The End

I can say in full sincerity 2019 is the hardest year I’ve ever had. I thought the year Katie came out was difficult. I thought I knew struggle. As I turned toward learning about Katie’s depression, wading knee-deep in the murky headwinds of uncertainty, I’ve discovered more about myself and what I’m capable of. I challenged myself beyond a capacity I previously understood possible. I started graduate school to become a marriage and family therapist. I started a new job. I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I look at it now and see immense pain. I see two people in incredible, unbearable, and isolated pain.

On December 10th when I got home for our regularly scheduled therapy session, Katie was low, lost in the spiral trap her mind sets for her. I asked if she wanted to join the session. I wasn’t sure of the protocol here – if we both don’t join, do we have to pay a cancellation fee? Am I allowed to do our couples session alone? If we had discussed this before in session, I didn’t remember. I didn’t want to do a session with Katie in this mood. It’s not productive and double the work for me. I have to have the conversation essentially alone. Katie from some depth of her self insisted on doing the session. Some part of me thinks she didn’t want to shirk on her responsibilities, although I would have been fine to do it alone. Not angry, not upset. Anything I talked about with our therapist would have been shared with her. I have nothing to hide.

In session, I described Katie’s mood. We talked about what to do if one of us can’t join. Then I began to describe what I had noticed in Katie from Thanksgiving weekend. There is a cycle to her depression: She wakes up sad, she becomes anxious about her inability to do things as she wants to, she becomes more anxious in consideration of the impact on me, she has an anxiety attack, and finally, at some point, she recovers. As I’ve come to understand this pattern, to me it seemed clear we needed to identify a way for Katie to focus on herself, and not on me, during her down days. How do we help her build habits to prevent the anxiety attack?

As I talked in session, Katie chimed in here and there, but was minimally able to participate. I asked her what was needed to help her heal. How can I help? How can I convey to her that I’m going to be okay and I will do what it takes to help her? Does she need a leave of absence from work? What? Katie told me she didn’t think she ever was going to want to have kids. This was something we had talked about, but the comment came out of left field. I reassured her I would be okay if this was the case. Then, I asked the question I’ve been afraid to ask, but knew I needed to: do you need our relationship to be over so you can get better? Katie immediately started crying and everything began to move in slow motion. Underneath a rainfall of tears Katie told me she didn’t think she could get better while in this relationship. She also didn’t think it was fair to me to stay in our relationship.

It was almost the end of session. I looked from Katie to our therapist and noticed our therapist wipe tears from her eyes. I asked Katie if we could wait to make any decisions. Can we continue to talk about this? I told our therapist we’d see her in a couple weeks. After the session ended, I don’t really remember anything aside from crying. We both sobbed, big large audible cries you think can only happen to other people. I left the room to go to bed, dinner seemed like a ridiculous idea and I wasn’t hungry. I lay down in our guest room and sobbed. Katie came in and held me. We didn’t sleep much. We didn’t talk. We cried.

Unsure of what happened or how to process our conversation, I moved through the next 48 hours in a daze. Due to prior commitments, it was a couple days before we could speak again. I went to my own therapy session with my therapist and found myself instilled with hope that maybe our relationship wasn’t ending, maybe we needed to separate, to work on our individual selves. On Thursday, we left for Texas, to my sister’s baby shower. Before leaving I reconfirmed Katie even wanted to go. I would understand if she didn’t and knew I could explain it if she wasn’t there. I wasn’t ready to tell my family what was happening. I didn’t want to overshadow my sister’s event and the shower was already incredibly stressful for me without whatever was happening with me and Katie. This shower was the primary subject of my own therapy for months. My entire family would be there. My mother and father, grandmother, people who hadn’t been in the same room since our wedding. My whole family was meeting Katie since she came out. None of them had visited since it happened, and Katie hadn’t traveled with me since. I honestly needed Katie there, needed an advocate who listened to the high-pitched notes of my anxiety. She came and I’m still so grateful. I don’t know if I could have done the weekend without her reassurance of my thinking. Family is hard for me.

On our last day in Texas (Monday), we got to accompany my sister to a sonogram and see the cheeks which now adorn my beautiful niece. Unfortunately, my sister was admitted to the hospital with low fluid levels in the placenta and we left my mom and sister at the hospital to go home. We weren’t sure when we left if they would need to induce my sister at 35 weeks. The last three weeks of 2019 were spent in and out of the hospital playing the “Is today the day for the baby or not” game none of us knew existed. It finally became necessary to induce my sister early and my niece finally came on December 27th, 2019. Isabella Rose Wood. She’s perfect.

After Texas, on Tuesday, I met Katie after her therapy session so I could get a ride home. On our way, I ran through my list to-do that night which included grocery shopping for the Christmas Dinner served at Lambert House the following day. As we drove, Katie barely participated in the conversation, which at some point turned toward our relationship and the future. I noticed she wasn’t participating in the conversation on this subject at all while we were in Texas. She stayed silent, not acknowledging the hope I saw in our future, at the path I could see in our lives together. In the parking lot of Fred Meyer, I asked her: Do you see any hope here? Do you see any future, any chance of this working? No, she told me, I don’t. In two short words my whole life changed. In a similar fashion to our conversation on the couch two years earlier, I felt Katie pull the rug from under me, felt my world completely melt into the seconds comprising the minutes of a moment. Her mind was made up and the two years of work we had done on our marriage, our memories, our lives together all abrasively switched to the past tense, to a thing that was.

I used to wonder how I would end this blog. How do you end a story not yet written? I used to think this blog was about the hope you can have through transition, about the possibility of love existing as gender changes. I still see that story, but it’s different now. To explain the absolute devastation I feel would be to use every word already used by anyone writing about heartbreak. Learning that love isn’t enough will be the hardest thing I ever learn. There’s no going back now and I’m not sure how to make sense of the journey. How do you repair when love wasn’t enough?

All of this to say, this will be the last post on this blog for a while. I’m not willing to say it will be the last post forever. I am not a fortune teller. For the time being I don’t have a story to write for you. The path to my personal repair outside my relationship with Katie isn’t the story of TisforTrans. TisforTrans is the story about a love that guided a cisgender wife down a precarious, isolated journey when her wife came out. This was the story of a person who learned to advocate for her wife, for trans people, but most importantly, for herself. I deserve better than someone who cannot see the future with me. Knowing this is something I couldn’t have learned without Katie or the last two years. I somehow still find myself humbled, grateful, and full of hope for my future. If I can love like this, what else is possible within me? I can’t wait to find out.

 

P.S.

I plan to keep the email live if anyone should want to reach out. I can’t promise to respond because I need to take care of myself for a while, but I cannot say how much comfort I’ve found in corresponding with those who read this blog and I hope to at some point continue to provide comfort to all of you who need it. Just remember, especially if you’re new here: you are loved and you are enough.

Love, Natalie

23 thoughts on “The End

  1. itsamomthing9

    Your blog has been a trenendous source of strength and encouragement for me. I only hope you find as much of the same as you move forward in to this next step in your journey. You are not alone, and you, too, are enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Meggan

      I am grateful that I found your blog, and it has helped me understand my situation and to put things in perspective. I hope you are able to heal and find some peace, and one day you’ll have another story to tell. Thank you for sharing your journey, and may 2020 be the start of the next chapter.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Kathleen

    I hope that you find the healing and love that you need. This blog provided a great encouragement for me when I first found out my spouse was trans. I was able to learn and grow thanks to much of the information you provided. Even though things turned out differently than you had hoped, you are still loved and are enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gayle

    You are amazing! I can not wait to find out what else you are capable of! You have chosen unconditional love for Katie. It is more than admirable. Now you must grow yourself and find your new beginnings! Know that you have family that stands with you. Please stay in contact. With much love and support!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Donna Selwood

    Oh Natalie! This is my biggest fear, that love just isn’t enough. My heart is breaking for you. Take your time to heal, for yourself. You have given so much. Many hugs! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynn Jones

    I hope you find what you need to, to go to where you need to be, and be who you need to be. Reading your posts has been enlightening and amazing. Wishing you lots of luck for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tai

    I’m am deeply sorry and wish you the best you are a strong woman and will be able to get through this.

    I finally came to grips with my spouse being transgender 3 years ago and I am not sure where we would be in the future. But I am hoping with my faith in God and the LOVE and the family we created will be enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dustbunnies436

    I’m so sorry. I want to give you the biggest hug. I think I only recently discovered your blog, and immediately admired your strength and compassion and emotional honesty. Thank you for blogging. If you ever blog about your experiences beyond TisforTrans, I hope to discover your words again. You sound like an awesome human.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Natalie, I’m so very very sorry to hear this. Your blog was my only source of comfort when my partner first came out as trans and even though it’s hasn’t worked out you’ve helped so many people along the way, and for that we are all incredibly thankful. Please look after yourself and work on what you need, I’ve loved reading your posts so if you wanted to write just about yourself I would definitely read that too. Sending lots of hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cura

      Julie! I feel just like this i just want to ignore it so it will go away! Such a similar situation to yours- but my SO has only come out to his new friends online. We had some kinky fun with different dress in the bedroom- but i had NO IDEA what i was signing on for! After finding out (that i did quite by accident – then couldn’t look away) i felt like an unraveled sweater. My entire life, marriage (13 years) was a lie. I’m assured “oh but I love you, she loves you” um… no. I refuse to believe anything based on a lie. I can’t tell anyone. We live in a small town. Everyone would be discussing MY shortcomings by dinner. This is conservative, red, rural area. I’m not being dramatic… and i don’t have the energy for the fallout. Zero support system. No one to talk to or tell. Meanwhile SO has the online support, and now some that are about an hour away. All relationship and emotional energy is diverted to thinking about transition. To these new friends. I’m gutted. An unraveled sweater, a shattered lightbulb. No matter what I’ll never be the same. How can i reconcile that this person I married is dying right in front of me and I’m expected to celebrate it? Embrace it with open arms? I’m no built like that. My first marriage ended in divorce- my ex was lying to me- about everything and had become a drug addict. I left to protect myself and my kids. When I was finally ready to date again i looked for the opposite of what i’d had… now I’m faced with impossible choices yet again.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It is the fear, those of the trans person and the partner, that weighs on a relationship. Many think coming out is the hard part, it isn’t. The hard part is every day after that. It’s sad that it, so far, can’t work for you two. I hope you both find happiness, together or apart.

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  10. Kristina O

    The one thing that we have learned after 5+ years of transition in our 12+ year marriage is that the story is NEVER truly over. Each day presents new challenges and opportunities. My wife and I regretfully separated after declaring ‘success’ 4 years into transition – for just over 2 months October-December 2018. We have spent the last year and we suspect we will spend the rest of our lives quite thankful for this ‘alone time’ to grow – although at the time it really seemed like it truly was ‘the end’ of our joint journey. Neither of you can predict the future and neither can we. What we can offer for you is that we would very much hesitate to declare your joint journey as a married couple as truly having reached ‘the end’ *(just because you or Katie can’t see a way forward….we couldn’t either). It may seem like it, it may feel like it, but there is much truth in saying that there is always a chance that what brought you two ladies together in the first place – will ultimately keep you together – even through a physical separation and the fact that it now looks like there is no hope. We have delighted in hearing your joint journey over the last 2 years and we have wept many tears for you both in hearing the many ways our paths and lives are related. P.S. I am the one who identified as transgender in our marriage and I do hope that my loving wife will also reach out to you and offer her insight in our beautiful love story (which greatly resembles yours). Feel free to reach out to me via email if you would like to continue the discussion; as you are ready.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am sorry to read this. You have been my rock these last few months. I have known for almost 4 yrs that my partner is trans. She has been transitioning for almost a year now. Your blog has helped me see that I am not alone in loving, standing up, supporting, and being open about my relationship with a female. Where I always considered myself as straight. Reading your blog helped me be stronger for my partner. I have been lucky that transitioning has uplifted my partners mood. She is no longer hiding in her office when my family drops in, she has been full involved in their visits. Over all everyone that has known her before transition to now has complimented on how more more pleasent she is to be around. How much more talkative she is and how she no longer looks grumpy. I have been lucky that living mainly as a girl has helped her. Just yesterday she wondered how much longer could she conceal her body. And that probably a couple more months she will have to use the woman’s washrooms full time. I have been lucky that depression has not followed her into transition. That just last week a salesman called us both ladies after he got the Jeep started and ready for us to test drive. I have been lucky even though we mainly have an asexual relationship my partner also confessed one morning that she read most trans-girls talk about their sexual preferances changing, but even though she looks more female, she still loves being with me. She can’t imagine being with guys again or any other female. I hope for you that life works out. With either Katie, or sadly if it isn’t meant to be. You have gave so many of us strength to see our spouses for their beautiful selves. I send you the positive energy you need to be you as things get figured out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Julie Hill-Payne

    Natalie,I have thought for a while now that Katie was bringing you down no matter how supportive you tried to be. Your final post “The End” caught me by surprise, but I have to admit I felt a sense of relief for you that you didn’t have to be the one doing everything for both you and Katie anymore. It wasn’t fair. I have been married for 27 years. My husband admitted he was a crossdresser right before we got married, but he didn’t decide/realize he was transgender until a year or so ago. Unlike Katie, he has embraced it, wearing female attire downtown and letting his friends know before he told me. I felt betrayed but I haven’t been able to decide what to do. He keeps telling more people including everyone at his new job. So far they seem accepting-but I would have waited til the probationary period was over if it were me- and he didn’t even ask what I thought before he outed himself at a meeting where they were offering up things to celebrate. I keep saying I want him to discuss it with me FIRST, not tell me AFTERWARD. Instead, he announces at dinner  who he’s told today like I’m supposed to be happy for him. I don’t want my friends or family to know. I feel like this should be my decision, not my husband’s. They won’t be accepting and I’ll have to hear about it and I don’t want to talk about it or have to defend my inability to know how to move forward. I’m not gay. I am very private. I don’t want to feel vulnerable. And yet I’ve been thrust into this. I don’t want to go to therapy. I want to bury my head in a hole and hope it will go away. We have a special needs daughter and I hate that our antagonism affects her. Enough whining from me. Your blog was one of the few places where the writing spoke to me. You helped me feel less alone. I am sorry your situation ended in a way you didn’t want it to. You bent over backwards for Katie. My husband would be thrilled with you. I hope you continue your studies and become a therapist so you can help people like us who have nowhere to turn. I hope you find peace. You deserve it.Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Emily Anne

    I just found your blog, days after you ended it. I’m sorry that the arch of the last two years has been hard and is ending in a way that is not what your hoped for. I’m gender queer and like Katie in some ways and not in others. I’d like to leave you with this. Katie lived a life secretly dominated by immense shame for likely much of her life. There is no way for her to quickly escape the impact of that experience. Her depression and struggle is rooted there. You were not part of that and it’s not something you can fix. Nor is it something that you have responsibility for. It’s very hard to love someone so steeped in depression. I’m just saying to not be hard on yourself and to give yourself the same love that your would give anyone in your position (the same love I expect you still feel for Katie). You will both get through this. I send you my love and admiration and this admonition from my Grandmother who lived a very hard life: “Get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow will likely be a little better.” Simple words and usually true… eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Natalie, as a trans person, I don’t want to barge too far into your space right now, but I’ve been following your blog since the beginning of my transition, and I just want you to know that your empathy and care for Katie and your relationship together has been a huge support to both myself and my partner who have also experienced something similar to you both. My partner and I also had to come to the realization that our relationship as it had existed previously was not going to work in the context of the new changes in our life, and your posts were an immense help to two people who had no idea how to handle this immense change. I just wanted to express my admiration of you and thankfulness for your thoughts and words! I hope you and Katie continue to find happiness and love in your lives, in whichever form that takes!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. adkelly89

    We all know that when our partner goes through a gender transition, we do as well. It sounds like, in reflecting on the past two years of your transition, you can see many ways that you’ve changed and grown and identified new valued directions to move toward in your future. I strongly feel that length of time is not the only (or best) measure of a relationship’s success and in the case of you and Katie, your sharing through this blog has helped countless strangers and given us a needed source of solidarity. Thank you for doing this, and wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. B

    Hi Natalie…. well, in all of this, I just wanted to check on you to see how you are doing. Time heals. Please treat yourself gently, and let us know how you are faring.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. steffaninelson

    Natalie, you are so admirable in your compassion and empathy for Katie throughout this process and even now, when I’m sure it’s tempting to give in to anger and blame. And even if you do feel anger and blame, the strength that has carried you through this process so far will serve you well as you navigate this new stage of your life. I found your blog when my husband came out as trans/fluid to me and your voice has given me comfort these last few months, just to know that my feelings are normal and I’m not alone. On top of everything else, you are a wonderful writer, I just thought you should know that. Even though I’ve never commented before, I think of you often and hope you’re healing well. The best is yet to come for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. steffaninelson

    Natalie, you are so admirable in your compassion and empathy for Katie throughout this process and even now, when I’m sure it’s tempting to give in to anger and blame. And even if you do feel anger and blame, the strength that has carried you through this process so far will serve you well as you navigate this new stage of your life. I found your blog when my husband came out as trans/fluid and your voice has given me comfort these last few months, just to know that my feelings are normal and I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing your story and helping so many people. On top of everything else, you are a wonderful writer, I just thought you should know that. Even though I’ve never commented before, I think of you often and hope you’re healing well. The best is yet to come for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Anh

    I’ve ready several of the posts so far but when I saw this post I had to read it… I’m sorry things didn’t go as planned (in so many ways). I am amazed and inspired by your strength. Thank you so much for sharing and I wish you the best. You’ve made an impact on my journey so far and I know you have impacted many others. Thank you for being you.

    Liked by 1 person

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