Summary: Dealing with a partner or spouse that is transitioning? Can you still make a relationship work? It'll take a lot of communication and perseverance to prevail.

If you are in a relationship with or married to someone who is transgender and is now transitioning, this information will be crucial for you to be able to manage and navigate the relationship going forward.

hand of LGBT women holding together with rainbow ribbon symbol

Dealing with a family member or friend who is transgender is one obstacle on its own, but if you are in a committed relationship or even married to someone who presented as their birth sex when you entered into the relationship, but they now express to you that they are not living as their true authentic self and are transitioning to the opposite sex, this can dampen or even ruin a relationship, especially if children are involved.

You may ask yourself if you are even able to be in a relationship with them as you may not be attracted to the sex they have transitioned to. For instance, if you are a straight woman who married a man, and even had children, yet your husband is now expressing to you that he wants to transition to a female, you may begin to question your sexuality to see if it’s even possible for you to be with a woman, or to even see your husband as a woman.

For most people, this will be an extremely difficult task. And it is perfectly acceptable to leave a relationship that you are no longer satisfied with or can make work. If you are not attracted to women, yet your husband has transitioned to one, then you cannot force yourself to change your sexuality. So, it is okay for you to leave.

When your partner first mentions to you that they are transgender and want to transition, it’s imperative to ask as many questions as you possibly can. Be supportive and accepting of your significant other since it’s not their fault they are transgender, nor are they intentionally trying to hurt you by transitioning. Remember, they have to do what makes them feel happy, and if living as they are now is miserable for them as they cannot be their true, authentic self, and transitioning would allow them to be who they truly are, then they have to take that step. The last thing they need is resistance. So, be there for them, even if you don’t like or even agree with their decision.

Portrait of transgender woman applying make up

Also, don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault they are transitioning. You may have had a rocky relationship, but that doesn’t mean you are to blame for them wanting to transition. Not all relationships work out, so remember that during this transition process, it’s important to ask questions, and even see a therapist that specializes in transgender related issues so you can get a better idea of what your spouse is going through and what to do. Also consider going to a marriage and relationship therapist to talk things through since the relationship may be able to be salvaged, but it will be different. When young children are involved, it can become even more complicated.

It is possible to make a relationship work, even after your partner has transitioned, but that requires you to be able to see past the physical. Your partner will physically change, and may even have surgery to alter their genitals, but you can still love the person they are. However, it may be impossible for you both to have a romantic, or even sexual, relationship since you may not be attracted to the sex they have transitioned to. If that is the case, it may be time to leave. Always keep an open mind and exhaust all other options first, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are no longer attracted to them because it’s not your fault.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

I hear from people quite frequently about their partner leaving them after they transition. It’s understandable since the marriage was not formed based on the new person they have become, but rather the old one. With new changes comes new growth, and leaving the relationship behind will only make the person stronger. It is still possible to make the relationship work, but often that requires the other party to be attracted to the sex their partner has transitioned to, or at the very least, just love the person for who they are (which is indeed more important). However, some people cannot do this and thus the relationship will end.

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