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This is a letter I wrote to the SO of someone considering SRS, who was worried about what the future might hold. I have removed the personal references to maintain anonymity and title the letter with a new term I coined to describe the mate of transsexual partners.
As you know, every marriage, every relationship is unique in many ways. So the things I will be talking about may or may not apply to you. However, perhaps some will. So, I'll share what I can about how Mary and I have dealt with transition through post-op.
Mary and I have been together 17 years. We have two children, a boy 14 and a girl 10. We both work, she at a job, me at a career in the movie biz. I started experimenting with hormones in 1987, but did not go on them regularly until August 1989. Our married life had been one of smooth sailing, but not much excitement at all. We were both virgins when we married. Our sex life was sparse, and only rarely was it anything to write home about. There was a lot of fear of rejection on my part, so I gave up a lot of pleasure like Beatles music because she didn't like the Beatles (and so on with many other things).
My career was going nowhere, but only because I was self-defeating. I had a small business of my own doing video duplication and freelancing as a non-union writer director. Money started getting tight. We were heavily in debt. I got roped into some really bad deals and was forced to work 16 hours a day until 5 in the morning, and still we did not have enough to pay the bills.
I guess I had tried everything I could to find happiness OTHER than explore my gender feelings which I had surpressed completely for over 8 years. Finally, almost on a whim, I went out and bought a wig at Kmart. I liked the way I looked. I started taking little trips around the city and to local attractions in the summer of 1988, but did not tell anyone, especially Mary.
My mother died in January 1989, and that's when the dam broke on my feelings. I realized I was a workaholic who had forced themself to fail because I knew what I really needed in my life. I decided I had to know who I really was and began dressing again, and finally told Mary that I had to explore this side of myself. Mary never loses her cool. She was unhappy, but did not fight with me. She said she would deal with it as long as she could, then would give me the option of stopping or leaving.
Each time I took a new step, she told me the next step would cost our marriage. But each time that next step came, she found she could accept it. That's kind of what happened with relationships as well. She does not like it, but she has learned to accept it. The benefits for her are that MOST of my time I spend here with my family. And that I have made a commitment to her as my Life Partner, that she comes first and always will. But that commitment is not that she is my ONLY relationship, just my first and forever one.
Since she was the only relationship I ever had, I found it very hard to get involved with anyone else. I have had only one brief fling before surgery, and three in the year and a half since. Mary and I still sleep together and cuddle, but do not make love. We tried that after surgery, but it was even a little less fulfilling than sex had been previously. We may try again some day, who knows. (Editor's NOTE: Since this letter was written, Mary and I are intimate partners on a regular basis again.) Still and all, sex does not have to be part of a Life Partnership. We share the house, the bed, the dreams, the future.
The hardest part for each of us was believing that we could have an open relationship without the risk of one of us leaving. We have no fear of that now. We share so much in our 17 years that no one could ever catch up to that for either of us. So, although she is lonely the nights I am gone, and I know I will suffer at first when she goes out with a guy and spends the night, we are 'growing in our love and our commitment every day. And we are growing as human beings, learning not to be as possessive, and to become ever more confident in the special feelings we have for each other that no one can ever share.
That is the heart of our success: that we believe in each others commitment so strongly that we no longer fear someone else taking away our partner. It took nearly four years to arrive at this point, and it continues to progress. And there were many fights and devastating scenes along the way. But it is working now, and it is worth all the suffering and compromise to get here.
Well, I hope this helps a bit. Email any time you have a question, or just want to share!
From: Melanie XX
To: Elaine P1, Marsha J, DeneseAnne
Just wanted you three to be the first to know that I will be stepping down as Gender Conference hostess as of January 1, 1994. There are a couple major reasons for this. One is that I am having more and more trouble relating emotionally to the rollercoaster ride of transition. Since it is a year and a half since surgery, I am so integrated that the actual emotional experience of getting here has faded. In fact, I feel like I was always here since birth. I truly feel that the best person to handle the hosting duties is someone just a few months ahead of the average attendee, and certainly someone who is no more than a year past surgery. The things I focus on, and the things I am interested in now, no longer have the same common thread of those who are struggling to achieve that which they have suffered for internally for so long. I might as well be a genetic female for all the good it does for me to speak of actually being female. Other than as a nebulous inspiration, I really can no longer conceive of what is the best advice and guidance to give - I'm too far away from the pain. That is reason one.
Reason two is that my story theory and Mental Relativity are becoming so all consuming in my career that I find no more time to split with my duties in the room. If I continue to attend each meeting and participate fully in Email support, I end up with no time left for me or my family. I used to be a workaholic. Not any more. Now I am content to pursue my career during the weekdays and actually enjoy my family and even some free time to read or play games in the evenings and on the weekends. Now, this does not mean I will be dropping out completely. I'll still bop by the room from time to time just to see how everything is going. I will also be putting some of this extra time into making The Subversive even better.
You know, its funny, but when I read my diary entries in The Subversive, the person who wrote them is completely foreign to me. I cannot fathom what was going on in his head and heart, yet I know I used to be that person. I am not anymore. My boyfriend, Andy, refers to that earlier incarnation as "your brother, Dave", and in truth, that is how I feel about him. For a long time, I tried to deny him. Then I tried to ingrate him. But now, I have integrated all that is appropriate to me, and I am quickly forgetting that the rest even existed. Mental Relativity says you cannot become just by being the way someone is, but only by also NOT being the way they are not. Too often, we try to hold on to the past, to that which is no longer true, as if it were still a part of reality. That way can only lead to pain and discontentment. The time has come for me to take hold of the wonderful new life that stretches out before me. But I can only travel down that path, by locking the gate to where I have been, and throwing away the key.
I will continue to write articles, publish The Subversive, and answer any Email from those who need help. And for all my friends in the community, I hope to continue our correspondence and occasional meetings, as you are not my sisters only because of gender issues, but because we are all people who share a way of looking at the world. So, I'll be around for about six more months, mostly here, but sometimes not, in order to smooth the transition to whoever might wish to fill the post. I also want to thank you, Marsha, and you Elaine, and you Denese for all the help you have given me and all the effort you have put into the Gender Conference to make it what it is today. It could not have happened, and I could not have survived it all if not for you all.
But now, my work is done here, and it is time to move on. I hope that whoever steps in to fill the job will also have the good sense to move on when they grow away from transition and into the full bloom of womanhood. Thanks again, and accept my hopes for each of you to reach the same fundamental peace and happiness that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy. Take care, and Godspeed.
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