my story as someone married to (and now divorced from) a trans woman

written by Marie

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I was married for 14 years and we had 2 beautiful daughters aged 8 and 10 at the time. My mum had also died 6 months prior to this so I was a little vulnerable and I had lost part of my support circle.

One evening of March 2009 my husband sat me down and told me that since the age of 8 they had felt they should have been female, and unless they explored this, they would never be content. They did not say they were leaving the family home or marriage; I was told that was up to me, and I had no idea what decision to make. I was also asked not to discuss this with anyone that we knew for the moment.

I had such a range of feelings; disappointed, upset, angry, embarrassed, sad for myself, my girls, and my husband. I did not know where to go with these feelings, who I could talk to for help or advice.

I tried to find confidential help and advice online but was unable to find anything official. All I could find were online chat forums where you can chat to people going through similar experiences. I was unwilling to try this as for me talking to strangers online was not my thing and I was unsure of how helpful it would be.

Eventually, for my own sanity, I had to break my silence and talked (in confidence) to my dad and my Pastor’s wife who had a counselling background too. The Pastor’s wife referred me to a Christian counsellor and by the time I got a place my husband had decided to leave the family home and end the marriage. Unfortunately for me, this was not helpful as I could sense my assigned counsellor’s prejudices and opinions, which caused me to defend my ex-husband’s position. This did not allow me to open up so after a few weeks I had to end the sessions. I cannot remember the association’s name unfortunately.

For a few years, on the misunderstanding that I was protecting myself and my family, I tried to just hide the situation and my ex-husband. Close family and friends knew but I really buried my head in the sand and hoped the whole situation would just go away. This obviously was not helpful for me or my girls and just caused more anxiety.

My ex had quite a complicated journey when they left to explore their feelings. They lived as a woman for approximately 6 months, then lived as a man in a relationship with another woman. This was a hard time for us all. That relationship then ended and they finally found the support and help they needed and now live as a woman and are content. 

After a while I came to the decision that the best option was to not to try to understand or control the situation, but just to accept the situation. When I made that decision, it was like a huge burden had been lifted and I felt released, and that I could talk openly to people and my ex.

Moving forward from this I felt it easier to talk to new friends and work colleagues, which helps understanding and acceptance and has also helped me to move forward, live and socialise.

I have not really found any official help websites for people in my situation, but I have found some for those who are still with their trans partner. I have had counselling, but it took me a few years and attempts to find the right type of counselling and the right person, I have now achieved that.

This is my story of how I experienced this and came to terms with the situation. Obviously, people come from different walks of life and have different personalities so will experience this very differently. I have two daughters, both now adults, who coped and dealt with this very differently and in their own way. 

If I can offer any sort of advice it would be not to fight or control the situation but work towards accepting the situation. Also seek help that is right for you, being aware that it might take a few tries to find the right one.