Chapter 7 – Transitions to Love

Chapter 7 – Transitions to Love

So where does one start to date?  The trip to the ocean was meant to be a start of that exploration. During support group meetings, other straight spouses had started dating and discussing how much nicer their relationships were with their current partner than they had been with the gay or transgendered spouse. Listening to their talk, I had wondered how a relationship could be different.  Were the differences only in the sex department?  Kurt and I had a decent sex life for the first few years of our marriage until we had tried to get pregnant.  Although I remembered Kurt stating on the honeymoon that “Men could only do it once a night.”  I didn’t question it then thinking maybe I’d convince him further as our marriage went on.  However, that never happened. Once both of us reached a climax, the sex ended for that day.  When it didn’t lead to pregnancy after several years of marriage, we went through fertility studies. During that process, we were “doing it” on a schedule and regular basis.   The constant emotional ups and downs of infertility, the hoping to be pregnant and the crashing of emotions when it didn’t happen, felt like dealing with the death of a baby on a monthly basis to me  The constant taking of temperatures and timing “get-togethers”  got to be more of a chore than the joy it probably was for other couples.  Eventually, Kurt had gotten to the point that he kept saying that “sex isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”.  I didn’t fight that attitude because I was worn out from the constant up and down of emotions.  Over time, I had an urge for sex more than he did, but I didn’t want to embarrass or injure his male ego, so I didn’t ask for it, but waited until he was ready. During the last ten years of our marriage, as we reached our 50’s he often couldn’t perform anyway. He blamed it on his diabetes, although now in hindsight I wondered if it was due to the hormones he had been secretly taking.  But in essence, it meant that our marriage had been sexless for ten years. What if I had forgotten what it was like?  What if I couldn’t “perform” as I had when younger? What if by not having sex, I’d lost the ability to feel or enjoy it?  What if I wouldn’t like it at this age?  What if I wasn’t even desirable to the opposite sex at this age?  Would it ruin my psyche by being rejected by anyone who came for a date?

How did one start finding out about all these questions on that front? I discussed some of this with a counselor, but there was no way to actually find out if I had or would recognize chemistry until I actually interfaced with someone of the opposite sex.  I really wouldn’t find out until I actually dated. But where does one find single men?  Particularly ones my age? Was I destined to live the next twenty years of my life in solitude?

“Baby steps,” I thought, touching my toes into the online dating pool. I tried to get an account with eHarmony, an online dating site, but when I was honest putting my status as “separated”, I was barred from the site.  I tried one other site but got so scared of scammers, that I just looked at profiles, not making any comments or initiating any conversations.

I did have one little successful experience that boosted my confidence but then sent me running the other direction.  I was attending the old church where both my adopted kids had been baptized.  The minister was aware of the transgendered situation with K/K, so he was supportive throughout the divorce process.  In addition, a couple I had known years ago because our kids had hung out at church together was going through a tough challenge.  The wife was battling cancer and in the end stages.  I approached her husband, one Sunday morning during coffee hour and suggested that we should get together for coffee one day and “catch up”.   I thought maybe he’d like to have someone to talk with, but he didn’t seem too thrilled by the suggestion. Within three months his wife passed away.

One day in church we were both standing in line next to the minister, Thad.

“How are you dealing with the divorce?” Thad had asked me.

“It’s going ok,” I responded and glanced over to smile at the new widower.  I wasn’t sure he knew I was divorced. At that moment, he looked over at me, and smiled giving me the impression that he’d be interested in getting together.  However, neither of us knew how to move to the next level, as neither had dated in years.

At the next apple festival, we both avoided each other.  I was waiting for him to make the first move and talk with me but suspected that he was waiting for me to make the first move.  I felt I had made the first move months earlier when I mentioned having coffee and felt that he should be the one to ask next.  I also didn’t’ trust myself enough.  Had I read his signal wrong?  I hadn’t flirted in years, so I wasn’t sure I knew what it took. I also didn’t know what to talk about on a date and suspected I could never live up to his wife’s image. They both had been a pillar of the church society, involved in many volunteer committees, and one of the “movers and shakers” of the community. How could I even think about filling her shoes?  In addition, I remembered that he was allergic to cats, and I still had Gracie, whom I had brought back from Colorado with me, so suspected that in the long run, it wouldn’t work out. Or was it an excuse to cover my fears?  So why start something that won’t work?  I didn’t want to get his hopes up or mine.

I deliberated for a while on whether I should approach him again or not, half kicking myself for being such a coward.  In the meantime, instead of spending as much time on dating sites, I used my liberal online research skills to look up an old flame.

 More from  Stormy Transitions : The  Memoir of a Str8t Spouse of a Transgender Person

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