An Introduction: The Outing

On September 9, 2017 I woke up hungover. I had been out the night before with friends until an hour that was later than preferred. Gin and soda with lime: so wonderful in the moment and so awful the next day. Kyle went to get me a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, a routine that I regret every time I think about it because it costs too much and is such a millennial thing to do. When he got back we proceeded to commence the healing process of sitting on the couch and reliving the wonder that is being young, living in our wonderful city, and having no time-obligation.

At some point during this decompression, I remembered that I needed to ask him about some things that I had noticed. I remembered that I couldn’t procrastinate any longer the third person in our room, the changes that had taken place over the summer. In August on a camping trip with friends, Kyle admitted to me while we were on a walk that he had been extremely depressed. I responded in a way I’m not proud of. I was angry he had hidden it from me. What does it say about our marriage if we keep secrets from each other and he can’t trust me enough to let me help him with something like this? Also, how self-focused was I that I didn’t notice? It was sometime during the week following that trip that I was listening to a podcast in which the host interviewed a teenager transitioning from Male-to-Female (MtF) and it occurred to me there was more going on than just the depression. Kyle was growing out his hair for charity.  Kyle shaved his beard, a token of his manhood and the one thing I could never get him to shave when it was at it’s most unappealing and straggle-y-est (not a word, don’t care). Kyle got his toenails painted for the first time after 2 years of going with me to the nail salon. Did all of these things add up?

I spent the next few weeks knowing I needed to ask, knowing I couldn’t ignore the little voice in my head that said “you’re not wrong and you can’t ignore it”, but I couldn’t find the right time. I didn’t want to ask during the week, on a school night, because I knew the conversation should it go the direction my gut said it was going, wouldn’t be a short one, and that going to work the next day wouldn’t be possible. I knew that my asking about how A+B+C might = T would change my life forever. It sounds dramatic when I say “forever”, and I’m fully accountable to that, but imagine for a moment that you are dating someone where you had no idea this was happening. Imagine, you married them. You imagined your life on the porch as an old person with another old person who is supposed to be a certain gender. You hit them with your cane in that image because it’s funny and that’s what the two of you always talked about. That image in your mind is what you said “I do” to on an anxiety-filled day at his parents house in front of 120 people. That’s who you made plans to travel the world with and have babies with and reflect on that time you regretfully got a second cat because you’re both idiots who thought your first cat was lonely. How am I supposed to take the image of my life, throw it in the shredder, and become that couple that keeps happening in highly-publicized tv dramas?How am I supposed to break my own heart?

I paused whatever was on Netflix and asked my beautiful, kind, wonderful, genuine husband about all of the things that I had noticed since he told me about the depression 3 weeks earlier. I’ll never forget the way he looked at me as he readjusted his position on the couch to fully face me and tell me the story that breaks so many others in similar situations. I watched him cry as he looked at me with total trepidation, afraid of my reaction. I can’t say I remember the entirety of the conversation, but I will never forget the vulnerability on Kyle’s face as he took steps forward and stepped into the light that will inevitably shine the pathway of his life moving forward. It changed both of us. It changed our marriage. It changed me.

That conversation and the three months since have brought me to here. I tried to journal about my experiences as the wife of a human who is transitioning from male to female, but I’m inherently lazy and handwriting anything takes too long which lead to a lack of documentation. I’m here, where I can type my tragedy, tears, and humor about it all for myself and anyone else who needs it. Why?

There isn’t very much out there for those of us who find out while in their late-twenties that their spouse is transgender. There is very little for women like me, who don’t know if they can love a woman in the same way they love their husband. I’ve looked in a lot of places (Reddit, books online, online magazines, articles written by experts, that Amazon show Transparent to name a few), but none of them seem to depict a relatable image for my specific scenario. Granted, it’s a big world and I’m at the beginning of this journey, so I’m confident that I’m not seeing all there is. Needless to say, this blog is about my life post-Outing. The confusion, tears, jokes, self-doubt, and unmistakable pain are mine and they are as real as I can remember them. I’m doing this for myself, because I want to remember what it felt like to examine the depths of my being and to redefine what I think “marriage” is. I’m also doing this for those on this planet who might need to find someone that hasn’t been married for over 20 years, doesn’t have kids, and doesn’t know if they can be in love with the woman their husband didn’t start as.

I feel it necessary to say that at this very moment I’m still getting used to the pronouns and the new name. I haven’t decided if Kyle will be the name I use when I refer the time pre-Outing. To be clear, the only thing I do know is eventually my husband will anatomically be my wife and her name will be Katie (according to the legal system). Emotionally I go in-between recognizing each version of my spouse. When I’ve explained what this experience is like to the family, friends, and coworkers that know, I tell them it’s like a death. I’m watching the slow death of my life as I know it sleep in the bed next to me, make me dinner, go to therapy, host Canadian Thanksgiving, and be my absolute best friend. It’s a death that I don’t get to say goodbye to with a funeral and lasagnas sent over by friends who don’t know what to say. It’s a death that has limited support groups for spouses (one in all of Seattle as of right now – are you fucking serious?!). It’s a death no one relates to, because most people don’t even know they’ve ever met someone transgender. Our society doesn’t even know to the extent this is not just the fad reality show conversation soaked in the controversy of bathroom-bills and Caitlin Jenner. I know this now more than I ever did before September 9th of this year. Maybe, if anyone reads this, they will too.

I also acknowledge that there are probably 100 ways I’ve offended people in this blog because of my own naiveté on the subject. My spouse and I are fully invested in learning through this experience together. We are committed to doing what’s right for the other no matter what the means to our marriage. We are individually committed to seeing where this path leads. AND I’M LEARNING. Please go easy on the girl who has limited resources when it comes to how to be the best wife in this situation for MY spouse. Katie knows what works for her and I trust her to tell me when I step on an uneducated landmine. Our story is ours, and yours is yours. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that no one-size actually fits all (those people that make one-size clothing are fucking liars. That shirt never looks as good on the Large chest as it does on the Extra Small one) and I judge myself enough without the judgement of others.

31 thoughts on “An Introduction: The Outing

  1. Angelica

    Oh, my heart. I cried almost this entire blog. You’re not only an inspiring writer, but an amazing person. I feel your words…so heavy. And I’m sending you all the love in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Les Addison

    Glad to find your blog. I got married (for the first time) in 1986, to someone who I knew was trans, though she was in egg mode at the time. I knew I was bi, so it was a different story and process, but I’m nonetheless glad to have more voices in the conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Les! Thank you for reading and reaching out. Sometimes I can’t help but think my life would be so much simpler if I considered myself Bi. Were there ever resources that were helpful for you when it was more difficult, if It was ever more difficult?

      Like

      1. Les Addison

        I managed to “meet” online one other wife of someone who was transitioning and not planning to divorce, and that was helpful for me. I look forward to reading more of your story.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Daniëlle

    I want to write you a bit more when I get the chance, but for now, I just want to say THANK YOU.
    I’m in my late twenties, not married but in a decade long relationship with my best friend who outed herself mtf almost exactly a year ago today. And you are right, there is so little out there for people like us and I recognize so much here already. Warm Regards

    Like

  4. Haley

    Hello, so glad to come across your blog. My spouse of 6 years and partner of 9 recently came out as mtf. We are in our early 30s, and now facing a series of great unknowns. I resonate with a lot of things you said in this blog as my wife and I are embarking on our own (likely similar and very different) journey. As you mentioned, there are very few resources for young spouses of transgender partners. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stephani Q. Fluke

    Hey, I must start of all hail seattle!!!! Lol I grew up on Bangor submarine base in the Bremerton/Silverdale area, spent many a days over in Seattle. Love it so much. I am a mtf woman and in a long term relationship with a ftm man and we get the struggle. I can personally relate to how hard it is to find research or support for people with transgender partners and trust me you live in a great area for LGBTQ + people like us. I recently moved to a small town in oregon to raise our kids (mine from previous marriage) with the good small town America values and needless to say we face A LOT of discrimination and other uncomfortable situations we only leave our house any more to meet with other lgbtq we trust or we obsolutly have to (food, doctors, kids, that kind of stuff). We are planning to move back to the greater seattle area as soon as we can to get in to a more liberal and accepting city. I would be happy to help you learn in any way I can. Best of luck to you and your wife Katie. Look forward to hearing back from you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stephani! Thank you for reading and taking the time to reach out! I definitely feel incredibly lucky to live where we live. The fear of leaving our home is not as present as it could be in other parts of the world which is a blessing.

      Like

      1. Stephani Q. Fluke

        Well maybe we can ” hang out ” (talk) and become friends. As I mentioned in my previous comment, my partner and I are looking at moving to the Seattle area. It would be nice to have friends to meet up with when we get in.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Liz

    Hi, I just wanted to write to say that I’m glad I found your page. Thank you for posting this and adding another page for other people to read and relate to and comment upon. It’s so important
    XOX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quotidienne30

      I may be a year behind the 8 ball here, but I just wanted to say I’m so happy and relieved I found your blog. Our stories share many similarities. My husband of 3.5 years, partner of 8.5 years came out mtf trans to me four months ago. We are still at the very beginning of our journey, but committed to making our relationship work. I can’t wait to read your other posts

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your story is exactly what I’ve been searching for. I can relate directly to Katie as I discovered this part of myself shortly after my wife and married. I am so grateful to read this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elexa

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog. I too think handwriting is far too slow to process really thoughts on this topic. It’s so important to know we aren’t all wondering down this path alone. If it wasn’t for bloods like yours and online support groups, I can’t imagine how isolating this experience could be!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maddy

    My fiancee just sent me a link to your blog. He (now she!!) discovered in December of 2017 that he was transgender. We’ve gone through counseling and through the transition as a team. Thank you for being a positive voice and sharing this side of the story 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Donna

    This what I need to hear today. I’m in the UK and today my husband of almost 8 years and friend of 20years told me he is Emily. He’s felt this way for a year. We now start the journey of informing our friends, family and our son who is 5. I don’t know where I see our marriage but I know I need to support him truly be Emily. Have you discovered any global spouse support groups?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna! You are so brave. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and reach out during what I imagine is a difficult and confusing time.

      I don’t have a lot of information about Global support beyond Reddit. The My Partner is Trans Group is overwhelming, but very helpful. I’ve seen quite a few posts from folks internationally seeking connection within their region and there is healthy response.

      Like

  11. Hi. Thank you for your blog. I just found it recently. My partner’s Outing was just over 3 yrs ago. After being together for 15 years. First to me late one night. We talked, I cried, we came together and re-kindled our relationship, and almost became alcoholics due to the stress. 6 weeks later we told our kids and our middle child asked us to quite drinking so much, it wasn’t that big a deal.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Meg

    Thank you for the blog, right now my spouse is making the change after being married 10 years with three kids. Reading this helps me out, I feel bad saying the wrong thing and worried I’m doing things wrong but at least I know it takes time to learn and understand better and give all my support.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for your kind words , my wife and I have been working on this for the passed 47 years , it never gets any easier, we just keep learning and moving forward , and learning what mistakes not to make again , you have the right attitude and are both very bright people , just found your blog and will try to check in from time to time
    Hugs Susie

    Liked by 1 person

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