My life in sex The woman whose husband is transitioning
I’ve been married 27 years to a man I love very much. We’d always been happy and our sex life was passionate until 10 years ago, when he announced he wanted to live as a woman. There was no warning, no discussion, and I was shell-shocked; I told him that were he to have surgery, the marriage would be over.
We eventually arrived at a truce, whereby he agreed not to have surgery and I am trying to live with the way he presents himself, which is stereotypically female – using makeup, dresses, tights and a bra. I find this hard to deal with; although I was very attracted to my partner as a man, I find it impossible to be attracted to him as a woman.
We get along well day to day, but I no longer want to make love to a person who wishes they didn’t have a penis. I have no problem with gay marriage, but this is not what I entered into. I firmly believe that sexuality is not a choice; you are gay or straight (or bisexual) as part of your makeup. If your partner decides to change gender, you are effectively expected to switch from straight to gay (or vice versa). A great deal of attention has been paid in the past few years to trans people, but very little to their partners.
We have three children in their mid-20s: my two daughters are fine with the change, but my son (our youngest) is very disturbed by it, and now lacks a male role model. Our friends accept the change; as far as I know, I’m the only person who calls him by his old, male name.
We are having counselling and I hope one day we can arrive at a place where we are both happy. I’ve thought about life without him, and it’s just not an option.