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NancyBalik

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Envy: "a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck." I find this to be a destructive emotion, and I fight against it. No matter how much I try, though, it creeps into my psyche in some form most every day. Sometimes it is as simple as noticing the earrings that my wife is wearing, and wishing that I was wearing them. Sometimes I notice a pretty floral sundress (I am partial to floral patterns), and I envy the freedom to wear such a fun piece of clothing. Other times I overhear a small group of women friends talking and laughing and I wish that I could fit in with them.

Is it dysphoria or envy? I'm convinced that it is both, but it doesn't matter what I call it. The key is the feeling of discontentment. Of course I can't (and don't) let it linger (or I'd be hopelessly depressed). I remind myself that I am who I am, have what I have, silently call myself Nancy (yes, I find that comforting), think of myself as i appear in my avatar photo, give a quick thought to the feminine underwear I am wearing, and try to move on. I could get lost in Envy and never find my way out. Nancy
 

OzGirl

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Nancy, I think it is mostly envy, but it is how it affects you which can make you dysphoric. If you see another person with a look or manner you want, and decide you are going to do something to realise that for yourself, that is good envy. If you judge yourself against another person and feel deficient, that is bad envy, and likely to lead to dysphoria. I envy so many on this forum, for so many reasons, but I don't judge myself against them. Recent pictures of GRS ops have me envious, but I have made arrangements to emulate their success, so it didn't bring about dysphoria, but the recent discussion on shoulder width, did make me a bit envious, and may have raised a tiny bit of dysphoria, but it was there previously and it comes up when I look in a mirror, or highlight it in other ways. I am on hormones to fix that sort of thing so it isn't a real issue.

Hugs,

Allie
 

Katie

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I have had the same internal thoughts. Where is the line between dysphoria and envy? I think the struggle for me is that envy is viewed negatively. I do envy certain things about other women because of my gender dysphoria. And I feel guilty because of the cultural attitude toward envy. But to want what is only normal for most women doesn't seem like it should be wrong for someone who is so very far from normal.
 

KathyLauren

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I don't believe there is a line there at all. Envy can be one of the manifestations of dysphoria. It is one of the more common ones, in fact.

@NancyBalik you are a woman, and it is natural to admire what women admire. You have chosen a path for yourself that causes that admiration to grate a little bit, because your circumstances do not permit you to indulge it. But it is perfectly normal.

It sounds like you are dealing well with the dissonance of the envy, but take a moment, too, to revel in the admiration. Enjoy the fact that you have good taste and recognize beauty when you see it.
 

Katie

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@KathyLauren you make some great points. By the way, your hair looks wonderful in your new profile picture!
 

Monica

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I guess I always thought of dysphoria as discomfort with the things one has. For a trans woman, the masculine aspects. Envy, I see as the things on or about others, that you would like to have as part of who you are and don't have. In the end, the words don't matter, the feeling is strong. Nancy is so right about not lingering on it. It takes strength and discipline not to.
 

Linde

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Nancy, I can have all of this what you envy, nobody can keep me from having this or doing his. But that does not mean that my life is free of envy. Now that i have achieved all I could achieve to be seen as a woman, I envy the young trans women now for their chance to live a full female life, I envy the cis women, because they had the chance to grow up as a female.
I think, whenever one has finished one milestone, some new version of envy comes up, and as you wrote, we cannot allow it to consume us, because it would make our life miserable. I know that I can never be that young anymore, I can never change the stupid mistake docs made in determining my sex, I have to just accept it, and live my life as happy as possible.

Hugs
Linde
 
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KimOct

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Nancy I think your insight into your feelings is a good thing. Is it dysphoria or envy? I would say both. Regarding what to do about it if anything? It depends on how strong these feelings are and your quality of life. My opinion...... if you have not already shared with your wife I think that would be good. An honest relationship is a strong relationship. It does not mean you have to transition or dramatically change your life. But secrets create distance.

As I posted in another thread yesterday not everyone on the transgender spectrum needs to do what other people are doing. We each have a path that is right for us. However I think our loved ones particularly a spouse should know who we are. That IMO is true love.
 

Kenna

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@NancyBalik You've got me thinking! I'm not sure where this is going, but I don't think that envy is necessarily destructive. Before I knew I was transgender I envied all sorts of things about women, their clothes, their shape, the way they interacted and more. Whenever envy hit me I felt sad and lonely, which is how I often experienced my dysphoria, without knowing what it was. Once I recognised my true gender envy has become more of a motivator, encouraging me to keep moving forward in my transition journey. I guess that envy might still trigger a type of dysphoric reaction if I become fixated on something that I can never realistically achieve (e.g. the figure and appearance of a 21-year-old) and it could then become destructive, but I think that I'm usually able to re-direct that type of envy into regret and focus more on what I can achieve.
Hugs,
-Kenna
 

NancyBalik

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Kim, You are right, of course. We should talk about it. I would love to, I have tried (many times), and she outright refuses to talk about gender or gender dysphoria. As amazing as it seems, I have concluded that the strategy I have living with for now (not arguing it is the “best” strategy) is to take what she will give me without upsetting the balance of our marriage. She is (perhaps remarkably given that efforts to discuss it have been a disaster) remarkably tolerant of my underdressing, my girl clothes hang in our closet openly, etc. We are active sexually and I only make love to her as a woman would (which I very much prefer and she does not enjoy penetration).

Very often I think about again broaching the subject of my gender dysphoria because I very much would like to discuss it with her and would like her affirmation — verbally. However, history tells me this would not go well, and I have her tacit consent/tolerance, if not approval. Of course, I would like her support. Related to envy, I envy her femininity very much, and some days it is difficult to live with a very feminine woman who I admire, and I want her approval. She has told me that she needs me to be “a man.” I function in that traditional role in many ways — fixing things, etc. I know it is a weird and sensitive balance we’ve created. Not ideal, and a great compromise. Most days it works for me.

Kenna, I am not sure that envy has ever motivated me because, for me, it has always been directed towards those who have something I cannot have or achieve. I find it to be a bit different — stronger and tinged with more bitterness and resentment than admiration. I know what it is like to admire a skill someone else has achieved and work hard to be as good T something as they are. That is motivating. But, envy of “female-ness” when I know I will not be female can lead me into a dark place, so I try to pull it up short. Thanks for your comments — both of you — got me
 

KimOct

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Hi Nancy I am not a therapist nor a marriage counselor just someone with an opinion. The real question is if you are both happy.
Happy or at least peace is the goal. If you are there - great. If not maybe a counselor? Or not.

I do give you credit at least she knows and that is far more than many people do so IMO you have done the right thing.
 

NancyBalik

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Kim, I do appreciate (and respect) your opinion. She has known for a long time...and there have been many tearful, and some angry, talks about my gender “issue.” Where we have come to is this DADT compromise that of course is less than ideal, but maintains the marriage and extended family balance — which I have decided is more important than living out my dreams. I will not sacrifice her feelings or what I get from her. She is happy and accepting of where things are now. I would not describe myself as “unhappy,” but there is no question that I feel happier when I am dressed and that I would rejoice in her full acceptance — but, that ain’t gonna happen. I’m living with my choice.

BTW, I would only see a counselor experienced in gender issues, and she would refuse to see such a counselor on the basis that such a person would be biased to my view of things. So stalemate. I know that from outside it must seem to be a strange marriage., but it does work for us. We have fun, get along, agree on many other things. Tomorrow we are going on a long bike ride together. Nancy
 

Katie

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BTW, I would only see a counselor experienced in gender issues, and she would refuse to see such a counselor on the basis that such a person would be biased to my view of things. So stalemate. I know that from outside it must seem to be a strange marriage., but it does work for us. We have fun, get along, agree on many other things. Tomorrow we are going on a long bike ride together. Nancy

This was my demand when my wife wanted to see a counselor together. She wanted a "Christian" counselor, which I knew would have one outcome: "reparative" or "conversion" therapy. I have zero interest in that stuff. I managed to get her to go to one session with counselor who did not use faith as a credential. Then she refused to go again, saying she wasn't the one who needed help and I should just go alone.
 

NancyBalik

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This was my demand when my wife wanted to see a counselor together. She wanted a "Christian" counselor, which I knew would have one outcome: "reparative" or "conversion" therapy. I have zero interest in that stuff. I managed to get her to go to one session with counselor who did not use faith as a credential. Then she refused to go again, saying she wasn't the one who needed help and I should just go alone.
Katie, Bingo! Exactly what would happen, and precisely why we're not going for counseling. sometimes people want counseling because they imagine that the therapist will "convince" their partner that they are right and their partner is wrong (or at least must accept their way of seeing things). My wife also would likely want to see a "Christian" counselor, or, if not that, at least one who was not particularly schooled in gender issues. Hard to be trans and married -- particularly if one got married way before one figured out she was trans :) Nancy
 

Donna

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Yes envy was big for me as my wife is very feminine and very good at it. It was torture for me to see her every day in her sexy underwear. It was torture for me to see her putting on mascara and eyeliner and lipstick every morning. She has an hourglass figure and hips to die for and thick thick blond hair. She is also very pretty.

I really really miss her companionship but now that we are separated I can have all the things that I envied and more, at least the things I can buy. I used to have a difficult time falling asleep because of the dysphoria but now I fall asleep easier. I can go to bed in nice feminine clothes too.

Now I am free to go out as Donna and I don't have to wait for a brief infrequent time sneaking to cross dress when she was not home. I hated that I had to do that. I am free of envy of my wife and I am much happier now.

Although I used to absolutely hate being alone as my male self, that is gone too because I am always female when I am home or out. I feel normal now as Donna . I have my best friend Melissa, a trans woman in Ohio that I talk to many times a day and that helps, along with the ability to monitor and add to this forum whenever I want to. I am learning so much here.

So I guess the solution for envy is freedom, but I understand that for many, commitment is more important if you have a wife that can work with you. Freedom was not my choice as she left me even though I did not want her to leave and begged her not to, and was willing to live with the status quo.

Love you all,

Donna
 

NancyBalik

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Donna, Thanks for your response. And sorry to hear that your wife left you. Sounds like as much as you did not want that, that you have adapted and perhaps in some respects are happier. What you describe is/was absolutely envy, and perhaps for you became obsessive or even destructive? Maybe she felt some of that? I do think that it can be a problematic emotion, lead to resentment, depression, etc. as for commitment vs freedom, obviously I’ve chosen to stay (and it sounds like the choice was made for you). We share, as you say you did so I understand how great a loss this has been for you, a great companionship on many levels, a devotion to our several grandkids who we see frequently, and many mutual friends. However, I think, like you, if I ever was to lose her, I would go into quite a phase of “freedom” of indulging Nancy’s desires. Best, Nancy
 

Linde

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Ladies, I did this freedom phase, after my wife left me. First I thought I cannot live without her, I was suicidal for a short time after she left. However, a top therapist helped me to get over this separation, and I started to find myself. it took about 10 years for me to drift around in some kind of androgynous state of development, but once I realized that I was a woman, everything went very fast. within one week I changed from a mostly male presentation to a full female presentation. I had the freedom to do this. I live now for several years as a very happy woman, and almost forgot what male life was all about.
Freedom is the key to a smooth and happy transition. I am now a pretty good friend of my ex.

Hugs
Linde
 
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Donna

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Donna, Thanks for your response. And sorry to hear that your wife left you. Sounds like as much as you did not want that, that you have adapted and perhaps in some respects are happier. What you describe is/was absolutely envy, and perhaps for you became obsessive or even destructive? Maybe she felt some of that? I do think that it can be a problematic emotion, lead to resentment, depression, etc. as for commitment vs freedom, obviously I’ve chosen to stay (and it sounds like the choice was made for you). We share, as you say you did so I understand how great a loss this has been for you, a great companionship on many levels, a devotion to our several grandkids who we see frequently, and many mutual friends. However, I think, like you, if I ever was to lose her, I would go into quite a phase of “freedom” of indulging Nancy’s desires. Best, Nancy

Thanks Nancy for your comments. I appreciate that we have much in common and you are right about the loss. She is my best friend, we get along so well and seamlessly when we do things together. We have great conversations as long as it's not about my transgender.

Since we have been separated for 3 months now, we still see each other frequently and the all the above applies, but I have been with her as my male self. Both of us can't resist seeing each other but of course she is strongly opposed to how I am living now, so it's hard for me to understand why she still wants to see me. Also I can't stay away from her.

For instance my neighbor asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner yesterday and if Deb could come along so I asked her and she said OK, then I asked her if she wanted to go for a bike ride today. She agreed and came over to my place as her bike is still here. When we stopped for a rest I tried to get a conversation going about our relationship. I told her that I really enjoy being with her. She said that our relationship is not facing reality. I said that the reality is that first we are married, second we enjoy being with each other and third we get along so well. She replied that she is getting an ulcer, to me meaning she is sick to her stomach. But......she always says yes to an invitation, is every few days asking for my help with everything in her life and asks me to do things with her like play tennis every week.

I suggested to her to go to counseling to get rid of the feeling in her stomach and she said no way, she could never change. She is not one of those persons that does not believe in counseling as we have done plenty of it, all Christian counseling before. She would never go to a non-Christian type counseling.

She never calls me just to talk because she misses me, but I'm sure she does, and I want to call her but don't given that I do enough to show her I love her, but don't want to appear to anxious or needy.

That's all going to end soon when I come out to my condo neighbors and then I will be officially full time going outside to my car as a woman. Then I'm not going to want to go back and forth just to be with my wife. I have to stay true to myself and be Donna, so that will probably be the end for at least a long while, as Linde has suggested that it took her wife two years to come around. It's always possible but I don't think it will happen.

Again thank you for responding to my post Nancy and giving me an opportunity to get my feelings out and actually making me think about things that I have not thought about before.

Back to your situation, if you going full time would result in losing a great relationship, grandchildren and mutual friends then I understand your reluctance to be Nancy all the time. Everybody's situation is different.

I have already lost my two adult children 8 years ago and my long term friends recently when they knew why we have separated. All I have left is Deb, much shorter time friends and condo neighbors, all who have come to my support since the separation, but don't know why we separated. I may not be accepted by any, who knows, but I am prepared for that too.

Now that I have the freedom I can't stand not being Donna every minute that I can so this grows on you and the desire just deepens with time. I am prepared to start a new life with new friends. Somehow I think it will be better because I will be able to be myself and the friends that I have will be accepting me as I am, not a fake guy pretending to be happy.

Donna
 

Linde

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Donna, let me just tell you little more detail about my relation to my ex. As I said, after about two years, we started to talk again, but I was sill presenting as a man. When we met with each other, it was all business about our divorce etc., nothing interpersonal. a few years later , when I had changed full time into a woman, my ex started to soften up and talked with me about my transition, and started to ask questions, and the typical why now, at your age.. I tried to explain, but I bet she did not really get it, because later, when I old her about my plan to get SRs, the why now at you age came up again. But we can get out together now for a beer or something to eat when I am up north, and we talk about women stuff, after all, we were together 36 years, an nobody knows me and my needs as well as she does. She gives me hints about cosmetics she feels are OK for my skin, and when I have a question about a certain outfit, I'll send her a picture, and she advises me. There is no male to female love involved any more, I still love her very much, but it is not the love a man has o his wife, but the love one has for a very close sibling.

Concerning coming out to older people, all my friends knew me when I was still a man, all my friends, except one reborn evangelical couple, are still as close of friends with me as they ever have been. people are more tolerant an accepting than one thinks they are!

Hugs
Linde
 

Donna

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Linde, it did not work that way with my friends that knew me since I was in my 20's. They are all still friends with Deb and of course she came along after my first marriage. I had such good times with them staying at their house for weeks at a time, it meant nothing to them, much time spent together. I can't figure it out. Probably it's too scary for them.

Your wife did not have any general principals against trans as mine does religiously, she just did not want to be married to a woman, understandable plus everyone is different and as I said, it turns my wife's stomach to think about it and I don't think that will ever change. She would not be friends with a homosexual either for the same reason, her gut feelings.

She had a bad experience with a girlfriend she had in her early teens. They were in the friends bedroom and the girl wanted to try some kissing and other stuff and the girls mom came into the room, and reported it to Debs mom, so that really spooked her from that point on with anything out of normal sexually. Also, sexual things were never spoken about in her child life at home, not even the birds and the bees, so sex was a forbidden topic and although we had no trouble with sex, she could never talk about it as it was too embarrassing for her.

Donna
 
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