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Relationship issues


Allison_Marie

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Hello all, I'm Allison and I'm new here, but already feel very welcomed, and look forward to be able to talk about some issues here that I just can't bring up anywhere else.

 

I really wonder about how all of you do deal with relationship issues, and specifically dealing with men you are dating.  When to tell them, how to explain who you are to them, and how to react if they do not respond well to your being transgender.

 

I have been post-op for 12 years (I'm 34 now), and several years ago I got into a relationship with a guy I really connected with.  He was about my age but he was smart, funny, I enjoyed being around him, and yes we had a great sex life as well.  I didn't tell him about my being transgender because I guess in the back of my mind, I worried it was going to ruin a relationship I was really enjoying.  Then after we dated for just over a year, he proposed to me, and I said yes.  I mean I knew this was the wrong thing to do, without him knowing that fact about me that was important to be truthful to him about, but in my mind, I guess I was in a world where he'd never have to know.  

 

But then when he brought up the subject of us having children, of course he had to know.  So I told him, this was maybe a month or so after we got engaged.  He really freaked out about it.  He didn't understand at all, obviously, and he accused me of deceiving him, of being a "fake" woman, and it almost felt like he was restraining himself from physically assaulting me.  As you can guess the engagement was called off that night and I haven't seen him again.

 

I guess in the back of my mind, once I was full time, and especially post-op, the reality of who I was up until I changed would just go away.  But obviously it doesn't, not completely.  Very, very few people around me know about my history (and I prefer it that way), but a relationship is a very tricky thing for me.  Do you need to tell the men you are in a relationship with early?  If you believe it will never go as far as marriage, do they need to know?  Do all the men you are sexual with need to know?   I guess I felt that only the man that would become my husband needs to know, but if that's true, when do you need to tell him?

 

This has been so frustrating but I'm sure other people on here have had many of the same questions go through their head.  I appreciate any advice that any of you have! ☺️

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  • Forum Moderator

I can't answer in the context of dating men, since I am a lesbian.  But, speaking of relationships in general, I think it is important to tell a partner with whom there is a chance of a serious long-term relationship. 

 

Secrets are hazardous for long-term relationships, especially big ones.  I told my wife as soon as I could after I had figured out that I was trans.  (We had been married 13 years at that point.)  Even so, she was upset that I hadn't told her sooner.  I didn't understand it myself before then, but it didn't matter.  She still thought I should have told her.  That is how toxic a big secret, or the appearance of a big secret is to a relationship.

 

Another reason to tell is to weed out people like your ex-fiance.  It must have hurt to break off the relationship, but better to find out his attitude towards trans women at that point than years later, when both of you would have had more invested in the relationship.

 

If it is just a one-night stand (or one week, or whatever), a casual fling, there is no reason the partner needs to know.  But if either party is thinking of making it permanent, I think it is time to be fully truthful.  As soon as the idea of a long-term relationship comes up, there are about 1000 questions that the two people should be asking each other and volunteering the answers to.  (Literally 1000.  When my wife and I got engaged, we worked through a book of 1000 questions to ask each other.  Being trans wasn't one of them, so I guess it's 1001.)

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Yes it hurt greatly.  But it's so hard to know where the point is where you need to tell.  I guess the relationship just went from casual, to a nice one, to something more serious, to being engaged in such a way that no time felt right.  

 

The only thing I can think of that makes any sense is that I set a number in my mind that if I date someone a certain number of times, they need to know.  So after 10 dates (just picking a number out of the air), he needs to know, no matter where I think the relationship might go next.

 

I guess a part of my mind just wanted to enjoy the relationship as long as I couldn't without ruining it by the risk of him responding the way he did, but in a way I was not being fair to him either.  But if I had told him after 10 dates, I'm sure he would have reacted negatively anyway, and we wouldn't have had the other 10 months or so of our relationship which really were special for what it was.

 

Thanks for giving me things to think about though Kathy.  This has bothered me a lot since we broke up last year and I just wanted to have a clearer idea in my mind of how to deal with this next time.

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My Opinion is honesty from the beginning is the best policy for me.It is going to take someone really special in the male species for them to understand  it unless of course they are also trans 

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I agree with much of what you said Katie, and thanks for the advice everyone, i really appreciate it.

 

I really have thought a great deal about the need to tell at all.  And even though I can probably count the number of people who do know about me in California on one hand, if I am going to marry someone they are going to have to meet my family of course.  And it would be hard to explain why there are no pictures of me in elementary school as a little girl, and of course somebody is probably going to let my old name slip out by accident.  So they have to know.  I guess for me it's a question of not having to tell right away, and not for short-term relationships, but at a certain point it just has to happen because things are obviously going past just a short term.  That's why I thought just picking a certain number of dates as a hard and fast rule is the best way to go.

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If a certain number of dates works for you, then it works. 

 

If it doesn't work (and what works or not may change depending on the relationship), than a sure-fire way to tell that it is time is when someone raises the subject of marriage.  It doesn't have to be "Will you marry me?"  It could be a little softer, like "Do you think we should get married," or something similar.  When the subject comes up, it is time to talk about "Do you want children?"  In that discussion, it would be the right time to say that you can't have kids.  It wouldn't matter if it was a cis woman who had had a hysterectomy or a trans woman, it is time to talk about it. 

 

If the subject comes up in the form of "Will you marry me?", the answer should not automatically be Yes, even if you want to.  It is entirely appropriate to say "Wait a second.  We need to talk about some things."

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I know I was too quick to accept the marriage proposal.  But the proposal was somewhat unexpected, but so sweet, and I was in love, and when a moment like that happens, sometimes you just aren't thinking.  It's just that the idea of being his wife was so appealing to me, my heart said "Yes!" before my brain jumped in with "hold on a second.."

 

It really should have never reached that point, but love can take you to places where you don't think logically.  But even if there's the slightest hint that a relationship might go somewhere that marriage is even a possibility, yes he need to know before that happens.

 

But for a first date, or even second or third, it's just not anything he needs to know.

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