I am comforted by the question everybody close to me, either by blood or through life experience and friendship, has asked when I have come out to them. What do you think the most common question I would be asked in that situation?
The most common question I get asked, by far, is a variation of, “What does your wife think about this?”
It is comforting. It is interesting.
What does your wife think about this?
It is as if people are reserving judgement until I answer that question and yet, sometimes, it also seems like a veiled threat that they will judge me if I answer the question, “Incorrectly”.
This blog post has taken me a good while to compose in my head. Why? Well, for starters… as well as I know her, I can not with 100% accuracy say what my wife, “Feels”. She feels it. I do not.
Also, this is my blog, not hers. If you have been reading my posts here, you know there is very little I am unwilling to discuss, examine or talk about. And yet, I respect my wife and her privacy. I respect our special relationship.
If this post comes across as egotistical, there are at least two reasons. 1. I refuse to speak for my wife. 2. Like you all, I am human and therefore, egotistical.
I think #2 is rather self explanatory so allow me to explore #1.
My wife, like myself and my parents, has a list of people she wishes to, “Come out to.” herself, before they hear it second hand or whatnot. This process is ongoing and surprisingly complicated, as we often have to structure the order of people we tell in such a way that our collective circles of friends and family don’t hear it first from someone else. This takes a LONG time. So far, I average 12 or so people a week, my wife goes at her own pace. We wish to give people time to absorb the info, and to keep the influx of new people and questions manageable, so as to give everyone the time they need. Most people’s responses are best summed up with the words, “So?” and/or, “Wow!”. Some people, myself included, have needed a fair bit of time to mourn the loss of my male self. Very, VERY few have reacted in a transphobic way.
You will notice, my wife remains nameless in this post. She very much has a name. It is her name, not this blog’s. You will notice I do not name people in general if I post about them. That is for their potential safety, not just their anonymity. Being out can bring trouble, although I have been lucky thus far.
My relationship with my wife is the closest thing to, “Sacred” I have experienced. I want to keep it close to heart, not a public display of how great we both are.
Therefore, this blog post has been tough to write, and the question, although I now have a bit of practice, is still tough to answer.
If you wish to read about the intimate details we share, keep dreaming.
I will say this. What I do share with my wife, what I have shared, would boggle some minds. What I have not shared with her is rather boring and unimportant. Every prior relationship, love, mistake, desire, tantrum… and even the good things… every single important thing I have done, good or bad, every single person or event which has lingered in my mind, I have shared with my wife, for better or for worse.
So… What does my wife feel about all this?
Well, for starters, I came out to her several years ago. It was after we were engaged, but that engagement was pretty long. The answer though is, “Yes!” if you ever wondered if I told her before we tied the knot. I also told her I didn’t think I would ever transition, and other sweet nothing’s which ultimately turned out to be incorrect. I am better, I suppose, at reporting the past than predicting the future.
Confession time. I think I may have been set on transition by the time we finally got married. I am not entirely sure she knew this at the time as clearly as I did. I do know I was more of a Bridezilla than she was. I can finally laugh about that fact
So, my wife knew I was trans well before she became my wife. I also dumped every other surprise I could think of on her before the big day. It was less an attempt to make her run. More a way to learn how adventurous she truly is. She still wanted the wedding. I’d confirmed what I already knew. I was very lucky. Also, I have exquisite taste.
How does my wife feel about all this?
“All this” does not matter. If our relationship as a wedded couple ever ends it will be my fault, not hers. It will not be because I am trans. It will happen if I insist on continuing the terrible behavior patterns that led to my suicide attempt. Imagine the unfair weight THAT places on my wife! We BOTH are done with Tommy. He was a dangerous asshole. Sadly, he meant well. May he rest in peace.
Things are far from perfect between us just like any relationship. Things can be quite mundane. I have put a lot of stress on her due to my alcoholism and unemployment. She is all kinds of supportive of my transition as it makes room for behavior changes and progress on my part.
So when people ask me, “How does my wife feel about all this?” I am kind of at a loss as to what to say. I know what they are really saying is: “If you blindsided your wife with this transition, I will really struggle to support you.” My wife has been the barometer for others to gauge the weather.
To have a wife like mine is to be very lucky. She did not sign up for all I have burdened her with. I am improving but these improvements are quite burdensome as well. I am so filled with positive emotions, I can not control myself. I can literally be insanely happy at times.
Imagine being so incapable of feeling positive things for decades, that when you finally do feel the good feelings you do not know how to manage the emotion. I never learned how to harness my positive energy. And my wife has a front row seat. Sure, things are better than they were, but my wife frequently has the unfortunate task of taking care of a toddler rather than being with a spouse.
How does my wife feel about all this? I am surprised she is still kicking. She has seen me through my most volatile and dangerous time. If she ever needs to leave me, that will be her choice. I mean this in the most positive way possible. Because of her, I have finally found a place in life where I do not need a full time caretaker. I do want this to last. We are finally going to have a chance to have fun!