MELBOURNE, Australia, May 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What happens when a good Catholic girl marries the man of her dreams, and then he tells her he thinks he's a woman?
It yields heartbreak and a lifetime of emotionally stunted relationships, according to an autobiographical essay in Sunday's Sydney Morning Herald that asks society to consider “the other side” of the transgender debate.
The woman, whose name has been withheld, was 18 years-old when she met “Ryan,” a musician who slowly worked his way into her heart. His sense of humor made the self-described “good Catholic girl” fall for the young man, who was trying to get ahead in the 1980s Australian music scene.
When he asked her to move to Melbourne with her, she had second thoughts. “I did not want to 'live in sin,'” she wrote. So, he asked for her hand in marriage.
Although she believed their life was idyllic, he became sullen and withdrawn. Soon, he left her a letter saying he believed he was a woman trapped inside a man's body.
“That night there was no talk of us breaking up,” she said. “His attitude was, 'I love you and I am going to become a woman and keep on loving you.'”
“My attitude was, 'Become a woman or a werewolf, but just don't leave me,'” she said.
“I think Ryan really believed everything would continue as it was when he became female,” she said. But she was shocked one day when she returned home and saw him watching television while wearing her clothing.
“I spent a long time wondering if you really love someone, does it matter what gender they are?” she said. “I couldn't come up with any answers other than, yes, it did.”
Despite their efforts to maintain a healthy marriage, Ryan's drive for self-actualization and fulfillment killed their relationship and left the woman heartbroken.
He moved out and had a breast implant surgery – phoning his wife to ask if she could bring him size 16 Playtex Cross-Your-Heart bra.
“The divorce was mutual by the time it was finalized in 1990. Ryan was so consumed by his change that our marriage had become secondary,” she wrote.
She said her ex-husband “moved on pretty fast, meeting another male-to-female transsexual at his transgender meetings. I was overseas when his new partner called to say Ryan's penis had been successfully removed.”
She said she went numb before responding that her ex-husband's new lover must believe that was “good news.” But it closed what had been the happiest chapter of her life. “The man I had loved was gone.”
The heart-wrenching end of her marriage left her emotionally scarred and unable to commit herself to another person. “I've had relationships, most of them brief, and haven't allowed myself to fall in love again,” she said.
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“I don't regret my marriage, as it gave me great joy for many years, and I certainly don't blame Ryan or myself for what happened. But I do regret the repercussions” of his decision to alter his anatomy, she added.
Her story, the rare tale of how a transgender person's transition harms those close to them and who love them the most, was offered to broaden the debate over the practice, which is more widely accepted in culturally liberal Australia.
“Most transgender stories are told from the perspective of the person who changes, not their partner's or family's,” she wrote. “I think it is important to have the other side told, as the effects are far-reaching for all concerned.”