I want to tell other partners of transitioning people that it is absolutely normal to miss your partner’s pre-transition form. They were part of you before the transition and they were shaped like that when you got with them. In my case, it was over 20 years together. This is absolutely normal and no one should shame you or make you feel bad that you may sometimes miss the form of the person you fell in love with. The problem is if you can’t let it go.
The last several weeks I have been scanning our old photos. We have a lot of negatives I have to scan and edit and these are all 10+ years old. They all have Wolsey in his pre-transition state and it caused some emotional baggage to come up. I realized I sometimes missed his old form for more than just being able to hold his hands or hug him in public (something I have covered in the past).
This sensation of loss doesn’t come often. I love the way he feels, smells like and sounds now, but sometimes when I see pictures of him from before, or we are talking about something prior to transition, or even sometimes just a movement or gesture will bring me back to his old self. I do in fact sometimes miss the way his body had felt, his scent and sounds. I don’t feel that way much anymore, but it still pops up sometimes.
After thinking about that for some time I realized that feeling comes up in other occasions, but at the time I couldn’t explain what I was feeling or why I was missing what he looked like. Unfortunately, these times are more uncomfortable, not because of him, but because of the reflection on me.
Before his transition, Wolsey used to do pinup modeling, was an incredibly attractive by society standards, and on top of that was incredibly alternative so it had an exotic feel. When he would walk into the room people noticed Wolsey, and by default me.
Some people would focus on me and question me on how did I end up with Wolsey, and what keeps Wolsey still wanting to be with me. I have to admit it did buoy my self-esteem that someone everyone thought was hot was with me. I admit I married up, but my self-esteem always thought it was a lot further up and their recognition of Wolsey being with me made me feel better.
It is uncomfortable to realize I miss Wolsey pre-transitioned for more reasons than originally expected when I think about it. The first was for intimacy which is acceptable and to be expected.
The second part is what bothers me, that I didn’t realize I was being sexist and that I sometimes had missed being able to take advantage of that sexism. Yep, that smacks my self-identity as someone who was fairly successful at not being sexist.
I never realized until now the benefits that I had with having a hot wife on my arm. I never intentionally wanted that status symbol that a lot of men seek out and now I find I am ashamed to actually miss it.
It’s different, of course, but I do struggle very much at times with the loss of my pretty little daughter. It’s sexist, of course, to focus too much on the prettiness of daughters – and I suppose some of my pride was misplaced. Still, I miss that little girl and sometimes it just hurts – whether it ‘should’ or not.
I think that is normal and actually healthy. It also shows that you care about that person as themselves with the acceptance that they might not be your little girl anymore and you are willing to work through the grief of a loss.
I also really want to talk about this stuff because I think its toxic and poisonous to yourself to not admit you are human and that you might miss that person.
What advice would you give to partners experiencing this? My partner expresses this same feeling every so often, and while I definitely understand it, sometimes it feels as though she’s judging the person I am now, and ignoring the progress I’ve made personally while focusing on the positives of my younger self (i.e. skinnier with boobs). I do understand where she’s coming from, however, as I am notoriously bad with change.
First and foremost, at no point in time should the focus be on comparing you currently to the way you were in the past. That is wrong, it isn’t fair and I would recommend you put a hard line there.
It is always understandable feeling the loss. I am glad they come to you when they are working through it. However, focusing on your prior assets and not at the same time addressing how they feel about you currently (hopefully its a positive) means they aren’t seeing you as you are.
Even without the ordeal of transition we aren’t the same we were when we were younger. Comparing someone to their past isn’t fair to begin with.
I would tell them it is ok to miss the old you. However, that is over. The old you isn’t coming back. Treat that like an old lover, one who of course you will have fond thoughts. Make sure your priority is the partner you are with, and if they aren’t someone you can put before your “prior lover”, then maybe rethink if this is going to work.
In the end, the person you are with currently should be your focus, no matter how much you miss your previous lovers.