changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Two years on. January 4, 2012

Filed under: home stuff,trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 11:27 am
Tags: , , , ,

Two years since Jane told me she has ‘gender issues’. Actually the anniversary was about a week ago… its not the sort of anniversary that I’ll ever remember the exact date of… it’s just the awful thing that happened in that crazy time between Christmas and New year two years ago.

I havn’t felt like writing about it before now becuase…. well… I needed to work out how I felt.

Two years from the man I loved to the woman I live with.

Do I still love her…. yes.

How much of that love is because she used to be the man I loved?

Nearly all of it.

Could that have been different?


There was a couple on morning telly a couple of months ago… a couple like us in many ways… staying together (although in their case the gender issues were known about i think from the start of their relationship and transition held back for the sake of children etc) but watching their body language… it was the transwoman taking care of her partner still. Aware what she’d put her partner through… comforting…. maybe even grateful.

With Jane… its hard to believe that once upon a time she was on the verge of getting therepy becuase she didn’t dare tell me in case I ran away.

But she doesn’t seem to realise the strain I’m still under…

Having a partner who transitions is like having a partner who dies… the process the partner goes through is very very similar (if not the same) as a grieving process. I can imagine if you split up and never see each other again its virtually identical.

Imagine having a partner who you are grieving except almost every day they appear….or you hear their voice…a cough… see a movement that is theirs.

It makes it very difficult to move on.

Imagine too that at the same time you are trying to support a new partner (who moved in immediately your old partner moved out) who is undergoing a huge life change and needs masses of support… needs to feel you accept and love them.. knowing you could be the only constant thing in their life.

Add to that that this means you yourself are undergoing the hugest of life changes and don’t have a partner to talk to about it.

I’m not sure if the above is overly complex…or over simplified.

I just know this has been the worst two years of my life and another anniversary hasn’t changed anything.

In some ways I wish Jane had told us and then just fucked off and done it all…. then come back as she is now and maybe met me as a ‘stranger’… maybe then there would be enough of the person I loved to love her again (without her having put me through the last two years).

I wish she could have slowed things down (I totally know why she felt she couldn’t) but I wish she had. Two feels like I’ve been avalanched into a new partner, a new life.

We’ve been together nearly nine years…. not long enough for Jane to commit to marriage… such a big life changing step after all.

But two years has been long enough to totally change the person I’d be getting married to…sorry…civilly partnerd to.

I’ve been googling around the grieving process… but nothing i can find covers my bases.

Grieving for a partner, child, parent, dog….. they all say the process just takes as long as it takes.

None of them say how much longer it will take when your partner hasn’t actually died…. just gone away for ever and you’ll never ever see them again.

Jane and I get on…. the household ticks along…. but I have a hollowness… and I still miss John.

I’ve tried so hard… I’m still trying so hard.

This isn’t about not accepting her transition… Ive supported her everystep of the way with that and there isn’t a single bit of me that thinks of her still as John.

But at the same time she’s my only reference point for my loss of him.

I don’t think she ‘gets’ it at all…. after all…I loved the man she couldn’t bear to live with.

I’ve coped by saying time after time that John and Jane are the same person…I’ve said that so many times it has to be true. And it is…. but it’s not.

Two years on and I’m tired and confused and lost.


24 Responses to “Two years on.”

  1. Lucy Melford Says:

    This is much as my former partner Mae felt, after I came out to her in late summer 2008 – and especially once she began to believe it was all true, and that inevitable things would happen.

    She endured over two years of absolute agony. She never accepted that I was really trans, not full-on trans needing surgery and a fresh way of life, and particularly she did not believe that I could be a woman. She undermined me, not from any malice, but because she wanted to save me from selfish self-destruction, and save our relationship, and with it the happy settled future she’d come to expect. In their way, all good and reasonable motives. It was love fighting desperately against what she saw as an ill-conceived and impossible vision on my side, as if mercenary medical men had brainwashed me into a peverse kind of self-view. But all to no avail. Like you, she has had to accept an outcome that up to the last possible moment she hope could be averted. The disappointment must have been unbearable.

    Like you, she searched the internet but could not find anything to comfort her or making acceptance easier. She simply wanted her man back. But the old me can never now be.

    There’s no mending this.


    • eclectic chicken Says:

      slightly diferent Lucy in that I never even from day one opposed or didn’t accept Janes transition….only ever supported and helped her gain what she needed to make her happy.
      As I said… I understand why she went so fast….I just wish she hadnt as I suspect that’s one of the main reasons I struggle so much now. Slowing it down even one iota would have givien us her family some sign that she cared how we felt. Its very hard to believe some transwomen can wait 20 years becuase of family circumstances whereas Jane had me in Doctor Curtis’s offices almost within days of telling me. When I look back at those days I was still in deep shock. (when i look at the filming we did last year…I still was)
      Its the conflict between being happy for Jane (for the person she has become) and sadness at my loss that confuses me so much.
      I don’t want him back (that would be amazingly selfish -not to mention being totally unrealistic at this point)….I just miss him. I can’t think of any other life situation which is such an entangled conflict of opposite emotions.

  2. Rebecca Pink Says:

    Don’t wish to be rude but are you ever going to find happiness with they way things are ?

  3. I’m 30 years post op with a great deal of experience in this field. I can tell you this, if a partner of mine declared they were transitioning male to female either them or me would be out the door so fast; even before anyone was able to blink. Not only could I not deal with it I would not even try. A man who does this to a woman after establishing a relatiuonship is the lowest form of life I could think of. That’s my opinion. Sweetie if you think you’ve gone through hell the last two years let me tell you it is not going to get any easier it will in fact get worse much worse. Are you ready to be “lesbian”? That my dear is the very least of your future problems.


    • eclectic chicken Says:

      yeah…i used to think i was that shallow and selfish too. Thank fuck I’m not. Whatever has happended with Jane and I… whatever does happen I’m really glad i stayed to support her and that I gave an established relationship the time and effort it deserved.
      If you are 30 years post op I’m presuming you had the benefit of transitioning fairly young… not everyone knows so young, some people repress these things for a myriad of reasons… but then with your experience in the field you’ll know all this just choose to ignore the reality.

      As for being a lesbian ‘sweetie’…. I’ve been bisexual as long as you’ve had a vagina to call your own. Neither gender or sexual variance scare me or freak me out…. I’m just struggling with a major life change.

      • Look, I didn’t comment to be vituprative. I am neither shallow nor selfish. I am however aware of what I can deal with on a personal level and what I can’t and knowing what i do about transitions I know I could not deal with it.

        I do believe that getting involved with a partner on the basis of a hetersexual relationship in full knowledge that the basis of that relationship may change is a despiccable thing too do. It would seem that is not the situation in your case. In any event what two strangers do is entirely their own affair and certainly none of my business.

        As it happens I did know at a very early age that I am female despite “anatomical anomalies” I did not experience much of a male puberty but that aside transsexuals know before they are ten years old. Repression happens as a result of either parental or peer (or social) pressure to conform to anatomy. Under those circumstances I believe it encumbent upon the transsexual to warn a potential partner that the possibility exists. If the man is transvestite then integrity demands a potential wife or partner is warned.If they are not then whatever happens when all is revealed, the relationship must then begin again and neither has a right to expect anything of the other.

        To close: I wish you both well I sincerely do, I merely wished to point out and warn that, how ever hard you both think it is now, however difficult your struggle is now I wish only to share with you that in my experience it will get worse before it gets any better, Knowing that, I know I could not deal with it. In the many cases I have seen it is the female from birth in the relationship that has the tougher time in almost every case.


  4. Jenny Alto Says:

    This has been a difficult read for me. Just over two years ago was when I stopped sleeping and finally had to admit to myself and my wife after a lifetime dodging it that I was more than a transvestite.

    I fought to hang in there, Jane couldn’t take that path and transitioned. It’s kinda like looking in a mirror, what might have happened.

    So how has the last two years affected my wife? Pretty badly I’m afraid. She’s on hefty antidepressants, she’s watched her bloke change in front of her, albeit not on the surface.

    Yes, I’m still a bloke to look at, but we’re neither of us happy. She now thinks I should transition anyway, but I ain’t ready to give up on her yet. That I think would give her more pain, much as you have outlined above.

    Staying was her choice. I’m certainly not going to abandon her but I told her I’d understand completely if she left me. Maybe the ones who run for the door are the lucky ones, they get it out of the way early on in a short burst of pain.

    So what am I trying to say? I’m sorry to read how tough it’s been for you. But having seen how tough it can be on the wife of someone who doesn’t transition I’m not so sure the alternative isn’t worse.

    • eclectic chicken Says:

      I guess in your case you are both in pain.
      In ours mostly me (I’d say all me… but Jane could have poked herself in the eye with a hairbrush or something).
      You are both fighting to see who can make the other happy. She by ‘letting’ you transition and you by holding off to keep her happy (which she’s not).

      I really think once you know you need to transition its inevitable that you will.
      Now or then…. but you will.

      We all have to find our own paths and although on the surface mine and thine relationships mirror each other its far more complex than that all round.

      Maybe in mine and janes case its lucky one of us is selfish…at least it got it over (theres a positive spin for you) 🙂

      And when alls said and done… however much i’ve struggled…. hurt….whatever happens I don’t wish jane hadn’t done it… she had to…needed too.

      I just wish she’d given me some time to get my head round it…. you’ve done that to the point where your wonderful wife is setting the pace for you.

      Whatever happens all the very best – to you both.

  5. kerri Says:

    Kubler-Ross grief cycle, you probably know about it andrea , although it is directed to people with terminal illness, I used this model in my nursing career, it can be relevant and used to explain what you are going through, its been revised to what I first studied, but it may help you….ps I carnt hug you cause I am too far away , (…. but having a cry for you as i type this….hang in there honey you will work out what you need to do and whats best for your son and you, your a smart woman…) xox

  6. […] was upset, reading how unhappy my own “good fortune” made her: makes her, still. Sad, […]

  7. Pam Says:

    It’s so good to hear from you again, 2 years down the line. Thankyou for updating us on ‘WOBS’ of your story to date.

    I personally think anyone transgender should not hide behind it and should come out from the moment they are aware and share who they are. Even it is such a shock, honesty has got to be the best way. Especially so before a marriage, as at least then the other person knows the truth about that person before the knot is tied, which then gives them the choice to call it all off if they wish.

    My husband is a straight cross-dresser and the worst part of it all was when I found out after over 30 years of marriage. Simply not being told all those years just devasted me as I thought i knew my husband inside out. I asked him why he hadn’t ever told me and he said because he thought i would have left him if i knew.

    If only he had realised that it was me finding out and knowing he had kept that from me for all those years that has turned our lives upside down these last 4 years.

  8. Liz Kemp Says:

    Andrea, I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much about feeling what you’re feeling. After having immersed myself in “partners of transitioners” ventings, both public and private, for several years, all I’ve learnt is that everyone – everyone – is differently affected. I have one friend who had five years to process the news before transition even started, another five years before SRS, who was 100% supportive from day one, and yet couldn’t stay in the relationship beyond that point for various reasons. So extra time doesn’t always mean an easier path. Yes, an established or newly-awakened bi/poly/pansexual identity could help. Yes, knowing early in the relationship and/or having always considered your partner as the gender they identify with is a positive factor.

    But as you so eloquently put it, “I’ve coped by saying time after time that John and Jane are the same person…I’ve said that so many times it has to be true. And it is…. but it’s not.” Helen Boyd made a post a while back saying very much the same thing. And in fact, the partners I’ve encountered who are most at ease after transition are those who admit that, in some way, they weren’t that enamored of the pre-transition person. Paradoxically, that could mean that the greater the love, the lower the chances of a continued relationship.

    I wish you the best, Andrea, and I have every confidence that you’ll find your path once the tiredness and confusion has abated.

    • eclectic chicken Says:

      I too doubt extra time would have actually made any difference to how i felt… except it would have been a sign that someone (me me me) was being thought about other than the ‘leading lady’.

      I thought it would be enough for me to see Jane happier… as opposed to a person unhappy with themself. But its my selfishness that says I actually liked a lot of the stuff Jane associates with being a dysfunctional person who didn’t like himself. Whereas a lot of her happy traits now make her the sort of person who grates on me.

      But on the bright side… I’ve been going out with Jane now 2 years… which is quite often the point in a relationship where a partner starts to grate on me… John certainly did… maybe I’ll learn to love this incarnation too just a shame we didn’t get a honeymoon period together to build on.

      But anyway… I’m rambling…. thanks for your thoughts and wishes.

  9. Jes Bradford Says:

    I commend you for your support to your spouse, I myself have been going through what you have gone through for almost three years now. I was married to my spouse (still legally bound) for close to fifteen years before the changes began to take place and the transition began. It is a long process, and I am glad you have decided to be as supportive as you have been to Jane. I know the many hours of pain and the countless tears that you have shed for the loss of your spouse, I myself have gone through the grieving process and as you, I am coping with the new life and the new family dynamics. I hope you commit to written words your experiences as it gives others the acknowledgement that we are not alone in the process.

  10. annierose55 Says:

    At the risk of appearing harsh and un-caring, it seems pretty obvious to me that ALL parties innvolved in situations such as this, (where the TG partner “discovered or “revealed” their “condition”, well into the relationship), are trapped in a situation where all they can do is to just “make the best of it”, or find a way to simply SURVIVE.

    There is no question that this is something that simply MUST be dealt with as it will not simply, “go away”. While there are “solutions” and ways of “dealing with this”, does it not beg the question of “what might had been” had the TG been more forthcoming, BEFORE entering into a relationship where one party, most often the wife, is involved and operating under false pretenses in that they believed that the man they married, WAS IN FACT A MAN, not…..something, or someone else.

    It is my estimation that blogs or posts such as these must serve as the WARNING TO OTHERS that they are.

    • Jes Bradford Says:

      I think its a pretty broad assumption that all women who are in this predicament were lied to or brought into the relationship under false pretenses. Although I must admit that in my travels through the community I have met many who have been led in such a fashion, there are still those around who fell in love with the man, knowing the inevitable death that was forthcoming, and with full knowledge of the upcoming transition, these women made the conscious choice to be in love with the person and make the best of the years they had together as man and wife, while still being fully aware that the man would one day be gone, leaving only a good friend behind. If anything, the warning would be not to deceive your spouse, but then again, that applies to all marriages and relationships, not only the ones for transgendered individuals.

      • Ariel Says:

        Jes, the comment to which you replied did not make a broad assumption. It referred to “situations such as this,” qualified by the phrase in parentheses. Thus, only situations in which the transitioning person did not tell the partner in advance.

  11. Ariel Says:

    I don’t presume to know your situation. I have read bits of your blog and bits of Jane’s. But I have always been very sympathetic to partners and less so to people like me. We absolutely must deal with our birth defect, but doing so in the midst of a relationship is absolutely unfair to the partner (and children, if any). I know, because I did it myself, and it was totally unfair. Knowing that I had to proceed anyway, I did everything I could to mitigate that unfairness. And my partner stayed, in a relationship that in most ways is better than it was before (and my partner would let me know if it wasn’t) although different in some key ways.

    (Anyone born with this or any birth defect knows it early on, even if there is subsequent denial, attempt to conform, delusion that it will go away, suppression, etc., until such can no longer be maintained. The condition involves a mismatch between brain sex and anatomical sex. Gender issues are something else entirely, and I don’t understand those very well at all.)

    Again, your situation is your own, but I do not blame you at all for being unhappy. It’s interesting what cassandraspeaks wrote. Some of us at least who changed sex are, however unfairly, less tolerant of that in a relationship. If I were in a committed relationship, I would need my partner to be and remain a man (or woman, as the case may be). I might still love the person, and I definitely understand the medical and emotional imperative, but I probably would not be able to stay, at least not without accommodation. It’s a matter of sexual orientation, which is a very physical thing. Considering what you have said about your own orientation, it might be different for you. But leaving a partner because he or she changed sex is not shallow. It’s realistic. It’s human. A partner who stays has gone above and beyond, as far as I’m concerned.

    And you’re absolutely right about your partner being the same person — but not. Emphasis on the “not.” So many things change. You either like the changes, or you don’t, or you like some and not others. In any case, the person you fell in love with is now a different person in many important ways.

    Once again, I make no presumptions about your situation. But Jane’s transition has been rather public, yes? My partner could never have withstood that. Frankly, I could not have either. After the initial burst of misguided enthusiasm, I settled into as quiet a sex change as possible. If I had insisted on being an activist, my partner would have left. If I had insisted on being a “trans woman” instead of just the woman that I am, my partner would have left. And I would not have blamed her one bit. It was quite enough for her to give up the security of being in a perceived male-female relationship.

    I would wish you strength and courage, but I think you have both already. So I wish you (and Jane) the best, whatever your future holds.

    • eclectic chicken Says:

      with hindsight…yes the public nature of janes transition has made it much more difficult in a lot of ways. Some of the public elements I agree with and applaud and in some cases have even instigated early on. But on balance…it upped the pressure on top of the swiftness Jane ran with. Not good.

      And i will add that almost all the negative stuff thrown at her/me/us becuase of that public profile has come from inside the trans community. Not enough to outweigh the fantastic support we’ve had from everyone overall but still nasty and unneccessary.

  12. paula Says:

    Thank you for posting this, it is a valuable insight for many of us, who undervalue our partners and don’t sufficetly consider thier feelings, and a warning for any going into a relationship to be up front and honest from the begining – however difficult it may be.

  13. Well for one thing the relationship has changed. Now I am no expert but I do have my point of view. It is true the man you fell in love with is gone and never coming back but the person is still there. What made him the person you fell in love with has not changed. I myself am a crossdresser. I have no desire to physically change my body or sex but in the same way I have no desire to live completely as a male. I enjoy both genders and both genders shape me and who I am. It is this blending that makes me the person I am.
    Yes there is difference between my male and female self. I may act a little different and there are things I like and dislike as one gender or the other but it is the experiences and differences that shape me into the complete person I am.
    Your relationship will never be the same as it was but that is not to say it will be worse or better. You can make it whatever you want. I wish you the best of luck and hope you both find what you need and a way to make it work.

  14. eclectic chicken Says:

    aaah susan that raises a very deep question of what makes a person the person they are. In the beginning I had the same thought as you that the person wouldn’t change… its just gender after all. And as you say you switch back and forth and its fine.

    But transsexuality is different from crossdressing… so far different you can’t conceive from ‘that’ side of the fence. SO much changes…and the changes go beyond the control of the person undergoing them.

    Can a *teenager control totally the effect hormones have not just on their body but their brain and emotional literacy? no! and neither can a *transsexual.

    Its not just about changing how you look…what you wear…having different interests and friends to suit a different identity. Its also about reacting and interacting with the world in a different way.

    Some parts of Jane have remained… her humour (though its shifted)…her interest in all things political (but again a huge shift in focus)…. her taste in food (but its now surrounded with a finickety thing about calories linked to body identity)….I’m struggling to think of anything that truly hasn’t changed at all.

    oh… her cough 🙂 but as i said above that just reminds me of John (and for that reason is one of the things i’ve suggested she works on… its quite a manly cough)

    As I said above… if she’d gone away and then come back all changed I’d have a)had time to forget detail about her and b)not have been present for every subtle shift so unable to preceive some of the more subtle changes made.

    Yes a cock is here today and gone tomorrow (and that honestly is one of the least important changes in transition – really not worth getting fixated on) but all the subtle shifts…. why…its like living with a child you don’t notice them grow day by day…. its only people who see them rarely who are amazed by the size of them.

    But thanks for your good wishes… and you are right…its time to make it what we want.

    *NB note for the political fascists/pedants- i’ve used transsexual as a noun…. but only in the same way i’ve used teenager. Add the ‘person’ or ‘individual’ element after it yourself if it makes you feel better about the world.

  15. Jen Says:

    What a terrible rejection. For surely Jane, in rejecting John, also rejects John’s decisions and actions. John followed the honest path only latterly and does this not seem to make what came before inferior?

    That’s how I think I would feel – insecure and associated with error and (possibly) self-deceit. I wouldn’t want to hold a partner to a relationship conceived in ‘error’ (apparently on their part) and would need to leave. Nothing to do with the gender but to do with my self-esteem. It’s all very well supporting someone who’s struggling and helping them through. But how loved do you feel? You acknowledge that you have become something of a mere ‘sidekick’ and it’s certainly not about you (or even 50% about you) any more.

    I think you’ve been very brave and very honest. But I don’t know how you cope. It must feel like being second-best…

  16. […] prossibly as confused at this point than I was when I wrote ‘Two Years On’ almost a year […]

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