All the bad behaviour had a theme and that theme was 'discomfort' - anger at self, a desire to be 'normal', whatever that is ! It became blatantly obvious that there was more going on. I made contact with a pre-op TS lady called Andrea who came to visit. That was probably the first time that my partner had encountered another transgendered person; for me the similarities between the two of them where overwhelming. Andrea went on and had her op a couple of months later and dropped out of sight. We had a discussion and maybe because I could see it too, my partner acknowledged that things ran somewhat deeper than they first appeared.
So a trip to the doctor's was arranged, and my partner was sent to local psychiatric services and from there to Charing Cross. Around this time things were a little confusing; for anyone who is coming to terms with and finally dealing with their deep-rooted feelings, there is bound to be emotional overload to some degree. My partner wrote to one of the biggest societies for transvestites, looking for help and reassurance. I will never forget the letter he got back, in fact i still have a copy. It essentially told my partner to stop being so bloody selfish and how much I (by this time his wife) would 'enjoy' his tits in bed, in very sarcastic fashion! I was appalled, but the effect on my partner was horrific and a suicide attempt followed. I sought guidance from what womens' groups there were, but their refusal to acknowledge that even simple cross-dressing can have anything to do with sex or sexuality was very unhelpful. In those days the usual line was that if you were transsexual, you had no business staying with your partner - at best you were required to fall on your sword and go it alone, at worst you made your partner a female pervert.
We were at this time involved in several online communities, such as were available then, and had many friends with whom we started to socialise offline. My partner seemed happier, for a time, and was prescribed hormones. Soon after this the hospital told my partner that we would have to divorce in order to move forward. That was the line taken back then (which is not the case now). At this point we stopped going to Charing Cross but the hormone prescription was still in place. There then followed thirteen years which we will simply call 'hell'. When she was good she was very good but when she was bad 'horrid' doesn't even start to describe it!
Why did I stay ? Well, most people thought I was mad, and they are probably right, but I always saw the discomfort behind the bad behaviour and the true nature of the person beneath. Gender Dysphoria has had a shocking effect on my partner's life and her well-being. She has done some bloody awful things, both to herself and to me. I'm not a drama queen by any means, nor am I a saint. So we will skip through the nasty bit quickly and factually. She became alcoholic drinking at least 3 litres of very strong cider a day. Her behaviour varied greatly, with bouts of violence directed (usually) at me followed by self-harm in disgust at herself and her situation. By self-harm I mean suicide attempts which to date number in excess of fifteen, generally pills and alcohol but also slitting her wrists with a jigsaw, requiring micro surgery, and the unforgettable occasion when she poured petrol over herself and set herself alight. So I have seen the very blackest and worst that Gender Dysphoria puts people through.
In 2007 my partner got sober, and this for me represented a real problem. I had by this time made up my mind that life was never going to alter and I was thinking about calling time and admitting defeat; the emotional toll on me as an individual has been great. But she started to get her act together which presented a conundrum. Fortunately, when I am in need of support I am blessed to have both Penny, and also Stacy at Transliving and without them goodness knows!
My partner is now back in the system and I am treading water, so to speak, and waiting to see what happens. I do prefer to keep my present relationship private, such as it is. Sufficient to say we are now divorced and one could say living day to day. So that's a small bit about my personal experience, I do hope no one else has had such a bad one! But I survived and continue to do so. It is a measure of how far she has come that i can now write this down, for all to see, without her denial or outrage at my doing so. Accepting and acknowledging the past is the first step to letting go and moving forwards, wherever that may lead.
©Moon for Transpartners 2008