Defining Away Happiness

Two years ago, my ex would have told you that he was extraordinarily happy. And it showed. He adored me and said he couldn’t imagine life without me. He was content, easy-going, had a job he loved, and had tons of hobbies. He spent hours puttering in the garden, picking and canning green beans, playing with his nieces, noodling on his guitar. He’d go on a road trip or vacation at the drop of a hat. He didn’t care if we stayed at a five star resort on the beach or a Motel 6 in Mississippi. He was always laughing. Always striking up conversations with strangers. Always finding something interesting to do.

When he first started crossdressing, he told me that I could set limits on where and how often he dressed, if I wanted to, and he told me that he’d never let it come between us. He had a good time shopping in those early days, walking around the mall in a fringy top and boots, finding a sale on scarves. In those days, he said he was a man, and that he just wanted to express himself more. He was still happy. Maybe even happier than before.

He has a couple dozen extremely smart, loyal friends whom he used to see once or twice a week. Not a single one of them raised an eyebrow when he started to crossdress, and they welcomed him with open arms. Many told him he was brave and beautiful.

He has a large family that gets together for every major and minor holiday and every birthday. They were perplexed by his new behavior, but didn’t let it show. They didn’t talk about it much, but continued to invite him to events and didn’t even ask him not to dress in front of the children, as many families apparently do.

A recipe for happiness, some might say. Supportive wife, supportive friends, supportive family. Strong relationships. Smart, caring people all around. Even after he “came out.”

But somewhere along the way, he decided that he was “literally” a woman and would become suicidal if he thought of himself in any other way. And he started refusing to abide any opinion to the contrary.

It wouldn’t be good enough for his friends to gender him the way he preferred and to refer to him as a woman in public. It wouldn’t be good enough for them to think of him as a gender-nonconforming male and to be completely accepting of that. He required unequivocal compliance with his new definition of woman (one he himself didn’t hold months ago). He required his female friends to redefine themselves to accommodate him. He required everyone to lie to him in private as well as respect his desires in public.

He felt betrayed and devastated to hear that some of his friends did not in fact think of him as a woman. He didn’t respond to this news by giving them the benefit of the doubt, by reaching out to them, by talking to them. Instead, he began to remove himself from situations in which he might hear any opinion he found inconvenient.

Today, he has little contact with his friends and family. He barely speaks to me even when we meet to conduct divorce business. He has no job. He lives impoverished in a tiny apartment with roommates, and seems to have lost his phone and internet access. He’s stopped responding to his mail and bills and has apparently abandoned all hobbies. When he does post on social media, it’s a selfie, a pitch for a transgender rights event, or to say he’s depressed.

So much life, so much love, so much support diminished over definitions.





14 thoughts on “Defining Away Happiness

  1. Wow! This is definitely a mental illness. The fact that it came on so suddenly makes me wonder what caused it. He obviously didn’t have gender dysphoria only two years ago, so what changed? He should have gone to counseling when he realized something was wrong with his life, instead of digging himself in deeper.

    Liked by 3 people

      • It does seem like that going to a gender counselor is a surefire way to speed up the process towards full transition. I’ve just read about a bipolar person whose sudden transness was affirmed by a gender counselor even though he was going through a hypomanic episode at the moment he “realized” he was a she.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Hi there,

        Sorry to hear about this gut-wrenching experience. I am a therapist who is very concerned about the trend to just affirm and confirm people’s identities with no exploration of other issues. How are you coping now?


    • In my experience, the more people collude with the delusion, the deeper it gets. It is a case of the internal self being re-enforced by validation. And the more they get, the more they want. Untill their “wants” become “needs”. *That* is the dysphoria. I save my sadness for those they destroy in their wake. Unless they have an actual dissociative mental illness, these men have dug their own pit. I’m afraid to say, my sympathies lie elsewhere.

      Liked by 8 people

    • I’m doing fantastic, to be honest. I have several projects in the works that are keeping me busy and making me grow as a human and putting me on the path toward happiness. Recently he started cyberstalking me, lying to all our friends about me, and acting crazier than ever, which while that sucks, only affirms that he was hell-bent on destroying our relationship and that my marriage wasn’t going to last no matter what choice I made. There is a certain freedom in that realization.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Extremely sad. It definitely sounds like he should have done some deep soul searching as to what was going on. He sounds stuck in a place of deep pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing, women need to hear your stories, our stories. The public needs to hear how traumatizing this phenomenon is for the women involved.

    All the young genderqueer “transmen” that the transactivists trot out into the public eye are women who clearly would have been lesbians a decade earlier. No heterosexual man would go through this kind of trauma. No therapist would sit in a chair and expect him to validate his wife “becoming” a man. No one would expect him to accept being in a “homosexual” relationship with his new “husband”. No one would expect him to take her to his barbershop, add her to his bass-fishing team, bring her to his poker nights, help her be “one of the guys”.

    The lop-sidedness of who is hurt by transgender policies, practices and politics is glaringly misogynist. That our media refuses to report this is sign of a deep and coordinated hatred of women.

    I lived through it, barely. All my first hand experience, and yet I am still amazed by it – this cultivated hatred of women, so brilliantly played out via Gender Identity.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Zounds!

      Pantypopo said, No therapist would sit in a chair and expect him to validate his wife “becoming” a man. No one would expect him to accept being in a “homosexual” relationship with his new “husband”. No one would expect him to take her to his barbershop, add her to his bass-fishing team, bring her to his poker nights, help her be “one of the guys”.

      I never thought about it that way before! Nobody ever mentioned this before. This is brilliant. Exactly. Yet sex reversed this is exactly what wives of crossdressers and transgenders are being expected to do. WTF?! if somebody eventually makes up a pamphlet Intro to the Transgender Mess, this should be in it.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I know this is a bit of an old post… I found your blog kinda randomly, and I feel like I have something to add to the conversation, maybe. At least, in terms of my story.

    First up, I identify as non-binary, which probably doesn’t make me the most popular person here… but I don’t identify as trans, and I don’t flip out over pronouns – I cannot deny the femininity of my body, and I cannot hide it, nor do I desire to change it at all. I also cannot deny the impact that being treated as female has had on my life, and that I at times have fears/worries/concerns which are completely unknowable to men.

    Anyway, the point. Up until 13 or so years ago, my family was me, my sister, my mum, and my dad. Then stuff started to happen… my sister noticed first, complaining that the bathroom was a mess, covered with hair shavings. When each of us denied leaving the mess my dad scurried off to clean it up, thinking we wouldn’t notice. My dad suddenly went on a diet, losing weight way too fast (I’m realising now that it must have been some kind of disordered eating, as I’ve done the same myself). Somehow or other it came out that he had started dressing as a woman, but this was never discussed other than in hurried sorta whispers. There was no explanation, or coming out, or anything. Probably we weren’t worth telling the truth.

    Around that time my grandmother’s second husband died. He had no family, so left the money to her children. Tens of thousands of pounds. My dad spent it all on fetish-looking pleather dresses, wigs, and clubbing 60 miles away (because apparently the gay club in my home town is not good enough, and who cares about credit card debt when you have shoes to buy). I know this because I found photos on the family computer, and found out he’d been calling himself Mindy of all things. (I never told or showed my sister any of this. I think I delved into his internet history too but I can’t remember what I found. I knew he would find out but at this point I didn’t care, when it came to computers I was the alpha nerd haha!) I felt horrible – like my own body was being reduced to a caricature, like this fetish was meant to represent his view of me and my sister and my mother. It didn’t help that my dad was sometimes sexist towards us, so I was furious that he wanted to dress like us while not seeing us as equals. I felt like I was just meat.

    He also started cheating on my mum with some other woman, because apparently she understood him better than my mum, who was still standing by him and managing to hold shit together. I don’t know how my mum put up with it. Maybe she was so beaten down by his bullshit by this point that it was just more to add to the pile.

    I know that amongst trans people it is politic to deny autogynephilia exists within any part of the scene… but I am certain that my dad was autogynephiliac. He had no interest in dressing in clothing a regular woman would wear – just the leather rubbery abominations he had. I have nothing against a guy wanting to wear a skirt if he wants to, whatever, but this wasn’t like that. There’s no other word to describe his dressing than as a fetish.

    Anyway, I was still kinda young at the time. I didn’t know that much about the world really, so I couldn’t help my gut feeling of revulsion, betrayal (because it was all hidden) and distress as my family was clearly going to fall apart. I was raised to be kinda stoic and not cry etc etc. so instead I found myself with a knife at my wrist, knowing how to do it properly, thinking I could just get rid of all the crap with one swift slice.

    I pulled back the knife before it hit a vein, and instead texted a friend that I had to move out because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Within a couple of months we’d got a flat and I was out of there, and haven’t had to deal with my dad since. My parents didn’t divorce for at least another 2 years after I left, god knows why! (Perhaps they were waiting for my younger sister to move out too. Or my mum was too afraid as she earned less than my dad did.)

    So, writing this I am probably a traitor to everyone, haha. This is why I’m posting anonymously; I hope you don’t mind… if you even find this comment! I do think it’s important to recognise the harm which can be done to families. Even though I am non-binary, I have no sympathy for my dad – he selfishly blew 30-40 thousand pounds and tore the family completely apart in the space of a year or so. He might have a new family now, but he’ll never know his real grandchild, or see either of his children marry. I’m left with this painful secret which I can never tell, except in secret like this, because it doesn’t fit the cosy narrative we’re supposed to believe in.

    I hope this post doesn’t upset anyone. I can only speak my own emotional truth, which I know is messy and unkind. But at the end of the day, my dad chose to sneak around; he chose to cheat, he chose to belittle his children.

    I realise I am something of an anomaly. I know young trans people who are kind and honest and decent. But I’ve also seen the trans community lash out at women, or trans/nb people who were born female, even ones they were supposed to be friends with. So I’ve never really been one for drinking the kool-aid (unless it’s real kool-aid, in which case, cherry flavour please!)


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