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Beleaguered Wife Syndrome

| Dec 12, 2007
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Corinne ScottMy second essay here was going to be a continuation of my social capital article from last month. Since that was met with such fanfare, I’m encouraged to do something a little different this time around. I’ll get back to that eventually, but first let’s see who I can piss off.

Recently, via a blog on 360, I got to read the heartwarming story of a transsexual woman who has decided to put off divorcing her wife until after the SRS. In a comment in that blog, another TS stated with no reservation that she’s pushing for a lesbian relationship with her wife, despite the fact that her wife isn’t a lesbian (I guess she’s hoping she’ll come around). Elsewhere, a friend of mine posted a blog singing the praises of Ms. Alice Novic, and while it’s unfair of me to level accusations at Ms. Novic herself (given that I don’t know her or her wife), I think it’s safe to say she’s put some ideas into the heads of many a CD and TG that are nothing short of devastating for their spouses.

The thing is, I don’t think any of this comes as a shock to us. We’ve all heard these kind of stories. And frankly, I think it all speaks to a fundamental problem in our community. That is, we often lack the fundamental ability to empathize with those around us… even the people we’re closest to.

In a way it makes sense. If you’re transsexual or TG, more than likely you’ve struggled with your gender identity all your life. I know that even on the best of days—and there were plenty of times I was happy and satisfied with life—it lingered at the back of my brain. I simply don’t know what it’s like to be normal and gender coherent; how anyone can take anything as mysterious and powerful as gender for granted is a complete mystery to me. Likewise, my feelings and motivations are an enigma to everyone around me, even my closest and most supportive friends. It’s a fundamental problem in the development of relationships really… there are many, many times where it is impossible for me to imagine myself in someone else’s skin (as much as I might like to), and vice versa, them in mine.

Yet take a step back from our gender and we’re all still human beings. We are capable of empathizing with a great deal of the human experience, and when empathy fails us, like the caring husband trying to relate to his wife’s violent menstrual cramps, we can still fall back on sympathy.

Why, then, do we turn a blind eye to the pain we’re causing our wives? When we say we’re holding off with the divorce until after our SRS, is that for our convenience or for theirs? When we ask our non-lesbian wives to participate in sexual activities with us, are we abusing a marital paradigm? And when we push our wives into letting us do things outside the scope of a normal marriage, using our “gender issues” as a scapegoat, are we engaging in a form of emotional extortion?

All of these are heavy accusations, and almost certainly they are not applicable to everyone. But just as certainly, they definitely do apply to some. Consider for a moment the complexities of our wives’ situation: Society urges them to make their marriages work, and shame keeps them from confiding in others; with nowhere to turn they confide in us as their primary source of support, rendering themselves vulnerable to our our obviously biased agenda. It sounds foolish—until you remember just how many battered wives remain in troubled marriages; outside pressures keep them there initially, and internal forces erode their confidence and self-esteem until they can no longer see their way clear of a relationship that is clearly destructive.

That said, I’m reluctant to offer specific advice. In my case, I chose to separate from my wife, pulling the trigger so she would never have to, fearing that if it ever got to that point, she would by then have lost all affection for me. It wasn’t a good decision for me, from either an emotional or practical standpoint. Financially, she was far more successful than me; sharing a household with her only elevated my status, and would’ve made my transition easier. More importantly, she was my partner and companion—we were the most important people in each other’s worlds, even without the promise of romance and intimacy—and that was hard to give up. I have no better metaphor to describe the feeling than a MySpace allusion: While I might be on many peoples’ friends’ lists, I’m no one’s number one anymore… and that’s something I gave up voluntarily, hoping that she might fill it with someone who could make her truly happy. Six months after our separation, I can already see little signs that she’s moving on… meaning that she was probably ready to do it for the last two years and just wouldn’t let herself. I won’t be surprised if my old space is filled by next Christmas.

Relationships are weird things, though. Mine is different than yours, which is different than everyone else’s. Some transsexuals grow old with their wives, never physically separating, becoming more like sisters and roommates as time goes on… which is perhaps fine if you’re both beyond the need for romantic fulfillment. And on the flip-side of that, I’ve heard stories about couples who never recover from the trauma of a divorce, both sinking to unimaginable depths and never recovering even a portion of their former glory. So my only suggestion is this: While pursuing your trans-agenda, think more about the people around you than you do about yourself. Remember, you’re pursuing a dream; it’s only right that you help your loved ones arrive at a similar destination, even if it isn’t necessarily the most convenient thing for you.

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Category: All TGForum Posts, Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


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Comments (3)

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  1. says:

    God, I haven’t even begun to talk about my friends. One in particular is having a more difficult time with this than my wife. It’s an interesting situation, one that I might be able to plumb for material, once it actually sorts itself out.

  2. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    I’ve seen a lot of gals sprint for that finish line when it comes in sight, forgetting that marriage is more of a three-legged race than anything else.
    But let’s face it; it comes down to selfishness. Because there are many people who dump all over, not just their wives, but their friends, family and coworkers, forgetting that those people have lives and feelings too.

  3. says:

    This is an excellent post!

    There are two reasons i have not had the GRS and do not expect to!
    One I have had other surgeries for life saving reasons! and to repair damage caused in an auto accident. I disliked (Hated!) surgery!

    Two I have found my soulmate! She is my best friend! Married for over 30 years+ We have been in therapy so we can understand issues we have on being a Transexual and living with one for 5 or more years! How could i turn my back on her! She did not marry me as a female! I thought that I could over come my T-feelings and never ever have deal with them! Ya, right! We have talked at length many times as to her being better off with out me! Her response has ALLWAYs been ” no I want you to be my soulmate for the rest of my life! I would stick by you even if You had GRS!”

    Not transitioning and all is so much more difficult for me! Especially, since i have felt so good since taking the hormones and wearing female clothing every day! I Just can not have the surgery!

    I do not recommend or give any advise that my way is the best way to go! I truly believe my way may be the much more difficult way! But, Each person has to make their own decisions with the help of therapists! I truly believe my way may be much more difficult way to go!

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