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It is nearly 9 AM on Sunday morning. The time each week when I would normally be waking up in Andy's arms. Yet today I am writing an editorial instead. Why would I rather be doing this than that? Because I have no choice. You see, Andy has broken up me.
Many of you know how close I've been to Andy, how much he has meant to me both as a lover and as a supporter of my transition. I love him still. So my point here is not to sully his name. Nor is my point to harp on a pain that most (if not all) of us have suffered, once, twice, or many times before. No, I didn't see this coming. I had no clue. One moment love was there for me and the next it was not, like an earthquake, like a storm. And my purpose here is not to describe the truck that hit me so much as to try to understand why it was driving like that.
Who was behind the wheel? Was it the fault of the driver or the pedestrian that got flattened? Or was it a "no-fault" accident in which both driver and pedestrian were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And is this hurt I feel the by-product of a single failed relationship or are there more essential lessons to be learned here about the intrinsic nature of male/female communications?
Well, I don't know that I can find the answers to these questions, but I'm going to take a few moments to look for them. When I have explored all I can, when this is written and by you read, please send me some responses. Please let me know if you see things I have missed. And especially, to our male readers, please email me with YOUR points of view, so that I might better understand what another side of this terrible pain might look like.
To begin, I should describe in brief the nature of my relationship with Andy. I met Andy for the first time in October of 1989. He had been recommended to me as an electrologist. I had not yet gone full time, so the first time we actually saw each other, I was still a man. But this was not a problem for Andy. After all, I found out he had spent four years on hormones as Karen, and had only switched back to being Andy just over a year before I met him. In fact, at that time, the feminizing effects of the hormones were still visible in many ways.
Over our first few sessions, we chatted and joked. And then one day I experienced something I had never felt before. While he was working on me, suddenly my insides did a back flip, and when they came down I was Melanie. It was like turning on a light switch. There was a whole new personality living inside me that wasn't there before.
What an odd feeling! It was like looking at the world from a whole different point of view, like getting contact lenses for the heart! I had liked Andy before, but now, new feelings had begun to stir - feelings I was afraid of. In all my years to that point I had never even fantasized of holding hands with a guy, and suddenly, here I was being drawn to a man.
Maybe it was his remaining feminine traits that made it possible for me to overcome this barrier. Maybe it would have happened with someone else if not for Andy. But it didn't. And in truth, the feelings I felt then for Andy I still feel now. With all the other people I have known, with the other lovers I've had, both men and women, I have never felt this before or since. Yet, even now; now that I am without him, I feel it still. I still love Andy.
That, then, was the moment that Melanie was born: my true soul exposing itself without fear. Step by step I became closer to Andy, and more dependent emotionally. And he was wonderful, putting his arm around my waist, holding me in his strong arms, comforting my tears. At this time, I had been faithful to my wife Mary for all of our married lives. No relationships on the side. But here I was, changing my sex on her and also starting to spend time with someone else.
I could not spend much time though. I knew Mary could not bend that far, and I was afraid. So I came over once a week, had electrolysis, and then we would go out together, me in my wig and mini-skirt, and Andy as the man he was becoming once more. What an odd thing this must be to read about! Yet, at the time, I felt like a teenage girl with her first boyfriend, and, in a sense, I was.
These were my most emotionally fulfilling days I ever spent. I loved Mary, I truly did, I truly do. But that love was never passionate. It was never romantic. How could it be? We were two mostly heterosexual women, even when we were married. We just didn't know it at the time. Mostly we married because we were lonely, we not very good at "playing the game" and we accepted each other for all that we were. But the feelings I was having with Andy I never experienced with Mary and still haven't with her or anyone else.
This went on for a couple of months. Eventually, I worked my way up to staying overnight, then driving home the next morning. Then, as Christmas neared, I felt a change in the way Andy was treating me: a disturbance in the force, if you will. It seemed like the love was draining out of him. He was doing all the same things, but it was as if there was progressively less and less substance behind them. I thought it was me. I tried baking cookies and being more attentive to his needs. I made an extra effort to find some very special Christmas presents for him.
And that is when he told me about Teri. Her name came up in the conversation quite unobtrusively at first, as someone he had met at a meeting. And then, her name began to appear more frequently, and his love for me was withheld even more. Finally, after several weeks of this, I called one evening to say I was about to leave to come over for my usual weekly visit, and he told me there was someone else there. It was, of course, Teri.
I saw Andy again after that, and very graciously bowed out, actually apologizing for not being able to leave Mary for him, and that I had failed in being there enough to undo his loneliness. It was clearly all my fault for using him, and I wished him and Teri all the happiness they could hope for.
I didn't see Andy until over a year later. He was just about to break up with Teri, though I didn't know it at the time. We met at a support group meeting, and we decided to do a lunch together. In fact, when I showed up at his apartment, He AND Teri came to lunch.
Andy had to make a couple of stops, so Teri and I had a chance to talk, and I could sense in her tone her disillusionment with Andy.
Scant weeks later, he showed up at the support meeting again, and when I asked about Teri, he told me she had moved out. That night, I stayed at Andy's. As usual, he didn't have any money, since he hasn't had a job since I've known him. So, as usual, I bought us some food to take back to his apartment. We ate, then cuddled on a sleeping bag on the floor (Teri had taken the bed) until the sun rose.
I have to admit, by this time I had learned a few tricks as a woman, and I was making myself unresistable. And the reason I was doing this was so he would want me and then I could deny myself to him. Just to pay him back for what he had done to me with Teri.
And it worked. He called me several times the next week, and I kept coming up with excuses why I couldn't see him. Finally, he stopped calling.
I didn't see him again for almost two years. Then, at the same support group meeting, he showed up unexpectedly. And THIS time, he had cut his long hair. Immediately the squirrel in my cage started doing cartwheels. I smiled at him as he came in the door (while the host of the meeting was talking to the group) and urged him with my eyes to come over to me. He came around the corner, sat behind me and started to give me back massage in front of the whole group!
I felt so special, so wanted, so successful at being a woman that this handsome man would express his desire for me publicly! This was just before Christmas of 1992. THIS time I had already had surgery. So, I wanted a relationship VERY badly.
I invited Andy to my company Christmas Party, and he invited me to his Tai Chi master's Christmas party which was later on the same night. So, we made a night out of it and ended with necking in his car until the wee hours. I reached climax just through necking. Emotional and sexual satisfaction I had never dreamed possible, all at the same time, all with the same person.
I was so excited! We began dating. At first it was the thrill of a lifetime. He would pick me up and take me someplace: out to a movie ranch or just out driving. And we talked of going camping and hiking and of the night at the beach on a blanket under the stars that he had promised me two years earlier and never delivered on.
I found out he was no longer living in the apartment, because he still had no job, and had moved back into the "granny house" behind his father's house, which is where I first met him in my electrology days. So, I stayed over one night a week. We had such fun! Our taste in music was nearly identical. We loved the same programs on TV, laughed at the same jokes. Andy was caring and not just for me, but for the whole world.
Oh, we made such plans to change the world! I would tell him about my work in Mental Relativity and he would share his insight into Tai Chi. And we would find the common ground between the two. We wanted to take all the money the story software that I was co-developing was going to make and use it to help people and spread a message of love and kindness.
We cuddled and hugged and tickled and joked and even now, the memory of these times makes my heart sing. Perhaps the only downside was that he only made love to me twice. He didn't want to use condoms and I insisted that we do, so this impasse led to only two occasions in fourteen months that we became completely intimate. Oh, to be sure, we spent a lot of time naked, but just for petting and hugging and kissing but no consummation.
Still, even though I yearned so strongly to put the surgery I had struggled so hard to attain to some good use, the emotional high I was riding was more than enough for me. And I thought it was for Andy too, until I found out he was seeing someone else about six months ago, AND he made love to her!
Again, he said nothing. He just stayed later at a party one time and went home with one of the girls there and made love to her. Then he had her over on evenings when I wasn't there. You know how I found out? You want to know how I knew? Well, when I was at Andy's, in bed, and cuddled in his arms, sometimes the phone would ring. And occasionally it would be someone he didn't want to know about me. He never said this, but I could tell because of the way he avoided my name and the way he pretended he was alone. I checked this theory out one time by tickling him during one of those phone calls and he was not pleased when the other person asked and he was forced to say, "Oh, Melanie's here."
Still, innocent, trusting, unlearning, STUPID me, I just figured it was someone from Tai Chi or something that he didn't want to know about me. How dumb can a broad get? Well, I learned the truth when he began seeing this other woman that he took home from that party - Michelle. Suddenly, there were times I would call him up to share something fun or to make plans and I would get the same phone treatment I had been on the other side of before. I could FEEL another person in the room with him - right over the phone!
I began to press him in ways that would let some of the truth leak out. And eventually, I confronted him and made him tell me all about it. I had been right. I was so hurt, I didn't know I could hurt more until today, not that I am without Andy. I told him how betrayed I felt. How all the people at the party must have thought me such a fool. I was literally hanging on Andy at that party. I was so proud to have him, I wanted everyone to know how close we were. And then he went home with somebody else AFTER I left. Lordy, how the must've laughed, drunk as they were.
I called him up that night after he had come clean with me. I told him how much it hurt that he would do this behind my back. If he had only told me, I could share him, but he was dishonest with my feelings. So I said I didn't want to be his girlfriend anymore. And then I got that feeling on the phone again. And I asked him if anyone was there with him. He affirmed it, in the same noncommittal way that wouldn't let her know it was me on the phone. I couldn't believe it! Here I was telling him about the hurt that he had caused by not being up front and trying to break it off in a non-vengeful way, and he was in bed with somebody else!!!!
I was really upset. But I got over it. After all, I loved Andy and I needed that passionate heart in my life. So, I worked it out with him, told him we could still continue our business relationship, even though our personal relationship was over. You see, Andy still didn't have a job, so I gave him a room at my house to build up a video duplication company. I used to have such a company and still had the gear. So I set him up, showed him how to work it all, poured hundreds of dollars into the equipment, just so he could build a career. I told him we would split the profits and he could run the business any way he wanted.
I thought it was pretty gracious to tell him he could keep the business going, even though we were no longer going to be a twosome. Especially when you consider the business was losing me money every month just to keep it open for him because I loved him. And, he agreed. Tell me guys, should a man agree to continue to live off his former meal ticket even when he doesn't want her as a bed partner anymore? But I risk getting vengeful here, and I don't want to do that. No, I just want to understand.
You see, he made no effort to talk me out of breaking up the relationship. He made no effort to win me or keep me. It was like I was worth nothing. All the effort to keep the relationship going came from me. To this day he has no idea how hard it was to deny my kids some of my limited time just to be able to spend it with him. He has no idea how hard it was to work things out with Mary so I could be with Andy and not cause her hurt. I bought him so many meals, we always took my car because he had to sell his. There was no restroom in his room out back, so I'd always have to put on my clothes and go inside his dad's place at two in the morning if I had to go. He only had one twin bed, the mattress was shot and the sheets were hardly ever washed (how many other women were stains on those sheets?) but still I had loved him and put up with all of those costs so I could be with him.
All I asked in return was honesty and openness. All I asked was that he would let me know if he was seeing someone else so I would not be made a fool of by acting inappropriately in front of those who knew, when I didn't. I just didn't want to be "Carrie", thinking she is the Prom Queen, only to get covered in red paint. That's all I asked. But I guess it was just too much.
I began to get that feeling in the last month like I did when Teri came on the scene. The earthquake had made it unsafe to sleep in Andy's room, so we slept on the convertible sofa in his dad's living room. At first, it was still hugs and kisses, and then slowly, it faded away.
I was sure something was up when it was my birthday last week. On Andy's birthday in October, I had save up all my "allowance" money and I cleaned out my personal savings account to make it a special one for him. I spent all day before driving all over getting decorations and presents and making arrangements. When he came over to my house, I had it all decorated. My daughter, Mindi, had made a banner "Happy Birthday Andy". I had a cake for him. Mary, Keith, Mindi and myself sang "Happy Birthday" to him as he blew out the candles. And the presents I had for him were very special.
But that wasn't all! I had also made reservations for dinner at his favorite restaurant. I brought along a big mylar "Happy Birthday" balloon and even had them bring him a special piece of cake after the meal. God, I love him so much! I spent so much money, I couldn't buy lunches as work the next week and had to bring sandwiches.
Then it was my birthday last weekend. He forgot about it.
He had nothing for me. And when he found out, he didn't apologize. He didn't say, "Oh, I'm sorry, but let's go to a movie and we'll still have a good time." He said nothing. I didn't even get a card or an apology. I had made extra time to be with him that weekend because for the very first time the previous weekend, he had asked me if I could stay later. I couldn't on short notice, but I worked really hard to make it up to him the next weekend. Not because it was my birthday, but because I wanted to please him.
You see, he never asked me for anything. In hindsight I suppose that's how he might justify not giving me anything. The discrepancy is that I thought we were building a relationship for the future. I was working hard and making sacrifices to lay the foundations for a lifetime of love with the person who has sparked my soul like no other. I was so busy working I failed to notice that he wasn't making an sacrifices at all. I paid for things, I showed up at his convenience, I filled his needs, I made his meals, but I must have lacked something because it wasn't enough.
Two days ago on Friday he called. I had called him several times over the week but he had never called back. I left voice mail telling him what a special birthday present it was just to spend that extra time with him last week. And I really meant it. It was so very good to be near him longer than usual. But he didn't call back.
Friday he called, and I was worried. I knew something came up. So I told him, it was nice to get his call, but I expected it had to do with business as he never calls me at work unless it has something to do with the video business I gave him. He laughed, and said no, it wasn't anything to do with business.
So, I pressed further and said, "You know, I've had the feeling for some time that there is someone else in your life." I said, "That's okay. I can deal with it. I can share you because you're worth it. I just need to know so I won't fear being made a fool of." Then I got on another subject. I had bought tickets for a special live cast reunion of the people from WKRP in Cincinnati that will happen next Friday. I've never cared for the show but I know Andy is a big fan, so I bought two tickets to enjoy this special treat with him. But when I had told him about the tickets a couple weeks ago, rather than being excited, he seemed disturbed that it was on a Friday, instead of Saturday which is our usual night. And that is part of what got me thinking back then that he might be seeing someone else and juggling us.
So, I asked him if it was still okay for Friday, and he said sure. "But", he said, "as long as we are talking about trading Saturday for Friday next week, can we do that this week too?" Now I knew why he had called. Not to say hello, but to move my day so he could go out on a date with someone else.
I told him that was fine, but if he was going on a date, I needed to know. He verified he was. I asked who she was (so I wouldn't play the fool). He said here name was Annette and she was a new student in his Tai Chi class. They had been having coffee breaks together and she invited him to the IMAX theatre for an environmental film.
I thanked him for telling me, and reaffirmed that I could share him and be happy just to have my part of his attention. I said it was short notice, and would mess up my weekend schedule, but yes, I could come over that night instead of the next so he could go out on the date.
So, he came by (on the bus) in the evening and I gave him a big kiss and hug to show that it was okay and he needn't feel guilty. I packed my things for the overnight. We got in the car and started off for his place, Andy driving as usual. But something else was not usual. Whenever he drives, I put my hand on his knee and whenever he is not shifting, he puts his hand on mine. This time he didn't. Its about a twenty minute trip to his place, and the whole time he kept his hands on the wheel except twice, when he gently laid his hand on mine for scant seconds. Not even a grasp, almost like he didn't want to touch it at all. Yet, I left my hand there. I still loved him.
And he began to talk about this wonderful new book he was reading about predictions for the future. I was surprised, he hardly EVER reads a book. In fact, I have asked him to read several over our fourteen months together and he has always declined. So I asked him where he got the book, and he said Annette had brought it over. Which said two things: one, he would read a book for her, but not for me, and two that she had been over.
It was Teri all over again. My heart ran out through my legs. I wanted to breakdown and sob, but there was no one in the car who would have cared. No one who would comfort me.
So, when we arrived, I told him I was just going to drop him off. That I could feel the same patterns from the Teri days and I couldn't bear to go through him withdrawing his love from me and giving it to Annette just like it happened before. I could share him easily, but I couldn't take being sucked dry of his love while he favored someone new. I asked him to search his heart and see if this pattern were not true. He did not deny it.
So, I graciously offered to get out of his life. I told him I didn't know why he didn't love me any more, but I would step out of the picture. He said that the situation was unusual. "How many men do you know who have a girlfriend who also has a wife?", he asked rhetorically. This from someone who spent four years as a woman!
Well, his femininity has all faded now. There are no physical signs that he was ever anything but all male. Annette will never know. Especially with me gone. Because, as Andy said, "I just have trouble telling one person that I'm seeing another." Actually, Andy, I think you underestimate yourself. You communicate very well at an emotional level, and its really just a matter of which one you don't tell and which one you leave.
He gave me a hug with pity on his face. Can you imagine what it felt like to be pitied? And then he asked if I wanted to stay and watch a video before I left. It is just me, or what?
So, I'm gone now. Annette has a clear field and doesn't even know it. I still love him as much as I ever did. In 41 years I've never had that feeling with anyone else. He never asked me to leave Mary, he never asked me to spend more days with him, he never told me there were any problems. Yet Annette, someone he met just a month ago is in, and I, who have been foolishly trying to build a relationship for the rest of my life am not the Prom Queen, but stand before you covered in red.
So, gentlemen readers, please tell me what I should have done? What is it that I don't understand because I wasn't born physically a woman and had no training in being one. What is it that I don't understand because my mind was never male? There must be some truth to be found here somewhere, because the alternative is just to depressing to consider. Write me, let me know.
Oh, and as for the tickets to the WKRP reunion: I gave them to Andy because without a job, he'll have no way of taking Annette anywhere to thank her for taking him to the IMAX. And as for me, I guess I won't ever get my evening under the stars on the beach.
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The Subversive #18
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