J and I are struggling.

I’ve noticed something about the internet, and that is: I can post about life difficulties in an online forum and receive a lot of mixed advice.  But the second I say something about J and I having problems and by the way J has also been transitioning this year which does add some small amount of extra crazy to the mix?  People are like, ‘Whoa.  Get out of that relationship.  What a jerk.’  I have not tested this reaction scientifically, but in my un-scientific opinion, the minute I bring the transgender thing into the conversation, people are unable to see beyond that circumstance enough to look at the actual problems.

So for a minute, pretend that I am not the spouse of a transgender person.  Pretend we are indistinguishable from any other man + woman family with a kid, and answer me this:

What do you do when your husband is depressed about parenthood?

No it’s not something that is just going to disappear (our son is almost 10 months old now) Yes my spouse is seeing a counselor No she doesn’t find it useful Yes I got her to agree to couples’ counseling today No she is not on meds Yes I get that they could be useful No neither of us feels very comfortable with them No I’m not sure how to bring up that subject but maybe the couples’ counselor will or maybe not I’m okay with that too I’m just tired of being the only adult in this house who is happy with our lifestyle decisions.

I’m still struggling to find a decent-paying job in this town, but I will eventually.  And part of me thinks that I could be happier living the single parent life.  I would work, I would have my kiddo, I would adopt a dog.  I could enjoy my lifestyle decisions without having somebody along for the ride who really doesn’t want to be present.

Of course I love J, and I want her to be part of my life.  I would prefer that she found a way to be happy as a member of a family (rather than just a couple).  I’ve even suggested to her that if she misses the outdoor lifestyle so much, she should plan regular backpacking trips and rafting trips and whatnot, and I will gladly handle responsibilities until she gets back home.  Gladly, if only she can come home and be happy to be here.  But J thinks going on fun trips will make her regret home life even more, and therefore she finds it better to not focus on those things and just do what needs to be done.


I personally believe that it is only possible to take care of others when you first take care of yourself.  J is not taking care of herself — I’m not sure she knows how to do that, at this point in time.  And everything is suffering because of that.  I’m committed to making things work, but I question the wisdom of J’s current mental attitude.  It’s hard to imagine anything good coming from it.

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6 Responses to Conundrum

  1. missrain says:

    No advice, unfortunately, but sorry your family is going through this! Counseling is always a good place to start… Hopefully J will find a counselor she can feel comfortable working with.

    • pikaperdu says:

      I hope so too. Unfortunately J sees counseling on the whole as not useful. We will see. I don’t know what to expect myself, but J says counselors just get you to communicate better, rather than offering up suggestions to problems. J and I already communicate pretty darn well. It’s just that I think she is making decisions based on flawed logic that will make her even more unhappy in the long run; she says she is already unhappy so what does it matter. (Gah!) J does have some valid worries about things like finances and career stagnation in our current town. But I think this stoicism of hers is going to lead to decisions she will regret later, and I’m not too keen on watching my partner become increasingly bitter as the years go by. Anyway. Thanks for the comment, and the positive thoughts.

  2. As someone who had some extensive counselling a few years ago, it certainly does get you to communicate better, but not just with others – with yourself.

    Getting a perspective from someone who has no vested interest in the outcome is a truly wonderful gift – they are honest with you, and they help you see things in a different light, because they’re not caught up in the emotion of the situation. They help you get *outside* your emotions, as well as all up in ’em.

    Further, there’s no guilt over burdening someone you care about with your problems, because they’re getting paid to listen.

    I have a 9 month old daughter (first child, perhaps last? haha) and I understand where J is coming from, because my greatest struggle with motherhood has been nothing ever being on my terms any more. Everything we do revolves around our daughter’s schedule, and it’s always the teeny tiniest thing that makes me frustrated – like I don’t *want* to do the dishes right now. I want to watch a really shitty TV show and eat pringles, like I used to, but now I can’t because she’ll be awake in 20 minutes and if I do the dishes while she’s awake, it’ll take 3 times as long because I have to stop every 2nd dish to make a face, or sing a song.

    But I’m lucky because I was diagnosed with c-PTSD a few years ago, and went through counselling before I fell pregnant. I learned how to manage depression, anxiety, and the illness itself, and those tools have bled into regular, every day life. I’m able to see a bigger picture beyond my current feelings, and I know that once the toddler years begin, we will be able to get out more, go places, travelling, visiting zoos and parks and camping and fishing… because right now, she’s only just learned how to sit by herself. Once she can move around, the world will open up to us again and life won’t be so much about fitting into her schedule/needs.

    She’ll be able to join us and ride bikes and go bowling, and I won’t feel so much that my identity has been stolen by the cutest kid I’ve ever seen.

    Big hugs to you guys. It’s a hard road, and I hope J can hold on long enough to walk the really, really fun parts with both of you xx

  3. Julia says:

    My wife and I have had similar experiences. Past money and job insecurities. Raising two children. Family problems. Preparing for a future transition. Raising two young boys was one of the greatest stresses in our marriage, and there were many times that we were less than nice to each other. Given my experience with gender issues, I am sure J is still adjusting to parenthood and transitioning. Either role by itself is a challenge. Add the stresses of everyday life to the mix, and it is understandable how one can feel overwhelmed.

    It does get better. Children grow up, and now my oldest is now out in the field with me. We recently took a long trip as a family for spring break. I know that this is not much help with problems you have now, and sorry that I am not much help for the present. Just know that, if you both can get through this, you can overcome most of life’s challenges.

    • sara19719 says:

      Julia, i can see where your coming from. My wife and i also struggled with issues like money, jobs, birth of our sons, ect and it can be a great stress on any marriage. Then when we throw our gender issues on to the pile, it is very easy to see how we can be overwhelmed in life in general.

      It was nice to hear a positive and refreshing comment that there is hope on the horizan, we just need to get thru the bad times.

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