I don’t think a week goes by in our household where one of us doesn’t bring up something related to our wedding or marriage. There is such an openness about the idea, the plans, and the inevitable, that it shouldn’t be surprising that we get congratulated for our engagement.
But this openness also leads to more questions which is how it should be, because questions lead to answers and finding answers together is the kind of stuff that marriages are built on. So, in one of these long, because the conversations are always long when they’re about this sort of thing, we talked about how what we want out of a wedding and what we want out of our marriage and completely different things. It is an ongoing conversation, but while we figure it out here are some of Steph’s thoughts to me about the whole thing…
I understand that weddings are an industrial complex.
I also understand that a wedding is not a marriage.
I’m working to untangle ‘marriage’ and ‘wedding’ and to figure out which one I actually want.
I think, at the most basic level, it comes down to this:
Wedding = $
Marriage = ❤
And here’s the reality:
We have the love for a marriage.
We do not have the money for a wedding.
At the point that we do get married, it will cost at least a small amount of money. I’d like a ring; as a symbol of our feelings and we’ll need a certificate from the courthouse. And we’ll probably buy our family dinner because they’ll come watch us tie the knot.
But I don’t think either of us wants the industrial complex wedding.
I figure, in a few years’ time, when we’re better off financially, we’ll have a celebration.
Less of a ‘kick start’ and more of a ‘great job- keep going’ party.
But that marriage? I want it to be on our time. Whether we can feed our 150 closest friends and family out of our own pocket or not.
So, at the point that you’re ready to get into specifics and logistics, you let me know.
I’m going to let it go.
I’m going to share with Pinterest and my best friends in the whole world, but I want to let you get there on your own.
I won’t want to be married to you any less, but I’m ready to stop worrying that the way we do it, whatever way that ends up being, is “okay”.
I love you, and I look forward to many more slumber parties. 🙂
The roads are always icy and bad during the winter in Minnesota, but as our date fell on the day following a week-long snow storm, we both agreed to let each other know when we were home safe. After quick messages of “Home safe” and “I had a great time,” I realized it was well past midnight and I should probably at least pretend I was tired.
Saturday was interesting, I was still riding the high from out amazing date but I was contemplative. I needed to tell her, but I couldn’t figure out how.
Sunday is cleaning day. I spent the whole day thinking, processing, and cleaning my apartment. I called and Skyped my friends. I talked it out. I wrote, rewrote, and deleted drafts upon drafts of text messages telling Steph about being trans. Meanwhile, Steph and I were texting semi-frequently, though I was noticeably more distant than I had been the past week.
It was never a question of not being comfortable with who I am, what I’ve gone through, or what it would mean to be a trans man in a relationship with a cis-woman. I wasn’t even scared of rejection as a whole. I just didn’t want to be rejected by THIS woman, because I had such a strong connection to her in such a short time. Basically, I didn’t want my fear that it was all too good to be true to be a reality.
So in the midst of trying to plan a date for the following day (Monday) this happened:
And then we had a weird and awkward and interesting conversation that was both about our date and about to logistics of me being trans, what that means to me, what that would mean for her, etc.
The whole conversation lasted a few hours. I was as open as possible and she asked whatever questions came to mind. I knew that I had to provide her with bare honesty, and I wanted to, too. I wanted to share with her because I felt like she would understand.
I met her for pizza and a comedy show the next day after work. It was another incredible date. We kept talking, and even when everything seemed to be coming to a close we weren’t ready to be done in each other’s company, so I invited her over.
Now, don’t get ahead of yourself… I just wanted to keep talking with her. I wanted to soak her up. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the words to fall from her lips. I was hungry for her in the purest of ways. I wanted to hold her, protect her, watch her grow, watch her leave me and come back to me; I just wanted to be around her.
She followed me home and we talked into the night and cuddled before falling asleep together.
We planned the third date for Wednesday. Dinner and drinks back at my apartment.
This whole time she was asking me about my past and I was asking her about her past. The fact that I am trans was just another thing to discuss, but it was never the thing to discuss. She was curious about my background and history just as much as I was curious about hers. We both brought up our struggles and our pains. We brought up our passions and our personal victories. We shared so much of ourselves with each other from the start. We embraced each other’s souls with laughter and compassion.
I asked her to be my girlfriend that night. She said yes and it’s been the most amazing adventure of my life.
And that’s how I met my Steph, how I told her I was trans with a text message, and how we started falling in love.
I had all but given up on the idea of meeting a woman through online dating, and it only was partly because of my trans situation. The thing is, men just have a pretty rough time on online dating sites because so many guys abuse the resource.
I’m not the kind of guy to make any sexual advances on a girl unless she asks for it or if I feel that I know her well enough that she would accept my advances… which isn’t true for a good number of guys online. So, being a gentleman online made me virtually invisible to most women.
Maybe Steph would be better at explaining why men are largely ignored online until a woman feels like addressing them, but regardless of the reasoning behind it, women weren’t talking with me online so I kind of just let online dating fade to the back of my mind. I probably checked it once a week, and usually because a coworker would bring it up.
I mean, not only were women not talking to be, but there was nothing on my dating profile that even alluded to the fact that I was trans. So, what happens when I actually met these women in real life and had to disclose that kind of information? How would they take it? Yeah, at some point I figured I might just be better off meeting women through my friends, where they could break the trans news first and then we could awkwardly date and break up and so on… at least, that’s how it was going for me when I met women through my friends.
College was a little different, but that’s a story for another time.
So, I’m sitting there not caring about my online dating adventure, when I happen to log in and see that an adorable girl had messaged me. At first I’m shocked and a little worried, because she messaged me a few days prior to me seeing her message. I got over it and messaged her back on Monday the 4th of March…
As you can see, I’m super suave. Ok, I’m just a dork, but it worked out for me this one time so it’s ok.
Our messages kept getting longer and longer and by Wednesday we had a date planned for Friday evening. Dinner and wine. I was literally going to wine and dine this woman.
Now, let’s time travel and go back to a post I made on Reddit a while ago (which is actually where a lot of this all ties back to). I went to /r/AskWomen to get their advice on how I should tell my perspective dates about my trans-ness, where the line was when it came to physical interactions prior to disclosure, and those sorts of things. Based on what they all said, I decided that I shouldn’t do more than hold hands prior to telling her, assuming that I would want to continue seeing her, and to use my best judgement about coming out to her.
Back to the date. Long story short, it was pretty amazing. We laughed so much and talked about everything that we could think of. I decided that I was getting sick and tired of dating like you’re “supposed to,” so I just hung out with this woman, who I had never met before, over drinks and food. It was easy and nice and liberating to feel so comfortable with someone. Eventually she convinces me that we should walk across this beautiful bridge nearby. It’s winter in Minnesota, mind you, and I didn’t really wear a coat, but we do the walking thing and it was nice.
She started fiddling with her purse at some point, around the same time that I’m thinking to myself, Dude… you should hold her hand. Just take her hand and hold it. Come on, Matt… Hold. Her. Hand.
So, I hold her hand. We keep walking and talking. There were more than a few times where I thought I blew it on this walk, but she was still holding my hand and not beating me with her purse, so that was nice.
We walk back to her car and she offers to drive me over to mine, even though I tried explaining to her that it wasn’t that far away (secretly, in retrospect, I think she was stalling so I would kiss her).
We’re sitting in her car, doing the awkward good-bye dance and I ask her if I can kiss her. Somewhere in my mind I was thinking, screw these rules, I wanna kiss this woman. She smiled her full-dimple smile and said yes, so I kissed her.
I finally make my exit and sit in my car… and now I’m thinking that I just screwed everything up. How can I possibly tell her now that I’ve already kissed her. And what about all of those stupid things I said at dinner and everything… she’s going to think I’m a loser… and I really liked her and our date.
The drive home was other-worldly. On one hand, I had this amazing date with this amazing woman. On the other hand, I was about to have to legitimately tell a prospective love-interest that I’m trans… something I had never done before…
TO BE CONTINUED…