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Wife of many years now non-binary - really not sure how I feel about this

Battlin_Business_Owner
Community Member

Hey everyone,

Guessing I can't be the only person in this situation. I'm a simple guy with a fairly simple perspective on the world, at least I think I am.

My wife and I had been married almost 20yrs, we're both in a mid 40's and we have two kids one daughter and a son. We've had the usual challenges I think many relationships have but we're still here.

In the last 6 months or so my wife has declared she's non-binary and my daughter is apparently gender fluid.

Honestly I'm fine for people to be who or what they want to be.

My challenge is I'm a guy, I'm not anything else, I married a woman. It was pretty simple.

Apparently now, some 20yrs on I'm no longer married to a woman...

I've had a look for support material on this issue, frankly it's all put out by organisations that I find, are heavily slanted towards looking after the needs of the transitioning partner and supporting them. Don't be selfish and make it about you seems to be the message.

For me, ok I'm not the most intuitive guy, this was a massive shock and after 20yrs how can it not be about me as well?

I honestly don't know how I feel about it. She seems pretty committed to this course.

I really don't think I can be married to someone who feels like their a guy some of the time. I get there's more too it than that but essentially, I feel like that's what she's telling me.

I've read a few posts here of others who have have had partners decide to change gender part way through a relationship. Essentially it seems however it goes it's hard for everyone, some make it some don't.

Anway, really not sure what's going to happen but would love to hear from others in a similar situation.

Thx in advance.

34 Replies 34

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey Battlin Business Owner,

Thank you so much for opening up to us about your situation. I may be able to offer some advice, or at least another perspective to consider.

Non-binary is a really interesting strand of the gender spectrum, I think. I remember when I first learned about the term, I would've been about 14 years old, and one of my classmates had just come out as agender. I began to look into gender non-conforming identities out of curiosity, because I couldn't quite comprehend the idea of gender being a spectrum. After much research and surrounding myself with more members of the LGBTQIA+ community since, I've come around to the idea of the gender spectrum and now quite enjoy learning about different identities within it.

Your words, "how can it not be about me as well?" make sense to me. The whole experience of coming out is highly individual and complex for not only the person who is coming out, but also for the people around them too. With people who identify as trans or non-binary in particular, coming out can induce a variety of lifestyle changes and adjustments for people. I would attribute this to our society's socially (and culturally) defined gender roles and stereotypes that can outwardly or even subconsciously dictate our interactions with people.

I would like to draw upon an example from pop culture here. Kris Jenner was married to Caitlin Jenner before she publicly came out as transgender. Kris is, to my knowledge, heterosexual. Although she still has much love and respect for Caitlin, her sexuality is dictated by gender preference, and thus she felt that remaining in that marriage wouldn't be true to her identity.

I would highly recommend open communication between you and your wife about this situation. You can talk to your wife about her experience of coming out - how she's come to realise her identity, what her preferred pronouns are, etc. It may be a good idea to get some insight into her perspective and how she's feeling. This could help you with your feelings, too.

Of course, on the flip side, it is also important to consider your own fundamental needs, boundaries, and wishes in the relationship. It's okay to have sexual preferences, that's the nature of sexuality. I would recommend establishing whether your wife being non-binary introduces for you a level of discomfort, dysphoria, or misalignment with your sexuality.

Please feel free to continue chatting with us, we'd love to hear more from you.

All the best, SB

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello, I understand this must be quite confusing for you as it would be for myself, but perhaps you could look at this 'If Your Partner Just Came Out As Non-Binary, Here's How To ..'.

I need to research this a bit but hope others can get back to you in meantime.

Take care.

Geoff.

Hi SB,

Thanks for your insight.

I get what your saying, my wife and daughter both seem happy, going on this journey together with their gender identities.

Feeling pretty much discarded and left out honestly.

Never been much of a talker. I get some open communication is probably the 'right' thing. I think I'm just not ready yet. It's a huge shock and I don't think she really gets the impact her decision is having on others not on her journey.

My son is younger and he's pretty oblivious to it all at the moment I think.

Thx

Geoff,

I get your trying to help, but there was no link there. When I googled that it just took me to another page all about how I can support her in this brave courageous decision she's made...

I'm not there yet. Not sure I will be.

Hello, did you copy and paste it as I've done and a web page appears.

Geoff.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Battlin Business Owner

It's an interesting time we live in. With so many people in the world wondering about how they feel about themself and who they are, how they relate to others, where they fit in and so on, it can be a challenge at times, for all concerned.

I can't help but wonder what led your wife do declare herself as non binary and what led your daughter to declare herself as gender fluid. I imagine they didn't reach such a conclusion without having wondered for some period of time. Do you know what or who led them to wonder and what that process looked like for them?

I can relate to what you're saying, in regard to how tough it can be to make sense of the way people label how they feel about themself or see themself. Personally, as a 51yo woman, my take on life is different from how it used to be. Having spent 15 or more years in depression earlier in my life, one of the things that's come to serve me, in not returning to it, involves a more soulful way of seeing the world, a little less physical than what it used to be. When I came out of depression it was very sudden and this triggered in me a lot of questioning. The main question was 'Who am I?' If I wasn't all the traits of depression - if I wasn't this angry, controlling, sad, lethargic, confused, lost person with so much self hatred, then who was I? Who was I simply, without the filter of gender, age, race, religious upbringing and beliefs related to that? Who was I without the ways others chose to define me or the ways I was taught? There was a heck of a lot of questioning. I reached the conclusion - I'm simply me. Call me what you will, I'm not phased. If you want to label me as a 51yo white woman, I'm simply not phased by it. I don't feel 51. I don't feel white. I don't feel like any particular gender. When I gave birth to my 2 kids, I never thought 'I'm a woman giving birth', I'm simply someone who gave birth to 2 legends 🙂 Again, from a soulful perspective, I'm simply me. Call me what you will.

I've found the benefit of letting go of labels also involves how I see others. For example, I may not look for a simplistic form of wisdom in a 60yo male or female of any particular race, I may simply find such wisdom in a little soulful person who's been on this earth for only 3 years.

In a person's desire to be free of labels, the challenge it to not adopt more in the process, although sometimes a label can help, when it comes to simply expressing to others how we feel about our self.

Hi The Rising,

Thanks for your perspective. Glad to hear you've come through your own journey. Sounds challenging.

I have no idea what or who lead to them making this decision. It appears to have just happened.

Thx

randomx
Community Member

Hi op .

Your daughter might just be being subconsciously different for now, particularity sexuality stuff these days it's almost a damn trend and cool, an identity for a lot of the younger ones now. Some of the stuff l hear come out of my d's mouth and some of her friends. One wk one's decided she's a lesbian another's decided she's A sexual another's decided this that and on it goes.There's sooooo much info over load out there now for them, label over load, identity over load, influences and fb's and snap chats over load and al their other crap, tellin ya l feel sorry for them. lt might even just pass with her when she realizes she's just a normal girl after all , seen that happen with my d and everyone of her friends so far. Someone now and then is gonna be for real, for sure l know. Butttt. anyway. One day even my d announce she was gay, l tried not to laugh she's no more gay than l am we knew that for sure. 6mths later oh, she's not gay after all.Sooo, you never know,

Your wife , who know's and l'm so sorry l can well understand the shock. Of course it's not fair on the partner , seen quite a few stories like that, one's turned gay or this or that . It must be terrible for you and l can well imagine how you must be feeling. l wonder if it's real or just a faze or influence with her to, or mid life crisis. A lot of women change around that age especially after married 20yrs and stuff , then menopausal stuff to.

Just thoughts but l;m very sorry for what you must be going through.

rx

Thx really appreciate your input.

Feels very strange, just not sure where to from here at all.