Do I miss who my husband used to be?

I got a question over on Tumblr (I always want people to ask any questions that come to mind) the following:

I had to think about this for a few minutes. Of course the first answer is no, then I thought of the revised short answer of “it’s a complicated no”.

I do have a longer answer, one that indicates why its a “no” but there are sometimes weird jarring instances.


I am more fortunate then a lot of people in my situation. Jello has always acted like Jello. When he presented as female, he was constantly told he needed to act like a lady. He was denigrated for acting like a guy, told he would never find someone, etc. So for our entire relationship he has been the same, what you saw in behavior was what he was. None of his behaviors have changed, except he argues and is upset less (living as yourself definitely is less stress inducing). It is the same person just the package has changed.

However, that is where sometimes there is a weird instances that come in. Occasionally we will be doing something, and Jello will do what he normally does, but I will get a weird feeling of deja vu, almost as if I have double vision. Sometimes it is almost a super-imposed image of his old self and his real self in front of me.

Take for example this last weekend, we were out on a date overnight. During dinner he reached over and took one of my maraschino cherries in my drink (DON’T JUDGE ME!!!) and ate it in his quirky manner.

For a brief second though I saw his old identity in front of me doing it exactly the same way (he has done that move for decades with me, most if it in his pre-transition body). It actually made me hesitate in our talk (I was briefly confused on who was in front of me) and I explained what happened. He was really supportive and we both know this happens occasionally (and is bound to happen since we were together for 21 years before his coming out in that form).

Funny enough sometimes I look at old pictures of him, and it is jarring because seeing the female form in the picture doesn’t match with what is in my head. I guess we rewrite memories regularly, and being with him for the last two years in his real body has rewritten a lot of what I remember.

Now, I guess that was a long winded way of saying no I don’t miss who he was, but there are weird instances when I see, smell or hear something from him.

I do suspect though that normally people in my position miss the old person. I think it is normal, it is the person you originally fell in love with (especially if they behaved different on top of looking different). I do believe it becomes less so over time, your memory rewrites itself, distance makes the dissonance less. That is a rougher spot to be in, and I hope anyone in that position has all the support they need to get through it.


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9 Responses to Do I miss who my husband used to be?

  1. You said this well. I can really relate to the idea of rewriting memories. I can hardly remember sometimes that in the beginning, I was raising a girl child; it seems like Link was always male-identified, and I imagine that going back to the beginning!

  2. Jello says:

    For the record, I didn’t do anything weird with the cherry. I just ate it.

  3. Ariadne says:

    I like this post. 🙂 My partner and I were also together nearly 20 years before she started to transition, and yet I don’t really feel like she’s a different person than the man I married. I think that’s partly because she was always very open with me about her feelings and never tried to hide it from me. For some people, I think their trans feelings are more deeply repressed, to the point where they are presenting themselves to the world – and to their spouse – as someone very different than who they feel they are, and then when they finally come to terms with it themselves, the spouse feels upset and lied to. I think that must be a very difficult situation all around, and people who find themselves in it have my sympathy.

    It sounds like you and Jello seem to have the kind of open communication that can keep a relationship together through transition. We’re at the point right now where my spouse feels kind of like the kind of optical illusion that flips back and forth – sometimes I see the masculine, sometimes the feminine. So I kind of understand that feeling of dissonance… Talking about and acknowledging those feelings is important.

    • I think you are right about that Ariadne, people either through choice or circumstances have to hide who they are. I also wonder if sometimes when someone transitions they maybe go a little more forceful in their gender identity as sort of an over compensation. I have read some men become super masculine and women the other way.

      It is a totally understandable reaction, but it would be so different for their spouses/partners that it would seem like someone totally new.

  4. This was really interesting to read, so thank you for sharing!

    My sister seems to be struggling a bit with my transition, but that’s partly my fault for working so hard to put up an act all these years. Now that I’m dropping it I can see that she kind of misses the “everything is fine, I have no problems” personality I used to put on.

    • I don’t think you should think of it as anyone’s “fault” except for society. You did what you needed to do to survive. It is harder for partner/family, but that is not your fault.

      I am glad you are being who you need to be though, and not following either society or sister’s idea just because of who they are.

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