It’s not at all uncommon for trans and gender-expansive folks to have cis partners, as I do. Sometimes, navigating issues of gender with a cis partner can be complex, especially if that partner is one that was with you before transition.
Talking About Gender
I sometimes forget that I have no idea what it’s like to be cis. And your cis partner has no idea what it’s like to be trans or gender expansive. Is it easy to talk with your partner about gender? Can they listen to your experience, and can you hear theirs?
If it is hard to talk about gender with your partner, can you explore the emotions around that for you? Is it that you have fear of rejection? Or fear that you won’t be heard? Have you experienced from your partner words that feel critical of your gender, or have you been misgendered by your partner? As in any relationship, it’s really important that each of you feels fully seen as their authentic selves. And since for us, our authentic selves includes our expression of gender that is different than the one we were born with, does your partner fully embrace your present gender?
In terms of your erotic connection with your cis partner – does it genuinely reflect your authentic expression of sexuality? How have you navigated that with your partner? Have you both been able to freely explore what authentic sexuality means for each and both of you?
If you are with the same partner as you were before you transitioned, your cis partner is navigating waters that may be very unfamiliar to them. They are suddenly seen as a different sexuality than they were seen as before. For some, this is an easy change, for others, it’s more difficult. Is it possible for you both to talk about this honestly and openly, and in a way that’s self-responsible? That is, you each are able to take full responsibility of your own feelings, and not feel responsible for the other’s?
Navigating these relationships, like all relationships, requires compassion for ourselves and our partners, curiosity about our own feelings and what our partners are feeling, and a willingness to pay attention to our own emotions.