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April 9, 2014: The Spouse Predicament

April 9, 2014

Mara and I spoke with a transwoman friend on the phone last night. She was going through a hard time, because she is in her 60s and recently told her wife about her transgender issues. The sad news is that her wife does not support her. The good news is that our friend and her wife are going to see a therapist together.

 

It must be very difficult for a wife who hasn’t known about her husband’s transgender issues to suddenly be made aware of them after many years of marriage. Although I’ve met other transwives who don’t blame their spouses for withholding the information because they are often confused, in denial and/or fearful, among other things, those wives are the exception. Most transwives are in resentment that their spouses never told them. They feel deceived. Many wouldn’t have married their spouses had they known from the get-go.

 

In my case, I feel that knowing about Mara before we started dating actually bolstered our relationship, because she was in integrity about who she was. This is not to say that transwomen who keep their gender identities from their girlfriends and wives are bad. Their choice — for whatever reason — is just not working in their relationship. Mara stayed single until she was in her mid-30s partly because she wasn’t ready to let women she was dating know she was trans until then, and she didn’t want to commit to someone without them knowing beforehand.

 

My hope is that our friend and her wife can resolve this issue in a way that would be a win-win for them. My fear is that, as with many couples in their predicament, the emotional pain that they’re both going through will get worse before it gets better. But if they keep open minds, things eventually will get better.

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