Sometimes, a transsexual may be in a long term relationship or even have got married and had children in an attempt at 'expected normality'. There may come a point when the transsexual person can no longer continue to live a lie. Denial is a commonly seen theme within transsexualism.
Transsexual people are almost always subject to a great deal of inner turmoil, and this is exacerbated when you find yourself within a marriage or long term relationship. For a female partner who finds themselves suddenly faced with the prospect of their husband or partner becoming a woman, it is often devastating. Indeed for all partners who find their other half wishing to change, be it from male to female or vice versa, it can be almost incomprehensible.
In such situations, it is important to try to bear in mind that when your partner started a relationship with you, they will have truly felt that they could contain their emotions and desires. Sadly, suppression of feelings of such magnitude as those felt by a TS, rarely works.
There is a lot of pressure for people to conform to accepted social values, and society's expectations as a whole do little to help any of us be who we really are. It is often only the very brave and the very desperate, who are able to say "I have to do this".
From a partner's viewpoint, it is ok to be angry and upset, everything you knew is changing and quite obviously you will have decisions to make. The same thoughts will run through your head as those felt by
the partners of transvestites, that there is something you could have done to prevent this, that you are not enough, that you have failed.
You start to question yourself and look for answers where none exist. The simple truth is your partner is what they are, and what they are is transsexual. Once you can realise that you can do nothing to change their course, you will ultimately go one of three ways. You will run kicking and screaming and never see one another again, or you will split up but do it decently, and try to remain friends, and in fewer cases, you may find a way to work through it and stay together.
It is important to realise you are under no obligation, if you really cannot be with your partner in their new gender role, there is nothing anyone can do or say that will make it suddenly become possible for you to retain a relationship.
If you have children, you would be well advised to put their needs first. Transsexuals can make excellent parents, in fact the very same parents they were before you became aware of their transsexualism! The one significant difference is, that the transsexual partner will be happier and more at ease with themselves and as such, being a more content and happy person, your children can only benefit from having two parents who love them irrespective of gender or sex.
Everyone would do well to remember that children are not born with prejudice but learn it from those around them. You will find the transsexual partner wants their children to be happy and will not deliberately cause distress in situations where a child may be ridiculed or demoralised and for women especially, it is important to realise that a transsexual partner will generally go to very great lengths to protect their children from hurt. Communication in all things is the key.
The burden of guilt felt by many transsexual people has led to them walking away from their long term relationships, giving their partner everything. Of course one must strive to do the right thing and everyone's circumstances will be very different, however it is important to remember that the situation really is no one's fault and if your partner was able to just `stop' or `do things another way' you would not be at this point! You both have the right to an equal and fair settlement.
If you are in the minority, and your relationship can transcend all the obstacles of sex, gender and peer pressure and you can find a way through the maze, well done! But please remember, change is part of the human condition and relationships always need to be worked at as your future unfolds.
© Transpartners 2008