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NancyBalik

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My wife and I were virtually kids when we got married -- 22. I've written here before that I naively thought that my fascination with (and desire to wear) women's clothes would go away after I got married because back then I thought it was just a sexual thing and I figured I'd be getting a lot of sex (and I did for awhile :)). And, pre-internet, etc., I had no idea about gender dysphoria, transgender, etc.

Anyway, with that brief background, this thing about my "gender issue" has always been a difficult issue and difficult topic in our marriage. Obviously she knows that I under-dress (pretty obvious, I don't try to hide it), and she sees my femme clothes hanging in the closet, but she does not want to see me in them (other than in underwear which she has gotten used to). We just don't talk about it much. When we last did, it resulted in a long period of emotional distancing (from us both because I was very hurt).

Anyway, we've been getting along great. Having fun together, been romantic and sexual, worked on projects together etc., etc. I've been telling her how happy I am -- she's said the same. Then yesterday morning she made a comment related to this prayer thing in Congress about a congressmen (I've now read about it and found out he is a pastor, actually, and was trying to honor all of the female congresswomen and it had nothing to do with gender) ended a prayer by saying Amen and A-woman. My wife said something about how some of these politicians just want there to be no distinction between men and women, anybody can be anybody.

I should have kept my mouth shut, but I asked what she was talking about and she told me about the A-woman, and I said, that sounded unfortunate, but I didn't think anybody was trying to take away distinctions between genders. "Oh yes they are, a lot of them are,, like anybody who wants can just be a woman." she said. Then I personalized it, got pissed, thought she (unconsciously anyway) was talking about me, got irritated, said something about it being a good thing that transgender people had more freedom, etc. It didn't go well. She walked off.

After a half hour, we'd both cooled down, I asked her to talk, told I knew I got triggered because there is this "elephant in the room'" between us about my own gender issues that we don't talk about. I owned my being out of line in HOW I responed to her, and asked to share my feelings about my gender dysphoria. She listened, said she understood. I cried, told her how much I worried that she did not "love the whole me," said that I wanted her to accept me for all of me. She never said that she did. Later in the day we went for a walk during which she said that she understood how hard it is for me to "have this secret" that I can't tell anybody. I thanked her for that.

Since our little talk, though, she's been really cold. This morning I wrote her a long email telling her how I feared that it would set us back, that I felt scared, that I wanted reassurance from her. She got up, came gave me a kiss, said nothing about the email, did various tasks, was around the house for a couple hours, then had plans to go somewhere. Before she left I asked her if she read my email -- oh yes, she'd read it on the phone b4 she got out of bed -- but she said nothing about it Really weird, almost passive aggressive, but I'm making up that she is busy processing this herself -- and she's not ready to say anything. She heads out the door and I call her back to hug and kiss her good-bye.

I'm wishing I never said anything yesterday. Things were going so good. But, then, I do really, really want her to accept and love me for who I am Maybe it only works when we don't overtly acknowledge the elephant in the room. Thoughts? Feeling really vulnerable today, Nancy

Missouri Rep. Cleaver says his ‘A-woman’ prayer is misconstrued to stoke division​

 

Monica

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Nancy, I don't live other people's lives. I can kind of manage my own! I don't know what's right for you, but I'll tell you my feelings. I'm not a big fan of elephants in rooms (or in politics, sorry, another topic.) I understand that you two differ on this subject. Talking about it can be stressful for you. Not talking about it can be stressful as well. I don't think less communication is good, even if it is a little uncomfortable when the subject comes up. The fact is, you have something that causes you stress. It causes her stress in her own way. Talking about it together is the only way to find the middle ground. You both need rules to follow to stay in the area of compromise. Leaving things unsaid, to me, just creates distance. How about this? "I love you, this thing is very difficult for us both, how can we work as a team to make things better? How can we both feel respect when we deal with this?" I have found it very useful to set up a time, ahead of time, to talk when you are both ready and open. When someone expresses their feelings, that has to be respected as their genuine feeling and not belittled. It has worked well for us. We've dealt with some crazy stuff.
 

NancyBalik

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Thank you Moni, for your caring and thoughtful response. Openness is best of course, and we do great on that with nearly all other subjects. Unfortunately, our track record in this area is not so good. I want it to be open. I want it to be safe. I don’t want her to hurt me. Of course, the more vulnerable I am, the more I can be hurt. We’ll see how it plays out... Nancy
 

Katie

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I naively thought that my fascination with (and desire to wear) women's clothes would go away after I got married
I had the same delusion, though it was never sexual. I really, truly believed that getting married and having a normal male life would somehow "fix" me, that these feelings would go away and I would find living as a man to be good and right. Getting married only made it worse.
like anybody who wants can just be a woman." she said.
Yeah, all these Cis women who think they can just be women without having to do anything. None of them had to have their face burned with lasers, or have major surgeries, or go through months of psychotherapy just be able to have the hormone balance they have desperately needed their whole life, or a million other things they never have to deal with. If being a woman required jumping through hoops and doing difficult things, it would be cis women who wouldn't qualify.
 

Confused

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Nancy, that elephant gets around. Every time I think it is gone for good, it comes charging back. For us, it is usually triggered by something you wouldn't think would cause a reaction. Don't think you are alone, but what Moni said is the best way. I am usually the peacemaker, as I think Moni is, but sometimes I am crying to the point I can't talk.

We can get to a point of acceptance with someone who is Cis, but it seems pretty hard to get total understanding from them.

Hugs,
Mike
 

Linde

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I had the same delusion, though it was never sexual. I really, truly believed that getting married and having a normal male life would somehow "fix" me, that these feelings would go away and I would find living as a man to be good and right. Getting married only made it worse.

Yeah, all these Cis women who think they can just be women without having to do anything. None of them had to have their face burned with lasers, or have major surgeries, or go through months of psychotherapy just be able to have the hormone balance they have desperately needed their whole life, or a million other things they never have to deal with. If being a woman required jumping through hoops and doing difficult things, it would be cis women who wouldn't qualify.
I think it is unfair to do cis women beating. I am surrounded by very friendly, helpful and understanding cis women. There are good and bad cis women as there are good and bad trans women. I just had a negative experience with a cis woman, not because I am trans, but because I was socialized as a male.

And just because they did not have to hope through the same hoops you had to hop through, does not make them weak either. I had not to hop through most of the hoop you are listing here, does that disqualify me, too, being a woman?

Hugs
Linde
 

NancyBalik

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Yeah, all these Cis women who think they can just be women without having to do anything. None of them had to have their face burned with lasers, or have major surgeries, or go through months of psychotherapy just be able to have the hormone balance they have desperately needed their whole life, or a million other things they never have to deal with. If being a woman required jumping through hoops and doing difficult things, it would be cis women who wouldn't qualify.
I know, I know. This is a big part of why I got triggered — a clear mis understanding of trans people — but, why would she say it? I took it as a shot at me, like she’d been sitting on hostility. If you read the story, it was a totally harmless comment by the Congressman — made me wonder what Facebook page she’s getting her news from (but I didn’t go there) — this was about us. Nancy
 

OzGirl

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Nancy, i’ve come to the conclusion that my ex will never accept me, but she is willing to live wth me. It’s not the desired situation, but it means we can be together. We get on great, but she will continue to use my dead name and pronouns. I guess, for now, that will have to do. You need to find that liveable compromise, and it is ever changing!

Hugs,

Allie
 

Katie

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I have read the context of the A-women comment that the pastor made, but it was incredibly distasteful. I am really surprised that they said it.

The thing with women who complain about "anyone just identifying as a woman gets to be a woman" that bothers me is that they don't understand that most of us who choose to transition do so at a great personal cost that comes in the form of pain, financial cost, relationship cost, loss of employment, and many other types of cost. None of us just dance through this journey like it's a tiptoe through the tulips. After you've gone through so much to then have one of them say you still haven't done enough to qualify as a woman is very hurtful. It would be like if a plumber decided to be a surgeon. They pay their own way through medical school, do their internship, etc., making sacrifices all the way to make it happen. Then they finally finish their residency and everything else, and when they go to find work as a surgeon they are told by prospective employers, "We don't believe you're a real surgeon, because you used to work as a plumber. If you were a real surgeon, you would have started your career from the beginning to be a surgeon. A plumber can't just decide they want to be a surgeon. In our eyes, you're still a plumber. Now get lost, before we call the police to remove you from the premises".
 

Randi

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Nancy, TBH your wife's attitudes towards gender do not sound dissimilar to mine's. In my experience, such views are difficult to change and the person involved has to put in a lot of work to do it. It's hard, and your spouse may not be inclined to make the difficult effort to reexamine her views. But you know, YOU have a right to your life and body, and to live authentically. Your wife has no right to demand that you suppress your identity. I hope you can find an arrangement that works for both of you. Your wants and needs count too.
 

NancyBalik

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your spouse may not be inclined to make the difficult effort to reexamine her views.
She won’t! She refuses to even read anything about the topic, which in and of itself is extremely hurtful to me. I can’t imagine, if she had any sort of problem or “condition,” that I wouldn’t be on the internet learning all I could about it. She doesn’t want to know — this is why this topic remains unspoken between us much of the time. Status update 2 days later: definite chill in the air. She’s been pleasant, has smiled at me, but kept to her self, rebuffed my approaches, and offered no affection or reassurance. Me: I’m scared. Nancy
 

Katie

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Your wife sounds like mine. I have tried many times to share information with her about gender dysphoria, but she will not read anything that doesn't come from a conservative evangelical source. The only other source she will listen to is her friends (who are all conservative evangelicals).

She does the same thing with her cancer. She mentioned to me the other day that she might refuse chemotherapy and go on some diet that her brother claimed will cure her of cancer. This is the same brother who takes terrible care of himself, eats like there's no tomorrow, drinks like a fish, and is showing signs of liver damage. I told her I am glad that I have life insurance on her. I can't stop her from killing herself. All I can do is sit and watch her die slowly of willful ignorance if she won't listen to actual experts who have spent decades doing nothing but treating cancer.
 

NancyBalik

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Katie, Wow! Yes, they do seem similar in those respects. My wife is amazingly mistrustful of science (has even said that she is not sure she will take the vaccine because she has heard something about it coming from embryos -- not sure where she is getting her news -- I told her that the research on DNA had some basis in discarded embryo tissue, but not the actual vaccine, but she insists on doing her own research.) However, as you know, your and my situations are quite different in that you are proceeding with transition and I am not. My wife and I have continued to be good companions (even sexual partners), but right now, these last few days, things are really cold around here (and I don't mean outside). What happened here wasn't a discussion about transition, it was just, as Moni put it, acknowledging that "elephant" that has been there for a long, long time. Still very anxious about how it will play out...will it just go back underground? Stay cold? Led to a new level of acceptance? (PLEASE!) We'll see. Nancy
 

Linde

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She does the same thing with her cancer. She mentioned to me the other day that she might refuse chemotherapy and go on some diet that her brother claimed will cure her of cancer. This is the same brother who takes terrible care of himself, eats like there's no tomorrow, drinks like a fish, and is showing signs of liver damage. I told her I am glad that I have life insurance on her. I can't stop her from killing herself. All I can do is sit and watch her die slowly of willful ignorance if she won't listen to actual experts who have spent decades doing nothing but treating cancer.
Well she better should be prepared for either or several of those:
People who have had colon cancer can get any type of second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:

 

Katie

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My wife is amazingly mistrustful of science (has even said that she is not sure she will take the vaccine because she has heard something about it coming from embryos -- not sure where she is getting her news -- I told her that the research on DNA had some basis in discarded embryo tissue, but not the actual vaccine, but she insists on doing her own research.)
Same here. She tried to get me to promise her I won't take the vaccine when its available to the general public. I won't make that promise. I think a vaccine will be a good thing and I want to get it.
 

NancyBalik

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Katie, Thanks for sharing this. It helps me. Perhaps I could PM you some time to get more input on your perspective (given that you've been "inside" the evangelical church) from you about this particular issue Thanks, Nancy
 

Randi

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She won’t! She refuses to even read anything about the topic, which in and of itself is extremely hurtful to me. I can’t imagine, if she had any sort of problem or “condition,” that I wouldn’t be on the internet learning all I could about it. She doesn’t want to know — this is why this topic remains unspoken between us much of the time. Status update 2 days later: definite chill in the air. She’s been pleasant, has smiled at me, but kept to her self, rebuffed my approaches, and offered no affection or reassurance. Me: I’m scared. Nancy
So sorry Nancy. I have definitely been there. We've been in separate bedrooms for over a year now. Lots of unpleasant discussions and eggshell days, stony silences, harsh language. To be fair, good days too. It is kind of amazing that the wheels continue to stay on despite wobbling. This is a very difficult issue for any spouse, and more so for some. Unfortunately, sounds like yours is in the latter category. If she's more willing to read something from a spouse's perspective, I'd recommend Love Lives Here by Amanda Knox. She has a non-binary child and her spouse came out as a trans woman. It is a lovely, lovely book. (Full disclosure: my wife refuses to read it. :( Guess Whipping Girl is out of the question. :))

F186327B38F2FB310C4F444B39862F6ABD39D770.jpg
 

magic_michelle

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I can’t imagine your situation entirely, I divorced my wife prior to coming out over the way she treated my child but something you said struck s chord.
After a half hour, we'd both cooled down, I asked her to talk, told I knew I got triggered because there is this "elephant in the room'" between us about my own gender issues that we don't talk about. I owned my being out of line in HOW I responed to her, and asked to share my feelings about my gender dysphoria. She listened, said she understood. I cried, told her how much I worried that she did not "love the whole me," said that I wanted her to accept me for all of me. She never said that she did.
I was discussing dating as the new me with a friend and I realised that I have never actually been on a date. Never been kissed, never been held... I mean yes, I have a daughter and a bunch of crazy ex gf’s and an ex wife but they never loved me, they never knew me, that was the lie I put forth to the world and that’s on me but from my perspective someone either loves all of you or none of you, i can’t see love as a part time job.
 

Lexxi

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but they never loved me, they never knew me, that was the lie I put forth to the world and that’s on me but from my perspective someone either loves all of you or none of you, i can’t see love as a part time job.
Michelle I've said pretty much the exact same thing. It's caused me a whole lot of grief over the years. I spent about 15 years drinking more bourbon than probably any 5 people combined in that amount of time. Drinking until I was black out drunk was the norm just about every single Friday and Saturday. It was the only way I could deal with the pain of knowing that not one single person in my entire life ever knew the real me.

I only stopped drinking when my then wife got pregnant with my daughter. I knew I had to stop then because I didn't want to have a child grow up with a drunk for a parent. So I set my quit date, which was about 2 months before she was born, and I quit drinking cold turkey. It wasn't hard because I was giving it up for the love of my child.

But yeah it really bothered me that no one ever knew me. I don't know what the rest of my life will bring, but I do know one thing for sure. Everyone else I ever meet is going to be meeting the real me...and I'm beyond thrilled about that!!
 

NancyBalik

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Update: The chill thawed considerably and I feel one heckuva lot better. Although I still think fully "understanding" is perhaps beyond what I maybe can reasonably expect from someone with her background and way of looking at the world, she did a couple things yesterday that helped me A LOT. First, I asked her to talk again, told her that I was hurting, feeling scared about us and where she was at. She came at sat with me on the couch, laid her head on my shoulder, told me that it has taken her a couple days to process it, but that really, I hadn't said anything that she didn't already know. I said that I'd been feeling so good about our partnership, wanted things to continue, "even though" I have this part of me, this "secret" that she knows, and that it is important to me that I know she loves me "even so." She said she did! SHE SAID SHE DID!

Then we talked a little bit about how our growing up was different, how many adults she had in her life that helped her feel safe and loved -- and that I didn't have that -- and she said that she did understand how I could have come to "like" feminine things and that it must have been "so hard" to have this secret all this time. Wow, wow, wow! I thanked her and we kissed. I told her that "you know nothing has changed between us, nothing will be different than it was a week ago in terms of my behavior. It is just that these things have been said out loud."

That was in the afternoon. At dinner, we decided to have a "date,." We were going to wath a movie. To my good fortune, the internet went out in our neighborhood (I called the cable company). So, we sat at the dining room table and ate and talked. We talked about her growing up -- she shared a lot. I focused on listening and being supportive. Then we played a card game. She beat me. I said, "I guess you earn the prize>" She said, "What is it?" I said, "Your husband makes love with you." She laughed, and said, "That's the reward you would have wanted if you had won -- meet me in the bedroom in five minutes." We both had happy endings!

With the risk that this is TMI, I haven't made love to her "like a man" for at least fifteen years. She prefers this because she had pain on intercourse following menopause. I prefer it because I am able to imagine (but I would NEVER verbalize this to her) I imagine myself making love with her as a woman would. But, the point being -- to me, to be invited into "her" bed was more than symbolic of her accepting of at least a certain degree of my femininity. So, back to the beginning, perhaps as Moni pointed out initially, the elephant needs to be acknowledged once in a while.

I am so grateful for the support I find here on this forum. These last couple days were scary for me. This morning I feel wonderful. I think perhaps the strength of other aspects of our marriage and friendship prevailed. :) Nancy
 
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