Wedding Woes

Therapy, stat.

Dear Prudence,

My partner recently came out as trans, and it’s been very hard for me. She used to present as a very rugged, masculine man and wanted to wait until we were married to have sex. I went along with those wholesome ideals and waited because our relationship was so good and I loved how attentive she was to my family. (We both brought a child into the relationship.) After we got married, sex was very infrequent, about four times a year. I’m a very sexual person, and this was sad and confusing, but her reasons were very plausible—until, three years in, she finally told me she wanted to transition.

I’m having the hardest time, and I feel horrible about it. Seeing my spouse as a woman makes me feel panicky about sex. Trying to have sex when I feel panicky is a horrible feeling. I’ve never been transphobic, and I want to be a good ally, but I can’t get on board with this. I’m a heterosexual woman who’s never been attracted to women. But this is my partner, and she was uncomfortable having sex with me as a man. Now I’m uncomfortable having sex with her as a woman. I also feel terrible because she comes from a strict, conservative background and works in a very trans-unfriendly environment. I’m failing my spouse, and I feel anxious all the time. I’ve supported her in staying home to care for the kids and in transitioning, talking about her feelings—everything but sex I can happily and easily support. Also, I’m angry that I didn’t know why she wouldn’t have sex with me for three years. What should I do?

—Trouble With Transition

Re: Therapy, stat.


    Also, I feel for the LW and the spouse.    I may be off here but if this is something that the spouse is just coming to terms with and did not disclose to the LW then I would consider seeking an annulment if the issue is that ultimately things changed to the point that the spouse isn't who she thought she married.   You can be supportive of the spouse while also saying that this is not the relationship that you believe you had when you entered it.  
  • Therapy. Alone and together, for both of you. Because this may be a great time for her to live as her authentic self, you’re still allowed to feel anyway you do about it. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    LW needs both individual and couple's therapy. She needs to talk to her wife about all of this, and they need to decide together what this marriage looks like going forward. Being an ally does not mean you have to have sex with a woman if you are not attracted to them. Maybe they need to seek sexual partners outside of the marriage, while staying together, or maybe they need to just be friends. It doesn't have to be this ugly divorce. But harboring resentment and being afraid to talk to each other isn't going to work. 
  • This is something only therapy can resolve, together and separate, and the resolution might be a divorce.  It happens, it's complicated, LW's feelings are valid and real, and Prudie isn't going to do a danged thing for LW.  
  • Being an ally doesn't mean you have to stay in a marriage where you and your spouse are not sexually compatible. I completely agree that individual therapy for each and couples counseling are both warranted. They may be able to sort out their marriage in some way that works for both of them, or they may end up divorcing. Even if the marriage doesn't work out, LW can still be a friend and ally to spouse. 
  • Therapy and annulment.  She married a man, not a woman, nor is she bi, this is a pretty big incompatibility issue that really I don't think will be able to be "solved" in a way that the LW is comfortable with.  That's not to mean the spit can't happen amicably and they can't be best friends in every single other way and great parents to the child along with being an advocate.  
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