When a relationship starts simple mental strands bond together. You go out and when you’re apart you think about each other, another strand attaches. Then one of you declares your love and the other confirms and more strands connect. Then you move in together. You share life experiences. That romantic film you saw together that you repeat phrases and laugh in reminiscence of for which holds so many parallels in your relationship. The deep orange from that candle on the table lighting their face.
When you break up one or two of those strands break under the stress and cause pain but every other strand remains firmly connected from years of bonding and strengthening. That is the difficulty – an emotional mourning loss that can’t be disconnected overnight with even a few strands between you years later.
The first time telling a partner about a gender identity disorder can be the most painful and naive moments in life with everlasting effects. I had lived with the gender thing since I was about three with an accumulation of experience and feelings but still a lack of understanding of what it actually is, why it is and the causes which none of us know I was probably naively expecting her to understand, even though telling her about it was the hardest thing I had done until that moment.
I had read from experiences online with suggestions such as ‘don’t rush into things’ but given the pressure cooker that had built up to that moment that made me tell her about it I had taken to my newly assigned freedom. It could have been both the worst and best mistake I had made. Taking things slowly allows for acclimatisation and spared feelings. Taking things quickly gets the truth out in the open and decisions on the future of the relationship without wasting further time; quickly pulling the sticking plaster off the cut. We weren’t married and we didn’t have children and in some sense this made things easier but the strands were still just as strong as they would have been.
It has to be coming up to ten years ago when it happened for me and the hurt that it caused, one of the few bad parts of the gender thing, has long since passed and lives have moved on apart but I still see the same situation everywhere. I see people online in forums and in blogs going through the process. Opening up to wives and children, then closely following limitations put on so-called being that other personality that the partner insists on in an attempt to limit how far it will go. A pressure cooker without a valve further pushing that other side to grow and become. Then the final decision, separation and divorce which in so many cases is the inevitable; after all the partner never fell in love with the person you are inside but the person they thought you were as a whole. It’s heart breaking.
I don’t regret telling her about it and I wish I could regret the relationship ending but it was, like many, inevitable without living a lie. I still don’t know how those who keep it from their partners deal with the pressure of not being free to be who they want to be whenever. I suppose they have moments where they can release that pressure from time to time and those odd days every month or week is enough for them to be content. Jenny on the weekend, John at work. For me the more I move forwards the less I want to go back and the more freedom I want.
This is what is essential for those who are deciding to do this now. I don’t think the decision is really whether someone wants to risk their marriage or relationship and trying to decide whether it’s a real genuine authentic thing that someone wants; it’s one of the hardest things to acknowledge unless they are without question one hundred percent sure. One possible way to decide though might be based on whether the problem is getting worse internally. Are you getting more stressed? Is the desire to be becoming too great to handle? Is it eating away at you every day, every minute? This might not be enough alone to decide on telling something so personal that might change your whole life but it might be enough to recognise whether you should get some help through counselling, psychiatry and psychology before then moving on. Then again I have met some people who are perfectly happy in some kind of mild form of gender identity where they are content to be who they are from time to time and the jack just has no intention of coming out of the box; and that is also fine.
Recognising that fact and making the decision to just remain exactly where you are – as you are is a life changing decision in itself. It can give you the ability to move on with your life in other areas and allow you to enjoy everything else. The important thing is the choice being yours and being true to yourself. There will always be ups and downs in whatever choice is made, some huge, but the important thing is to get the right help and the right outlook on the future and why you’re doing whatever it is you decide to do.
Until next time