What is this blog?
This is the story of how my very loving, seemingly stable 15-year relationship unraveled when my husband came out as transgender.
Are you a TERF?
There is no hate group known as “TERFs.” The acronym stands for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” It’s an attempt to link feminism to hate, very similar to Rush Limbaugh’s coining of the term “feminazi.” It follows an old and rich tradition of calling feminists “fat and ugly,” man-haters, and all the rest.
The “radical” in “radical feminism” does not mean “revolutionary” or “extreme.” It means “root” and refers to the study of the root cause of women’s oppression, which is biological. That women’s oppression is based on biology is an uncontroversial view among modern sociologists and feminists, but it is an inconvenient one for certain transgender activists who are uncomfortable with the implication that transphobia is different in nature than misogyny.
If your everyday vernacular has come to include a term that vilifies women/feminists specifically, I suggest revisiting your priorities. See also: bitch, harpy, nag, battle axe, whore.
Did your marriage fall apart because you were mean to your spouse?
No. Absolutely no one on the planet dedicated more time, tears, late nights and emotional labor to supporting my spouse through gender dysphoria than I did.
I led the charge on getting friends to use preferred pronouns. I bought him his first article of women’s clothing and shopped with him regularly. I wrote a blog post on his blog supporting transgender people (that he has since taken down). I went to couples and individual counseling and fought tooth and nail to hold my marriage together, even as it became clear that it was going to fall apart. I wrote long love letters and sent them to him as late as the very month of our divorce.
And most importantly, I held my ex night after night while he cried, kicked and screamed about his gender identity into the wee hours of the morning, getting less than four hours of sleep a night almost every night for close to a year. I did this at a time when I had to be at work the next morning and he didn’t. I talked him through innumerable meltdowns and spent an incredible amount of time trying to convince him that he was pretty, that people liked him, that he didn’t need to feel ashamed.
I was patient when he began to drop out of life and then our marriage, systematically refusing to work or contribute financially, to help arrange our move, to do housework of any kind, to work on maintaining sexual intimacy with me, and most importantly, to keep the lines of communication open with me, which he slowly and by turns refused to do until he was no longer talking to me at all.
I still didn’t give up trying until he texted me and said “I have no choice but to move on. I can’t see a situation in which we get back together.”
He now says I abused him, probably for a couple of reasons: that I no longer use his preferred pronouns, especially in private conversations (more on that another time), and that during the demise of our marriage I was inconveniently also a human who hurt and cried and needed love and communication and help instead of being a disinterested unwavering personal case worker dedicated solely to furthering his every cause.
Did your marriage fall apart because you were gender-critical?
No. I became more “gender critical” as I watched my spouse’s transition make him more and more miserable, isolated, and suicidal, steamrolling everything in its path, including our marriage and his ties to his very loving, very accepting family.
If expressing an inner “gender identity” makes people freer and happier and more authentically themselves, my spouse was not evidence of that.
Did your marriage fall apart because you didn’t want to be with a woman?
No, I am lesbian-leaning bi, and my last long-term relationship was with a woman whom I intended to marry.
Then why did your marriage fall apart?
A few months after coming out, my spouse became unavailable to me in every possible way: emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and most importantly, in terms of communication.
The short answer is that his inner crisis completely subsumed his ability to concentrate on anything else, including marriage, much as it continues to do today.
Why do you still care?
Because this was a mind-fuck.
Because I loved this person more than anything, and the destruction that I experienced seemed inevitable — I couldn’t figure out how to stop it, no matter what I did.
Because I meant it when I said “I do” and I dedicated a third of my life to building that relationship and the other relationships which were a part of that life, many of which are now in danger. It isn’t so easy to casually cast off that kind of love and investment without any residual damage to the psyche.
Because when you’re thinking of the things that might wreck a relationship (cheating, disagreements about money/kids, illness), this isn’t even on your radar. There are women whose experiences are similar to mine, and it’s good to find them and talk with them online.
Because I need to process my feelings, yes, even now, and I choose to do it anonymously and in private, with this blog, instead of publicly.