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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

yes it takes you to a web page.

Not helpful though, at least for me, at this stage....

As I said in my answer to you... it's all about how I can support her in her decision.

I'm still a long way not past how this impacts me and how I feel about it which I need to resolve before I can possibly contemplate supporting someone else in something I don't even understand.

Hi Battlin Business Owner,

I understand what you’re saying about the support material most often directed towards supporting the transitioning partner.

Even if supportive, the other partner can feel a bit lost trying to adjust to a huge change to the relationship dynamic.

This affects you. It’s definitely important that you receive support. It may take your wife a bit of time to realise how much it affects you. I’ve felt a similar way to you at times.

Nearly three years ago my husband told me he feels female and wanted to transition.

We are no longer a couple and have sought counselling together to try and navigate how we move forward as a family (we have two very young children). We still live in the same house.

So I have experience in what it’s like having a partner transition from male to female.

It might be a bit different (or not?) having a partner come out as non binary, I’m not sure, sorry! It’s probably even harder finding support written specifically about that situation. But I relate to the feelings you’re expressing.

Give yourself time. Don’t feel pressured into any rushed decisions. (I’m a planner and like things ‘all sorted out’ so it was hard for me to take this advice initially.)

I appreciate it’s a really challenging time for you. But it’s a great step talking to others about it. You’re not alone.

Lillylane

Lillylane
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Just a thought following on what I wrote below...

I know a couple who are still together after the wife came out as non binary a few years ago.

I guess the outcomes can be varied and no couple is the same. And it can take time too, before people sort out feelings and decide what they want to do.

Just don’t want my experience to sound all ‘doom and gloom’. 🙂

Of course, and there's definitely no pressure to have a conversation before you're ready to. Perhaps it would be best to spend some time alone with your thoughts, just to consolidate what you're feeling and help you process some of the more difficult emotions.

Sometimes it feels great to just let all of my emotions out in a journal or diary entry. Journalling can be helpful if we need to think deeply about what we're feeling, or express something that's difficult to put into words.

SB

Thx Lillylane,

sounds very similar. I imagine you would have felt much the same as I do. Our kids sound a little older than yours which helps but definitely still a factor on the way forward.

Thanks too for the feedback on your friends.

I'm still processing think I will be for a while as this is not something you expect to happen after this many years.

TY

Hey there

I've read through this thread and have found it very interesting.

One thing I want to mention is that I hear you when you say you feel left out and ignored. Your partner and daughter have transitioned into new identities which is profound for them.. Meanwhile you're in a position where you need to accept that on your own. I highly agree that there isn't enough representation for partners navigating and accepting the transition of their partners, and it's very much needed. So I can empathise that you feel neglected in this scenario, because struggling to accept this massive change would be viewed as maybe prejudiced, unfair, unaccepting, transphobic. Your feelings are completely valid here. You've mentioned you're accepting of transgendered people and that isn't the issue, it's ultimately about navigating your partners transition, and there is nothing wrong with struggling with that.

Bottom line, this is a massive shock as you've mentioned, especially after 20 years. You're in a position here of needing to support your partner on this challenging journey, but you're also on an incredibly challenging one that seems to be in the shadows.

Physical attraction is essential in any relationship.. You can't change your sexuality or decide to be attracted to a man, and that in no way makes you superficial or a bad person, it's simply human nature.

I think some relationships make it work and learn to navigate that challenge, but others may not be able to. I'm not quite sure how that works, perhaps the ability to love your partners personality transcends the physical attraction aspect, maybe the partner is more flexible in their sexuality than first realised and they can still make it work in that way. You can still see the feminine aspects of your wife that you're attracted to, and as you've said, seeing this new masculine side can make things more confusing.

It's almost like they've become another person - a massive part of their identity has changed, and I think often times, people argue that gender identity and presentation isn't as significant as most people think. Ultimately that is up to you, and for me personally, I think it's a massive part of someones identity and how you see them, and of course how you're attracted to them.

This has been mentioned already, but open communication is so important.. And I hope you and your partner can arrive at that stage. You're deserving of that same empathy, and it seems it's essential in order for you to move forward

Hi Isabella,

Thanks for your reply, it resonates with how I feel.

It's a huge transition and yes, I agree completely that in contrast to what some may say, I feel that gender presentation is a huge part of how you view someone and whether you're attracted to them. That's probably the core issue here for me.

I still love my wife and care about her as a person but her presenting as non-binary, now, impacts the attraction I feel definitely.

Not sure what the future looks like, but yes at some point I'm going to have to be ready to sit down and talk to her about it.

randomx
Community Member

Hi op.

Oh hell yeah , of course it all would. So sorry yourself or anyone for that matter has to go through this. lf it were me the main thing for me, just on the between you two part of things, would be on whether or not it was real and here to stay or just some confusion or faze. lf it was going to be here to stay then that would have to be that for me l'm afraid.

For me as much as hard as that would be to deal with, l would rather know so that l don't end up hanging around in hope for yrs and trying to cope. Bc l know l'd have zero interest whatsoever in somehow learning to cope or attempting to force myself to be attracted to something l'd know l just won't,be or living in hope, or in staying married to the same. Sorry if that's blunt but for me, that would be easier than the alternative and l'd rather know so that l could start preparing emotionally mentally and in all the other things involved, toward a new life life apart. For me , maybe later on in a few yrs if she'd discovered she was just mixed up and reverted back ,then maybe l might be still be free and who knows, maybe interested in trying again. But l wouldn't be prepared to gamble trying to live through 5 or10yrs of it together in hope.

rx

That Other Guy
Community Member

non binary is not trans. Your wife is not saying they are a man. Most trans folks don't have gender reassignment surgery either. So I would suggest, if they plan on keeping their sex parts, and using them with you, then how does a label like non binary affect your life together? Is your wife asking for things to materially change in your relationship?

I have a trans son, so I get the whole "Never really thought about it until it visited me" thing, and a partner is more than a child in this sense, but I think you just need to talk to your partner, and navigate both of your feelings and how you move forward

Thx Randomx,

that's sort of where my head is at. I think it's here to stay.

Had our first real conversation about it today and her comment when I raised it and mentioned we hadn't talked about it, was it's nothing to do with me.

Apparently she's always felt this way just didn't know what to call it.