Finding suitable partners later in life
By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—
Many older trans women used to live in a heteronormative world. They may have married women and raised children. They also may have experienced turmoil and conflict from within about their gender. However, most of them kept it hidden way deep down inside their souls until the day they decided to move forward and live authentically. It was then time to own up, admit, accept, and live their true lives, although many times there was suddenly new trouble in their marriage. Their wives may have become uncomfortable with this “new version” of theirs and the relationship could have deteriorated. Not all worsened, but many did. In the relationships that did have trouble, many times the wives wanted a divorce.
Living it myself—being a divorced trans woman and talking with others who had similar experiences—I found that tough times usually lie ahead to those now divorced trans women. Besides the trauma and guilt associated with a failed marriage, the trans woman often found herself pushed out of their house and living away from their ex-wife and their children. I realize that this also happens to many other folks, but adding the trans aspect to it multiplies the effect, especially after time goes by, and thoughts of searching for a new partner enter the trans woman’s mind.
After a while, the divorced trans woman may heal enough to begin dating, but dating may now become an issue. Many divorced trans women want to pair up with a cis woman, but many cis women do not want to be with a trans woman. Many cis women want to be coupled with a man who was assigned male at birth (AMAB), or a woman who was assigned female at birth (AFAB). Some trans women do find cis women who will accept and love them. However, from what I notice, many trans women have a very difficult time in finding any such cis women.
Some divorced trans women want to be with a cis man. There are many men who want to be with trans women, but not necessarily on an open basis. That is, they will date and will be intimate with trans women, but often it must be on the sly and not in the man’s hometown area. Other times, men are afraid that their family and friends will disapprove of them pairing up with a trans woman, so the relationship is kept in the dark and unbeknownst to friends and family.
I’m not sure who has it worse, the trans woman who cannot seem to find a cis female at all or the trans woman who finds a cis man, but is forced to live in his closet. The first trans woman seems to have very little chance of partnering with a cis woman and the second trans woman may find a cis man, but cannot live openly with him and often must live alone, apart from him too. The second trans woman has a taste of the relationship she wants, but she cannot have the whole relationship. Is it worse to have very little chance at all at a relationship or to have a relationship that must remain in the closet? I don’t really know, but in either way, any solid relationship is likely out of the question. As such, loneliness and frustration may become part of the trans woman’s life.
So, what do you do about this? I don’t have any answers right now, except that maybe in the future time may possibly change the way society looks at trans women. Right now, unfortunately, it seems that many trans women are not desired as full-time partners of cis folk. Hopefully, more cis people may change their minds about coupling with trans women in the future. Once again, time will tell.
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.