It’s not always easy being the wife of a genderqueer spouse. I mean, I know my privilege—I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to present today, or if I’ll have to come out for the 8th time this week. If I wear nail polish, no one will ask me about it. If I go to the bathroom, I don’t have to agonize over which one. And I love my spouse, and value how lucky I am to be with someone who is gorgeous whether dressed masculine or femme.
But there are some things to get used to, especially at the beginning, and certainly when you’re adjusting to a new version of your old love.
THE 5 WORST THINGS
1. They dress better than you do. They have two wardrobes, while you’re using a ribbon to hold up your pants. My spouse has excellent taste in clothing, and since we don’t have a huge budget for extra clothes, they focus on just a few elegant pieces that go on sale. This results in them sitting in the living room in Calvin Klein while I rock my food-stained tank top and pill-covered cardigan.
2. The Other Woman Sure, they’re dressed femme, sometimes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Before my spouse told me they were genderqueer, I kept finding women’s jeans that did not belong to me. I knew they couldn’t possibly be bringing someone home to the jungle pit we called a bedroom, but I was nonetheless suspicious because there’s no way I bought that many pairs of the wrong size jeans.
3. Makeup…They always leave the cap off the lipstick! Just kidding…their makeup skills are better than mine. My spouse excels at anything they put their mind to, and this includes the application of on pointe makeup. Having been raised with three older brothers, my wheelhouse holds lipstick and eyeliner, and not much else. My spouse, on the other hand, can apply primer, foundation, and all the trimmings, and top it off with highlighter and a red lip that puts Rita Hayworth to shame, whereas I am lucky if I get the lipstick on the actual line of my lips. It’s almost unfair!
4. Heels. I know it’s not the same for everyone. In my case, the heels are a problem. They’re six feet tall. I’m 5’2. Add 5 inch heels, which they wear with typical ease, and my inability to balance in anything over two, and I look like a toddler standing next to my mommy It also means when they leave their shoes out there’s far more chance of me tripping and impaling myself.
5. Insecurity While most of these “worsts” are pretty tongue in cheek, this one is said with heartfelt sincerity.
At the very beginning of this adventure I wondered if my spouse loved me as much as their new self. They spent a lot of time admiring the fact that their outer looks matched their inner person, sometimes ignoring my own need to feel loved and attractive.
When my spouse first came out on social media, they took a lot of selfies because they’d had a lifetime of having to hide who they are. It took me a bit to get used to it, and that level of self-involvement (while totally understandable!) can leave a spouse feeling a little bit left on the sidelines. The solution to this is pretty simple, though—just as a genderqueer spouse has every right to their feelings and to live their authentic life, you have every right to feel how you feel and to reach out for reassurance. Talk about it with your spouse. Effective communication is the bedrock of any relationship, and one with a genderqueer spouse is no different. Tell them you love who they are, but you don’t want to be left behind in this world of self-discovery.
All of those examples are small things compared to the joy I get from watching my spouse be themself. Since they came out last year, I’ve watched them become more self-confident, happier, and less stressed. Our relationship has deepened, and we passed our twentieth year of marriage with no regrets.
THE 5 BEST THINGS
1. Authenticity There is nothing more powerful than watching your spouse be happy in their own skin. My spouse came out to me years ago; but only last year to the public. It took some getting used to, because I was so accustomed to it being our secret; but what made it easier was discovering how happy my spouse was to just be able to show that part of themself to everyone. They even came out at work, where they currently seem supported by peers and management alike.
2. Closeness It goes again with your spouse being able to be themself, but few things are more intimate than knowing their innermost person. My spouse and I are on year twenty of our marriage and we are closer than we’ve been at any point in our history. We weather changes and challenges together, a solid team to the end.
3. Shopping Did you know how many 2 for 1 sales there are for feminine clothing? I no longer feel pressured to rush through the store either, because my spouse is interested in the same kinds of clothes.
4. Role Models Are Gorgeous I have 2 LGBTQ teens. They both were out before my spouse came out to them or to the world. But one of the main reasons my spouse came out was they felt it was important to show it’s ok to be yourself, no matter who is watching.
5. Makeup I know this was under the worst, too, but the benefit of having someone who is incredible with makeup as your spouse is that they’ll be honest when yours needs tweaking and they’ll help you fix it. I’ve graduated from using eyeliner and lipstick alone to donning mascara, eyeshadow, and occasionally, tinted moisturizer without feeling like a clown.
6. I Know, I Said 5 Best Things…but I’m so in love with my spouse, I can’t imagine having as many “negatives” as “positives.” The truth is, they’re so incredibly supportive of everything I am and everything I do, and I’m not sure someone who hasn’t had to deal with being different would be quite so understanding. I have days where I can’t leave the house, and days where functioning is optional, and my spouse is always there with compassion and empathy to reassure me that this, too, shall pass.
Are you a cis person married to/dating a genderqueer person? What are your greatest challenges? Your most interesting bests? If I missed anything, leave a note in the comments!
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