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

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

I get that non-binary is not trans. However when someone is saying they feel like a man some of the time.... it's close.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Battlin Business Owner,

Firstly, I’m sorry you find yourself here under such circumstances, but glad that you have found some supportive responses already. It’s a brave new world out there and I imagine this is going to be a problem that increasingly affects people who don’t quite know what to do or how to feel anymore. You entered into a relationship in good faith based on certain fundamental premises and now those circumstances have dramatically changed and you are left not knowing how to feel. Which is completely understandable -as you mention, you’re a simple guy with fairly simple interests, and I would probably feel the same way. I suppose you have to figure out what this change means for you. You don’t need to figure it out right away and it might take time to reveal itself, but you can always decide if it’s not for you. Plenty of marriages fail for a number of reasons, you entered into a contract and if those conditions have changed significantly then you are entitled to leave if the new conditions aren’t working for you. That being said, presumably your wife was always non binary in spirit even if she hadn’t fully appreciated/embraced it, which begs the question, if she hadn’t have labeled it than you may have just continued on with your life unaware? I suppose I’m just trying to say to not get hung up on the label, but if she is acting significantly different then that is obviously a different story.

Community Member

Unfortunately for op it's likely far more serious now than a label. She's felt it inside 10yrs l think she said , but put simply now, she wants it out and to live it.lf she's serious about that then she'll no longer be who she was, not physically or mentally and probably not even personality wise.

So sorry op.

Hi Battlin Business Owner

It's a shame your wife doesn't feel the freedom to explore and share with you the reasons for her way of thinking. I think some constructive conversations could perhaps help you see things more from her angle. Doesn't mean you have to agree with that angle, just means it might offer you some 'Oh yeah, I can kinda see where you're coming from with that way of looking at things' moments.

Wondering if she's someone who's been led to consider the non binary angle based on wondering about how people from the LGBTQ+ community experience their perspective on life or whether she's considered it more from a natural or spiritual based angle and certain influences in ways of thinking within that community. Perhaps it was something else, some other influence. Have you asked what triggered her to begin wondering about this new way of seeing life and some of the resources she may have accessed in order to make better sense of it, reaching this conclusion?

Hi randomly,

I suppose I’m asking, what does that entail and what does that actually look like for OP? Does his wife want to continue the marriage as before with little change to their relationship? If she identifies as a man at times, does that mean she wants to explore relationships with women etc? I think whether the relationship can move forward really depends on being able to define what these changes mean in the context of their relationship. Has it been an otherwise happy marriage? Will it just take some time for adjustment etc. I just think a lot of that needs to be explored or at least understood before making such a large decision

Community Member

Hi Juliet .

Hmmmm, yeah , l know the way you were looking at it and in my first reply l actually pointed out things your getting at to. But from what op has said since to me she sounds as if she might end up a lot more serious about it than just what your thinking. Gender presentation is pretty well saying it all butttt , l can't speak for op and l can see how incredibly hard this is for him so anything further atm , not sure.

Thx Juliet,

some good points. I think it's both, she's felt that way a long time and, yes if it was just a label and nothing else changed I'd probably be, 'fine whatever'. There's a definite shift though in her attitudes. I did actually try and start a conversation with her the other day.

Didn't go far. Basically when I asked why she didn't even talk about it with me before starting to tell people she was non-binary, she said, well she's always felt that way and I don't get a say...

I get it but tough, seems to me to just put more distance in.

Thx everyone for your input and support. it helps.

as in my other reply my so far 1 attempt at a conversation got shut down pretty quickly.

not sure where things will go but definite distance.

I'm heading away for a couple of weeks travelling for work so will give me some time to think.

Community Member

l'm so sorry man.

l can't believe her disrespect, you've been her partner and husband 20yrs , she hits you with something as huge as this but then won't even talk about it. Then, tells you not to make it all about you, what is she doing, it's all about her with no concern for you whatsoever ?

So sorry , and l'm very glad you'll be getting away for awhile, for you !



Thanks for getting back to me and the additional clarification around your wife’s attitude. I must admit her attitude is perplexing, drop a grenade into your marriage essentially and then refuse to talk about that and what it means. It’s not like you wanted a say, you just wanted the common courtesy that should be afforded to her partner to have had the situation explained to you as it most affects you. It may be that she doesn’t herself know, it may be that she’s buying time to get her stuff together so she can leave in a better position, or that she just can’t acknowledge that she bears any fault/responsibility in this and so is on the defensive, or is having some sort of crisis and just wants to do whatever she wants to do and marriage be damned. However, none of those things are particularly helpful for you. So your options as I see them are to set the boundary that you won’t tolerate this type of attitude from her and be prepared to leave, or stick it out and see where it goes. I’m reminded of my ex-partner’s attitude towards me in our relationship, whenever I raised an issue that required discussion, no matter how small, I was told “if you don’t like it leave” so one day I did. There’s only so much a person will take before they say enough. Only you know when you reach that point.