Hello! I’m a trans lesbian woman. I’m very proud of my identity and I’m the happiest I have ever been since transitioning. I would never want to go back!!!
My wife and I have been married for 24 years. She fully supports my transition and we are more than content to stay together. I transitioned starting about 2 years ago. I truly love my wife and we are the best of friends and soulmates.
However she constantly questions my identity as a trans lesbian woman. She makes gross comments about me and men, especially my friends or any man really. My friends (we both have known since middle school) are like brothers and they support me 100%. She gets mad when I show any pride in being lesbian. If I make comments about being a lesbian or show off if any pride merch, she says I’m shoving it in her face. In effect she almost constantly questions two parts of my identity. She also says I’m forcing her to change her sexuality (she is a straight woman). I try to reassure her that her identity his her own and no one can change that. It doesn’t matter to me that she identifies as straight (nobody is perfect ) but my identity is always questioned.
My question is, how can I change to live with this behavior towards me? No amount of communication has helped and it just comes up over and over. This ends up with me in a state of depression and her angry and disconnected. I really need some advice. Thanks!!!
The only people who know how it feels to be in your marriage are you and your wife. The only person who knows how it feels to be you in that marriage is you. But you’ve written in with this question and I can only respond to it truthfully. And my truthful response is I think you need to get a divorce.
At the very least, I have to push back on your assertion that your wife fully supports your transition. To fully support you would be to see you, to let go of the baggage around her own identity she’s projecting upon you. It’s generous of you to allow her to hold onto her chosen identity, but that generosity is not being reciprocated. This lack of reciprocation suggests to me that it’s not possible. It’s not possible for your wife to assert her straightness while fully embracing your womanhood. Or, rather, it is, but then the romantic and sexual aspects of your relationship should end.
The fact is your wife fell in love with you and built a life with you and you’re a woman. You didn’t become a woman. You didn’t trick her into being queer — her own feelings did that. In a long term relationship, everyone is always changing while still remaining themselves. This isn’t unique to relationships where someone transitions. Her desire to not change alongside her wife is futile — and it’s not fair to you.
24 years is a long time. I’m not suggesting you walk out right now. Rather, I think you need to open up that possibility so you can be honest with yourself – and your wife — about how you deserve to be treated. It might be hard, your marriage may not survive, but your wife won’t evolve, if you’re not pushing her to evolve. Sometimes patience and understanding is the move, but it’s been two years now. She either needs to accept the ways her life and marriage — and identity — have shifted or she needs to let you go.
You do not deserve less than anyone else simply because you are trans. You deserve a marriage with someone who loves you fully. You deserve a life filled with people who see and celebrate every part of you.
It might not seem possible. It might feel scary to let go of more aspects of your old life when transition itself is hard enough. But I promise you the world is so big and filled with so many different people and you will find the love you deserve. In fact, it appears you already have found that kind of love in your friends. You should be embraced by your romantic partner the way you have been embraced by your friends.
If, as you say, no amount of communication has helped then I do think it’s worth considering what ending your marriage would look like. I don’t say that lightly. I just believe separation is better than constant depression and anger.
I’m deeply sorry the person who is supposed to love you most is failing to do so. Sometimes wives, best of friends, and even soulmates aren’t meant to last a lifetime. But there will always be new people to meet, new connections to form. I met most of the people I care about — and who care about me — after transitioning. I cherish the relationships that have evolved alongside me, but I’m grateful my life opened up enough to invite in many new people. I promise this will be possible for you too.
It won’t be easy. And, of course, I can’t make this decision for you. But I can tell you one more time that you’re a trans woman, you’re a lesbian, and anyone who shares a life with you should be excited by — not bothered by — those facts.
I hope your wife comes around. But, if she doesn’t, I hope you trust there’s someone else out there — or many someones — who won’t even have to. They’ll see you and love you and want you to be you.
The world is hard enough for trans women. Your home, your marriage, should be an oasis from that hardship. It should not be the cause of your pain.
You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.
Divorce Week is a celebration of taking a life-changing step, of coming out the other side of devastating trauma and being all the better for it. It’s co-edited and curated by Nico Hall and Carmen Phillips. Remember, you may be divorced, but you’re not alone.