Sunday, May 20, 2007

Seventh Thing, Continued

This is a continuation of yesterday's post, so if you haven't read it yet, you might want to scroll down and read it through first.

The hardest thing for me after learning that Mike was a transvestite was not being able to talk to anyone about it. I couldn't talk to family or friends because this was Mike's "secret," although now it was mine too, and I didn't like keeping it. But everyone I knew also knew Mike, so who could I tell? The only person I could talk to was Mike himself.

The whole transvestite issue confused me. Was Mike attracted to men? No, he told me, he definitely wasn't. I asked him to explain to me what the attraction or compulsion was for him to dress like a woman. This was much harder for him to explain, but as best as I could understand it, by dressing like a woman, he could be both a woman and a man. I still didn't understand. Because Mike recognized it as socially unacceptable behavior, he suggested he obtain counseling, and I agreed.

After he attended several sessions, he asked me to accompany him. I certainly felt in need of some counseling myself, so I readily agreed. During the session, however, it became clear that the counselor was working with Mike to help him deal with his feelings and accept himself for who he was, not to try to somehow "cure" him. I know now that people who have gender issues can't be "cured," but back in the mid 1970s and at the age of 18, I believed that counseling would help to make Mike "normal." As far as I was concerned, then, the counseling was a failure. Mike, on the other hand, seemed to think he could suppress his urges and our marriage could continue on as it had.

Unfortunately, our relationship continued to deteriorate in other ways as it became clear we had very little in common. Around that time, Mike turned 21 and started going out to bars with friends in the evenings while I stayed home, and we began drifting even further apart as we spent less and less time together.

Sometime in the fall of 1975, Mike sustained a concussion in a company baseball game and stayed home, under doctor's orders, for a few days. I was working for Mike's dad, and as we were all concerned about the concussion, his dad gave me the afternoon off to go home and take care of Mike. When I arrived home, I found the door locked and chained, and when I called out to Mike, I realized he had chained the door so no one would walk in on him. As I sat on our front stairs, waiting to be let into my home, I realized that nothing had changed and nothing would ever change. I think that was really the end of the marriage. Within a few months, we talked it over and decided to call it quits. We bought a car for me, and I found a job and an apartment and moved out.

Mike and I continued to keep in touch for several months, but our contacts with each other tapered off as we each built new lives. A few years later, I got a call from him about having our marriage annulled through the Catholic Church. He had met another woman and wanted to get married again. I couldn't help but wonder whether he had been honest with her, but I didn't think that was really any of my business. I wasn't even sure if he'd tell me the truth if I asked, so I didn't ask. That was the last time I talked to Mike.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law told me he had run into Mike at their 30-year high school reunion. He said that Mike was no longer "Mike" but had had a sex change operation and was now a woman. It took my brother-in-law a few months to figure out how to break the news to me, but he never knew the background of my marriage to Mike. As you may expect, the news did not come as a complete surprise to me!

I hope "Mike" is happy in his new life. I'm sure the path he followed was a hard one with many obstacles and heartache along the way. I found that "she" has a website and appears to be doing quite well, having gone on to obtain several degrees and establish an engineering business in another state. I briefly considered trying to get in touch but decided that part of my life is long behind me and best left there.

As to me and how I feel about Mike and our marriage, I'm happy to say that my sense of humor is such that I can look back and laugh. It was a traumatic time in my life, and I'm sure it affected me in some ways I don't even realize, but I moved on, as we all do, and eventually met and married my current husband and built a different life.

So, now I've told you seven things you didn't know about me. I won't tag anyone with this meme since it's been going around awhile, but I'd welcome hearing about you. If you read my blog and have any comments or decide to take up the "seven things" meme, let me know so I can learn about you!


May Britt said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us. It must have been a hard time discovering your husband was like this.

Jane Weston said...

Thank you for sharing so much about yourself. I found #7 most fasinating to read...actually all 7 were interesting. :o)
I've just done the 7 things meme if you are interested in reading about me.


Carole said...

I believe a marriage is a roll of a die; you never know what you get. Some surprises are pleasant and others...... well it's all how you look at it! You have quite a talent in writing. Thanks for sharing!

C'tina said...

Most all of us have husbands, wives,kids, mothers and fathers...who knows what makes any of the way we are? There are so many variables. Given all the things that can be different in our development, from conception to adulthood, it's amazing any of us are even functional...let alone caring, giving, productive members of society. The human spirit is complicated but basic...we are all creatures of God/nature or whatever you concieve the awesome power that makes us aware that we can question it to be.

So how was Breakfast with the family? Whadjave?

Knot Garden said...

What a lot you've been through. I'm so glad you married again and are OK.

Laurie Ann said...

Holy crap! That was a very interesting number 7. If there was a prize for the most interesting "thing", I think you would win it. I did my seven, but I think they are a little boring. :)

Michelle said...

What a story! I'm glad you came through it okay. And thanks for sharing.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

OMG!!! I have just done the 7, but mine are looking very, very tame right now. I think I will just go have a drink.....Tracey

YankeeQuilter said...

Got to say this one woke me up!!! You have a great outlook on life (and a great sense of humor!!!)