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Straight Spouses of Transgender People Speak Up

In recent months, the Straight Spouse Network has seen an increase in requests for help from straight spouses of transgender people.  These requests are mostly from women, and many have been in long term marriages of over 20 years.

Who Am I?As is common with all straight spouses, no two requests for support are alike.  Some people are coping with cross-dressing husbands.  Others have been told after 40 years of marriage, with retirement on the horizon, that their husband is now transitioning to female, with or without surgery.

Transgender Awareness week will be celebrated November 14-20.  During this time, many transgender people will be coming out and speaking out.  For straight spouses, already coping with a lot of changes and new information, this may be welcome or it may be overwhelming.

We would like the month of November here at the Straight Spouse Network to be Transgender Straight Spouse Awareness month.  We can start by telling our stories as spouses of transgender people.

Yes.  We want your stories.  We want your comments.  We want to know the good, the bad, the real.

We need to know who you are, but we can agree to not publish your name publicly.

We want your input. Each person’s experience and situation is different.  We want to make the public more aware of what the straight spouse goes through when a husband or wife is transgender.

If you’re a straight spouse and would like to write an article for us, please see our article guidelines here.  If you just want to contact us with comments for articles that will appear in this blog or in our newsletter, please comment below.  Please note that your full name and your email will not be displayed with your comment, and all comments are moderated.

9 Comments

  1. An open letter to my husband that wants to be my wife…or not

    I want you to admit that you killed this marriage. I want you to see that you fell out of love with me and fell in love with “her.” I want you to be accountable and take ownership that you chose to focus your thoughts, energy and emotion on this new found love. I remember 3 years ago when you finally told me (after I discovered some Prom dresses in a box in the garage). I was fearful. I knew even then what was to come. At first you told me it was just cross-dressing, you didn’t want to be a woman, just dress like one. You enjoyed the sexual stimulation of women’s clothing. I wanted to believe you. But once you got on that slippery slope, you just kept getting further and further out of reach, until now, when I can no longer reach you at all. You tell me you thought you were a freak for the way you felt since you were a young boy. And with the information on the internet, you discovered what you are is “Transgender.” But, your heart is gone to me. I want you to love me again. I want to be your happiness, your joy, your lover. But knowing that I won’t be that again, it is torturing me. 25 years and 3 kids, how do I let you go? How do I stay?

    I want you to own that you killed our intimacy. You try to blame my peri-menopause. You are always so good at shifting blame. If it is my peri-menopause, then why am I the one asking to make love? One morning, as I stared off right after we awoke, you asked what I was thinking. I said, “I am thinking it would be nice to make love.” You got angry. You frequently get angry when I bring up our lack of intimacy. You make excuses, you blame me, you get mad, then you leave.

    I am angry – angry that you trapped me. You knew what you felt but you married me anyway. YOU made a life with me. I gave up my career, my independence, my confidence, my youth and my beauty! I gave it to you, and now you choose to push me away. And I’m left asking why, why did you…

  2. We met online, and had a clumsy midnight coffee date for our first meeting. Four years later, we had set a wedding date and I was going to marry the man of my dreams.

    Wrong.

    In hindsight, things began slowly I guess; he enjoyed dressing up in women’s clothing as a “fetish.” It began with wearing my undergarments to bed here and there, followed by jewelry, and then both. In the more recent years however, something changed. His desire to cross-dress never wavered, but he seemed to grow more and more dissatisfied with the experience.

    I noticed changes in his personality when he’d dress up; the way he’d look at himself in the mirror–the way his personality changed. I asked him: “do you think that this is more than cross-dressing? Please tell me if it is, you know I love you, no matter what.” Again, he reassured me that his fetish was nothing more than a fetish.

    The morning of October 16th, 2016 he woke me up suddenly in bed; on his knees shivering with excitement, he said: “there’s something I’ve got to tell you: I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me!” I stared at him, half asleep and confused. He laid down next to me, pulling me into his manly nook, and said the words: “I’m transgender, I’m a woman.”

    I laid there with him for a little while, reeling, unsure of what I was hearing–surely this can’t be real, he’s confused–but as I laid there, every experience I ever had with him dressed as a woman came flooding back to me; all at once I began sobbing.

    It’s been a little over five weeks since she’s told me she’s transgender, and she’s completely out. Her job, family, friends, and anyone else she may meet knows. she’s gotten rid of all her “man clothes” and replaced them with fashionable women’s clothing; walking around in knee-high boots, pumps, dresses, etc. She dyed her hair pink, and bought a new makeup set. She even speaks in her female voice.

    I’m proud of her for being herself and I support her, but–I’m not a…

    • I’m living this now..so sad. Love him not her..so alone…

  3. In 2008, my husband of eight years bolted. Of course, we were a blended family, with tensions, and we were anticipating retirement and building our (I thought “our”) dream home on a river site with two-and-a-half acres. I was worn to the bone from teaching and managing his children and mine. Barely, one night in hour new home with many details omitted for brevity, my husband bolted. I tried everything to appeal, to dialogue with him, but to no avail. Two grueling years later of anguish, grief and all the baggage of abandonment, I received a text message and pic from my brother. “Take a good look,” he said. I did, but only responded, “That I didn’t know the rather attractive woman.” “Look again,” he implored. I did. Only this time I got it. The woman in the pic was my recently divorced from husband. A wave of terror, guttural pain and an explosion of unknown and indescribable feelings paralyzed me. I screamed out and throw the phone. From this point forward, I have battled depression, but I am resilient. I got on with life the best I could. My biggest battles have been with a kind of PTS. I fear trust in myself and others. I want to love again, but I enter each relationship with caution and often sabotage them if they feel slightly flawed. I always considered myself an open person and certainly not homophobic. Truly, I have had close acquaintances that prefer people of their own gender in sexual relationships. This all being said, I appreciate a forum for sharing this all and doubt this will be the end of my effort to reach out. Without open communication between those who love and are loved in complicated situations and without complete honesty, people, good people, spouses and children get hurt. Some hurt so terribly that life is broken. Magpie

  4. Yours is a beautiful blog, Tracy. I can’t say I know what the experience is like for either of you, but I want you to know I admire your courage and honesty in sharing it. Best wishes to both of you.

    • Thank you., Bryon. We sincerely appreciate your kind words and wishes.

  5. A couple of years ago a colleague and good friend asked if I was okay. She said you’ve lost your sparkle. I assured her I was fine, just tired from work and whatever. I couldn’t tell her then what was really on mind. I was carrying a very heavy secret that wasn’t mine to share, at least not yet. My husband of 27 years had come out to me as transgender. I had no idea what that meant, but we promised each other we would figure it out, together. There was no way this would split us up. We had been through so much, fought so hard for our marriage over the course of a 20 year Air Force career, and at the end of the day we truly, deeply loved each other. I couldn’t imagine leaving Carli, even though 27 years earlier I had married Richard, strikingly handsome in his uniform, with no inkling of what was to come. We would figure it out, together! There was simply no other option. So, we started the process towards the goal of being out together.

    I’ve recently started writing my own blog called Being Out Together to help other spouses and family members understand how it is possible to keep a marriage together when someone comes out as transgender. We hope that by sharing our story others will gain some insight and find peace.

    • Hi,

      My husband came out to me as transgender about 2 years ago and it has ripped my heart out. We were high school sweethearts, we have never been with any other people and he was my best friend.

      Now, I feel like I don’t know him. I go to see “his” transgender counselor every Monday to try and understand this way of thinking. She (whom was born a male) talks to me about my wife (former husband) and what a “strong women she is”, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. I myself am a 40 year old mother that is living with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, I work full time as a middle school teacher and believe strongly in my faith of God. I do believe that each person is the child of God and that human dignity is a basic right so I have gone out with him/her dressed up and I am doing my best to work through this issue and find some common ground. We have been married for almost 20 years….

      My problem comes in when I try and tell him/ her that his/ her demands that I must accept all of these new ideas and “things” he/she is bringing into our lives is not my “cup of tea” and I feel I am not being treated with the same compassion I am trying to provide to her/him- she/he dismisses me. I don’t know… I am just so lonely, but where can I turn? I feel like he has dropped me like a broken toy? I just want to find peace and be happy again.

      • Just a Woman…I haven’t been on the site in a while and just read your post. If I may offer this, one of the very best things I did was seek out my own therapist. He helped me focus attention on my needs, and gave me tools to improve communication between me and my spouse. I also learned that grieving my loss was an important step that could not be skipped. True, we did not separate, but I lost a loved one and this had to be acknowledged in order to move on.

        I know it sounds like a cliche, but being able to really talk to each other and listen to each other is critical. This was the most valuable skill we learned and we couldn’t have stayed happily married if we hadn’t figured it out. I also discovered that observing her when she was feeling especially happy helped me understand what had been making her unhappy before. I discovered it was not ME that made her unhappy, and when I realized that a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
        Keep talking to each other, and to this group. You are not alone.

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