Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Transgender Relationships

I am epically sorry for it taking me so long to gather up the time to create another blog.  I have been sick and life has kind of gotten away from me.  I hope to spend more time in this blog because apparently there are some of you who actually follow what I have to say.  I don't mind that you that do follow don't comment, I just love the fact that what I have to say gets out to the masses.  I hope that you all will enjoy this installment of Jame's Life Transcendence.

I have had so much time to think about what to write about that it has been hard to come up with a topic to write about.  Many times I think I should just have random wandering thoughts.  However, I know myself well enough that I understand that I really don't write in that format.  If I did, nobody would understand anything I have to say.  I prefer to stick some semblance of order.  I have decided that this installment will be in regards to Transgender Relationships.  I am talking more about intimate relationships, not friendships.  Intimate relationships are a far different creature.  They are complex by nature, even for our cis-gender counterparts.  The real difficulty, and I know from personal experience, is when a cis-gender and a transgender decide to be in a relationship.  There are not always issues, problems, or difficulties that are anything more than what the "average" couple would experience in a relationship.  What then am I talking about?  I am talking about what it takes for both sides of a relationship when your significant other comes out as transgender and wants to transition.  How does the partner deal with their issues?  How does the partner coming out deal with their issues?  How can they work together to make the relationship work?  When do they call it quits?  How do they know if it will last?  These are only a few of the questions that any trans/cis-gender couple will face.  This is only the beginning of the rabbit hole.  Every couple, every situation, every person will deal with their personal experience in their own personal way.  I only wish to use my own experience as a guide, a starting point.  Some of what I have done has worked and others have not.  Surely most of you who do follow my Facebook will know that I have had major difficulties in my relationship as of late.  However, I have decided on this topic in order to attempt to make some sense of the things that confuse me and to help others who I have seen have the same problems.  I hope someone will find insight in my words.

So what are some of the problems in an intimate relationship regardless of gender identity or orientation?  What are some of the issues all couples face?  The majority of you will probably agree with me that communication, finances, children, bedroom activities (or the lack thereof), infidelity, and whole laundry list of issues can come to light in any and all relationships.  No relationship is safe from being susceptible to these relationship issues.  Even the relationship that has a newly out transgender individual or the experienced transgender person can fall victim to these problems.  However, if anyone, cis-gender or not, gets involved in a relationship, there are other complexities that can and will inevitably effect the relationship.

Dating someone who is transgender can be a difficult challenge for any individual.  There is so much to learn about what it takes to achieve success in transition.  Many persons involved with the transgender can feel hopeless and frustrated by the fact that they cannot identify with what their partner is going through mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.  Being sensitive to the constant ebb and flow of emotions that a transgender person deals with daily, if not hourly, can make anyone feel insane and hopeless.  Gender Dysphoria, mood swings, and depression are some of the more serious issues that both people have to deal with.  Personally, the mood swings and depression are dealt with more on a personal level than with my partner.  I journal, talk to my therapist and friends, and research how other transgender people deal with these issues.  These are all good avenues, however, they may not work for everyone.  Both partners must be patient and be willing to open their minds and hearts to explore areas of their minds, hearts, and souls that neither person may have been in touch with.  Sensitivity and love, massive amounts of both, are the keys to success.  Dealing with the Dysphoria is always a touchy subject.  Every transgender person has their own way of dealing with it and their own level that it exists in their mind.  Each one also has aspects of who they are physically, mentally and emotionally that contributes to the negative feelings they have towards themselves.

The issues for the other member of the relationship, especially for the cis-gender person, can be a daunting task.  The fear of losing the person they love, not understanding the how's and why's of the situation, feeling that they are less adequate, and feeling completely hopeless in being able to understand what their partner is going through and their own inability to assist them with their own problems are all issues that any person can and will probably face at some point in the relationship.  Yet another issue that is common is the other member of the relationship feeling that they have lost a connection or closeness with the transgender person.  This element, however, is unique to the relationship where the couple has remained together after one partner has come out as transgender.    How does the partner, cis or not, face these issues? I think the most important aspect of any relationship, especially one with a transgender person, is finding a way to have overly open lines of communication with their partner.  Transgender people can be very sensitive and may not always understand what they are going through.  This makes it very difficult for the transgender person to be the focal point of explanation.  The partner must be sensitive to the cues of their partner and be willing to explore and research what their person is going through on their own.  Having a support system or a group of people who are going through a similar situation is always a huge help as well.  Each individual must take cues from their partner and find ways to identify and understand what their partner is going through.  However, all the responsibility is not on the partner.  It is also firmly on the shoulders of the transgender person.  The transgender person must be sensitive to the emotions and feelings that their partner may experience.  Talking and working together can be a very effective tool.  Spending time researching transition together, growing their relationship together, just as any couple would do, is essential.  The transgender must understand that their partner is confused, scared, intimidated, uneasy, and has difficulty understanding something that may be outside their personal experience.

So what is the key to making this type of relationship work?  I really don't think there is some almighty fix or cure all.  I feel that every relationship is unique and must be handled with sensitivity and care.  Each couple must find ways that work for them individually and as a couple in order to be successful in dealing with the intricacies of a complex relationship such as this.  These have been my own thoughts and are by no means to be viewed as relationship advice.  However, it is my sincere hope that anyone who reads this will be able to pick out something that can help them.  The only advice I can and will give is to know yourself.  Be aware of how you feel, how your partner feels, and always attempt to grow yourself and your partner on a personal level.  Until next time.  Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.