, administer hormone shots, help with wardrobe choices and attend counseling sessions. You take on new responsibilities, finish household chores and become a late night counselor. All the while your becoming someone else and you find yourself slowly drowning.
“Your love for them has not faltered and you cannot image life without them, but your marriage is just not working.”
The realization finally hits you after tons of soul searching and many tears shed. As much as you have tried to journey forward, this is not where you thought you would ever be. Your love for them has not faltered and you cannot imagine life without them, but your marriage is just not working. You are losing yourself and morphing into something that you don’t recognize. Aside from your children, this is the most important person in the world to you, but you find yourself living a lie. You are devastated but eventually you make the decision to divorce. What awful circumstances to end a marriage. Without betrayal, anger or malice, you find yourself needing more.
Such great sadness overwhelms me when I think about all the relationships that just couldn’t make it through transition. With no one at fault, two people transition in such different ways. When continuing a mutual love and respect for one another, sometimes they are pulled in different directions. Perhaps if they were shown acceptance as a child they could have come out sooner and this heartbreak could have been avoided. Or if we were taught to look through the facade and appreciate the soul of another person, we could all just simply love one another. Then we can come to a place in this world where gender wouldn’t matter.