Pushed to the Brink

So I haven’t posted in over a week.  That is not because life hasn’t been moving along.  In fact, quite a bit has been happening.

Last week’s post mentioned that I was considering starting HRT as a diagnostic tool. This idea has received mixed reactions among my trans friends, and it drew an interesting commentary from Miss Caden Lane. What I realized is that I have not provided a lot of information to my handful of followers about the early part of my journey, and this seems like a good time to provide some clarification so that you know a little more about me.

I am now eight months into my exploration. I introduced myself to you at the new year with very little information, simply mentioning that I am married with young children. My second post alluded to the fact that I attend therapy and a transgender support group. Weekly therapy has been an important place for me to share my feelings in a non-aggressive setting. After being initially apprehensive about seeing a therapist, I now look forward to my appointments. While therapy gives me the opportunity to talk one-on-one about me, my support group allows me to hear other people’s stories and gain some perspective regarding my place in the world and how other’s have dealt (or not dealt) with their transitions. This two-pronged approach is the basis of my small support circle, as there is little to none at home in the form of my wife.

After taking several baby steps in the transition process and rationalizing what-ifs and the endless permutations and possible outcomes of my story, I finally came to the point where I felt like I needed to do something more actionable to help resolve my questions. I weighed the pros & cons of HRT and resolved that I wanted to know how hormones would change my body. Will they make me more emotional? Will I feel more womanly than I already do? Will I not like the changes and react negatively, indicating transition is not right for me? These are questions I feel I cannot logically reason out. Everyone’s experience is different. I won’t know until I’m there. I described this previously as using HRT as a “diagnostic tool.” While I have had support from my circle that this is a valid method, others were not so receptive. Some people believe I should have more Real Life Experience (RLE) before making an “irreversible” decision to start HRT.

Irreversible? Yes and no. I’ve done my research. I accept the risks. My wife is in the camp of No, which should not shock anyone who has been following this blog. She believes my doctors are crazy for allowing me to pursue hormones. She believes I am not ready for hormones. She is also in defensive mode. I have slowly been wading through red tape in the attempt to get an appointment at a transgender clinic. My wife was unhappy but aware of this fact. What she was not prepared for was the fact that my primary doctor decided she would be willing to take on the task of prescribing me hormones with guidance from the clinic. What did this mean? It meant that I suddenly had an appointment within a week that could result in me walking out with hormones. This made for a very tense week. I detailed some of that in my most recent post.

That brings us to the meat of what happened this week.

Over my wife’s objections, I went and saw my doctor, and yes, she prescribed me hormones! I walked out of her office nervously excited. Finally, after months of waiting, I had prescriptions. I had what I had been pursuing. At the same time, this is not what my wife wanted at all. She was extremely upset that the scrip was written. She was even more incensed when I filled the prescription. While I did not take any of the pills, the mere fact that they were now in the house had crossed the line for her. Several days of verbal fights (unfortunately, in front of the children) broke out. Threats of divorce and taking the kids were stated. She was insistent that she would flush the pills. Tearful admissions that the marriage might be over were levied by both of us. Bleakness. Sadness. And I had to go to work in front of the public in a retail job…

We did come to an uneasy compromise. She thinks I need more real life experience before making a “final” decision (Again, she’s in the HRT is a not a diagnostic tool camp.). I have long agreed that I needed more RLE, but the restrictions placed on me don’t allow that to happen. So, I am trying to work with her on what other steps I can take. She is resistant to many of my ideas. If we can come to some sort of agreement on the next steps (that will allow me some more RLE), then I have agreed to delay on the pills. If not, then I am fully prepared to start HRT, which might well lead to our separation. I need compromises at this point. I am tired of the baby steps. I need actionable progress. So whether it be more RLE or HRT (or both), I must move forward. This question of identity cannot linger forever. Neither of us can handle that.

While we work on details of what kinds of additional RLEs she is willing to allow me to attempt, she agreed not to dump the pills if she could have control of them, even though I had already agreed I wouldn’t take them yet. As a sign of trust, I handed them over. As a sign of trust on her end, she left them on the kitchen counter instead of hiding them away. So there they sit… Basically, it comes to this: If I take them, she’s done with me. This is her line in the sand. It doesn’t matter how slowly hormones may take effect; the fact that I would be taking them is too much and, to her, is considered a final decision (even though I don’t see it that way).

We have been pushed to the brink of our limits. We evaluate our tolerances and make our decisions. We are trying to work with each other to save what’s left of the marriage. The outlook looks bleak, but we are still together, at least for now. Lots of tears. Lots of talking. This week was a rough one, and the standoff continues.

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