Friday, 15 April 2011

The big crisis experiment

OK, so here’s the thing.  I’ve reached the crunch point.  For many different reasons, everything has aligned and it’s now or never.  But I’m faltering.  I’m really struck with anxious uncertainty.  The stark choice (and it genuinely is a stark choice) is between Rhiannon and my family.  I am not allowed to have both.

I have spent the last three months pushing down the Rhiannon route over everything else.  This week I had the chance to push the button on cementing her into place.  But I flinched.  I’d found the perfect new flat to move into – it was actually (quite literally) my dream place.  It’s the kind of place that I’d never been allowed to choose for myself because there were other people’s requirements to take into account.  I have spent years longing for the features that were in this flat.  It was within my budget.  All I had to do was make the call and I didn’t.  And in not making the call it quickly went to someone else.  It was that good.

It was like the scene in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral where Hugh Grant is in a Landrover with his friends driving away from the woman he wants to ask out.  He gets them to stop the car, gets out and they drive off jeering at him.  Introspectively, he says, in the British way that only Hugh Grant can, “Odd choice.”  That’s how I felt.

So where is this leading to?  It’s making me realise that maybe I actually want my family more than Rhiannon.  Everything within me is screaming no and that it’s an impossible choice.  It’s telling me that the girl within me won’t be put in the corner (to use another hackneyed film cliché).  Sorry, I talk in film clichés when I’m nervous.  In fact the thought of never dressing again, never seeing my toe nails painted or of tottering around in heels so high that they make me smile makes me feel sick and like I want to cry.

I’m not even sure that it’s actually possible to give up.

But the thought of my wife, that I love with all my heart, being lonely and upset without me and knowing that I’m not able to wake up to my kids capering around me whenever I want is too heartbreaking.  And I’ve rehearsed the reverse arguments.  She’ll get over it eventually and find someone else and be happy.  Kids are resilient, they’ll get used to it and they can always visit you.  But the point I keep coming back to, heartbreakingly, is why should they have to?  Why should my priority be greater than theirs?

I’m really sorry if that offends the many hundreds of you who have made that and even greater sacrifices to be who you truly are.  I don’t mean to belittle you or what you have achieved.  But I’m not sure I can actually make that sacrifice.

I am wondering whether, as an experiment, I can live a Rhiannon free six months?  And in doing so, whether this aching need to express myself will go away?  It’s probably complete nonsense, but when I get to my deathbed (cheerful I know) and I look back, having not tried to save my family situation, will I regret it so much that I’ll die unhappy?  Is six months too much to give to find out if I can be the person my family want me to be?

I’m locked on the horns of a very wild dilemma, but now is the crunch point.  In the next few days, one way or another, my life changes dramatically.


  1. I understand this situation only too well.

    It is likely that if you try to banish Rhiannon completely you will not succeed. You can't put this back in the box, you have to manage it. Feed the tiger, but not too much.

    You haven't made clear, or maybe I've missed it, are you out to your wife? I appreciate it's one of the most difficult things to handle, but being open with my wife has been one of the things that has helped me the most in all this.

    If you need support, there are several of us not too far up the motorway from you.

  2. Is there no middle ground in this enigma? I don't advocate it, as a rule, but I have been plugging along with a bit of both worlds for years now. I'm not deliriously happy, but I do take comfort in the fact that I haven't turned my family's life completely on its head (yet). Maybe there are other, less drastic, paths that are open to you? I hope you can sort it out to your satisfaction, Rhi.

  3. I know exactly how you feel, this is a decision that I have coped with for years. This might be the right decision for you, only you can answer that. I know for me that the hiding from it caused me to be someone that I am not. Make sure that you are happy and everything will fall in its place. If you have to fake who you are to be in a marriage you have to ask are you really in that marriage or is it that you are pretending. I hope that you figure out what it is that makes you happy and that everything works out for you.

  4. From the comments above you can see that many of us struggle with similar issues. Its also painfully true that for the vast majority the desire will never go away - and trust me I have tried all manner of things to take away the GID - nothing really worked for long.

    At the moment I have found a place where I exist somewhere in the hinter land between one gender and the other. I am the same as Leslie Ann though in the happiness stakes - I suppose my mood is melancholy a lot of the time and I do wonder whether I can carry on like this forever.

    What do I do? - set myself free and lose the GID forever or stay married and have the love and support of someone who I care for very much. Its an impossible decision and I admire anyone who can make it.

    I wish i had more words of comfort but I am thinking of you


  5. Thank you so much for your wise words. My response is probably worth 10 blogs and a decade in a analyst’s chair! My wife has known – and hated – Rhiannon for most of the time we’ve been together. We married on the basis that it would go away once we were married. I was 21 and naïve and really thought it would.

    Any middle ground that might have once existed has evaporated into the mists of time. What was once a blind eye turning in the hope that I’d stop has become a realisation that unless she takes drastic action, it won’t. For 17 years there has never ever been one positive chink of light of acceptance and I stopped hoping there would be years ago.

    I am under no illusions that there is any likelihood that it will go away or that I will not find it the most horrible, frustrating and sad experience. Part of me, if I’m honest wants to prove a point – that I’m willing to go to any lengths to show that I want this thing to work and for us to stay together. My hope, albeit slim, is that she will see my unhappiness and relent. But failing that I want to be able to say that I’ve done everything I can. The trouble is that after 6 months of it not working, I suspect that instead there will be something else that I ‘should have tried to do’ to stop it.

    It’s very easy for me to present it from my side. She has a point too – and I get that it’s not fair on her either. She is a lovely albeit stubborn woman and I love her. I could never be harsh on any partner who feels that it’s not what they signed up for or what they want. For a large part they are normal women who want their normal men. We are hardly that.

    The biggest challenge I guess is whether I can even start to try to do it. I’m not convinced that I know how to not be Rhiannon anymore…

  6. I have only managed to stay as 'him' as my wife has allowed me a huge amount of latitude. Without out that latitude my life would be intolerable. It must be so difficult when you have so little and I understand how hard that must be.

    I know your wife didn't sign up for this but nor did you. She might think that what you want to do is your choice but is it really - you were born this way and trying to find away to live your life that makes you happy seems logical and natural.

    This might be wrong on me to say this but can you look into the future and see yourself in 5 or 10 years being happy enough with the status quo. If this is something you can cope with then you have an answer. If you can't then however painful it might be, you must speak to your wife to find out if there is someway you can find a compromise. Isnt the danger that if you do nothing you are going to find yourself slipping into an unhappy person and resenting her for keeping the real you locked away. Surely you have the right to be happy as well?

  7. I have been thinking of you this week and hoping that you have been OK. Wish I had more words to say.


  8. Thank you for thinking of my Becca - especially from reading your blog and seeing what is going on with you right now. I'm having the best of times and the worst of times. And am struggling to find the right words to blog about it.

    Hopefully the happy combination will trip from my fingers sometime soon.

    In the mean time, I'm thinking of you too and hoping for the best for you - you are a really lovely lady x