My Partner’s Thoughts on my Transition
I thought it was time to share with you how my partner is dealing with my transition so I decided to ask her a few questions.
Your thoughts and reactions to when I told you I was transgender
I wasn’t surprised. As we had previously met many years before we got together I already had an insight into how he felt about himself. Although back then I didn’t know what it meant to be transgender. I cannot say I was shocked in honesty. What I did feel was sadness and uncertainty. I was worried what the future held for us. The thought of being married to a man had never crossed my mind and I was utterly overwhelmed with fear. I was concerned at what others might think and whether I would lose my identity as I had always considered my sexuality as being strictly homosexual. I also knew that my sexuality does not define me. Yes it is a part of who I am, but it is not what makes me who I am. Once I got past that, and the unnecessary need for labels, I was able to move on.
How did you feel when I said I ‘wanted it all’?
Overwhelmed. And scared. Again this was another thing that I let myself be led by my own sexuality. I had no problem with top surgery at all. I think the reason behind this was due to ‘them’ never being accessible to me. By that I mean it was obvious that Danny felt uncomfortable with them being touched or looked at so over time I learned to appreciate the rest of Dan’s body without them playing a part. Now I don’t really see his chest at all.
Bottom surgery took a little bit of getting used to but it didn’t feel like that much of an obstacle to overcome. I think it helped that we’ve always had a healthy sex life.
Ultimately the hardest thing for me to come to terms with was the testosterone. I had read stories from other partners that talked about the aggression that can come with people taking testosterone. That scared me enough to not want Dan to take it. At the time when he told me he wanted everything (hormones/surgeries) I told him that I don’t care what surgeries he has but I didn’t want him taking hormones as I was scared it would change him. I didn’t want to lose the person I had fallen in love with. Looking back now it was selfish of me but I think I just wanted to take back some control in this roller coaster we were on.
Your thoughts on taking testosterone
As previously mentioned above I was very much against it in the early months. I didn’t want to lose Dan. I was already worried that we wouldn’t make it through this together and to add the possibility that it would change his personality meant that at that time I just couldn’t agree to it. We researched natural ways to transition and decided between us that Dan would transition naturally. That all came to a head when he broke down one night and told me he wanted it all; Surgery and hormone therapy.
That night there were many tears shed. Some in anger, some in disappointment. I told Dan that if he wanted to go ahead with hormone therapy then I would never stop him. What I couldn’t promise was that I would be there, as his wife, until the end. I explained that whilst I would always be there for him and support him I just couldn’t be sure that we would come out of this still together. He looked so dejected. I have never seen him so emotionally drained and tired as I did that night. He got in the car and went for a drive. I sat at home distraught. I hated to see him like this. In so much pain after all this time living a lie through fear of rejection and I had done the one thing that hurt him the most. I knew then that if we were to get through this then full transparency was needed. We had to agree to be open and honest with each other. We had to tell each other exactly how we felt and ensure that we continue to be honest throughout the transition. We came to an understanding that night. I was to tell Dan if I felt his personality was changing and he was to tell me his thoughts and fears.
Looking back now, that night needed to happen. For both of us. It was a pivotal moment in our relationship. I felt that it brought us closer together as a couple and as friends. I know it may sound cliché but he is my best friend. He has always been there for me, especially with issues surrounding my mental health, and I could not imagine him having to do this on his own. I knew then that I could not hold him back. If Dan was to fulfil his dream of living authentically then I had to step back and let him do what he had to do. Even if it meant I would lose him.
What are your thoughts on the changes that are happening?
I honestly thought it would be harder than it has been. In my mind I couldn’t imagine sharing a bed with someone with so much hair! I don’t know what I was expecting but I think I was expecting the changes to happen overnight. Thankfully, with the changes being as gradual as they have been, its been easier to come to terms with. I guess it’s the same as every change a person goes through in their life; it becomes ‘normal’ and after time you forget how it used to be.
The changes so far have been mostly male pattern hair growth. Dan has hair EVERYWHERE! It’s lovely to see the smile on his face when a new hair starts growing, or his moustache becomes fuller.
The next hurdle will be surgery and honestly I cannot wait. The look on his face when he comes round from surgery will be something to remember. I think we are both equally looking forward to that day.
Do you think I have changed?
Simply put, yes. Thankfully each change has been a positive one. Dan is more confident around people now. While he is still shy and somewhat introverted, he has opened up more to family and friends. I do think that some of this may be down to the hormone therapy but I think the biggest part of it is knowing that he can finally be himself and not have to live a lie. The other big change is his sex drive. He has always had a pretty high sex drive since we have been together but this is a whole new bloody ball game! I don’t think a day has gone by without him mentioning it…
How did you find calling me Danny and changing pronouns?
At the beginning it was hard. We have never really called each other by our first names, its always been babe or similar, so it was only really when we were out that names came into play. During the first few months I think I avoided it when out in public, such as shopping, as to begin with it felt a bit awkward. I would force myself to use Danny’s name around friends and family so that it became more normalised. Now it just comes naturally.
The only times I struggled with pronouns was when others would still use she/her. There have been a few slip ups along the road where I have misgendered Danny. It is bound to happen so I tried not to beat myself up too much when I got it wrong. I cannot remember the last time I got it wrong, even when others continue to knowingly misgender him, I continue to use him/he/his without a stutter.
Do you feel your identity has changed?
This is a tough one. It’s a yes and no answer. As I mentioned above, my identity doesn’t define me, it is a part of what makes me who I am but it is not what I am. I don’t like labels and try not to define my sexuality but I understand that other people may need labels for them to understand diversity. And that is ok. There have been a few people who have tried to force their views on me. Some have gone so far as to tell me I am no longer able to identify as a lesbian. My answer to them has always been the same. You do not get to dictate my identity as I do not get to dictate yours. For those who still struggle to understand I guess, to put a label on myself, I would consider being homoflexible… Just to add another prefix to the LGBTQ+ umbrella 🙂
Where my identity/sexuality hasn’t changed is attraction. I am not sexually attracted to men, I never have been, that hasn’t changed, but that doesn’t have to detract from Dans ‘maleness’. I am still completely smitten with him and his masculinity. The sexual attraction has not changed since the first day I met him. If anything I am more attracted to him now than I have ever been. I can only put this down to the personal growth Dan has achieved since coming out as trans. Its not a purely physical/sexual attraction but an emotional one too.
What is the biggest change in our relationship during the transition?
This is a tough one. We are so much stronger both intimately and emotionally. I think that we are more aware of each others feelings than we once were. I sometimes feel that Dan can be more short with his responses to me. Often he will answer me and I misunderstand the tone or his choice of words. Thankfully, with the openness and honesty we pledged to each other we can often talk it through and come out the other side.
Do you have any advise for other partners who are in a relationship with someone who is, or is thinking of, transitioning?
The most important thing is communication. Be honest with each other. Its OK to feel like your entire world is turning upside down. Its OK to be scared or fearful of the future. It’s OK to get names and pronouns wrong once in a while. We’re not all perfect. It’s OK to want to run and hide, to cry yourself to sleep because you feel like you are losing the one you love. All of these things are OK but you must talk about your feelings with each other. The transition is not just about the one transitioning. Ensure you have a great support network with friends and family, or even someone neutral such as a therapist if you feel you need it, to talk about the things you may not be able to express to your partner. Be honest. And above all don’t beat yourself up about the things you have no control over. Share the process with each other, both the good and the bad. It isn’t easy being the partner of someone who is transitioning but as long as you are open and honest with each other you can overcome the hurdles facing you.
Just take it one day at a time.
I will be writing a monthly Q&A blog post so please feel free to send a message anonymously or comment below with any questions you have and I will answer them as best I can.
~ Nicola ~