Having ‘the talk’ – ‘Darling, I think I’m trans!’

Many of us worry that sharing the changes we’re going through will destroy our relationships, particularly if we’ve been partnered for many years.  There are certainly situations where this is the case, however it doesn’t always need to be that way. If you’re interested in preserving your relationship you may want to read on.

Partners generally can be very accepting as long as they don’t feel their relationship or security is threatened.  So, for example, if you choose to share that you are experiencing some shifts emotionally, you’re likely to get a lot further than simply declaring that you want to be known henceforth as ‘Candy’ and that you’re going to wear stripper clothes to your job at the iron foundry. I think you understand what I am driving at. Communication is the key, and it’s communication at a very gentle level. No one wants to hear an ultimatum, or that ‘everything has to change’.

This is likely to be a conversation that will affect your relationship for years to come. It will likely spill over to include conversations with your children, if you have any. My life was made much easier simply by being outed by a stalker to my kids. I won’t spoil the story, you can read it here – https://fionadobson.com/i-was-outed-to-my-kids-by-my-stalker/  All that said, this is a conversation you want to plan very carefully. You can start by thinking about how it will sound to your partner. If you are starting your trans journey, you will want her support. Family can be a wonderful ally, if you manage the situation well.

In most cases talking to your partner is a good idea, when it is done carefully and with sensitivity. This means taking small and thoughtful steps. Explaining that you’re feeling differently about many things, and that you are leaning into the more sensitive side of your nature, is a good way to introduce the idea that you’re shifting. It’s non-threatening, and it doesn’t challenge ideas about sexuality. Details can come later.

For many of us, accepting our trans nature does not mean a shift in sexuality. We don’t suddenly want to sleep with anyone particularly different. And you are, like it or not, the same person that fell in love with your partner, albeit perhaps many years ago. The concept of change can also be considered growth. That doesn’t mean that suddenly everything is different. For some of us it is fraught with upheaval and drama, but for many of us it doesn’t have to be that way. You are still the same person they always knew. Successfully managing this shift is all about avoiding drama.

I am always telling members that a gentle shift toward a more androgynous style of clothing, and more gender neutral behaviour, is a good idea. Cataclysmic shifts are never a great idea. Gentle changes done over a period of time achieve what you want without the drama. The words are very important here, but remember it’s also about what you do, rather than what you say. As we grow into our trans personality many of us find we are nicer, more accepting people. Demonstrating kindness is a trait you can lean into as you move into this new stage in your life.

There’s no doubt that it also helps if you make it comfortable for your partner. If you say you’re interested in using a little eye makeup, ‘your eyes always look so good, darling’. And then suggesting they help you choose when next you’re out shopping, then buying her some makeup to thank her is going to get you a lot further than just taking her makeup when she’s not looking. I’m not saying bribery is a good idea, but gift giving is.

Talking to a partner in a sensitive manner may require that you do less telling them about what you’re doing, and more asking them what they think. For example, asking ‘how do you get your nails looking so good?’ is way better than saying ‘I’m getting my nails done,’ as an opening gambit to suggesting that you both go and get your nails done together. Going for a clear coat is great, she won’t feel threatened, and you can say ‘a couple of the guys at work had it done a while ago.  It looked great.’

And remember, she doesn’t want to hear you say that you look better in her panties than she does.  Take things slowly. Each time you introduce something, give her time to let it settle and accept it. Likely she can enjoy your journey as much as you will, if you handle it gently.

It’s a fact of trans life that it’s up to us to make things comfortable for those around us. The people we care about can be very  shocked by big changes, and we don’t want that. I admit this is hardly fair on us, particularly when we are also working to understand the changes within us, but that’s just a part of the trans journey. We have to protect those about us from their own fears. Welcome to being trans.


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