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Transgender Significant Others

A Significant Other (or SO) is a wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend - the significant person in your life, partner and/or lover. This article addresses the wife/girlfriend since that is the most common SO.

How does one deal with a transgender husband? Questions swirl in her head.

What does this mean for me? Does he want to transition?
What will my family and friends think of this?
Does he want to have sex with me as a 'woman'?
Will he stop crossdressing?
What about our children?
Am I holding him back?

The transgender husband has similar thoughts.

Will she still love me?
Do I want to transition?
What will my family and friends think?
Why am I transgender?
Will my 'feminine' desires go away?
Will my wife leave me?

The following article is written by an SO. Her story and feelings may ring true for other SO's, but every relationship is unique.

As is true with any relationship, ours is complicated. My husband being transgender is not the sole source of confusion and conflict between us. It is, however, one of the most difficult, for several reasons.

Our society as a whole has little knowledge of crossdressing or transgenderism beyond the over-the-top transvestite or kinky crossdresser portrayed in the media. When I discovered that my husband liked to dress in women’s clothing, including fake breasts, a wig and makeup I was truly shocked. I had no idea what it meant – only that it was not something that I expected of him. And that it wasn’t funny.

Beyond asking him questions, some of which even he couldn’t answer satisfactorily, I did a lot of research on the internet, and in books. While this was helpful, there is such a spectrum – ranging from the occasional cross dresser to the person who feels the absolute need to transition (to become the other sex via sexual reassignment surgery) – that the information was vague and unsatisfying.

Combine those factors with the inability to discuss this issue with friends or family for fear of how they may react, and you are in a difficult situation.

Finally, after hours of him enduring my questions, and years of watching ‘her’, I feel like I understand some of the motivations for him dressing up. These will undoubtedly be different for every individual. It may be purely for sensual or sexual satisfaction. It may be to get noticed; to be seen in a way never before experienced. It may be that he feels as if he were born into the wrong body, and actually identifies himself as ‘herself.’ And whatever it is, it may be changing.

At first, my husband was ‘just a cross dresser.’ He didn’t understand why he liked it, and didn’t have a name for it. He dressed only at home, only in clothing (no makeup, etc.) and purged after each experience (threw away all the clothing that he had purchased and worn – very common). This progressed to him keeping the clothing, and adding to it. And to a hidden box that was ‘Ashley.’ There came a time when her ability to be satisfied with just clothing went away; additions like padding for breasts, makeup and press-on nails helped for a while. Then it moved to full-blown womanhood – expensive makeup, salon nails, wigs, breast forms, heels. And voice. And mannerisms. And going out in public as Ashley, hoping to ‘pass’ (be recognized as female.)

After one such night out, early in her going-out days, Ashley came back to her car to return home. She realized that it was time for her to go back into her box, and for ‘him’ to return. She felt great disappointment and sadness, because she was not yet ready to be him again.

From there, his need to be her has intensified. He sometimes dresses in the morning before he has to leave for work, just to squeeze in an hour or two of Ashley. He feels the urge to dress more often, and more intensely.

As an SO, there are many issues involved. For some, including myself, there is the feeling of betrayal that comes when ‘she’ is discovered, rather than being introduced. There is the secrecy – you may now be expected to keep ‘her’ a secret. Not an easy task, especially when you may be itching to tell everyone you know, and get some support. There is the tug-of-war between your feelings for this person, and what society implies that you “should” feel.

Many couples argue about the money that is spent on the additional clothing and items that allow him to become her. Still more are left wondering how this will work in the bedroom; if their man wants to be ‘her’ in bed too. Again, society comes into play… this isn’t normal, or natural, or acceptable (insert your own inner voice here.) And still you love this person, whether they are dressed as a man or a woman. You love who they are, on the inside, if not on the outside too.

Some of my fears included wondering whether he would want to have sex with a man as a woman (then, of course, what if he liked it?) Or whether she’d want to have sex with me (the usual outcry – I’m not a lesbian!) Should we tell our young children? (I believe we should; this has become an item of discussion for us.) Will he ‘come out?’ If so, what will be the reaction from: his employees; his family of origin; our friends and neighbors; the general public? Will it affect our children (will they be teased, ostracized or even beaten for having a “faggot” dad who dresses like a woman?) Will she be in danger?

None of it is simple, and little has been easy. I accept Ashley – and I love my husband. I help her prepare to go out, and occasionally accompany her to TG events.

None of this is written in much detail, but if you have specific questions/concerns I would be happy to dig deeper; email me - email coming soon!

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