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My Long Road to Coming Out


Aoife

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About a month ago I began to really accept myself as trans. First, while realising seeing my wife as a queen was not enough I started viewing her as a goddess and it struck me, "why can't I see myself like that too?" so I gave it a try. It made everything a lot better! Of course, it couldn't stop there and a week or two later there was no more denying it, I "allowed" myself to be as trans as I need to be (still thinking I might be gender fluid, nonbinary, etc.) and then shortly after I found my middle name and was struck by lightning when I put it all together, "Aoife Mary M..."

 

So there's no going back. However, this is a very bad time to come out. I know some will say there never is a "right" time to come out, but here are my reasons:

 

Almost three years ago, my urges to "crossdress," came back harder than ever. It was am emotionally devastating few days in which I began looking for other CDs online, obsessing, generally wanting nothing to do with being a man ever again, and crying. When I couldn't take it anymore, I mentioned it to my wife. At first it seemed okay, but it got really bad really quickly as she started asking me more questions that I just couldn't answer, but tried to for honesty's sake. My wife made it clear how repulsed she is by the image of her husband en femme, but also showed a lot of devotion in ways like worrying for my safety were I to transition. I was crushed and traumatised and still am. I have let her down a lot and just want to be my best self for her, so it's very hard to not only be rejected but to see someone I know is better than it handle me so poorly in such a vulnerable spot.

 

Either way we "moved past" it as the "pink fog" faded, and she asked me to not hide anything from her, but I can tell by the kind of panicked anxiety shows if the topic even gets implied that I'm better off not mentioning all my little thoughts.

 

Now we are on the verge of finally immigrating to Canada (heavily, heavily delayed due to COVID), and hoping to conceive a second child just as I finally see the undeniable truth that I am a woman and need to live as one. We have already made one amazing kid and she deserves a sibling and the world needs another kid like that, but I know I shouldn't be hiding so much. I would hate to lose my wife over my transitioning, but for all of us to lose our place in Canada because she couldn't continue would be much worse.

 

I am always swinging between powerful optimism and peace in acceptance and patience, and depression that I have to keep waiting to live authentically, so it's a hard time, but I know I can't come out all that soon.

 

I am not looking for a push to come out soon or even advice on how to do so, but I would love to hear some perspective.

 

Hearts and rainbows

Aoife

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we all have priorities and have to figure out what comes first, second, etc. you have many issues facing you with your situation and that makes things very difficult. how important are your wife's feelings? how might your marriage be affected? how might your kid(s) be affected? you mentioned crossdressing which seems to be a different type of 'need' than living as a woman. maybe you could compromise by crossdressing in private to alleviate at least some of your stress and anxiety. i am way way no expert or even have any experience with what you are describing so this is just me looking from the outside and observing. but it sounds like your wife will probably not ever accept you living as a woman or even want to see you dressed as one. and you saying you want more kids seems to indicate that your marriage is most important. prioritize and try to live with those priorities. and focus on what makes you happy in your marriage. too bad you are having to face this. thank you for listening. :)   

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Hi @Aoife. I'm so sorry you're experiencing depression. I feel for you and am sending you lots of love. Just a bit of perspective. The first time you broached the topic of transness with your wife (that was the first time, yes?), it sounds like her emotional reaction quickly escalated, she was trying to wrap her head around it by asking many questions you had (yet) no answers for, and making declarative snap decisions regarding how she would react to her image of you en femme. Note, I say "her image" of you. Her reaction to how she'd imagined you in that moment may not necessarily match her reaction to actually seeing you present more femme. I can see how this event was traumatic for you. I encourage you though to try to not let this set a precedent on how she'll always react to you. It was a lot for her to take in, and if you continue to discuss things with her, those emotions and reactions have a chance to soften over time. If she asked you not to hide, then take her at her word and don't. This doesn't mean that you should come out 100% immediately nor does it mean you should say everything that's on your mind. See if there are some topics you may feel safe bringing up with her - nothing too open ended, say, for starters. For example, if you could identify any small things that could ease your dysphoria, you could discuss those with her. Maybe ask her to talk about her own experience with femininity, or how she experiences masculinity inside or outside herself. I understand you want to protect her, but her emotions and emotional reactions are her responsibility. And I don't mean that to be dismissive of her - on the contrary, consider you may not be giving her the benefit of the doubt regarding her ability to maturely work through her own anxiety when those topics come up. It takes time to adjust to change, and she may surprise you. After all, she is a goddess queen - like you!! I hope you two are able to begin to communicate more and more effectively. Take baby steps. Work through the anxiety together. Be gentle with yourself and with her. But don't shield both of you from the truth. I pray you'll find many little opportunities to open up to her in a way that's safe for both of you. 

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  • Forum Moderator

Hi Aoife,

When we first start coming to grips with being trans, it can be a very emotionally wrought time for us. We want so desperately to be who we feel we are. But the fears of what may happen press down upon us too.

 

I'm glad you've found us. Being alone with this is the worst place to be. Many of us have found it helpful to speak with a gender therapist. You'll have a lot of big questions to have answered in your life right now, and a therapist could help guide you through those questions. Not by telling you what to do, but rather helping you find the right answers for you.

 

Remember, you are not alone.

 

Lots of love,

Timber Wolf🐾

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Thank you. I am always trying to find some kind of in on the topic that is approachable. Unfortunately, those come less often than dysphoria and are usually a bit depressing (i.e. our daughter asking me if I'm beautiful and me giving and honest no.) In my failed coming out, it seemed like she understood this kind of thing doesn't go away, though it's likely the gravity of it hasn't come through.

 

We currently see the same therapist who was very dismissive of my urge to "crossdress," so I have no plans to bring it up with him, but when we move I intend to see someone with some experience in gender issues. This is where it all gets so complicated. Even if we were planning to stay where we are, finding a new therapist with this experience could take longer than this move! I crave having that professional perspective and may do some online, but that would be expensive and suspicious.

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it's silly, but what i hope is that with my subtle guidance she can put it together. maybe a year and a half from now, second happy, healthy child with us, settled somewhere we love in our new country, me maybe even with a job outside of the house. she asks "do you want to transition?" and i give my honest "yes. i know it would make me happy."

 

that's the ideal. it's no dream, it just takes love and devotion. i know we have those things.

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@Aoife , I really relate alot to your story, although my wife isn't as open to my transgender femme as yours seems to be. I've found this forum of loving & caring people to be a safe haven in this oft stormy time of my transition journey. Some suggested seeing a gender therapist which after what seemed forever I am, who thank God is wonderful at her profession. While waiting the need to do something overpowering I followed another suggestion & am working some gender identity workbooks: My New Gender Workbook & You & Your Gender Identity. These have helped me a lot. My wife & I live seperately & a divorce likely, but I still visit often. When I do I dress androgynously as a compromise; it helps ease my dysphoria & she can tolerate it. I don't know why I am created the way I am, but today instead of hating, I accept & embrace me, therein I find some serenity.

 

Hugs!

Delcina

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13 hours ago, Aoife said:

It's no dream, it just takes love and devotion. i know we have those things.

 

Amen to that @Aoife. Hold on to that perspective when things seem dark. Much love. 

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seems like she knows something's up, but her saying that remains completely apocalyptic. it can be a nightmare. i really don't want to have to go back into denial, but my mood has to stay more consistently improved or this could get really bad.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I'm out now. I had an angry little outburst Sunday afternoon and eventually my wife asked if my troubles had to do with "wanting to wear women's clothes," so I had to admit it. Unfortunately, she was still seeing that as unrelated and when I said I was in fact trans it got even worse. There goes everything. It could definitely be worse, but no move to Canada - despite all the time, money, and stress, no more plans for more kids, no marriage eventually.

 

I have some hope things could change. I still look the same and I've thought less about transitioning and even felt more comfortable as a man at times, but I know it's naive to think I can ever go back. It's too late and I know it's not me.

 

We're both devastated. I feel a lot lighter and less angry, but it's heartbreaking. I love my wife so much, but I've been so bad to her she can't even give it a chance. She thinks maybe she would if I hadn't been so awful in other ways. It's related, but it damages her trust. What's saddest and I really wasn't prepared for was her feeling like it confirms she is unattractive to men because it shows only a lesbian could find her attractive. That's ridiculous, but what do I know about men?

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Sorry to hear things have taken this turn for you.

2 hours ago, Aoife said:

I love my wife so much, but I've been so bad to her she can't even give it a chance.

This is painful.  I have similar experience.  

 

 

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it's the worst part. "i've been such a bastard, i just want to be a better person for the people i love," is what led me to acceptance in the first place. just sucks a better woman isn't going to make her happy.

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8 hours ago, Aoife said:

I feel a lot lighter and less angry, but it's heartbreaking. I love my wife so much, but I've been so bad to her she can't even give it a chance. She thinks maybe she would if I hadn't been so awful in other ways. It's related, but it damages her trust. What's saddest and I really wasn't prepared for was her feeling like it confirms she is unattractive to men because it shows only a lesbian could find her attractive. That's ridiculous, but what do I know about men?

 

@Aoife I pray you two will find the best way forward, whether that be together or apart. The feeling of lightness and relief is coupled by the heartbreak. That's how I felt when I came out to my husband as asexual (in comparison, coming out to him as trans enby, although tied up with matters of sexual attraction, has been less cataclysmic). Ultimately, I believe it's for the best that each of us is true to ourselves, because we can't be the best of ourselves for anyone otherwise. Although you say your wife doesn't see it, do you believe any bad behavior of yours toward her was indeed related to the repression you were experiencing? 

 

The "only attractive to lesbians" thing actually struck a chord with me - I used to feel that way. For me, I realize in retrospect, not having understood my enby nature, that I must have been presenting a bit butch in appearance and masculine in personality (for someone who was ostensibly female). It really bothered me, so I actually understand the feeling. I used to pray I'd wake up one day as a lesbian and then everything would make sense. Of course, I'm not implying your wife is also an ace enby person too. I'm just saying I understand the feeling, weird as it sounds. But my point is if she really believes that, then she would probably benefit from some deep introspection, herself. 

 

Continued love and prayers to you, dear. 

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Thank you @Vidanjali, you've provided me with a lot of perspective! My wife and I have had a lot of great conversations today and are both feeling better. While she has been suspicious of my own extreme conclusions, she has also made some about me. She really thinks I don't want more kids or even "traditional" sex. I was delighted to see her reaction to that. She seemed to doubt just how sincere my devotion to her is, how I will always be there for her no matter what. It makes me so happy to be her partner and co-parent with her. It was never just overcompensation or an act. Being a wife and mother is always what I really wanted and with COVID i was free to be just that, even if that was a masculine-appearing one with masculine names.

 

I have told her how all that negative behaviour was reflective of this, as well as how difficult denial is. That's something she has a lot understanding - how I have been dishonest, but in such a deep way that it was never about deceiving her.

 

Her thoughts on being "only attractive to a lesbian" is more reflective of her past before even meeting me than anything else, which is why I had not considered it. She may start questioning more about herself, which I think is great! I've always hoped that she was a lesbian so I could do this. Even before I accepted my truth, I would think - and even say things like, "if she realised she was a lesbian, I would transition immediately," and "I will never be a divorced guy. If I ever get divorced, I would simply become a woman." I can't hope for anything so convenient, but I want her to know that she is the most beautiful and amazing woman in the world if she needs to go and find a man. Because she is. If she's as cishet as she thinks, that's just how it is, but I will love her forever.

 

Hearts and rainbows.

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I sometimes wonder if any of my problematic behavior was related to my transphobic self-repression.

I'm glad you are able to talk about these things.

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Things are looking a lot better now. We both know that we are going to have an amazing life no matter how "together" it is. I feel like I have my best friend back. We lost touch of that somewhere, probably when I got struck with the first big crack that led to me coming out as a man with "the urge to crossdress." There was love and good times, but it feels so much lighter and happier now. There will be more dark times, more fear, more sadness, and maybe even anger, but it feels better than ever. When I first started accepting that I really am trans, I thought of love and how much I've always wanted to be a creature of love. Love is here and stronger than ever.

 

There are things that may never happen again - namely her understanding of my sexual attraction and desire with her, but whatever is lost is worth less than what has been reinforced now. I have lots of hopes that may leave me disappointed, but what matters most is back.

 

As I struggled to come out, my worst fear was that I would find out we are not really best friends. My heart breaks for those who have found out their spouse is not that, and am so grateful that against all else, we love each other that much.

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  • Forum Moderator

  I am happy to read that you and your wife are getting through your gender issues while remaining friends at the least.  I found that honesty with my wife became critical.  I simply couldn't hide or lie anymore.  At the same time i had to think of her feelings and move slowly.  I knew i wanted to simply jump into being myself.  it was all i could think of at the time.  instead i had to remember to live with her enjoying the things we had always enjoyed and backing up a bit on my excitement at expressing myself.  in time we have worked out a comfortable loving path.  !0 years of being me has made the whole issues more or less a non issue.

  

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Thank you @Charlize! We're almost in the opposite position. My rush to transition has faded, or at least did at first, and I am trying to encourage her to appreciate each day. I feel like I am living moment by moment for the first time in my life and I love it! I will probalby look the same for a long time and she's afraid to get comfortable with that, but I think she eventually will see that our affection won't change, even if her attraction to me does, which I have accepted.

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@Aoife it makes me happy to read your heartwarming updates. If you desire to be a creature of love, then you will inevitably realize yourself as that. Isn't it fascinating to realize that many of our blocks to open communication and acceptance are fears about what we think the other believes? With commitment, persistence and courage, love will prevail. Indeed, stay present each moment as you can, and cultivate the habit of communicating the things you've shared here with your wife - having greater insight into her fears, you can now be a more supportive partner to her, and this will deepen the emotional intimacy between you two more and more. ❤️

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Thank you @Vidanjali! That is all I want. I poured my whole life into the family I made and sacrificed myself - even before I met them. I'm so happy to support them now while also acknowledging that I too am a person who deserves self-love and care. I may not look right, or even like I'm trying to, but being able to be authentic and open has been so empowering. I told her a lot about this today as we thought about our future including the possibility of her adopting kids and me being their aunt and how even if she sent me away I would devote my life to giving love. It's all I ever wanted, but the anger around "that thing" in the way had prevented it all these years.

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/27/2021 at 7:01 PM, Jandi said:

I sometimes wonder if any of my problematic behavior was related to my transphobic self-repression.

@Jandi I can totally relate to this! Fear caused me to be trapped in a state of denial and self-repression for far too long really. It's kind of crazy to think back to how transphobic I used to be. It was definitely a defense mechanism while I was in my denial stage. I think a lot of transphobes are probably just people that are too afraid to admit they're actually trans lol. Why else would they be so invested in trans issues? :P It has been really nice to make some real progress in overcoming my fears and learning to accept myself. 

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