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Coming Out Encouragement


Aoife

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As someone who just came out to my wife, I really wanted to offer some encouragement to other people going through what I was before Sunday night. The stakes were very high for me because although I have lots of friends all over the world (but less where I live), she really is all I have. I fully estranged myself form my family of origin over a year ago and apart from my father (who I estranged myself from long before) and some younger cousins, none of them are worthy of even knowing I am a woman. My wife and our little girl is all I have.

 

With that, I had prepared myself to be left, for there to be endless negative emotions, and worse. My biggest fear was to find out that she wasn't my best friend. I knew she would never take my daughter away from me, so that was the worst case scenario. Things have not been what I hoped for, at least not yet, but they are much better than what I thought possible. If you are struggling with coming out to your partner, don't wait - but more importantly, don't forget to fortify that friendship. So many things far worse than letting yourself start living authentically can harm your marriage and you need to make sure that friendship is there in case of any of that too!

 

What I really want you all to know is how things can shift. Of course, if the worst happens and you find out that your partner isn't your best friend, and doesn't love you all I can say is you're better off without them. If you're as lucky as I was, here's what you can look forward to: You can see that your friendship with your partner is worth more than anything you may lose. We both have hope it will happen, but she has also expressed the possibility that there will be no more sex/actual baby-making in our future. That's disappointing, but the joy of feeling like her best friend has been worth so much more. 

 

The scarier times before that, I saw all that strength I put into hiding what I was going through shift from "keeping it inside" to "keeping it together." Once you release that, you will not believe your own strength. It's as affirming as it comes. You have probably been doubting yourself. You will see, there is no reason to doubt yourself. You have been so strong. Someday your loved ones will understand how hard it has been for you, you will start by using that strength you used to fight against yourself to be there for them when they are scared, sad, and heartbroken by the changes you NEED to make.

 

You will be on an emotional rollercoaster, but it will also be an emotional transformation. I can't speak for transmasculine people, but for me I found anger turn to sadness and shame turn to embarrassment, which are both better when you think about it. Most of all, unease and complacency turned to joy and ecstasy. 

 

This is hard, but you can do it, and the sooner the better. You already have what it takes, or you wouldn't be thinking about it.

 

Hearts and rainbows,

Aoife

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Congrats on starting the new chapter with your wife and daughter! I agree with your sentiments. Also, the longer you hide something from significant people in your life, the percentage chance of keeping it all together go down. I understood that when I finally accepted who I was, I couldn't keep that from my wife for long. Don't be surprised if however, things get more challenging for you two.  Talk to each other, opening up about the loss and well as the joy of living your true self.  She might be really supportive right now but then go through the stages of grief like denial, anger, bargaining etc.  GET a couples counselor to help you all navigate the change now instead of waiting for some crisis to develop.

Good luck!  

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  • Forum Moderator

   For so many of us who transition after having established a relationship there is always fear of everything blowing up.  I know that if i had told my wife 50+ years ago that i was going to transition we would never have developed the loving relationship that has helped both of us through life's difficulties.  When i came to to her after 40 years of marriage i wasn't sure how things would go!  Fortunately we are closer than ever mostly because i'm happier now that my "worst" secret is gone.  What was once a source of shame, fear and isolation is gone.

   Thank you for sharing Aofie.  Hopefully you may help others to find a path.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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It's so true, once you are honest with yourself it's a secret that can't and probably shouldn't be kept if we want our relationships to continue and grow.

So happy to hear you are going forward. And as has been said before communication and understanding (from both sides) is super important.

 

Hugs

Robin

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Right when I was typing this out things actually took another turn for the worse and then have recovered since. It's not going to be easy, but I am so glad the denial is over. She still has trouble accepting it, but from where I am standing, it doesn't look like that affects our chances of staying together as we have been. It's just kind of funny. No, I don't live up to her assumptions of feminine behaviour, and probably never well, even as I start acting more like my real self. However, the thought of transitioning into who I really am fills me with so much joy I literally get high.

 

Another thing I thought of this morning is that if you've been holding this in from your loved ones you have been hurting them. You can either continue to hurt yourself and them, or you can come out, hurt them one last time, and then be better. If they can't appreciate that, they should have never been in your life in the first place.

 

I didn't want to hurt my girls anymore. That's why I finally allowed myself to change how I thought of myself. It worked, but holding it in also got ugly. No more. It may take her a while to see that Aoife is a better, more loving person than Chris could ever be, but there's no doubt she will someday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, congratulations. A big step. I came out to people in my life in stages...I grouped them in categories of expected reaction and started with the receptive ones first! Even when people struggled with my true identity, I was glad I told them. I'm happy to help give people info, educate, raise awareness, even give them space. But no one has the right to ask me to hide who I am because it makes them uncomfortable. Good for you and I'm glad it wasn't the worst case scenario.

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  • Forum Moderator

@Aoife I've been there and totally understand. Congrats and thank you for your bravery and we'll words and honest post.

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Thank you! Things are often looking better and better, even though it's heartbreaking to see the romance of my lifetime end, all of us will have much brighter futures this way than if I had been repressing myself, feeling further and further from my authentic self.

 

I am still only out to three irl people as starting transition is still far off and my family's comfort is a priority, but I am very excited to be me. The anger is not back and every heap of sadness from all the good I've lost is so much less than losing all the negativity too.

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