Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sheer bloody-mindedness.

    If you have never cooked hotdogs with a Trangia storm cooker on a cliff top overlooking the North Sea, you haven't lived. If you have ever walked over a moorland summit with breathtaking views only to find yourself in a local dogging hotspot judging by the litter, you have my commiseration. My wife and I are back from a week's holiday doing all the above and more; wandering the Yorkshire uplands by day and sampling the Local Delicacies in the evening. Fish and chips, for example, taste best when bought from a chippy over the road from the quay on which the fish was landed earlier in the day.
    That has been the good part of the last week. The annoying part has been that we're both suffering from interrupted sleep. Sometimes my medication doesn't help much, and my wife has also started having problems remaining asleep.A less-than-comfortable British seaside guesthouse bed didn't help either. Fawlty Towers? In part a comedy, the rest a documentary.
    So I'm back in front of a real computer again, a week's blog posts to catch up with. A week without letting the girl out of the bag has weighed heavily upon me, yet again I'm left with the feeling that I'm not winning this. More than one person has talked to me of the moment at which they realised they had to transition, I have to admit to having reached the point at which I can empathise with that position. I don't want to get up in the morning and be the bloke for the day any more. I should have that particular chat with the psych next time I'm up at the GIC, but I won't. Instead I'll stick to my line, hang in there for my wife. The really sad part? I think she's reached the conclusion that I'm not going to win as well, and since I'm bringing her down simultaneous with doing all this for her that's rather upsetting. Sheer bloody-mindedness, or just stupidity in the face of the inevitable?
    Good holiday though.


  1. I am sorry that it's getting harder for you I can relateto how you feel- nothing ever seems to be enough.

    Confused as to why you won't talk to the GIC about this though. Isn't that what they are there for ? Surely the suggestions they make are still yours to take.


  2. I'm sure this is going to be a really unpopular comment, but the latter half of your post cuts to the core of something I've noticed in my years of reading the blogs, forums and mailings lists of both trans people and their cis partners. (Forgive me, Jenny - I know you've written about this before and I know your own feelings on the matter.)

    Where the couple stays together and there is no transition, the trans partner lives life as a martyr. Where there is transition, (usually) the cis partner lives as a martyr. The typical party line is to say "I love them so much I'm willing to suffer this much for their sake."

    Maybe it's just me, but who really wants to live with a martyr? Who finds it flattering to effectively be told "What I go through to stay with you is killing me, but I'm doing it anyway"? I know that I would find it very discomforting. It wouldn't make me feel loved. True, I have heard people say that the "Jesus complex" is one of the qualities they love about their partner - the self-sacrificing nature - so I guess it's a plus point for some. I just ... don't get it. If something I want or need from my partner is causing them that much agony, I would consider that terminal incompatibility.

  3. @Becca; thanks. By "That conversation" I meant the one that starts "Here's my deed poll, where do I sign my Stat Dec.". I'll certainly talk to them about all this.

    @Sonora Sage: Not unpopular at all, most incisive. I have observed just such couples and I am sure I have my moments myself, as does my wife. However I'd say we're not one of those couples in which all the give is in one direction, we have both made significant acommodations for each other in both directions, and not just in a trans context.

  4. Reaching the point were you know that transition is inevitable is liberating yet it is also a sad moment as it is also the point at which you realise that the marriage is over. I believe that very few marriages can survive that moment. I wish you luck in balancing your need to transition with your love for your wife. I know that dilemma only too well.



  6. I wrote about this area over on UDIC the other day, after reading that partner's unhappy blog. Relationships are a balance between accommodation and selfishness. Selfishness is an important part of us too. And as you suggest, Jenny, there can be other things in a relationship than trans stuff to add stock cubes to the soup. Good luck.

    I found hot dogs a bit disappointing in my Trangia. And you can't really make soup with all that hot water. Or did you fry them? Happiness is a tent in a wild place with a chip shop not too far away.

  7. Jae, I don't perceive anyone in our position does anything without a great deal of thought. Selfish? I know I suffer major guilt trips but my partner has been accommodating because she recognises a life of misery is no life at all - for her or I.  Do I stay, do nothing and be a martyr or do we try and find a way to keep our happiness? Life isn't perfect - I would do more, she wants less but marriage is about compromises - not red lines. 

    Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones - but I was always honest from the outset and whilst WE never wanted this my GID is real and is something that can't be ignored and is too strong to pussy foot around. My wife might view every step as a loss of her man but she sees him replaced by someone who sees delight and colour in life - not sadness and darkness. Love works both ways - she doesn't want to deny me happiness and she also recognises that without change there would be no marriage. Why would anyone choose to live their life with someone who lives their life in pain. Instead she lives with someone who is starting to love life. 

    For the ladies who marriages fall - for those I am truly sorry. At the moment I count my blessings but there are no guarantees. All I know is that if I was in a relationship where there was no room to grow I don't think I could stay. For those ladies who manage to keep a lid on their true selves - they have my admiration. Perhaps their GID is less severe or more likely they are stronger than I. What I don't believe is their love for their partners is stronger than mine. 

    Selfish ? I have done with that self flagellation - it doesn't do anyone any favours. Selfish - you can save that label for someone else. 

  8. Wild things you both are braving the east coast at any time of the year! LOL, but the chips are certainly a plus.
    I empathise and simpathise with your situation, I won't say dilemma because a dilemma is something whereby decisions are difficult to decide upon. According to what you say and have said I believe the both of you know what the outcome is going to be and for the moment are letting things drift along. I don't believe that it has anything to do with selfishness or martyrdom but it does have something to do with love and with that love comes compromise. However as I have said I still believe that there will be a change and you both know that is inevitable.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  9. I hope the fish and chips shop sold battered sausages too? I'm not a fish eater.

    I think so many of us can relate to your situation, obviously as a transman the end result is different, but the pain and feelings are very similar.

  10. Morning everyone, sorry it's been a few days.

    Everyone has their own path. This is mine because it makes sense to me. It might be selfish to push forward regardless of my wife, but is it any less selfish to keep her hanging? My being down brings her down too.

    I have never met the male partner of a transman, either one in my position staying as girl or one transitioning. Shame, our two communities rarely intersect. It's difficult to answer the question "What would I do if my wife was FtM", because I'm not quite the bloke I sometimes appear to be, but it might be illuminating to see the male experience against the last four decades of my frame of reference.

    I boiled the 'dogs. The idea was a minimum hassle meal as close to a BBQ as I could get. Tinned food so no perishables, easy wash pans. It was kinda fun, but not quite a gourmet experience.

    I'm sure these chippies did sausages. But I didn't see, it's the kind of place at which the fish is the main event.

  11. Sigh....I should comment on SS's comment, but don't have it in me right now.

    Jenny, the holiday sounds absolutely fab. Wish I was there to experience it all, especially the fish and chips.

    Calie xxx