Guest Author: Kelzi

Kelzi, one of the regulars on our MHB message boards, wrote a piece about what it’s like to be a couple going through transition that resounded pretty strongly for me (& for others):

Lately, I haven’t had much to say, and when I do, I just journal it. However, when I stop by to catch up here and there, I often find that I should have posted. My recent M.O. What’s different about tonight is that I find the warm and fuzzy stories about couples who stay together way too inflated, heart warmed and fuzzed that they become unrecognizable as a point of reference. Except, every once and a while someone cleans the pig. MG wrote:

….And Jenn and I didn’t survive anything. Everyday we make a decision to continue to stay together. That in no way means we survived anything. It only means that, for today, we still want to be together. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll both make the same decision.

Two nights ago, D and I just celebrated (and I use the word figuratively, it certainly was not a celebration. miss O was genuinely upset we didn’t go out and celebrate. Upon querying us as to the reason, D quickly replied ‘what’s to celebrate?’ to which miss O responded ‘Oh yeah, that man and wife thing.’) our 14th year as husband and wife. It was also our 8th year since my transition.

MG is painfully right, couples that choose to stay together, after the transition of a spouse, are not survivors, we have just found a couple of compelling reasons to stick it out together for one more day. A couple of reasons to let ourselves think that the cultural and social stigmata that tattoo our lives will disappear in the morning. That in the frighteningly few moments where we get to forget the realities of our lives together and embrace as lovers, only to have the moments shattered when we remember that we no longer make love as we once did, we both agree to stick it out for one more day.

I wish I could understand why we choose this way. It not a path that I’d wish on any couple. Its hard and it hurts and the longer we stay together, the more I’m convinced that the pain will never really go away. Its true that we still love each other. We cuddle on the sofa, sleep in the same bed (depending on the intensity of our hot flashes or the weather) and continue to revel in the joys of raising our daughter, together. But we have also become much more reclusive. We’re hurt by the simple slip of a pronoun. I being reminded of what I am, she remembering who she was. We look at the photo from that night 14 years ago and wonder what happened to that couple, where did they go? Why aren’t they here? Will they ever come back? Perhaps what hurts most of all, we miss our simple displays of affection, that kiss on the street, holding hands as we walk, a long embrace under a street lamp, that we so often freely gifted. Yeah, we miss the simplicity of man and woman, husband and wife, mother and father. We tire of the attitudes from the public and parents and friends and family. They, thinking their thoughts of us. We, conflicted by wanting to right the assumptions they make of us, wanting to correct, explain, share and then we remember the results of our previous disclosures. Who has that kind of time and energy? For the last 8 years, it has taken all the energy plus some that we borrowed, just to stay together just one more day.

There are days, too often it seems, where making the best of a trying situation, makes no sense. How I long for those days where my sweetie’s resting head gradually, gently drifts to my chest and there we drift into our world of pleasant dreams. Now a days her head comes to rest at my boob. She awakes and is reminded of the indignities she endures, the loss she has suffered, unfulfilled dreams that may never return. Could our lives be much better if we said enough is enough? We’d be free to experience our lives as we once dreamt they would be. In love. In public. Innocuous. Together, silently, without ever saying it to each other, we ask, ‘Really, is it really worth it? Can I do this for one more day?’

Usually I don’t know.

Its part of our unspoken agreement to each other. Oh, there have been times where I thought we wouldn’t be able to do it. We leave each other. We look for clarity. We seek advise and usually we wake up in the morning ready for one more day.

Next year, if we get that far, it’ll be our crystal anniversary. Maybe things will be clearer by then. Maybe we’ll be gifted a crystal ball that will show us were to go, how to get there. Maybe I’ll be able to clearly explain why we stay together. Except with our luck, Coyote would come along and want it for himself, steal it before we even got to peak into it. I bet that he would eat it, to illuminate his inner self, only to see that he was really full of shit. Maybe that’s the point, we have to see thru all the shit find what we really are looking for. When asked on how we’re doing, we’ve often say, ‘We’re taking it day by day’. It comforting to know that at least for now, that hasn’t changed. At the end of the day, we both are saying, ‘I think I can do this for another day.’

4 Replies to “Guest Author: Kelzi”

  1. It will be our 30th anniversary next year. And 5 1/2 years since transition. Our son will be 9 in a few weeks.

    We both recognise that we really should split. We just can’t, we love each other too much.

    Neither of us are attracted to one another. That doesn’t seem to matter, though I don’t know why. We’ve thought about things, but for both of us, the only man we want in our lives is our son. When he flies the nest, what then? By that time, we’ll be in our 60s.

    Either of us could be swept off our feet of course. I think it is though that neither of us wants to be, we like things as they are. That may change of course, but I think if it was going to, it would have by now.

  2. well. . . one story is one story. Like something I once said somewhere. . . “if you’ve met one trans person, You’ve met one trans person.” 🙂 Same is true with relationships, imo.

    We just celebrated our 14th. We went out and celebrated. Transition is a challenge, but so are a lot of things. The intimacy, our celebrations and our identity as a family didn’t end. How it works between us and how our relationship evolves is due to a complex myriad of things that we. . . i guess don’t spend time tring to sort out. Life is basically good and we move on.

    In many ways as a couple and family it’s better. My spouse and i just had a conversation about this not long ago. The roles between my spouse and I didn’t change, but it’s now visible to others since we’re seen as a same sex couple. We are no longer feel we are part of “mommy wars” or career / life “balance” debate like were felt before or when the division of labor to raise our son is required. . . no one has any. . . um. . . “benchmark” to what a mom and a mada should be doing to raise their kiddo. To name a few things.

    shrug + All the best,

  3. A sad story, and one that was important to tell. Thank you, Kelzi, for your candour.

    I’m sure my partner and I aren’t unique, but for us it really is warm and fuzzy, 29 years after we first got together, 20 years after we got married, and two and a half years since I transitioned. We have no children. The renewed relationship didn’t just happen. We worked through a lot of things during my transition. She got counselling, mainly for issues of loss of security. We both did a workshop that really helped us to break through the issues remaining between us.

    Of course, it helps that we have always both been bisexual. We’re still attracted to each other. She is no longer interested in men, and never was interested in “manly” men (clearly!). I am interested in men, but at this point I don’t think it’s a crucial part of my development. We have always given each other room to grow, and that is still the case.

    I wish Kelzi the best.

  4. Donna, my ex-wife now partner and I just passed our 30th anniversary May 31 without fanfare nor recognition, when about a week later I asked her if she realized we had both missed it. Part of the issue is that we spent 2 years apart, so we’re not sure if it’s 30 years, 28 years, or everything started over 3 years ago. It just is not important like it once was. What is important, is that we are together as a family once again with our boys under our roof as well.

    Our relationship has changed significantly since those heady days of courtship, as we have not been intimate in 6 years or so, but we still hug and spoon, and lately there’s more reaching out with a hand or foot just before we fall asleep.

    She’s playing the piano as I type this, and I realize that in spite of where we are, and the difficulties we’ve endured, I’d rather be with no one else.

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