Thursday, March 15, 2012

Therapy the Second

Before the session
This week, we saw the therapist separately.  I got to go first, just because I was available the first time she was available; my wife was not.  I'm not sure if it's better to go first or second.

I had a list of about a dozen points broken into three categories: sex, marriage, and general.  Trans issues fit into all three categories.  I also decided that I needed to start by asking what she knows about trans.  Although my wife is a therapist, she is woefully mis- or un-informed about trans issues, to the point that she said to me "you're not transgendered!"  My reaction was limited to my jaw dropping.  Later, I asked if she knew what transgendered meant ~ she didn't really.  She equated it with transsexual.

It's going to be a long, uphill fight.

After the session

I didn't get to my points, but I did address some in response to questions.  I didn't know what to expect.  It was, "she asked questions, I answered same."

I answered most, anyway.  There are things I have issues with, within the marriage and I talked about those.  I addressed disagreements, different ways of seeing the same thing.  There were a couple of times I stopped short and didn't say what was on my mind.  I'll admit to you, my friends, that I have some serious issues with the way my wife acts.  I don't criticise my family to strangers.  I may hint to friends.  I think if I said "I can't take it any more" to friends, the general reaction would be "I didn't know anything was wrong!"

T-issues kept coming and going throughout the session.  I asked her, near the start, what she knew about trans stuff.  She said "I know a little.  And I have some clients with crossdressing issues."  Not exactly inspiring but I'll make lemonade.

I knew her knowledge was limited when I was talking about telling the boys.  She tried to tell me about a movie she had seen a couple of years ago about someone who was "changing" and how. ~ I'm still not sure here; she kept jumbling pronouns ~ she dealt with telling family, including children.  I think she considered what happened in the movie to be typical.  I don't know what movie so I don't know for sure, but I do know that there's no typical.  I didn't mention that.

I also let her know that the proper word is "transition."

Later she asked if I wanted to transition.  I said no, and told her the standard joke about the difference between ts and tv.  I told her that didn't apply to me.

She asked if I'd like to go "full time" and I said no ~ and that's true.  It is a LOT of work.  I told her it typically takes me two hours to get ready.  I didn't mention that, when I've changed in mall family restrooms I cut that down to about 20 minutes.  But that means I was already showered and shaved and had some degree of underdressing done.

She asked how often I wanted to dress.  I gave her my golf analogy: ask a guy who golfs twice a year how often he'd like to play if there were no limits.  He probably doesn't know.  Maybe he'd be playing every day.  Maybe twice a month is all he could take.  It's something you really need to try.

I also gave her my criminal analogy, while trying to explain how I want to get out more and how I'm not satisfied with what I was satisfied with a few years ago: criminals get caught because they get away with a small crime and get confident and the rush of it all and they try something bigger and bigger until they get in over their heads and get caught.  She, unfortunately, took this to mean I'm "afraid of getting caught."  I told her I wasn't really, although I'd prefer not to.  I mentioned that my wife is afraid I'll get caught and she does not want me to tell anyone and that she said she would be "embarrassed" if I did (her word).  She asked me what I thought and I said my only problem is, I can't untell someone who doesn't like the concept.

I got the feeling she thinks I should tell the boys.  I also got the feeling that she's not a save-the-marriage-at-all-costs therapist.  She's keeping options open.  Frankly, I think am as well.

My wife went for her private session Tuesday.  I haven't spoken to her about that yet.

Also, the more I think about it, the more I suspect my wife has an agenda that I don't understand.  When I do, I'll share.


  1. Meg, thanks for writing about your experience with your therapist. She doesn't sound very knowledgeable about transgender issues. That's not necessarily a deal breaker if she's open and willing to listen, but it is a bit of a red flag.

    So many of the issues you describe mirror the difficulties my wife and I have. About 25 years ago, we saw a therapist for several issues. The therapist was very sympathetic of my need to crossdress, perhaps too sympathetic for my wife's taste. We really didn't make much progress.

    My wife and I have briefly discussed going to therapy again, but I'm a little gun shy. Well, more than a little. Couples therapy can be very difficult and can bring up a range of feelings that, in the short term, are easier to leave alone. In the long run, it's better to figure out what's going on and deal with it but it can make day to day life difficult while the process is going on.

    I wish you and your wife the best and hope that your therapist is wise, understanding, a good listener and willing to learn.



  2. Meg, My wife never wanted me to tell anybody we knew - I never did -she never did. Only members of TG community know Diane. I wish you had a therapist who knows more about TG issues. I wish your wife would take the time to learn. I am now worried about her agenda. We have never gone to a therapist.

  3. As to your wife's "agenda" it possible--being a therapist herself and therefore a part of that community--that she deliberately chose a therapist she knew would be less than sympathetic and knowledgeable about crossdessing? That she is looking for someone to back her up and discourage you?

  4. My knowledge of therapists and psych therapy is 'bupkus' but if this woman is a true professional then she owes it to you and your wife to acquire an expertise about TG issues before she goes any further.
    Even if she is giving your wife a professional discount I think that she should not take a dime unless she goes to the effort to acquire knowledge about TG issues. She knows that you are seeing her for couples therapy in part because of your TG issues. The fact that you know 100 times the amount of info about the subject than she does is just not right.
    I can understand your wife excluding TG issues from her professional world. It strikes too close to home and it seems like she is comfortable playing ostrich with the subject matter.
    Good luck


  5. If your wife went into therapy with an agenda, then I'm afraid the therapy may be more difficult than you really know. Good therapy shouldn't be an affirmation of your feelings unless it is your 'truth". Difficult to get there with an "agenda"

    I'm glad that your wife is in therapy. But I'm concerned that the therapy may not fully resolve her issues. I suspect her real issue is her sexual orientation identity AND her perceived embarrassment that she married "one of those". That is her issue to work through though. From what you've described, you've been more than supportive and tolerant of her needs.

    I think your children should be told. They have a right to know. How much and when and under what circumstances should be discussed with the therapist and your wife should be told that it will happen. She shouldn't be able to veto it.

  6. Oh Meg, Be brave. Would it be possible for you to find your own therapist to talk to outside of this current situation? That way you can choose someone who has some experience with gender issues and could help you find the clarity you need.

  7. I feel for what you're going through and I wish the best for both you and your wife. I think some of the comments, re: the therapist's knowledge of trans issues are important. The minute after my first session,my therapist-who's not a gender specialist-began looking for someone she could refer me to who was. In the meantime she began to do her homework. I think that's the mark of someone who's both professional and interested in achieving positive results. I hope for the best outcome for you and your family. hugs.

  8. Meg- Thanks for writing about all this. I just want to wish you the best!


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