Thursday, 18 March 2021

Relationships: repressing our trans nature

 Last month I did a series of posts on how I settled into living my trans life in public. The most read post was the one about coming out to lovers. (And thank you to T-Central for featuring this.)

There I wrote, "As I've said before, nature can be cruel because often in our early twenties we want to suppress our transness, marry, raise families, only to find that our gender variance bursts out again with a vengeance twenty years later, leaving us to square the re-emergence of a status we thought we'd overcome with our startled spouse and children. It can be a shock to them after all that time to find that dad is really a lady, that the man or woman you married is anything but. As I say, nature is cruel in diminishing our trans fervour at breeding time but leaving a hormonal time-bomb to explode later. This is a subject to expand on again another time."

Given the interest the post generated, I'll expand on this subject here. Several people told me how this resonated with them, and I have talked about this endlessly with other TGirls over the years. 

For many of us MtF trans people, we know when very young that really we are girls or want to be treated as girls or just look or play as girls. That desire usually becomes fiercer after puberty and we have more time, wherewithal and either support or subtlety to experiment with looks and behaviour to match our feelings.

But then adulthood brings the realities of life, such as work and taxes, car and insurance, a home of one's own and, of course, serious romance, the need to breed. The need to suppress the more individualistic aspects of our nature becomes paramount. I emphasised that nature is playing a role: those hormones or genes or environment that made us develop as trans seem to give way to a desire to 'man up'. Maybe I am wrong to single out nature at this point as societal norms undoubtedly play a major role in our conforming to expectations when in our 20s.

So we seek our life partner, the mother of our children, and assume that all that acting and dressing as a girl was just a childhood fad, a passing phase, that we have matured out of. Many I know turned very macho at that point, suppressing their feminine side by, say, joining the armed forces. In my case I repressed my femme side as best I could to avoid problems with work and to try to satisfy the demands of a religion I had at the time. There are lots of variations on this but the same basic pattern clearly applies to a great many trans people. We generally choose not even to mention our previous escapes into femininity. Why would we? It's history.

And what happens? Come our 40s, the testosterone (that bulwark of masculinitty) drops, the relationship is getting stale, life is routine and we realise that we need to be a girl again. This is where I think nature is cruel, in that it doesn't give warning of wanting to take over; why can't it just co-operate?!

And that's when the cycle of dressing and hiding begins again. If our partner knew of our trans life before, could the subject be raised again easily? If she/he didn't know, do we bring it up now, years into the relationship, or keep it hidden? Will the marriage fall apart at the news?

All relationships are different; I cannot advise on yours specifically. Personally, after I finally fully accepted that I was trans, aged about 30, I decided that the subject must be tackled early with any partner, as described in my post on coming out to lovers. My own 20s were spent trying to repress my trans side and chasing one girl only, who was never receptive to my advances. Had I been successful with her, I dare say I would have thoroughly squashed my remaining transness... to have it return with a vengeance later.

I have found, when in a relationship with a woman, that my desire to dress as a woman has spontaneously lessened, as if my partner or girlfriend was supplying part of a need. I'd be interested to know if others have experienced this.

One thing seems to be a commonplace: despite being in an intimate relationship with someone for years, nobody seems to know how their partner will react to the news that they are trans and now want to spend time in their preferred gender. Some have told me that they thought their partner would take it well enough and were wrong; others agonised, and then it wasn't an issue. The former happened with me. One observation I will make is that a strong, loving relationship usually survives the revelation, whereas a relationship with cracks in it usually does not; it's the last straw. 

If it hasn't gone your way, being trans does not make you undateable either. It's a big thing to negotiate around, but most potential partners will appreciate your honesty and often begin to appreciate having a boyfriend who knows about perfume, style and sensitivity, especially as one gets older.

Related to this subject, I also want to talk in forthcoming posts about the secrets we keep and the lies we tell when in a relationship; and about sex and sexuality when trans away from home - I've learned more about human sexual customs since emerging as trans then I had in all the rest of my life! And sex is an endlessly fascinating subject so I'm sure there will be a big eager readership (I only have to put a word like "stocking" into a post heading for it to garner twice as many views than usual!)

But one final thought on this aspect of the subject is what I call the "trans half-life". So, you're mid-40s, you've rediscovered your trans nature with a vengeance and you want to live your new life, with or without your partner's knowledge or blessing. You have a blast, meet others like you, go out dressed in public, go to nightclubs and strut your stuff like you were 19 again ... And this lasts for four and a half years. And then you either transition or disappear. The former rarely sees a partner tagging along, the latter seems to involve getting the trans urge out of the system and returning to being daddy and hubby again when the trans scene gets routine. One TGirl I knew was given a new motorbike by her wife ... and that was the last we heard from her! (Wives - this may be the cure for your trans hubby; take note!) People like me who neither transition nor go back into the closet after the half-life period are fairly rare.

OK, so the motorbike idea doesn't always work. Grayson Perry.

As ever, your thoughts, comments and experiences on this are always welcome. This is how it seems to be to me; you may feel it's different. There's little so fascinating as human experience, especially when it comes to very personal ways of tackling things.


A dip in the archives

The background to this post can be found in the series of posts I did about trans living. 6 posts on early steps in June/July of last year and 6 posts on further steps in February of this year.

The first series starts here: Baptism of fire

The second starts here: Body morph

You can link to other posts from the blog archive on the right.

Sue x


Cari lettori italiani

Oggi si commemora le vittime di quest'epimedia. Che brutta strage!

Qui parlo un po' sul fenomeno che spesso colpisce le donne transgender: sopprimiamo la nostra natura trans quando ci sposiamo. E poi il desiderio di essere donna ritorna dopo vent'anni.

Sue x

No comments:

Post a Comment