By 1997, my career was really beginning to pick up and opportunities for work were opening up everywhere. We decided that when
we did get married that she would not have to work anymore because my income would be enough for the two of us. In the following months leading the wedding day in April, she was busy about making plans and arrangements. I was tasked with coming up with the honeymoon plans, the wedding music and deciding how we were going to videotape the event. Then, a week before the big day, she said her last goodbyes to work mates and we made our way up to Minnesota.
My parents, sister and her family, and three of my close personal friends made their way to Minnesota a few days before our wedding. I remember the day before the wedding, I got absolutely sick and I could not even get out of bed. I had caught some kind of stomach flu and I spent the day throwing up. I was completely exhausted and by that evening my fever went down and I was able to get out of bed. Looking back, I wonder if my body was warning me that I was about to make the worst decision of my life? It was too late to have cold feet now, I was getting married in less than 24 hours.
That night we had my groom’s supper at a lakeside lodge. It was supposed to be a special night for me but something happened that night that just made me question everything. As people arrived, I noticed that my only sister Lilly was not there. It was weird because my parents had already arrived and my brother-in-law was there with my nephews and niece. I asked my mom and she told me that my sis was still back in the van. I asked her why but she was silent, so I decided to go out and see what was up. Everyone who saw me get up from the table could tell that I was noticeably emotionally distraught. I was in tears as I left the room and it made for a very awkward atmosphere among all that were in attendance. I mean, it is supposed to be a joyful time, a celebration right? Well, for me it was not.
When I got out to the van, my sister insisted that she was not going to be going in to join me. I asked her why and she just would not say. I told her that she was ruining my night, how much I loved her and how much it meant for me to have her there. When I saw that she was not going to be going inside with me, I just broke down completely. My nature has always been one to run from adversity and escape and this time was no different. Just as I did when I was five years old, I did again. I just wanted to run away from all of it and I began to tear down the street and ran away from everyone. My mother was there and she freaked out and yelled out to me to come back. I eventually stopped and turned around and went back inside. My mom and sister joined me inside as well but the damage had been done, she had again been successful in demasculinizing me. I was no the image of masculinity when I came back inside to join the rest of my family, my fiance’s family, and friends.
The next day we got married and I cannot tell you what the minister said. I was there but I wasn’t there. That whole day was like an out-of-body experience. It almost seemed surreal. At the end of the night, I found myself alone with my new bride in a bed and breakfast by a lake. That night was supposed to be special but it was not at all. I remember that she got ready for me in the restroom, came out to me and I did not respond the way that she wanted me to. Imagine the frustration, the pain, the confusion when a woman who just wants to be taken and loved is not given that? We tried to be intimate that night but I was just not comfortable. Eventually, we fell asleep, me from exhaustion and her I am sure from frustration. This was going to be the case many times in our marriage. What was wrong with me? I am supposed to be the male here, I am supposed to want to make love to my wife and consummate our marriage? Why did I not want to do that?
The next day, after opening up wedding gifts at her parent’s farmhouse, we made our way the airport in the Cities and had to spend one more night before our flight down to Puerto Rico to go on our honeymoon cruise. That night, it was the same thing. I was just not interested in being very intimate with her, she asked me why and I just did not know why? Was my gender problems influencing how I felt? I told myself no, I was to live in denial for a very long time. We ended having a great honeymoon, that is if you were going on vacation with your best bud. Sex was non-existent and we never went to any of the dinners but spent our time eating at the 24-hour cafeteria grill. I think that we dressed up one time on the whole cruise. It just was not the most romantic trip that a newlywed couple could have ever gone on. On top of that, on one of the stops, I ended up having us go on a side trip to a resort and by the end of the day we were the not-so-proud owners of a timeshare in St. Martin. Why did I do that??? Why did we not just say no, enjoy the free snorkeling and virgin pina coladas? I made so many financial mistakes with her and that was one mistake that we ended up deeply regretting.
When we got back from the cruise, we spent a few more days in Minnesota and then left back down to Nashville. We loved being in the company of one another, she was my best friend but I do not know if I was ever really sexually attracted to her. I thought that that would work itself out because we were such great friends and had been through so much to get to be together. This would surely work itself out for sure, or so I thought. I was wrong about that on many levels, because it was never to just work itself out with her. She deserved to be loved the right way and now I know that I was just never capable of loving her like that.
It was only a few months back in Nashville, when I was back to looking up trans-related stuff on the internet. I had come across this one website and eventually discovered that it had a chat room. I had not been a stranger to chat rooms because ever since I was able to use a computer, I was in them. I would always look up the ones that had trans issues as the subject. Back in those early days, America Online had chat rooms and I would find myself asking questions and chatting with people for hours. In the summer of 1997, this was no different. I actually made a friend on that website, she was a transwoman who lived in St. Louis and had transitioned years before. I was fascinated with her story and I told her that I had always wanted to transition from a young age. She and I chatted often until one day when my wife discovered that I was having online conversations with someone online. I told her that it was nothing, that it was very innocent. I was not interested in anyone, I was not flirting, it was just not like that. Regardless of the intention, she told me to stop it, I told her that I would and it was then that I cut off all conversation with anyone in the trans community. I was not to restart that until early 2013.
As far as she was concerned, she was willing to put it all behind her and look past it as long as I promised not to do it again. I did as she requested and nothing more was said of it. We began to really focus on starting a family and the very next year we had our first born. He was a definite handful for sure. He was a very demanding baby but we were new parents and just loved him more than anything else in the world. I still love my strong-willed and opinionated son very much today. I could never not love him, he is my boy. I am not going to say that I was ever cracked to be a dad by any stretch. Fatherhood was always a mystery to me, I did not know what to do.
By the end of 2000, we added our only girl to our little family and I thought, great, we are now complete, we have one of each! I was done, I came from a small family myself and this was just perfect. My wife did not think the same way however, she came from a larger farm family. In 2002, we added our second boy and another boy came in 2005 and finally our last son in 2009. I love each and every one of my children, I really do. That is why I have struggled so much with the fact that my transition has caused them to be ripped away from me. It has been the reason for the many sleepless nights, days of extreme depression and guilt that have been absolutely devastating to me emotionally, mentally and physically.
Looking back on my relationship with my now ex, I see how I completely blew it. I should have never married her but if I had not, we would not have had those kids. Still though, it would have been better for me to have taken a path in my life that would not have included her in it. God had sent me so many warning signs and messages all along but I ran through every single one of them. I was trying to escape my own self, I was trying to be what everyone expected me to be. In doing that, I hurt a lot of people in the process. It is almost like the person who drives a car and yields to let people cross the street but the causes even a worse accident. The intentions on my part were to be normal and to leave the things that I was dealing with behind but now I realize that those things make up my very nature, the core of my humanity.
How I wish that I had not hurt her, she did not deserve what she got out of me in return for her 17 years of marriage. I only wish that I was capable of having been able to give her that life that she had dreamed of. For many years, she wondered what she was doing wrong, why did I not want her the way that a husband should want his wife? Family gatherings were always awkward and uncomfortable for me with her family, the disconnect had been that way since that fateful day back at the cabin in 91.
I will never want anyone including her to think that I am going to make any excuses for my dishonesty. I take full responsibility for the fact that I hid a big part of me away from decades. The question that no one wants to ask is why and why is that? I have stated many times what was going on inside of me, yet they do not want to accept any of it. I am just painted as this bad person, who because of their narcissism, just blew everyone up around them. I am not a bad person, I refuse to accept that about me. Have I made some horrible mistakes, have I lied in order to cover the truth? Yes, guilty as charged.
The thing is that here we are now, it is 2016 and even though I was willing to try to be normal for them , it was not going to be enough for any of them. They wanted the past and all that I have to offer them is the present, the now. That me includes Mark, it will always include him. If you reject him than you reject me and that is exactly what my family has done. In a recent conversation with my oldest son, he expressed his absolute and total anger at the person that I love with all of my heart. How will I be capable of understanding that he loves me when he hates a part of me? My heart is broken and confused because I hear him when he says that he loves me but does he just love the past, the me that I was to him? My mother has rejected
My mother has rejected me ever since I transitioned, she will never accept me. When I recently came back as detransitioned, she was so excited. I wanted to give my kids that person that, I wanted to give my mom that too but I was just not able to. Someday I hope that they can understand that Mark and I just wanted to love them, that we wanted to be able to help them in the life journey, that we are just like any other couple in love.