There has been an unpublished blog post called “The End” sitting in my drafts on WordPress for just over a week. It is the shortest blog post I have ever written. Quite simply, it said
I will not be proceeding further with transition. This will be the final post on this blog. Thank you for reading these last few years.
And then I planned to disable comments as soon as it was published. Whatever anyone had to say, I didn’t want to hear it.
You will have realised I hope that I have not actually published that post. I have deleted those lines, replaced them with this much lengthier text, and just kept the title. I am not now saying those things, just saying that I thought about them. But why? What happened? So much. My universe has been turned upside-down in the last couple of weeks and the ridiculous thing is that I didn’t see it coming. In short, I have left the title of this post as “The End”, not because it refers to the end of my transition as was originally the case, but because it refers to the end of my marriage.
It all came to a head a couple of Saturdays ago. The soon to be former Mrs K had just arrived home from another unsuccessful social outing feeling sorry for herself and we ended up having another of “those” conversations. Except this time it went a little further. I have written before about how I agreed that nothing would happen until 2017, so the children could have one last Christmas with mum and dad before everything changes. Well, though dragging it out of her was like blood from a stone, I learned that it wasn’t just me that had plans for 2017. Mrs K has plans of her own. Specifically, a plan that involves me not living with her any more. A plan that ends in divorce.
I must be monumentally naïve, because I always believed that given time she would come round. Specifically, I hoped that a combination of a positive reaction from the children coupled with spending a bit of time with Kirsty/me would bring her round to the view that this wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Upon telling her this she was incredulous. How could I think that? What possible grounds had she ever given me for thinking she would be ok being in a romantic relationship with another woman, even if that other woman is me? Well, none. I’m just by nature quite optimistic (content of some of my blog posts notwithstanding) whereas Mrs K is pretty much the opposite. So I always had hope, whereas it seems she only had despair.
Now let me explain, the conversation wasn’t massively negative. It wasn’t a screaming I-hate-you-you-bastard type of thing. In fact, it was in its own way positive. It was certainly calm. The one overarching thing that she said that really stuck with me was
“I want to be your biggest ally in your transition. But I can only do that as your friend, not as your wife”
There was one other thing that stuck with me; a rather curious focus on how uncomfortable she felt with the idea of another woman’s woman-things being in our bathroom, so she wants me to move out before my woman-things move in.
There were a few other things that we spoke about that evening, but I’m not going to into a huge level of detail just now. Suffice to say that the two of us are still going to be together under the same roof at least until January, possibly a month or two beyond that. We still want to give the children one more really good family Christmas. Afterwards? Well I’ll get to that.
This was all well and good and as I said it was positive enough. In fact, I slept reasonably well that night. However it was the next day, a Sunday, when my mood started to head south. All morning I had this growing, gnawing sickness that this wasn’t right, that I didn’t want to get a divorce, and that I couldn’t face life without Mrs K. For all my moans about her being a bit of a black cloud, she’s my black cloud. It came to a head watching (of all things!) The X Factor on Sunday afternoon. One of the contestants was singing the old Roxette hit “It Must Have Been Love” and when she got to the chorus “It must have been love, but it’s over now”, it was too much for me. I literally ran to the bathroom, locked the door and slid down the wall silently sobbing great, heaving sobs of sadness. It was too much, and I don’t even like the song!
I was out that evening at the cinema with Meetup. It was ok, but really I was in no fit state to concentrate on the film. All I kept thinking was “I’m getting divorced. I don’t want to get divorced” over and over again. I was, and maybe still am, in shock. It was a lot harder to get to sleep that night.
On Monday Mrs K and I spoke again in the car on the way back from work. It wasn’t good for either of us. It turns out she had some rather impractical ideas about what our arrangements might be post-split. When I explained why this wouldn’t work (like if we did what she thought, I wouldn’t have enough money to eat never mind to afford things like electrolysis) she burst into tears and declared that she was completely trapped. I tried to allay her fears and assure her that a way could be found to make things work, but the dark clouds had arrived again and a sensible discussion was an impossibility. And yes, I am well aware that I am responsible for a lot of those dark clouds in her life and I don’t feel very good about that.
So once we got home I had a realisation. I can still fix this. I have destroyed this poor woman whom I still love in my own way, and I have got to find a way to make it up to her. To put things right. And so I said it. I said I would cancel my transition. In fact, I would kill off Kirsty altogether. I would make it up to her. We could go back to where we were before. It would all be OK. And like that, everything was off. Except it wasn’t that simple.
It’s too late, she said. The damage is done. Lies on top of lies. I would call them broken promises, which isn’t quite the same thing, but things are pretty desparate if that’s all the self-justification I can muster. Broken promises that came in stages
– I will only dress at home
– I will only dress at the Butterfly Club, but I will never go out in public
– I am going out in public, but I promise I’m not TS
– OK, I am TS after all but I will not be transitioning
– Actually, I am going to transition
So for nearly three years she has never known where she stood. The fact that I genuinely meant each one when I said it cuts no ice, it would be like a husband justifying an affair by saying that he meant the marriage vows when he said them. So from her perspective, the trust is gone, and when the trust is gone, nothing else matters.
That didn’t stop me from trying to prove her wrong though.
On Tuesday I drafted that ultra-short blog post I refer to above. I didn’t publish it. I drafted an email to GIC requesting that I be removed from the waiting list. I didn’t send it. I drafted emails to my friends Michelle and Andrea basically saying goodbye. Michelle got hers. Andrea would have got hers only for the fact that she was enjoying a week in the Canary Islands and I didn’t want to upset her on her holidays. Michelle – thank you so much for being so understanding and supportive in a very difficult week. Your emails helped me stay sane more than you will ever know.
So I told Mrs K what I was doing and what I had done. That I would stop the blog, cancel transition, remove myself from the waiting list and take all of Kirsty’s clothing to the charity shop. Her response? “You will do no such thing!” She told me, quite rightly, that I was still trying to come to terms with what was happening, and couldn’t just switch off being trans. Moreover, she said she refuses to be responsible for a trans person failing to be who they need to be. And anyway, since my first appointment with the clinic isn’t yet booked and so is unlikely to take place for at least another month, there’s no harm in staying on the list for the time being. If I still feel the same when I get my appointment letter, I can withdraw then. And I am under strict instructions not to get rid of the clothes. I have spent a not inconsiderable amount of money building up a female wardrobe and since Mrs K can’t see me lasting 100% male for more than a few weeks, if and when I do backslide I’ll still need all my clothes. So the clothes stay.
It has taken a few more conversations between the two of us to get to the point I’m at now, which is I suppose the “acceptance” stage of grief. And curiously enough, it has also got me to the point where I’m beginning to feel rather positive again (told you I was an optimist!). So the plan, the fine details of which remain to be ironed out, is as follows:
– I will find an apartment or small house to live in, probably just a two-bedroom place. It won’t be far from where we live now, and I know the area well enough to know which locations are acceptable and safe. I intend to buy rather than rent.
– I will remain in the family home as Bob until I’m ready to move into my new house. I will move into my new house as Kirsty, and will remain Kirsty thereafter. This means that my full-time date has moved from a generic “Easter 2017” to whenever I can sort out somewhere to live. This may mean a temporary move to rented accommodation if I can’t find the right place to buy soon enough.
– There will be financial jiggery-pokery between the two of us to ensure that we can both pay the mortgages, the household bills, look after the kids, and have a similar amount of disposable income left over. We will undoubtedly be worse off financially after the split, but I don’t think disastrously so. The important thing is that we reach agreement.
– The previous plan for coming out to my siblings, which Mrs K described as “a bit melodramatic” is now gone. Mrs K is going to accompany me to each of their homes so we can both explain, in person, about the split and my transition. This was her idea and I think this could be very significant in that she will back up what I am saying about transition being as close to a necessity as I can think of, that the well-being of the children is uppermost in our considerations, and that she believes me when I say that I am a woman.
– I will continue to be welcome in the family home, and can come round for the evening or for dinner, or even to put the little one to bed, assuming they are willing to see me. They will also spend some time in my home, where I will ensure that they have a bedroom. To put this into Mrs K’s words “Just because you won’t be sleeping in the same house as the rest of us doesn’t mean we’re not still a family”.
– Crucially, we do not want to get involved an a legal battle to bleed each other dry. We could well end up on much better terms after the split than we were for the last three years of marriage. If we can come up with a settlement with which we are both happy, then we can run with that in the short to medium term, so that when it comes time for a legal divorce (which isn’t the immediate priority) there should be next to no negotiation required around the terms of that divorce. Told you I was an optimist!
So there you go. World turned upside down. And you know what? It may well be the best thing for all concerned. As the legendary relationship guru Sting put it, if you love somebody set them free. At least, that’s the current theory. Transition could be cancelled again by this time next week. Life is nothing if not unpredictable.