Gender Dysphoria, what do I do?
I’m lost… I’ve been married for 15 years, we have a 14 year old daughter and now for some reason I feel stronger than ever about my gender dysphoria.
It’s not like it’s a sudden occurrence, I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember, maybe around 13 or 14, but growing up in a more traditional family I just pushed it to the side and thought I was just a weirdo for thinking that about myself. I had girlfriends and I do like women, I just tried to do what I thought I was supposed to do throughout life.
Before I knew it I was married and a year later we had a daughter.
Every year or so I have a relapse and get a strong desire to be more feminine but I always end up telling myself off on the inside and then try to forget about it.
However for the past 2 years I just let myself accept some of the more feminine traits while keeping it somewhat disguised.
For work I often have a night away from home, roughly once or twice a fortnight, recently I’ve been becoming more and more upset thinking about it and often when on those overnights alone I find myself tearing up thinking about all the people who would get hurt if I told them my true feelings, while at the same time I’m hurting myself every day I try to keep my feelings suppressed. The tears are not just for my family but myself as well.
I’m really lost and don’t know what I should do, if I should even do anything. I don’t know if my wife has a clue or not? I mean my clothing choices have changed a little, like wearing tights and shaving but I don’t think she really cares about that stuff. She did wonder why I’ve been using so many new types of skin care products, and why I’ve started to grow my hair out but I always just create a story and deflect the topic.
I’m nearly 40 years old and don’t know if I can suppress these feeling forever without driving myself crazy.
What makes it harder is she is a devout religious Christian and I know she will never understand, I’m not religious (anymore), I wasn’t religious when we met and got married either. She was a new Christian when we married, I’d go to church with her to support her, over the years she has become a very very strong Christian!
I have decided that I should tell her, she deserves that much at least. Should I… I don’t know!
I’m just looking for advice, what can I do and where can I go? I don’t want to dump all this baggage on her straight away, maybe there is something I can say to ease in the information in a gradual way so we can both cope…or say nothing?
I'd like to give you a warm welcome here to the Forum. You must by now have realized you are not alone. Many people have, when younger, disregarded their feelings and gone down a 'conventional' path, ending with a partner and kids.
I'll say as far as I can see the love for a partner or children does not stop as one's own identity becomes stronger and hte desire not to hurt -or even separate - can by just as strong.
Nevertheless one's own nature can become pressing and more urgent and one feels almost trapped between oneself and circumstances. There is the very great worry htat the family will not understand.
Rather than just deciding on your own I would strongly suggest you contact Qlife (1800 184 527)
They are very experience and give you the chance to talk wiht others who are used to these dilemmas and many who have lived though them . They have phone and web chat from 3.00pm to midnight daily.
I cna't say much more than htat , other than your feelings about yourself are legitimate and worthy. It does not affect your basic nature such as being kind, considerate, perceptive or hte strengths you already have.
My own experience -on an unrelated matter- is that I'm not capable of misleading or telling untruths to someone I'm close to, but the is just me, I'm sure others are more competent in those areas.
I wish you the wisdom to decide and do what is best
Thanks for the great advice Croix,
I’ll try calling Qlife on my next night away from home, it’s hard for me to get alone time at home because my wife doesn’t work, plus it’s school holidays and my daughter is around so it can be tough to find a quiet place.
I’ve booked an appointment next week with a GP to talk about it as well, she specialises in mental health and sexual health. I messaged the clinic before hand to see if they had any doctors able to help with my specific situation and they said she was the one.
I was quite nervous about taking this step but now that I’ve made the appointment I’m feeling more positive (but at the same time still very nervous). It’s going to be hard to let it all out to somebody in person, compared to writing about it on the internet but I think I really need to get this out so I can relieve some of the feelings I’ve been holding down for so long.
I really appreciate your response, it feels so good to know there are people out there who can help and people who can share their own experiences.
thanks again 😌
I think you are being wise in getting advice before taking any action, this is a problem many have faced and I'm sure differing perspectives will help.
As for being somewhat nervous about talking face to face with the doctor I'd have to say two things, the first being that mental health matters are one thing , gender orientation matters are another as they are simply part of the human conditon.
The other tihng is you can always do what I have done if you find talking face to face could give you problems, and that is to take a couple of days to put down what you want to say briefly in point form on paper, then hand it over in a long consultation.
I've found this has worked well, I do not have to explain from scratch or forget things, and if there is anything embarrassing or even frightening by then it is too late to squib out and not mention them (one of my failings:( The councilor or other professional has been pleased as there is a list to work from.
I do hope you come back and say how you get on.
I know I'm a bit late to this party but just wanted to reach out and offer support. What a horrible situation to be in. Whichever way you decide to go, you are in for a long, hard road. But congratulations for taking the first steps! Nothing could be more courageous than what you have already done in reaching out and saying 'this is me'! Well done.
Definitely, definitely get some professional help from LGBTI+ and trans experienced medical/psych people to support you through this journey. I can't imagine how hard this will be for you embark on this journey to be true to yourself. Just be kind to your wife and child through this - your wife didn't sign up for this and may not take it well. However, there are many examples of people who transitioned after marriage and their spouse was amazingly supportive. You would know better than I, if you can bring her on the journey with you.
The alternative of burying this important part of yourself and carrying on as you are, may only buy you short term relief. It may not be the easier option to have to keep fighting yourself, and the number of people who transition in their 60s or 70s show that these feelings are unlikely to go away.
I love that you are concerned about hurting people, that's shows you are a compassionate person. Remember to keep some of that compassion for yourself. What do you need to be at peace with yourself and your choices? You don't need to jump into something all at once. Only you can know if you will be happier completely transitioning, or if some gender fluidity would suit you more. No hurry to decide.
Only you can decide if and when you need to be open with your wife. It may buy you some time and comfort to continue to make the small changes - embrace your feminine side a bit at a time. I don't know.
Please take care of yourself, and know you are not alone. Reach out in your local or regional area - there will be peer supports available.