First, before I get into my post, I want to make clear that my husband Jello is supportive of me. He sometimes is overwhelmed with his own situation of school, health and transition and that I understand. Sometimes he is distracted by his own fight and this post has nothing to do with that or him. He is not who I am talking about in this post.
There is something I have noticed since my husband came out. That the spouses of transitioning people seem to be in a weird area that leaves them the silent partner. I have done a lot of research online and in the real world and support groups for the non-transitioning spouse are either sporadic or non-existent. I see very little writings about/for them (hence one of the reasons for this blog) and when I do find things, most of them are long out of date and from the point of a wife being supportive of her transitioning partner. Very little of their writings deals with the support they get for themselves, it almost seems like they don’t actually get much support for them.
I found this translates into my personal life as well. My husband has an incredibly supportive group of people. Our friends and my family both are incredibly accepting of his transition. All of them continually inquire if they can help him, or if there is something he needs. This makes me incredibly happy for him. He is undergoing a tremendous amount of stress and nothing but positive coming back, even from schoolmates that we didn’t expect it from.
Here is where I feel like an asshole. Once Jello came out, there were a ton of questions to me, how was he feeling, did he need anything, etc. Of course I replied appropriately to whatever question was asked, ensuring they knew what he needed or wanted. However, I felt like I was in a weird shadow. As if I only existed as an extension of him. One friend did ask if I was going to stay with him, of course I answered yes. Once I said yes, then the questions went back about Jello. I am happy they assume my love is so strong for Jello, that I had absolutely no problem with the transition, but I found I felt hurt.
I couldn’t figure out why I was hurt until my family asked me how I was doing, and what did I think about the transition. They wanted to make sure if they could do anything for me to make it easier during the transition. They seemed to understand it was going to take a lot on my part to change. While Jello is going through the physical/emotional/societal changes of becoming a man, I was going to have to undergo the changes in my 21 year marriage and on my own sexuality as well.
To my family, I had been fully heterosexual when I married my “wife” and now 21 years into my marriage I was going to be married to a guy (my dad mentioned he was glad Gay Marriage was approved in my state last year). Of course my parents don’t know that I am more genderqueer then that. Jello says I am “just gay enough”. Although I could fall in love with a guy, I am more orientated as a bisexual towards women.
My parents are right, I am struggling a lot with the loss of my wife, the gaining of a husband, and the fact that I was now in a de-facto gay marriage with an even more unusual situation of being married to a transitioning husband. I already addressed the awkwardness of the future coming out to my coworkers. I was saddened that my family recognized that, but not my friends. I feel alone a lot. I know I could go to a friend and they would listen, but it was the fact that I wasn’t taken into consideration that hurt.
We tried going to a couple of transgender support groups. The people were incredibly kind to Wolsey there, but I definitely didn’t fit in, and there was a level of (understandable) mistrust. I don’t think that will work for me, maybe I will post about it later.
I realize as a person I am generally closed off. I don’t talk a lot about my feelings in general. In fact, I haven’t even cried since I was 16, (I am now 42). I usually shove my feelings into a deep dark hole inside me. That is what makes this blog sometimes hard to write in. I feel like I am a bad person for feeling hurt or frustrated and I don’t want to seem like I am taking any of Jello’s support, because he needs all he could get.
My feelings are battling each other right now. Part of me is sad and a bit disappointed with the situation above, and the other part of me is disgusted with myself for being sad by it. The disgusted part of me feels like I am betraying Jello or trying to take away from the focus on him and that I should shut up. Honestly, maybe I am being a whiny baby about it.
Part of me wants to delete this blog post. I am embarrassed that I even feel this way by something so little. I am a little worried that by putting out there my frustrations like this, I will seem like the asshole jealous husband. The few blogs I have seen out there are almost 100% support blogs for the transitioning partner with no posts about their own frustration. It makes me worried that I am messed up in the head and being unreasonable.
My idea originally with this blog was to give both sides, surely I am not the only one who felt this way, even if it is unwarranted. I figure “in for a penny, in for a pound” means I will put this out anyways though. Maybe it will help reassure others that they aren’t alone in the thoughts/frustrations that I have.