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Partner coming out

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My partner of 13 years is questioning their gender. This has come as a shock to me given we have been together for so long (I haven't seen any signs or hints towards this; it's been hidden well). They didn't speak to me about this, but rather confided to friends they met online from different countries - I stumbled across the chat logs. I have "confronted" them and it's out in the open now. I use the word confronted as at the time I was in a great deal of shock. It came completely out of the blue for me. 


To me, they are still the same person I fell in love with. I didn't marry a gender. But going forward I am not sure what it means for either of us. They are very confused at the moment as it being out in the open with me has come a bit sooner than planned and they are not entirely sure how they feel about themselves at the moment. 


I am hoping there might be others who have been in the same situation that can offer some insight? I understand all relationships are different but I guess I'm looking for reassuramce that we can get through this. We also have young children.

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Last night I was with a large group of my Trans "chosen family" and in the group are three couples where one partner is Out Trans and the other a Cis person.  One of the three couples also has a child who is Trans as well.  They have good, loving, relationships and are obviously partners in life with each other.  Yes, there will be changes in the relationship, and you will both have a period of time where you are grieving the loss of the first expected relationship and will be exploring a changed relationship.  You will still be the same basic people to each other, but now your partner will actually be showing the underlying person who was behind a defensive wall.


Trans people do try almost too hard to be the person that people have expected them to be, and have done an award worthy run of acting for most of their lives, but all acting reaches an end.  For now, simply being there for your partner, and maybe not even talking about it, other than as they feel like it is best.  Long on hugs, short on words!  BOTH of you should look for counseling by a therapist who is familiar with Gender issues, both as a couple and separately.  BIG issue is to let the past be the past, and see if you can give up some things from it and welcome the new and exciting things you never imagined.  The relationships that fail are the ones where one partner insists on keeping the past on a variety of excuses which generally indicate that the relationship was on far less than perfect ground.

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You can most definitely get through this together! I personally know 3 couples that have survived transition and are living their lives as fully as ever. I know many more in the midst of transition who are doing their best to stay a unit as well. And even more online from forums and other social media just like this one! 


I can’t comment on how others are staying together, but for my partner and I, it’s pretty simple. Open dialogue. Plain and simple. It is so important to be open and honest with each other. 99% of the issues can be overcome by talking about what’s going on, the next steps to come, and what is expected from each of you. Do we still have problems? Yes most definitely. Are there issues we haven’t figured out? Absolutely but we are always trying to figure out how to work through these things. 


But the honest truth is that there can be insurmountable obstacles such as gcs and sexuality that you should be aware of as well. Everyone is different and things can just not work. But the connection and the love that’s there to begin with, doesnt have to end. 


Things change. People adapt. The biggest and best thing you can do is support your partner and be their for them when they need you. Stay open to new situations. And be honest about everything! And they need to return that favor to you as well because this is not just a 1 person transition. It’s a transition for everyone. 


I hope things work work out well for you! There’s a lot of help and support on this forum as well. 

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Thank you for the replies. It's reassuring others have been in this position and have come through the other side with their relationship in tact. 


I guess one of my fears right now is if/when my partner transistions, what if I am no longer sexually attracted to them. I can definitely appreciate the female body, and will briefly "check out" a good looking/hot/attractive female, but I have never considered myself a lesbian. I feel selfish for even thinking like this as my partner is going through so much coming to terms with their own gender and identity and I'm making it about me. 

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7 hours ago, Cat28 said:

but I have never considered myself a lesbian.


Most of the Cis spouses I know share your orientation there and what happens is that your ideas of physical intimacy morph from binary to simply enjoying the new and probably improved emotional closeness and letting it lead to physical contact between the two of you that may not be quite the old brand of "sex" but is pleasant for the two of you.  You can be straight and still enjoy full bodily intimacy.   When my friends are INAPPROPRIATELY questioned about their sex life, they just tell the really pesky intruder that they are still straight but have a partner too good to not keep, and for the other person to just mind their own dirty mind.


Being Trans is NOT about your sexual attraction and I am sure your partner is worried about this as well, deeply and lovingly worried ABOUT YOU!  It is fine for you to make YOU about YOU and is helpful in the long run.  I think I may have recommended gender counseling for BOTH of you and this is one of the issues for you to deal with.  It takes two emotionally healthy people to make a relationship that works.

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7 hours ago, Cat28 said:

Thank you for the replies. It's reassuring others have been in this position and have come through the other side with their relationship in tact. 


I guess one of my fears right now is if/when my partner transitions, what if I am no longer sexually attracted to them. I can definitely appreciate the female body, and will briefly "check out" a good looking/hot/attractive female, but I have never considered myself a lesbian. I feel selfish for even thinking like this as my partner is going through so much coming to terms with their own gender and identity and I'm making it about me. 

This can happen, Cat. My wife and I are working through this now. We don't have kids and so that makes things simpler. We will probably end up splitting up; however, we still love and care for each other a ton and for us it's just a question of understanding what each of us is comfortable with and what are boundaries are.

We will continue to support each other and be best friends, but for us the relationship has changed in a meaningful way particularly for my wife. My advice is to keep your lines of communication open, for both of you to get as much support as you need and to be as honest as you can about what/how you're feeling and what you want/need. 

I know a number of couples whose relationships have survived and thrived through transition, so it IS possible. Ultimately, you'll still both be the same people you always have been, but with some new facets to understand and come to terms with. 

Please keep us posted on how things are going and don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for everyone!

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I've been reading a lot of the posts in this forum, not just in this section for partners but posts about transition and coming out, etc. I'm feeling very overwhelmed to the point I feel like I want to cry but I don't have the tears or energy. I feel tight in my chest and it just plain hurts! 


Things with my partner are really good at the moment. Prior to this news coming out we hadn't given ourselves and our relationship much time. We'd been busy with the mundane day-to-day activities of life with 4 young children. This has forced us to really concentrate on US. We are extremely close at the moment and showing each other a lot of love and affection. Things are good. Better than good. And it scares me greatly to think we could lose this. 


They say knowledge is power, so I want to learn as much as I can, but at the same time it's bringing on the overwhelming feelings. 

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Try to remeber that everyone’s transition story is different and unique to them and them alone. There are a lot of stories of transition here and some are very positive. Some are not. You make what you want of your story. You and your partner have all the control. If you work together it’ll work out well. What well means is in your hands. But it will be ok. 

And honestly, a lot of this process is really exciting and fun! I’ve had so many new exciting experiences as has my wife. She even runs a meetup group now for local trans spouses! And she loves giving back to the community! Even my older son has grown so much! And our family is so much more together than it ever has been. 

Dont get overwhelmed. Nothing you read here will necessarily happen to you. You decide your future. So just relax and support your family. It’ll be ok. 

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      Prescript: I just have to type something. Another sleepless night filled with anxiety. I've been so happy to find this site. I wanted to make some coherent, Earth shattering debut... But I'm a mess. You're here. You're what I have. Thank you, and away we go.   Where to start? Too late for that. How to catch up? Maybe. Anyways, here's my thing... I know my gender identity is becoming a bigger issue in my life, every day. I'm trying to find a way to bring understanding and support in to my life. Long short of it, ideally I'm looking for a facility in Canada that can help me out. I'm not sure what kind of resources are available that can help me find my inner voice and conquer the addictions/ psychological aspects. All advice is appreciated. I know it's going to be a long-term journey. I'm ready for the work. Just, how do I start? What piece of the crap pile do I start working on first?  I feel like "I just want to be normal", but it sometimes feels easier riding the wreck currently in progress. However, I want to be a real person again. Whatever that is. I want to have friends and do things. I want to not be in the outside watching the happy people go by. "I want to go home" so to speak. Even though, I've never really had a home or place I felt safe in. But it's a nice thought. One day.   You see I wasn't raised with any freedom to be different. On the contrary there has been a lot of work done on me to suppress and deny my identity for the ease of those around me. Not to dwell on the trauma, but for an idea of what I was put though, things like kneeling on rocks in a hidden room under the stairs with no lights to learn that "ADD is just in my head", or "Youth Groups" at church that focused on "shaming the gay" out of us were common in my life.  Honestly, I ate it up. Mostly because of the biggest catalyst to this cause, my mother and her favorite saying, "You'll never understand a mother's love. I could love you through anything... AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT GAY." Well poop. I didn't want to lose my mother's love, so from an early age I became a master of macho and over compensation. Me gay? No. NO. I LIKE BOOBS. Ya, and trucks and guns, etc. You know the jig. Copy, paste, repeat, here I am on the edge of tomorrow and the mask doesn't fit anymore.  It's just so bloody hard to stop the knee jerk reaction of "being the man" and putting the mask back on. I've buried over my feminine instincts, beaten them down, beaten myself down and when that wasn't good enough, I've given the world at large a pliable floor mat to trod on. It's driving me bonkers. I'm sorry but I've carried a lot of pain and frustration making straight people feel comfortable. What about my comfort? When will, "You're so gay!" not sound like, "I found one, get him!" Will I ever stop feeling like God hates me because I was to weak to stay straight? If this is going to disqualify me from Heaven then why should I care about any law or rule? By my nature, beyond my control, if I'm so repulsive to everyone else, what am I supposed to do all alone? It's nice to wax poetic and romanticize about living cottage life single, but every day, for the rest of my life??? Where can I go that a six foot five, two hundred and thirty pound chunk of mountain man can go around wearing a nice sundress and do a little spin because in his heart he's just a little girl? I have no one to "just be me with". Or even find out who that is.  The last thing my mom said to me was, "Well if you're gonna be gay then just go find a man and love him." The common theme in all our confrontations is "go". No matter what the fight has been over the years, "go" has been the underlying message. I never heard it until recently. I never heard the silent, "and don't come back." Once was all it took. Now, it all makes sense. It broke my heart and stole the wind from my sails. At least "faking it for Mom" gave me a cause. Now, what can I make of what's survived. I wish it were that easy. Sounds simple, "Just go find a man and love him." LoL I wish she knew there is more than "Straight and Gay". I mean, like, what do I do on the days that I feel like a woman who likes women that have man parts too?  I'm assuming you can relate to the rabbit holes of thought that can arise here. Bottom line, I don't have to fake it for Mom anymore. She just plain don't want me in her life if I'm going to be me. I don't care what she thinks anymore, or anyone else for that matter. Or, maybe I still care but I'm ready to carry the pain and go forward. Regardless, as soon as I meet any one new, I'm well down the road of lies and cover stories, trying to present the "just a normal guy" routine before I even notice.  Sometimes it's not from lack of desire to be myself. Often it's just because it is so much work "being a normal queer". At home, I don't have to explain me to me. If I'm girly, I'm girly, if I'm macho, I'm macho. It's all a part of me.  So saying something like, "I'm gay" or "I'm transgender" feels as weird as saying I'm straight or binary. I'm just Claire (the name I chose for the "Her" in me.) If anyone took the time to get to know Claire or Claybourne (my given boy name) they'd know that my sexual identity is only a piece of me. Like how I'm a hiker, or a cook or like to knit. I don't run around saying, "I'm a hiker." I say, Hi, I'm Claybourne. If the conversation goes near the outdoors I might pop in, "I like hiking, I'm a hiker." Whether the other person likes hiking or not isn't a deal breaker to the conversation. Yet it seems like until someone knows your gender and sexual preference they reserve the right to consider your presence in their life. Why is the label such a thing? Why do people with static gender identities not understand how incredibly biased the world is for their benefit. Like, do straight people have to explain, "Well, I have a penis and only like sex in a vagina?" No. Why do I have to have a "briefing session" with everyone to explain concepts that aren't really that complex? Really, it's no one's business. But then, "Oh did you hear Claybourne came out?"  I think the whole coming out thing is a slap in the face to gender diversity. The fact that I had to declare to people, that the boy who was scared to go in to men's bathrooms, who watched more fashion television than a Trekkie binge watching Deep Space Nine on Netflix, who tucked his penis and sat to pee, who was an entirely flamboyant individual HAS GENDER IDENTITY ISSUES. Like, these people obviously knew. They saw in me things they did not like, they literally forced me to be different than my nature and now they want me to walk back in to their lives with a giant sign out for their convenience.  Argh, okay, by now if you're still reading you can see the layers and layers of stuff I have to go through. This whole new movement of freedom for people like me has me feeling I might have a chance. I see queer kids younger than me that have family and friends. I'm jealous. I was taught that we were going to burn in hell and that the mission was to exterminate the deviation known as queer. Here I am, hiding in the middle of no where, trying to limit the offence of my presence on my local world while I see so many queer people with so much in their life. I see queer people on TV crying about how hard their transition is, yet they're holding their mothers hand and their friends are saying spring things.  Did any of them have to serve their captors supper after climbing out of their shame boxes? Why did people I love do this to me? Why did they teach me I'm bad? So I'm done hiding. I came out.  Now it's just me.  Normally I have a never failing positive attitude. Since learning that my mom would rather I just stay gone, my bottom fell out. I always thought there was a reason for me hiding for her. I thought that if I made it easy on her at some point she'd get me back. Like, I could come home and have a family again.  It's not going to happen like that. She chose her man. She loves him. He hates queers. So ya.  I'm not sure what I'm really trying to say here.  Mostly it's another lonely sleepless night here in the middle of nowhere. I know things need to change because I think I'm just waiting to die now. Not that I'm suicidal. I just can't start the circle of faking it again and I have no resources to make a new start. I wanted to be a singer and a dancer. Or a fashion designer or a chef. I ended up doing hard labor jobs like working on oil rigs, digging trenches and making cellphone towers. I've lived on the streets or conditions that would be classified as homeless often. My body is beaten and my Soul is low. I used so much of my being trying to make a man my mother could accept. Between time left and body capabilities, what could I really do? Reading back I see the biggest thing I need are people and a place that I can feel safe as a gender confused person. Living in the middle of an oil patch, in the heart of Redneck Alberta, Canada is not a queer friendly place. The local counselors look at me like I'm the jackpot of cases. That say things like, "you'll be my first transgender client. I've been doing lots of reading and hope I can help." It's like some kind of badge on their resume. Five minutes in to a session I'm consulting them in the small but mysterious bits of queer culture I do have. Like, really? Is there any where I can go that has a history of working with gender issues? Yes, I have addictions issues too. I just feel I've fought the symptom long enough. I need to address the core.  Any help? Please. By the way, this was supposed to be an introduction post, so "Hi. I'm Claire" and Claybourne. I guess. This is my start.  See you soon. 😘
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